18th Jul2011

Fundraising for albums – what’s your opinion?

by Mrs. Gunn

Recently, artists began creating Kickstarter and fundraising websites for their album projects. The concept of fundraising and websites like Kickstarter have been a godsend to the artistic community because they allow people to fund projects that otherwise would not be backed by record labels or other corporate ventures. This frees the artist to do whatever they want –  without having to worry about being profitable. The problem comes, when EVERYONE is doing it. Sometimes, people start a project, realize they need help and then plead with friends/family to help them cover the costs. The availability of these types of fundraising websites also allows artists to put out albums/films/whatever before they are famous, with virtually no fan base and very little experience. There is often a great burden put upon an artists’ family, friends, and acquaintances to make their “dream project” come true.

At the same time, Artists need an outlet to be free to do their thing. A lot of times, the Kickstarter can be a litmus test – do people want to see this happen? If so, it will be successful. Why not use the internet as the “Great Leveler?” If you think you have a great product, and people want it, then why not make it available with some  rewards attached?

The other side of the fundraising dilema is this: people don’t buy music anymore. People have come to expect it to be free, because they can find it on their computer for free. A cultural shift has occured: if  people buy music, they do so to support the artist, not to hear the music. Gigs have replaced plastic circles, and singles have replaced albums. The same will happen to films as computers and networks become bigger and faster. And at the rate of our congress, nothing is going to be done to stop the avalanche of free media – and perhaps nothing should be done, in the name of freedom and privacy.

This post is not intended to lament the music industry. It is what it is. Musicians and artists need to move on. And so, the concept of a fundraiser, when framed in the big picture of a declining economy and album sales, becomes an important issue.

As an artist, it is highly uncomfortable to ask for money.  “Do you really want to give me that? Are you sure?”  At the same time, if you believe in your product, why not? Capitalism will determine it’s viability, profitability, and success. Fundraising gives artists the ability to produce projects that would not be profitable and thus would never be created. And sometimes, just sometimes, the stars collide, and an idea is highly successfull; read: makes money.

How many Kickstarters have you been invited to lately? How does the concept of fundraising affect your view of the artist and the project? What fundraisers have been successful, in your opinion? Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

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