The future of music?
How do independent bands without major label budgets fund their recording, manufacture, promotion, and touring? Nobody’s quite cracked the code, but there’s lots of ideas—and one of them is Kickstarter: here for example is Amanda Palmer (a personal favorite) who no longer has her major label footing the bill for production, manufacture, distribution, and promotion of her just completed album.
But does it work? Well, in Palmer’s case, she’s already raised over $160,000 which is nearing what the video above says would have been her major label budget. So obviously, in her case, it works extremely well.
Will it work for all musical acts? You know, I think it just might, as long as an artist is smart about scaling their request and offerings to the size of their audience. If you look at the number of funders, Amanda Palmer has “only” got around 3300 backers at the moment (by the time you read this, I’m sure it will be higher). That’s great! But that’s also not an unattainable number of fans. Of course, she also has people donating up to $1000 (although very few). I’ll bet that any band that builds up a local following of 200-500 people, with affordable levels of pledging from maybe $1 to $25, could easily raise $5000 to manufacture CDs, merchandise, do some paid promotion, etc. Perhaps a more popular band with 500-1000 fans with pledge levels maybe up to $50 for a CD/ticket package could even fund an album, promotion, and small club tour.
As a fan of Amanda Palmer (and her previous band, Dresden Dolls) I was happy to pledge for the album (and if you’ve listened to the video, you can hear some of the songs). But as a musician myself, I’m excited about the possibility of funding future releases and shows via Kickstarter. I thought of doing that for The Misery EP but it had been so long since our first release Grasping At Straws that I wasn’t sure if there would be any interest at all. Now that we’re “back on the map” perhaps that’s what I’ll do for the next one.