Originally published June 03rd 2014:
This week Underground In Prydain is planning a pretty hefty interview on crowdfunding, but before that goes public, here’s some general information on the subject.
First up, if you don’t know what it is, crowdfunding is the process by which an individual, group or organisation asks members of the public to stump up the readies to make it possible to proceed with a proposed project.
Did you ever do a sponsored cycle or something similar at school to try and pay for a class trip or event? Crowdfunding works a bit like that, except investors are offered something a little more substantial than a cheap laugh at your expense while you peddle around and around the local park.
Unfortunately, in the case of most musicians or bands looking to use this approach to pay for their next demo, EP or album, the sympathy felt for a charity isn’t there. In fact, some people have quite the opposite reaction upon hearing that an artist is employing crowdfunding, actively seeking to discredit them in the digital world.
So, there are two very obvious pros and cons already, but there are more. They differ from project to project and so do the results. A lot of the online materials about crowdfunding would have you believe it’s pretty straight forward: You plan a set of prices and rewards, go live to your fan-base, and hey presto! Your debut is paid for, no worries!
If you’re buying that, this probably isn’t the site for you. In fact, the music industry probably isn’t the place for you. Unless you have a bottomless wallet. In which case, I’ve got some chocolate fire guards if you’re interested.
On the other hand, if you’re willing to do some proper research, analyse what has been said, what is being said, what has been experienced and by who, there is some more useful information available. For example, this article by Peter Macdonald, while a bit more brief than what is planned for UP, raises a few interesting points regarding more established bands and often overlooked issues.
Over here Brian Buchanan goes into a bit of detail as to the effects of choice of platform for the independent, although high earning artist. Even if you’re not that well established, it’s still worth a read, because it really gets into the nuts and bolts of some of the big players.
Finally, Hypebot have great introduction piece for those looking to raise smaller amounts, even at an early stage in their development. The article is admittedly around a year old, but it includes a short list of links to some very interesting experiences.
I hope you enjoyed this background to the next article I will be posting. If so, like it, share it and sign up to the mailing list for more of the same, covering a variety of subjects relating to underground musicians!