Two sides to Kickstarter
I recently had a friend ask me about Kickstarter. She said: “Don’t you think it’s a bit of a charity case? It’s kinda sad!” Here I am to break down both sides of this story for you.
Music fans today are luckier then ever. There is a lot of great talent out there at the click of a button, you can watch live videos of your favorite bands and even download their albums (illegally) for free. You can follow and connect to them directly through social media without it costing you anything. So why should you all of a sudden have to donate when you can just go listen to someone else for free? Here is maybe why…
Kickstarter is the next online revolution in the music industry today. For Canadian bands we are so privileged to have some sort of government funding through grants. In the US however, that sort of thing does not exist. With record labels folding under us and 360 deals going down only when a complete finished potential successful single is handed over (which also costs money to produce) where is the funding going to come from for so many artists with a solid fan base?
Bands today are in a tough financial situation, the reality of expenses verses income are rarely in the + unless you are a very successful act. Labels act as a bank loan but with no label, and no possible investor you are physically unable to create anything for your fans. Band’s are constantly scrapping by from one project to the next as well as living the reality we all have of holding down 9 – 5 jobs and paying the bills.
Bands are now starting to reach out to fans to ask them for help. It’s kind of a catch 22, as if they are calling them out saying “You’re not buying our music anymore since you can get it for free, so we cannot make anything new for you unless you help us out here.”
For different set fees through Kickstarter you can donate, but also receive some incentive that bands are willing to offer such as your name listed in the album credits, a Skype with the band, a feature in the upcoming music video, guitar tech for a show and tons more. You are paying to help the band record and also get some pretty bad ass fan swag in doing so.
Here is a great example of a video and blog written by Framing Hanley, a band who has a great fan following, but who no longer have financial support from a label. Without Kickstarter another album would not have been possible for them. They raised their goal of 40,000+ in just one month and are back in the studio making an album that would not have been possible without the support of their true fans and followers. Honestly do I look at them or judge them any differently? Hell no! I think it’s great that there fans are so damn dedicated they are realizing the reality of the business and willing to put in what they can to keep their iPods full of new music from their favourite acts.
At the end of the day, the music you listen to and the projects you choose to support are up to you. You don’t have to donate to anyone if you don’t want to, but I hope this has shed some light on the topic as to why some artists have no other choice and are reaching out to each of you to help their careers. By doing so they can do what they do best and give you (the fans) what you want; new, great tunes! The best way to support an artist so that they can continue their career is to make sure to see them perform live in your area when they are on tour and to purchase their album from the show or off iTunes.
There is no band without their fans.
Here is a great article in the Globe and Mail that has some good points on the topic as well. : http://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/music/need-a-kick-start-bands-turning-to-fans-to-finance-their-albums/article4550076/