Do you want some money for your project? Whether that be the novel you’ve been itching to get published or a tour that you need funding … Enter Kickstarter.
No, it’s not another one of those pay-day loans companies that you see advertised in between episodes of Jeremy Kyle, but an online crowd-sourcing company aimed at providing creative individuals with the funding they need to get their plans off the ground. Until now, it was previously unavailable to UK users unless they had an affiliation with an American company, but as of this month Kickstarter is sweeping in with the autumn leaves.
What is Kickstarter?
It’s a platform that fuses elements of eBay with Dragons Den. First, you put your idea forward for all would-be investors to see. Your pitch is then subject to a time limit, with any offers that are put on the table expiring if a set target is not reached within the given time scale provided. After a scam scare back in May all proposed ventures are now subject to rigorous vetting, so anyone thinking of advertising for investment to pay off their student loan can forget it.
So far Kickstarter seems to be working well, take for instance Amanda Palmer – who raked together a whopping $1.2 million to fund her tour and subsequent album. It’s not just Kickstarter that has a proven success rate in this field.
Elsewhere Manchester’s Wu Lyf had their début album entirely funded by a local collective, Ben Folds Five’s latest effort came about through a campaign on rival crowd-sourcing site Pledge Music, not to mention the ongoing battle by fans of Weezer, who have offered the group $10million so far in a bid to stop them recording any more new material.
While it seems that this is yet another example of the democratisation of music in the favour of fans (such as that seen with the rise of pre-release streaming), questions are beginning to be raised about those involved whose motives are not purely driven by love of music. With companies large and small investing in such musicians, the corporate nature of music looks set to increase with artists losing out if they are not prepared to pawn themselves out for advertisement. Soon, this level of commercial interest in music could rival that which is already in football.
With income diminishing in the traditional areas for musicians however, it’s hard to argue against the necessity of such new avenues for revenue to flow down. Even the Olympics, the largest and most expensive sporting event on the planet, requested that hundreds of musicians work for free, exploiting unsigned acts desperate for the chance of some exposure.
One thing that can be said with certainty is that the power to make these decisions now lies firmly within our grasp, each of us having an even greater say in what goes into our record collections by being able to play record-company executive from the comfort of our own armchairs.