Fan-funding?

Hello and good day dear readers! Thanks for tuning in. Sorry I’m a day late here. So this album (I came up with a title!!…that’s not the title, I’m keeping it under wraps for now) James Beaudreau and I have been working on is getting closer to being finished. The question throughout the ages for all kinds of exploits; building, designing, cooking, painting, recording, living etc. is how are we going to pay for this?? There are a number of web services nowadays which host artists looking for funding. They call ’em funding platforms for creative projects. Pledgemusic, kickstarter, and IndieGoGo are some examples of probably the best known. Pledgemusic has a ton of projects on their site and at first I was thinking, well these are all musicians sort of at my level but then I saw that Wayne Shorter has a page for a documentary someone is making about him! There’s Juliana Hatfield. Oh and Greg Klyma (who’s a guy I met at PostCrypt, an all acoustic open mic on Columbia’s campus). http://klyma.com/
My friend, Nicole Hale, launched an excellent (and I think successful) funding campaign on kickstarter, I kicked in. http://nicolehalemusic.com/
A dearly departed neighborhood luminary artist, Will (Will Teez) Alicea, launched a campaign to help with medical expenses on Indiegogo which I chipped in. So in other words, there are many uses and levels represented here. Often the person who gives money to a particular project will get a special reward (added incentive to become involved). For instance, yesterday one of my favorite bands, Quasi, leaked a track on-line in advance of their October double-album release and offered treats for those who pre-order. I’ll be getting a hand-printed t-shirt and a ‘zine and the album, yah! Now that’s not the same as the fan-funding I’m talking about but I’m just so psyched about this release that I had to share! heh
Seriously…how bad-ass is this track? http://pitchfork.com/news/51411-quasi-announce-new-album-mole-city-share-you-can-stay-but-you-got-to-go/

There is something in me which doesn’t necessarily prevent me from doing something like pledgemusic or kickstarter but I’m given pause….is it pride? I don’t want to owe anyone anything, I want to get away clean. Is it defensiveness? If I don’t make the amount I need then that reflects negatively upon the songs. Is this like begging? No, not like begging because those who chip in get an album or a credit or something back. Is it downright stubbornness? This is how I want it to be and that’s that. Maybe it’s a combination of things and not really worth examining…although most things bear closer inspection. The Medici’s (Famiglia de Medici) were great patrons of art, this would be like having a patron or, rather, a bunch of patrons. Why is it that the creative folks really don’t have a whole ton of money and are often reliant on those who do? It’s always been that way. Oh well. I recently saw a video on-line of the artist Amanda Palmer (formerly of the punk band Dresden Dolls) give a talk at a TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference about the art of asking and it started with her street performing days on through to having her fans fund her current album. She’s a known, established musician so it makes sense that she has support from fan-base which undoubtedly took years to establish.

Making art and/or music doesn’t cost much but getting it recorded and getting it out there does. I’m not sure how I’m going to go about it but I surely will get it done. James has put in so much great work and the songs themselves deserve to be heard. Stay tuned!
As always thanks for dropping by and have great listens this week!
I’m playing tonight at Shades of Green 125 East 15th Street 11PM
Tomorrow night at No Malice Palace 197 East 3rd Street (between Ave A and B) 8PM
HOORAY FOR TUESDAY!!

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3 responses »

  1. Now, more than ever, people can make records because of these funding mechanisms that are available to them. People like to support the arts, and they get to be a “part of” the project. I have read many books on fundraising, and resources for the non-profit artist, which is the route I took. But they all say the same thing. The biggest “funders” are individuals, whether it is for a big museum, a film, or what have you. They believe in you, and your project, and are more apt to give more than once, so you have to cultivate those relationships.

    When I first researched the possibility of going the non-profit route, I had to force myself to learn to view my CD, “Sonic Bloom ” as an art project, the way a painter sees their series of paintings, or a choreographer views their dance piece, and that this work was needed in this world! That was very difficult to do for a self effacing songwriter like me. With a what is called a fiscal sponsorship (you have to apply for it) you get a 501-c3 status. I was then able to receive foundation grants (you have to apply for them, too), and other grants, individual donations (which were tax deductible to the “donors”, NYFA also wrote all the checks to my vendors (musicians, producer) and generated their tax forms. With Rockethub, which partered with Artspire towards the end of my project. I was still able to offer premiums, so, 40 people pre-ordered my CD and t-shirts, etc and other things. With Rockethub, there’s no shame–you get to keep the money, even if you don’t reach the goal, so you don’t feel all embarrassed that you didn’t meet it.

    A great book on the subject of grant writing and fundraising that helped get me past my anxiety of asking for “support” is by Gigi Rosenberg. http://gigirosenberg.com/bookexcerpt.pdf

    I have to put this block of info on the bottom of my cd and promo materials–I see at a my Record Label info!:
    “Sonic Bloom” is supported by a grant from the Sparkplug Foundation, NoMAA Creative Grant Program, made possible by the JP Morgan Foundation and UMEZ and NYFA, and by the generosity of individual donors. Karen Hudson is a fiscally sponsored artist of Artspire, A program of New York Foundation for the Arts.

    Thanks, I hope this info helped some people.
    Karen Hudson
    Singer/Songwriter

    My website: http://www.karenhudson.com

  2. I think patrons are a good analogy. You can also think of it as a substitute for the advances a record company would give. Partly giving the artist the money they need to make the work, but also a reward proportional to anticipated sales, which in some cases greatly exceeds the amount needed to make the work (nobody needs a million dollars to make an album except Daft Punk). Since you’re almost always pre-ordering the album when you kick in, this forms a lower bound on sales, unlike the record company advance that might be spent on promotion or the rock-and-roll lifestyle and then never be recouped. In that sense it’s a more self-regulating model.

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