There are several funding sites out there operating in slightly different ways, but they all have the same objective; offering fans an attractive way to contribute towards a chosen artist’s creative process. This gets you, the fan, closer to the band. And it gives the musicians a chance to exercise their PR and marketing skills by dreaming up ingenious and fun pledges. From signed set lists to exclusive studio gigs with dinner, the more inventive, personal and exclusive the pledge, the better.
THE BEDROOM HOUR, an emerging west London band, want to get their debut 2‑part album out to their fans first. So they have turned to crowdfunding. The Bedroom Hour’s pledge page is proving mega successful – proof that they have a solid base of followers.
I was fairly sceptical the first time I heard about crowd funding. It was during a conversation with Jon King, ex Gang of Four member, about 4 years ago, when he told me how the band intended to finance new album Content. At first I just thought, who is going to contribute to this? I did wonder if Go4 were just too established in the music business, too entrenched, to trigger an avalanche of feel-good pledges dropping into their coffers. Gang of Four’s crowdfund initiative eventually proved to be a success. In their case, they could mine a rich seam of contacts and fans going back decades, followers of Go4 from the 70s, hoping for a revival of the social critique, incisiveness and wit that embodied them as ‘angry young’ men’ – certainly a fan base now with considerable disposable income. The newer bands who are just starting out have to seek their finance mainly from far younger followers, with less money to invest. Fortunately, there are many success stories and most bands are realistic enough to include pledges starting at £5.
These days the music industry is tougher than ever to crack. Illegal downloading deprives artists of billions of revenue every year so crowd funding is a great way for the internet to be a positive force, and to give something back. What do you think?
NOTE: AS OF 2015, THE BEDROOM HOUR DECIDED TO CALL IT QUITS. THE MEMBERS ARE PURSUING SOLO CAREERS.