Crowd Funding is successfully being used for artistic, commercial, charitable and community projects across the globe. Whilst crowd funding is universally suitable for those with projects who wish to raise money from their family, friends, fans and beyond, it seems the musicians are a group that best resonates with crowd funding and have repeatedly engaged with their audiences to raise the funds they need to initiate the projects that represent their art.
Musicians nearly always have projects that are well defined and easily appreciated by their loyal fan base. This makes crowd funding easy as there is an understanding between the intent of the artist and their crowd. If it is to buy new equipment, to record their music, to go on tour, print t-shirts, or to undertake a promotional campaign, the project is usually simple to convey and easy to understand. Unlike projects that are initiated by inventors who dream up new-to-world concepts, most of the projects that musicians undertake have been done before in some similar format or another. This makes it easy for the crowd to connect, and to quickly embrace the initiative being undertaken.
Established musicians will have a fan base of some sort. This fan base makes for the beginnings of the musician’s “crowd” and gives a crowd funding campaign a good starting point when it comes to the “first followers” – those who not only make the first cash pledges, but those who assist the campaign by spreading the word to the next level of followers beyond that known immediately by the musician themselves. And the fact that a musician is used to getting up in front of crowds makes it easier for them to convey their message and let the world know of their campaign. By simply grabbing the “mic” between songs, or making an announcement between sets, musicians are able to let their audience know about their campaign, and given that the audience changes with each performance, the “reach” can be quite broad and the results quite quick.
People pledge their support for one or more of 4 key reasons. They know and like you, they are passionate about the project and outcome, they are after one of the cool rewards on offer, or they crave the social kudos offered in return for their support. Fans tend to reverberate with all of these reasons like a well struck chord. They are often at the performance because they know and like the musician or band. They seemingly love the music, and given that they stay to the end of each performance, it could reasonably be assumed that they want more, so a new recording, more equipment to assist with that new sound, or marketing paraphernalia would be something of which the fan base should be supportive. The very nature of the music being performed makes for great rewards. A pledge might be rewarded with a CD, a T-shirt, tickets to a gig, acknowledgements on the CD sleeve, or even a private concert or performance if the pledge is big enough. And a pledge (especially from a corporate or small business) may be recognised by a public shout out during a performance, on social media, or on the performer’s website – there is nothing quite like the feeling of being publicly recognised. Given the fact that fans relate to most (if not all) of the reasons why people typically give to crowd funding campaigns, raising funds should be a mere matter of course for such projects.
In an interesting development of late, performers from buskers through to bands playing on stage or in pubs are embracing technology that not only comes in the form of crowd funding, but by way of associated technologies that help crowds become aware of the campaigns, engage, and contribute. QR codes are being used on guitar cases, on drum kits, speakers, and even on t-shirts to channel audiences directly to the campaign page for a musician’s crowd funding campaign. This ensures that the audience can use their smart phone and scan the QR code, taking them directly to the portal on which they can support the campaign, and not have any “leakage” caused by people forgetting the address of the platform, losing the details that they have taken down in one way or another, or mistakenly visiting and supporting the wrong campaign.
The internet has long been well suited to the music industry, not just as a medium for transferring and distributing the work of the artist, but for spreading the word and assisting with the initiatives of the musician. Now, through crowd funding, the internet is becoming a tool for musicians to engage and activate their crowd to not only support campaigns, but to help spread the word to an awaiting worldwide audience.