Given that the origins of crowd funding commenced in the artistic arena, it seems logical to write a piece to discuss the practical applications of crowd funding in this field. It was back in 1997 when English rock band, Marillion, first engaged fans and followers to fund their initiative (in this case, it was their tour of the US) for which they were given cool rewards like records and T-shirts. Since then, crowd funding has breathed life into hundreds of thousands of creative and artistic endeavours, something that continues to thrive and grow at an exponential rate today.
Musicians are finding crowd funding to be the answer for a broad range of initiatives that previously remained in the “too hard basket” as funding for these projects and requirements was ever elusive. Recording that hit song or securing that venue are now affordable when put out to the fan base for support. Tech-savvy musicians are finding new ways to use crowd funding and incorporate it into their repertoire. Buskers can put a QR code onto their guitar case and fans can “scan and pledge” directly from their Smartphone to the funding campaign page.
Artists too now have a lot more possibility, scope and freedom to get their works in front of potential fans and to sell their pieces to astute collectors. Exhibitions, promotional collateral, and general awareness campaigns are all able to be funded by “the crowd” given that the campaign is well constructed and has a strong call to action.
Writers and novelists have found that crowd funding has turned a new page for those that have ventured to try this exciting form of ecommerce. The costs of publishing or attending conferences to hone their skills can now be met with a clever, well worded campaign (and who better to construct a well worded campaign than a writer?). But it is not just individual writers who can benefit. Writing groups and associations can offer greater inducements to their members with initiatives such as funding a guest speaker of great note at their annual conference. Such a campaign is usually self fulfilling as members will happily part with some money to see the speaker, thus helping the association create a more successful event with extremely enthused and committed attendees.
Whilst it would be an exceptional effort to fund a film on crowd funding platforms, it has been done. Feature length films can been funded in this way, but it is primarily the shorter, “indie” films that have had success, whether it be to fund the cost of production, or to fund the cost of pre or post production. Some film makers just need to raise the cost of professional services or some external expertise to bring their films to life, and what better way to do this than through crowd funding.
Artistic projects are in many ways the easiest ones on which to create and offer rewards to supporters. Usually it is a product of the project that is offered to great success. A CD, or a personally autographed copy of the book or DVD of the film will inspire people to pledge support. Pledges of greater amounts can be rewarded with acknowledgements in the credits, or by being offered a minor role in the production. The rewards do not need to be about receiving a tangible gift. People are all too willing to pledge their support for the chance to receive an experience they otherwise would never get. Imagine having the musician play at your home or event (even virtually), or getting the chance to dine with the stars of the movie. Many would feel inspired to give money to enjoy such a unique experience.
Art is passion. It can evoke a response strong enough to see individuals willing to lend their support. Coupled with the cool rewards and a proven history of success with projects funded by the crowd, artistic endeavours are well suited for this wonderful form of ecommerce known as crowd funding.