The reports have been everywhere: from the New York Time to the Los Angeles Times music blog and tons of music websites and blogs in between. Indie music/burlesque punk artist Amanda Palmer was able to use Kickstarter to raise over $1 million dollars in a fundraising project that ended just last month. True, other creative outlets have surpassed the $1 million dollar mark already on Kickstarter, but it seems that Palmer’s was the first actual music project to do so.
And, Palmer is no slouch when it comes to giving back to the fans that have supported her. As reported in the LA. Times, Palmer has used Kickstarter to offer supporters everything from a deluxe-edition CD of her latest album (the most popular option at $25 to dinner and a portrait sitting with Palmer herself for a cool $10,000. A quote from the L.A. Times story says, “In the bad old days, artists had to make a pact with a major label to get that kind of money. Now they can go straight to the people.”
And directly from the New York Times article on Palmer and her success from June 5: “Ms. Palmer is one of music’s most productive users of social media, galvanizing a modest fan base — her last album sold only 36,000 copies, and she tours small clubs and theaters — through constant interaction that blurs the usual line between performer and audience. She posts just-written songs to YouTube and is a prolific correspondent on Twitter, soliciting creative feedback from her 562,000 followers and selling tens of thousands of dollars of merchandise in flash sales. “
There has already been much made of Palmer’s success and constantly and voraciously using social media as a platform to market, sell and promote her music outside of the confines of the major industry. Palmer is reported to have been one of the earliest adopters of Twitter in terms and has clearly used Kickstarter to it’s greatest degree possible.
So is this the future of funding a music project outside of the majors? Can other artists of other genres hope to have the success that Palmer has had? Well, the truth is, there are more than a few music and creative project platforms out there for artists of all levels to use. Yes, Kickstarter is probably king of the heap right now, but take a look at these other platforms that are vying for the right to help artists raise funds for their music:
Public Enemy used Sellaband back in 2009 to create a campaign to raise $250,000 for it’s latest music product at the time. They eventually went on to raise closer to $75,000, but heck, that’s nothing to sneeze at! Artists using Sellaband can create a profile to raise funds for music recording, physical and digital album sales, promotion, live concerts and exclusive fan products, while fans can register on the site and invest directly into their favorite artists, while getting rewards in the process.
Considered to be the main “direct-to-fan” platform in music, where fans can actually help artists raise money and at the same time help charities. A team of music industry veterans and professionals and claims to be the main platform that helps attain the resources they need to build long-lasting careers in music runs pledge Music.
Indiegogo is probably the most similar to Kickstarter in that it is a global fundraising platform for more than just music, but also for film, art, theatre, fashion and more. It has been featured in The New York Times, Fast Company, CNN Money, Mashable.com, Variety and on PBS stations throughout the country. There are also several inspiring stories, such as an independent musician named Mike Block using Indiegogo.com to raise money for medical bills.
Yes, it’s a music fundraising platform, but Bedrock’s focus is not only on artists raising money for their own projects. So what’s the twist? According to their website, “Bedrock brings education communities an online, inventory-free way to raise money by selling something everyone loves – music! A unique and turn-key solution, we are your 21st century alternative to traditional school fundraisers.” That’s right: school fundraisers aren’t just about candy and cookies anymore. Kids these days can actually sell music to raise funds for their school. What a concept!
Maybe it’s a little too early to tell whether this actually IS the future of indie artists funding their projects without the backing of a major label, or a label, period. But one thing is for sure: artists like Amanda Palmer and others that are taking their destiny into their own hands are sure having a pretty productive and lucrative present.