You should be familiar with the whole concept of crowdfunding by now. For those unaware, crowdfunding is the latest craze to consume the music industry by turning typical music fans into financial backers of various sorts. There are tons of these sites around, but the main ones are Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, and PledgeMusic.
On the surface, this seems like a great idea; an outlet for independent bands and artists to raise capitol so they can achieve a specific goal, such as recording an album or funding a tour. If done the right way it could prove to be quite powerful (and has for many independent bands and artists), since many independent bands don’t have a lot of money to work with these days. There are also rewards for contributing, depending on the amount given. I have no issues with local/independent bands raising capitol in this fashion. However, I’ve been noticing an increasing number of some of the more well known bands turning to these platforms from what appears to be out of pure laziness and sometimes just plain greed.
Orgy is a perfect example of a band that I think abused this platform. Recently, the band launched an unsuccessful crowdfunding campaign to record a new album and launch their own label…asking for $100,000! They fell way short raising a little over $7,000 and shortly after the campaign failed, their guitarist quit. The big problem I see here is the amount they were asking and their desire to launch their own label. It may not be obvious to the average music fan, but it surely doesn’t cost THAT much to record a pro sounding album….not even half that, more like 10%-15% of that. As far as starting their own record label, well I don’t think that was the best way to go. I think they would have probably been taken a little more seriously if they just planned to record the album and license it out to labels (like what Protest The Hero did). Launching a new label just to release a ‘comeback album’ doesn’t seem a realistic way to go about things. I find it necessary to mention here that Nine Inch Nails tried going the independent route and then returned to an established label simply because there is generally more value in being with a label than being independent; allowing the artist to focus on being creative, as opposed to running the business end of a self launched label.
The main point I’m trying to make here is that the bands and artists involved with these types of campaigns should really evaluate what they want and what is a realistic goal to meet. Find out how much it will cost to record, release, and market the album; or how much it will cost to tour. Don’t just pull a number out of your butt-hole. When possible, include the breakdown on the campaign site so backers know exactly where the money is going. Furthermore, if a well established band can afford to use their own money but would rather spend their fans’ money instead….is that really admirable?