Every Artist Is A KickStarter Project.

Image used under Creative Commons, by botheredbybees on FlickrThere have been some amazing success stories on Kickstarter of late, not least of all CASH Music raising their $30K in 72 hours. Brilliant.

What’s worth noting, however, is that pretty much every musician’s career is a Kickstarter project – the work we have out now are the incentives, and the money raised makes it possible to do more elaborate things going forward.

If we happen to have ‘pay what you think it’s worth‘ mechanism, the ‘it‘ doesn’t just have to be the collection of music in question. It’s an invitation to be part of the ongoing financial viability of diverting time and resources into making music our focus.

No-one in their right mind is going to stop making music because they aren’t making money from it – that’s a load of bullshit peddled by lobbyists – but time spent making music is time not available for paying the bills doing something else, so when music makes money, the money can go to making more music. (as an aside, there are some very interesting comments about this idea in the new interview with Steven Wilson, by the ever-brilliant Anil Prasad.)

Part of Kickstarter (and Pledge Music)’s success comes from the permission it gives people to get excited about The Big Project, rather than being stuck with the old model that paying for music is about getting a product and the stories around music are the stuff that goes in magazines so that we know when the product will be available. Now, we can see the recordings as a document of music-making, as something to enjoy, to soundtrack our lives with, to tell stories with and be told stories by. And we can be part of any number of those stories.

It’s why some people choose to pay WAY over the normal price of a CD for the download albums from my Bandcamp page (gawd bless bandcamp!) – not because the music itself *should* cost that, but because the experience of being a part of it is special, the option to say thank you in such a tangible way, the chance to put a value on their relationship with the music, with my story, in a tangible way. And of course, to acknowledge that most musicians are broke and will REALLY appreciate the help.

So, hurrah for Kickstarter, and the option to Kickstart each other 🙂

Here’s my latest offering – feel free to kick, start, share, or just listen.

2 Replies to “Every Artist Is A KickStarter Project.”

  1. Steve, your comments reminded me of ArtistShare, the fan-funded project-enabler started by jazz composer Maria Schneider in 2003 ( http://www.artistshare.com/v4/ ). ArtistShare has a pretty polished package — that is to say, a sort of pre-existing infrastructure dedicated to music — where Kickstarter (and indiegogo et al) are more freeform for all kinds of projects. My completely unresearched take on it is that ArtistShare has a higher barrier to entry–you have to be selected to be featured–but a smoother package, where the other crowd funding sources I’m aware of are open to all but don’t have the kind of support/infrastructure that ArtistShare has.

    But one of the benefits of ArtistShare, Kickstarter and other crowd funding, and what you reminded me of in your post, is the involvement of the donor in the creative process, if not as a participant, at least as an avid observer. Supporting such a project is not about simply receiving some files and plastic, it’s about watching the music take shape by viewing video, receiving updates etc.

    Good stuff, all of it.


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