Even though Kickstarter.com has been around for some time now, a lot of people don’t know what it’s all about. So I’d like to spend a little time here discussing what Kickstarter.com is and what it means for musicians in today’s fast paced music industry.
By the way, I am writing this as I listen to a CD that I helped “fund.” It’s a CD of all original tunes. Modern jazz…but not the repulsive, ugly stuff. It’s complicated music, technically challenging, but very nice on the ear as well.
They Call It Funding
Kickstarter is a website that handles start-up investments. It’s not just for musicians, and if you know anything bout the business world, start-up investments are common place. What makes kickstarter.com just a little different from the traditional start-up investment is that you get to contribute at whatever level you wish. You don’t need thousands of dollars to get involved. Just about every kick starter project I’ve seen had options all the way down to one dollar.
There’s a reason why they refer to the contributions as funding. You are funding a project before hand. You are not purchasing a product. You are investing in an idea that will later become a product. In most cases, the thank you gift is the product itself.
But you are doing much more than buying a product, you are making it possible for that product to even exist at all. The people who present projects on kickstarter.com are typically independents. These are individuals like you and me who have ideas, good ideas, ideas that will ultimately lead to wonderful final products, but they need money to make that happen.
AND, like you and me, most of them don’t have that kind of money just sitting around.
So kickstarter.com is a way that individuals with little money to “invest” can make a difference for other individuals who have little money to “invest.” Like I said, it’s more than just buying a product, it’s funding a product so that someone who is not independently wealthy can realize his or her ideas. And you get to be as big of a part of that as you wish.
Kickstarter.com for Musicians
For musicians, kickstarter.com represents an opportunity for truly independent musicians to get their projects off the ground. In many cases final product is a CD, but there are other types of projects as well.
Think about what this means on both sides of the project. Not only can musicians now get funding for major projects without having to go through a label, but now YOU as the consumer have a bigger say in where the music industry heads. Your funding makes a difference by giving people a chance to succeed…people who want what you want and believe what you believe. With funding organizations like kickstarter.com, you can make a difference in the music industry by contributing only to those projects that align with what you believe.
Remember, you are not just buying a CD. You are helping that CD to exist. Without funding, that CD won’t be recorded. And if that CD is in alignment with your beliefs, then you are creating a musical world that is influenced by your beliefs.
Without getting involved with funding music projects, you are saying that you are okay with what the music labels are putting out. You are saying that people like me, who have never been connected to a label, do not deserve to have our projects see fruition.
You Make a Difference
As you can see, you make a difference one way or another. If you choose not to fund a project, you are making a difference by saying you don’t want that project to succeed. If you choose to fund a project, you make a difference by helping create something that would not have been created without your help.
I like to believe that we, as a society, have moved on from the old ideal that, “if the corporations aren’t doing it, then it must not be very good.” There are so many great ideas out there by individuals…people just like you and me…that it is a shame to not see those ideas come to life.
This CD I’m listening to is by a guy named Doug Abrams. I opted to fund his project just for the amount of the CD. So my “thank you gift”, naturally, was a copy of the CD. I could look at it sort of like a “pre-order” but I know it’s more than just that. If it weren’t for my contribution and others like mine, he wouldn’t have had the money to make this CD. And I’m glad I “invested” into his project because his music is worth listening to. It’s different. It’s alive. It’s something new and different enough from what I’ve heard before that I’m even feeling more creative myself. I’m inspired to practice and write more music. And none of that would be true if I had chosen not to support his music.
So far I have contributed to three different projects. Two are CDs and the other was a live performance in Scotland. I am glad to be able to make a difference in those people’s lives without having to be the one funding the entire projects. Does that make sense? I’m glad that I can pitch in with dozens of other like-minded individuals to help someone succeed.
THAT is what kickstarter.com is for musicians. It’s a way for you to make a difference without having to be super rich yourself.