The case against crowd-funding platforms

Each time I hear about crowd funding, even when I adore the artist, my heart sinks.

Each time I hear about crowd funding, even when I adore the artist, my heart sinks.

The case against crowd-funding platforms.

A great number of UK music artists I admire now use crowd-funding platforms like PledgeMusic or Indiegogo to raise cash from fans, to fund albums, videos, or touring. It’s very quickly been normalised in the music industry, to the point that you’ll almost never hear a bad word spoken about these platforms. Unusually, they’re popular with mainstream upcoming artists, the companies around them and also fully independent, self-described DIY or underground artists.

But something in me finds them disconcerting. I admit I’ve not once contributed money to an artist’s Pledge campaign. Each time I hear about one, even when I adore the artist, my heart sinks. Yet people clearly feel it works and there are a pile of happy (on the surface at least) customers. It’s a perfectly legitimate way to fund music in the new online paradigm. So, what’s my beef?

As hugely successful US crowd-funding company Kickstarter launches in the UK; for the first time offering a serious competitor to PledgeMusic, it’s worth considering the case against, if only to enable a debate when the narrative is so blandly positive. Full disclosure: I’ve never tried it myself. Xtra Mile Recordings did run a successful Pledge campaign to replace stock (including my albums) destroyed in the depot fire (after the London riots) but I have no personal experience of running one. Trying to figure out why I’m not into them, here’s what I’ve come up with:

The emperor’s new clothes. Wasn’t half the point of going online to get rid of third parties? Instead it’s a messy battle. We binned major labels but got trapped in the price-controlled, tax dodging chaos of Amazon and iTunes, even when Bandcamp gave us a cleaner alternative. Then along came this whole new generation of third parties, jumping in ahead of the distributors to get their share, before the music’s even made. And because the process is automated, artists and punters alike seem blind to an obvious truth; at a basic fundamental level, web-based platforms are the same old villains wearing a hipper jacket. Yet again they find a thing that artists (wrongly) believe they can’t do alone, then slide in between artist and audience by offering that thing as a service, in order to cream off profit.

I’m convinced almost any artist with a moderate fan-base can crowd-fund just as easily, with less commitment, more control and a greater overall ROI (return on investment), just by having conversations with the right people. What is it about these formal frameworks that let the artist off the hook of asking personally for support, when it’s usually the exact same people who end up contributing anyway? You want someone’s money, fucking go and ask them. Write a letter. It feels as if everyone’s playing at grown-ups by using a third party website as a dressing-up box.

That’s too much money. For running a largely passive, artist-driven web-based platform (nothing more complex than Flickr, Instagram, Facebook or a hundred other free sites) with a simple financial processing structure bolted on, these companies charge 15% of revenue ”“ and are less than transparent to funders, who are often only vaguely aware that there’s a percentage taken at all. And that’s a lot. That’s what a music manager or booking agent took in the old days, for doing a massive load of work to bring in income. Artists have spent 100 years deeply resenting ”“ and regularly sacking or suing ”“ managers and agents on the same percentage they now happily give to strangers for letting them sit on their web servers for a bit.

Treats for funders are embarrassing and a total arsehole to get done. Money is teased out of devoted fans with offers of rewards, exclusive content, private attention, all sorts. But these bring the wrong kind of closeness; too big a sense of a personal debt owed; often placing artists in uncomfortable situations. Trying to record music with 25 funders sitting in the control room as part of a treat day is a joke. A cause of this over-reach is also malevolent: the ever-increasing sense of urgency (becoming terror later) as the deadline looms, because ”˜success’ is so important it erodes any objective sense of what is realistic or achievable. Which brings me to:

Something not even made yet is already a failure. On Kickstarter 56% of projects fail to make target and get zero. Unpack that stat and it’s pretty concerning: these creative people didn’t undertake Kickstarter lightly in the first place, they made a plan, shot a video, offered their fanbase all the bonuses in the world and still failed to hit target. That’s a whole lot of effort and commitment gone to define themselves as a big fat loser, for financial reasons rather than artistic judgement. I wonder what the damage done is, in real terms.

This is innately biased (of course) against inarticulate, disorganised and working class artists (whose wider communities and support bases tend to have fewer financial resources). I also reckon, although this is tenuous, that the system leans in favour of technically innovative, science-based, gimmicky, design or technical projects over pure art, because the former can be more easily explained, ahead of actually doing it.

New album releases go on forever. First the artist talks up the new album before even starting to make it. Then they endlessly document the process. Then it’s done and first they release it exclusively to funders. Then they do other posh formats separately, in order to send them out to other funders. Finally they release the album to everyone else. It’s been weeks since those first people got hold of it and someone immediately file-shared it. We’re bored now.

Finally, my biggest, most esoteric dissent speaks to broader issues about fundraising campaigns in general. These platforms rely on everyone turning a blind eye to a truth: that a very few devoted followers will fund almost everything. When artists draw resource from their audience, a very select core number of individual funders (relatively wealthy and truly devoted) will underwrite the whole ballgame. This is already true of the wider music industry: If we started analyzing the tiny contingency of people propping up our entire business, we’d be aghast. In crowd-funding, success or failure depends on whether the artist has those particular followers. I say this without specific data to back me up ”“ however it is based on first hand experience not in the music world, nor business, but in the third sector (charity industry). In language and structure, arts crowd-funding campaigns far more closely resemble charity appeals than other kinds of business fundraising, right down to the ideas around ”˜donating’ in return for special rewards. A charity industry ”˜universal truth’ is that at least 80% of money comes from fewer than 20% of donors. Successful crowd-funding campaigns will always have exclusive, very high value rewards for much larger amounts, where ”˜selling’ only a handful of them underwrites a massive proportion of the campaign. It’s an identical approach.

Honestly, so many artists I know who’ve crowd-funded would back me up here: because of this principle, the success or failure of a project is less down to the size of audience, or how hard the artist works the campaign across the breadth of their fan-base; it’s more down to whether they’re lucky enough to have a small core of very devoted and relatively wealthy fans, and/or some rewards of high value to offer those fans.

I believe, far too often, the artist becomes slave to the campaign, rather than the other way around. You would be astonished the number of artists out there who, even after publicly successful target-smashing campaigns, will later quietly express a range of regrets that they wouldn’t want their generous audience to know about. They look back and regret what they offered; regret the time wasted honoring those offers; regret how panicky they got about a ludicrous arbitrary definition of ”˜success’; regret how the balance in their relationship with supporters shifted; regret not finding the funds elsewhere, so they could be more flexible about what it was they were making.

And these are the ones who won.

Now, I’m not really bothered; from all angles it’s just people making choices. I guess I just feel a bit sorry for them all, that they couldn’t try other ways first. And phew, I didn’t even mention Amanda Palmer.

ps. thanks to music fan and Words With Friends opponent Matt Rhodes for emailing me a question about recorded music pricing, which triggered this article ”“ sorry I haven’t actually answered your questions at all, Matt, I’ll get to them.

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23 comments on “The case against crowd-funding platforms”

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  1. William Topping

    Well,

    Rather then spend so much time moaning about the situation, as so many do, come up with a solution and implement it.

    You too can set up a service, offer it for free if you’re feeling altruistic, or charge a lower fee. Do this instead of moaning about the situation.

    Or, like so many others, do you want someone else to do it for you. I’m right behind you on the former, but not so much on the latter for obvious reasons.

    Good luck though. Hope it works out.

  2. I’ve only contributed to a crowd-funding project once.

    Martin Atkins was offering the chance to insert the word ‘fuck’ into his forthcoming book, at a dollar a time. This appealed to my inner Viz reader. I bought five. (Which, because of the favourable exchange rate, only cost me three quid or so).

    But, otherwise, I’ve never forked out a penny for one of these schemes. I’ve always felt that the whole idea isn’t actually all that great. I’m glad to find it’s not just me!

    As Chris T T mentions above, crowd funding does not really give bands the glorious independence it’s often claimed to do. Yes, you don’t have the music biz on your back. But you *do* have the crowd funding biz on your back, siphoning off a percentage of your money for – and here Chris makes a very good point – doing less than conventional music biz managers, labels, etc would do.

    It’s essentially a way of swapping one lot of middle-men for another lot – who charge very similar money for doing much less work for the artists. Whats more, all the graft and hassle of giving the pledgers their special offers and what-not dumps a hefty extra workload in the laps of the bands. And the bands are effectively paying a to do the extra work!

    It also places the band in a position of obligation to the fans. Crowd-sourced projects must – surely – be slanted towards What The Fans Want. No musical tangents, no experimentation, no pushing the envelope.

    The fans have coughed up money on the basis that they like the band’s previous work and they wouldn’t mind a bit more. Nobody’s going to hand over money on the grounds that “I liked your last album – now do something completely different!” Conversely, the bands aren’t likely to think, “All our fans who’ve given us money – fuck ’em! We’ll do what WE want!” The whole process must surely be slanted against musical innovation.

    Here, again, we see that the crowd-funding model is uncannily like the conventional music biz methods – only more so. It’s not the record company insisting that the band do more of the stuff that the kids liked last time. It’s the kids themselves. Bands have historically dug their heels in and resisted the demands of their labels (band vs. label conflicts are one of the endlessly repeating motifs of rock history). But how many bands would be bloody-minded enough to have that sort of fight with loyal fans who’ve just given them cash?

    Steve Albini made a good point in one of the interviews he did around the time of his argument with Amanda Palmer. He asked a pertinent and rather awkward question. To paraphrase his words slightly (because I don’t have the exact quote in front of me) he said, never mind independence from the music biz. What about independence from the audience?

    And here’s a thing. What happens if a band seeks funding from its fans, and then delivers an album that the fans don’t like? Essentially, crowd-funding is just a way of getting people to buy a pig in a poke. What happens when you open the sack and find the pig is just an old pillowcase stuffed with straw? Do you get your money back?

    The point about the whole process of releasing an album dragging on to stupid lengths is very pertinent. I can think of one band who’ve been making endless posts on Facebook to the effect that their crowd-funded new album is on its way, pledge now, people, c’mon, get involved! In the end I just blanked it all out. I like the band, as it happens, but I can do without months on end of continual pestering.

    Then I saw a post from the band which said, essentially, “Mission accomplished! We’ve done it!” And I thought, oh, jolly good. Their new album is on release!

    But it wasn’t. They haven’t even made it yet. The latest big fuss was just to say that their Pledge Music campaign had ended. The album is still to come…some time in the distant-ish future. Ho hum.

    It just seems like a painfully drawn-out process – and, given that success in music usually goes to those who can move fast and grab fleeting opportunities, it surely counts against any *real* achievement.

    In the particular case I’m thinking of, I’m rather bored with the whole kerfuffle already. That’s got to take the edge off my appreciation of the album when it eventually arrives. The feeling of sheer delight when a favourite band drops a new album from out of the blue won’t be at work here, that’s for sure. The release of a crowd-funded album, with its tediously lengthy build-up, can never be news, never be an *event*.

    Point to ponder, then: do crowd-funded albums have less overall impact than releases which arrive with an instant burst of excitement?

    In a way, I’m not even sure why we’re talking about *albums* here. The album – ten or so tracks in one lump – is really a creation of the 1930s, when the advent of the 33rpm LP record made the album a convenient way of packaging music. But why do bands continue to release music according to the technical restrictions of the 1930s – and tying themselves in financial knots to do so?

    Album sales are down, while sales of single tracks (not necessarily formally released ‘singles’) are up: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/album_sales_down_digital_track_sales_YWXYLE6oitJAqXBnqt1Q6N

    Doesn’t that argue for a quicker, cheaper, hit-and-run approach? Why do bands ask fans – at tedious length, at appreciable cost, and with much work involved – for money to make an album, when it seems fewer and fewer fans are buying albums anyway?

  3. William Topping,

    His whole point has nothing to do with him coming up with a similar solution that is cheaper/free etc..

    He is saying look at other ways that dont tie you down to a miriad of duties that you will become a slave to. I really feel there is an element of begging in this whole way of raising money with fans giving pity donations to artists that they still hold in esteem.

    How can you really respect an artist that cant find anyone on the planet (outside of their fanbase) to believe enough in them to invest in a recording? and who havent got (or refuse to use) their own money to fund a recording?

    Keep your pride, keep your prestige and mystery with your fanbase and do it yourself. If you believe in yourself and that you can still produce good music (which we all know can now be done relatively cheaply) you should put your own money where your mouth is instead of lowering yourself to getting the begging bowl out with your fans.

  4. I’ve got a lot of time for Chris but I find his argument here pretty weak. Seems to be implying that somehow the artists using these services don’t realise they are paying for it. Of course they do, they are paying for the time that they don’t have to do this on a personal, individual level.

    It’s fine for Chris to say they should be doing it themselves but he’s in the lucky position of being a full time musician but most performers I know aren’t. They want to raise money to keep doing what they do & these services offer a way to do that doesn’t consume all of the small amount of time they have outside their day jobs & actually making the music.

    It’s not like they’re taking the kind of cut that record labels & distributors used to. You might as well say don’t use a CD duplication service because you can copy CDs at home. Yes, you can but wouldn’t you rather spend the money & save the time for more constructive things?

  5. David Cameron-Pryde.

    I think your point applies to ‘big’ artists certainly. No one with the ability to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds should be using crowd funding, but for bands who are just starting out it’s a great solution.

    Record companies don’t throw money at emerging artists any more, so if it’s a choice between getting your record made or not then it’s a no brainer. I don’t see it as begging at all, it’s just a pre-order system where fans can commit to buying a record & bands can use it as a useful way to see how many to get made.

    Most bands I know plough every spare penny they have in to their art but sometimes even that’s not enough & they need help. Pledges give them that help at a time when very few people will invest in new music, and I say that as someone that runs a small record label.

    • In reply to Dan Salter – no, it’s not like the cut the record labels used to take, but the question is whether the cut they are taking is justified by the work put in by the platform.

      And I think to a lot of people, 15% sounds reasonable. But that is because technology is as mysterious as duplication and distribution were before punk demystified them. To me, 15% sounds quite a lot for what they’re doing – it’s way more than what we can charge, but we’re selling TO technology companies – there is no way our clients would give us 15% of their income.

  6. If you make something to express yourself, it’s art.

    If you make something to sell to someone else, it’s product.

    Let’s not get these two confused.

  7. I have to agree with most of this.

    I have seen several bands whom give the impression they have a big fan base, and you see their pleadgemusic page and towards the end there are only about 50 people pledging to it, to me that makes the band look not very popular. I feel the Duran Duran way of doing it was much better, put up a simple digital release first, then use the money generated to fund the box set and all the other hard copies of the product.
    We just live in this age where there are too many bands about, if you want to release something surely its best to go back to basic maths, do you think you will sell product if you don\’t then don\’t put out the begging bowl.

  8. good points and thanks Michael, i do Kickstarter 101 sessions now (for free) and pull back the curtain on how i raised 150% of my goal to fund my third book – I advise artists to have each level make sense in and of itself – like the guy who ‘donated’ $500 and got a piece of Killing Joke scenery that I made years ago – the transactions and levels can broaden an artists base without necessarily having everything specially made (although I think artists should be able to pull this off anyway) . A Kickstarter campaign is as much use as an unexpected gig at Madison Sq Garden – great IF YOU ALREADY have a fan base….potentially catastrophic if you don’t.
    I get all of the points you made Chris – I call the frenzy ‘the kickstarter crack pipe” but, I feel a deeper connection to anyone that contributed and I think that most bands feel that from their backers. But a few are expressing a common mistake i think – its not about a ‘begging bowl’ it needs to be “$40 gets you the new book signed” “$1000 gets me playing drums on your next album.” or $1 for a fuck. I was offering cool shit of value to certain people – but, just like the ill conceived and badly routed tour in the too expensive vehicle with too many days off – a kickstarter campaign is subject to the same constrains as anything – electrifying and stimulating when the artists entrepreneurial imagination is fully deployed and organised – kind of crap, lame and ultimately un-funded if not. For a band that wants to be ‘mysterious’ i’d say that these days – they have problems anyway – you gotta sign everything, spend time with everyone, meet everyone – not hide in the dressing room being mysterious.
    thanks for the $3 Michael – much appreciated!
    Martin Atkins

  9. I put a link to this page on Farcebook, and it seems to have developed into a lengthy comments thread.

    32 comments so far – I think that’s the most I’ve ever had on Facebook.

    You can see ’em all here (not sure how to link to a specific FB thread, but this link will get you there):

    https://www.facebook.com/misadventures.in.modern.music

    .

  10. Jonny Goodwillie

    Hi Chris, from a fellow Brightonian.

    I am currently in the middle of a Pledge Music campaign, and for the artist I represent, I have to say it is the perfect solution to what we are doing. The Pledge Music guys have been fantastic in their support and have definitely earned their 15%. I completely get what you say about how people could utilise different platforms to do the same job but the reality for me is that I simply do not have the time to do so. Pledge provides everything I need in one place and makes my life simple, whilst I get on with running the record label we created, and managing 2 other artists.

    We were very careful about how we put together the campaign, and did it so that the fans got excellent value for money, and the artist didn’t feel that he was selling his soul to provide product that he wasn’t comfortable with. We have found that by doing this we had a very even spread of spend, with most people spending around £25 and that there were only around 30 of the 900 Pledgers so far who spent over £100 and they did so happy in the knowledge that they were receiving good quality product for a reasonable price.

    We did already have a publishing deal but we keep our master rights, and will also release the album through traditional distribution routes with full press and radio campaign funded by the Pledges.

    Having run a record label for 15 years, it was a pleasure to go into a campaign knowing we had a costs covered, and not stressing about sales.

    I completely agree that too many bands think they will do well from this model without thinking about the size of their fanbase, and are doomed to failure. However, I felt it was only right to comment on my own experience and sing the praises of the team at Pledge Music for all they have enabled myself and my artist to achieve.

    best

    Jonny

  11. Artists can fund, produce and release their music how they see fit.
    Punters can buy in or not, it\’s called freedom of choice.
    Gerrymandering people to conform to your own personal view of the world is usually called fascism.
    Good luck with that. But I won\’t be pledging .

  12. Ooh Ooh – finally, an opportunity to boast about my amazing total smashing of Jamie Fullerton playing Words With Friends! I beat Jamie Fullerton 30 + times in a row on Words With Friends, after he posted his user name on Twitter ages ago! He is the news editor of the NME. I am better than he. YAY! Maybe I should be the news editor of the NME.

  13. I think this article misses the point. So the diy ethos should be taken to the extreme? Make your own clothes, organise your own gigs, grow your own food. Yeah but I just want to make music. It doesn’t matter if the platform is for crowdfunding, sales or promotion. There are good ones and bad ones out there but they are absolutely necessary. If we want a real debate lets look at spotify’s finances

  14. Dear JohnRobb
    Your article has been forwarded to me by several of the team at PledgeMusic and by a few pals too. Ok so here goes:

    We’re not a fan funding site. I have said this a million times. I may get it tattooed on my body at some point and you will find that there is only one place on the platform that even mentions the words “Fan Funding” and it’s on the artists signup page i.e. when you sign up as an artist you are greeted with among other things:

    “We are not a “fan funding” site. We feel that instead of asking your fans for a hand out, you should give them a personal experience they can return to again and again.”

    Our friends at Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, RocketHub, Sponsume, Crowdfunit.ie, Sellaband and the hundreds of others proudly are “crowd” or “fan funding” sites and they do what they do. We however do not operate in the same way.

    Let me also say at this point that I largely agree with your thrust on fan funding. My heart sinks when artists just ask fans for money, and whilst I can’t speak to the above mentioned platforms whose purpose is very clear I can speak to what makes Pledge music the company that it is.

    I think that part of the reason you have not been able to see the difference between what we do and what the others do is because you have not been a part of it. You watched the trailer for a different movie and are saying that you’ve seen ours when clearly you haven’t and so I feel that’s it’s unfair to judge what our direct-to-fan campaigns are. Our most successful campaigns to date have had little to do with raising money. Pre-sales do raise money for sure but in our case this is often not the goal. The goal of the most successful artists that we work with is most often to bring their albums to their fans in the most creative and engaging way possible. In fact this cuts to the heart of why I get up in the morning and go to work every day.

    When artists are making albums they are artists. When the album is finished they are salesman.

    Some are really good at it. Some aren’t but in truth, and I know this from experience there is a feeling as an artist that once the recording and mixing is done the selling must begin. It’s not a great feeling, it’s one that I never liked. I wanted to get to a stage as quickly as possible. When I ran the first Pledge campaign for my EP I shared 60 Pledgers only updates with the people who Pledged. Videos of the sessions, demos, artwork, you name it and I loved it. It was maybe 20 minutes of work every couple of days to organise but it was well worth it. This was back when the system was quite primitive too. But the best part of this was, that I was sharing the good bit of the process. The part where things were happening, where there was excitement. It’s an empowering feeling. Also in the back of my mind I knew that anyone who Pledged was getting a better deal than if they had just bought the product itself. I believe that this is the other crux of why we do what we do. IT’S BETTER VALUE FOR MONEY FOR FANS OF MUSIC!

    PledgeMusic artists create over 1000 pledgers only updates per month.This means that they are sharing their process with fans who want it. If you want to go to a shop and by a compact disc you can, if you want an iTunes download you can get one, and if you want to stream it there’s nothing stopping you. You are just missing out on a part of the experience that an artist wants to share and that fans want. But it still gives you a choice that you never had before. Isn’t that a good thing? To have options? Labels sell the same thing the same way and it’s not working anymore. If it were I don’t think we’d have a business. But we do because it’s the real thing.

    I don’t want to buy CD’s anymore. I don’t own a CD player, but I do want signed vinyl, I do want to hear unreleased tracks, I do want one of a kind hand written lyric sheets, I do want to watch the creative process unfold and I do want my artist to have the power and the control to make their art the way that they want to. I want artists to make money so that they can make more music and share more of this. It’s not for everyone I grant you but the beautiful part is that it’s optional. It’s not one size fits all. The old way was and I think that it’s clear to see that the old way isn’t working.

    Lastly to speak to your point about why we charge 15% for being “a largely passive, artist-driven web-based platform (nothing more complex than Flickr, Instagram, Facebook or a hundred other free sites) with a simple financial processing structure bolted on”
    is to fundamentally not understand how we work or what we do. When we work with an artist we help them along at every level, from the writing of the campaign, to the price points, from the adding of exclusives once live to data capture before a campaign begins. We built free email list tools to contact fans, integrated social so that fans can share the Pledgers only updates. We manually report to Soundscan in the US, The OCC in the UK, we built fulfilment systems that prepare mailing labels with picking lists to help artist get their exclusives to fans. We also built the ability to export to fulfilment houses so that this can be outsourced and have gift Pledging. We let artists customise their pages and campaigns don’t have to even have financial targets anymore. We built an iPhone app so that artists can respond to fans on the go and post updates, from the road. We have full time customer service teams in two countries to help artists and fans navigate this relationship and we take care of digital fulfilment too. We get our artists discounts and make introductions to companies that specialise in everything from video making to T-Shirt manufacturing all of which we have vetted and this includes to record labels and publishers, sync companies and agents. No artist on the platform has not had a Pledge team member as a part of the campaign in some way shape or form and this is why we succeed more than other platforms. You can even call us and someone picks up. This includes for fans too. Our success rate is not solely defined by artists raising money, it s defined by fans getting their music. The fact that it comes with ten times the value of a regular CD or download is a bonus. When campaigns are going slowly we reach out to try and help. We can’t always save the day but we can try and lastly… If you don’t get what you Pledged for you will get a refund. Our success rate, again not defined by the logic of other sites is by todays numbers at 91% over the last six months. We are launching, putting into production & delivering two albums a day to fans who have been a part of their making. All of this takes work dedication and skill. We’re not just a website. We are a music company. Artists work with our team. Our team work with artists. We get shit done!

    So here’s what I propose. Send me your email address and I’ll gift Pledge on a couple of artists for you, so that you can feel what it’s like to be a part of a campaign as it’s rolling out. I will pay on my credit card and if you aren’t happy then you can and should write about it again. Until then I think that it’s simply unfair to judge us based on what other people do and without having tried it.

    Are you in?

    Cheers
    Benji
    P.S. Written really quickly on a plane in the middle of the night over Fort Lipton Colorado – forgive typos and bad grammar.

  15. twitter_WSBulletins

    It’s simply a fascinating discussion and thanks for all who put their opinions forth. I don’t know what the answer is but would concur that for small/just starting acts it seems a good enough approach – but also agree with John’s points about a personal indebtedness. Bottom line is the industry is still in a giant state of morphing – is there any future for the album even?

  16. I’ve pledged on a few and like the idea. I got a great UK Decay live dvd from their album pledge. I’m sure a lot of it can be crappy but not always.

  17. twitter_DripTapMusic

    You need to beg, borrow and steal, do anything to fund your records, who cares about the platform this argument is a non runner? Stop being so proud and get your music out there any way you can! There are other models to make a reasonable living in the music industry tribute bands, cover bands, wedding bands, session musicians. I’m assuming we’re talking about “the big time” ie commercial success. It’s what everyone craves, so you need to SELL your music/creativity to ensure it even gets heard at all. Leave your dignity at the door. You’ll forget your embarrassment when your suckin a waterfall packed with grade A black Moroccan dripping with hash oil in the back of blacked out BMW 5series paid for by your PR company while gettin blown off by a backing dancer and living your own life on your own terms, if that’s your thing!….maybe you’re a modern rocker and like really high quality green tea and really expensive yoga mats, the very commendable healthy option! Whatever floats your artistic boat of life.

  18. it seems like you didn’t research this very well. Now maybe I’m wrong and things are different in the UK, but in the States none of these services take 15% as you’ve stated. Kickstarter takes 5%, Indiegogo 4%. That’s a huge difference. Also, not everyone uses crowd funding to finance their entire existence. A manager would be taking his cut from ALL of your revenue, but if a musician records themselves in their home at virtually no cost and then uses a crowd funding thing to finance a vinyl pressing, that’s only 5% out of the preliminary sales of the record. And since most successful projects are actually over funded by an average of 20% (on kickstarter), that 5% will probably be skimmed off a cushion of excess

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