On crowdfunding for independent musicians - a change of perspective.
A lot of people feel uncomfortable with the idea of crowdfunding, mainly because they don't like the idea of asking for money. No one wants to think they are using a friendship for personal gain, and no one wants to feel used. We get asked for a lot of things these days, you can hardly walk down the street without being asked to sign up for a charity, or donate to a cause, or to 'spare some change', and perhaps we are all somewhat fed up of requests.
But I want to offer the perspective that crowdfunding is not asking for money. It is asking people to participate in a dream. By giving money, or spreading the word, or being a constant source of positivity and providing the necessary cheer leading/ hugs/ cups of tea. But the important thing here is the dream, not the money.
Musicians and artists (largely speaking) don't choose this path because they calculate it will be better for them. They love what they do, genuinely and without conditions, for better or for worse. Most artists will have a hard time articulating why their passion is so important to them, why they should arrange their entire life around their creativity, and if pressed will say (like I do) something rather vague about following their heart, passion, dream etc. about there being no other way... they might even mention the utilitarian term of fulfillment (I get more 'fulfillment' from life if I do something I'm passionate about), and of course it's all true, but intriguingly and delightfully hard to talk about.
I want to offer this perspective on crowdfunding, especially for the artists themselves. It's not about asking for money, because when it comes down to it, what artists wants money as an end in itself? Haven't they already spent the majority (ahem, and then some!) of their own money on their art? We need to focus on the fact that we have a dream, to fulfill our potential as artists, and that we're asking people to have a hand in making that dream a reality, which is a pleasant and happy experience for both parties.
We need to move away from the (distasteful?) idea of asking for money. Most artists I know who have successfully crowdfunded feel extremely responsible for the use of their funding. Like it is some great gift entrusted to them to fulfill their deepest passion and that they must use it strictly for fulfilling their dream, and doing it to the best of their abilities. It feels like such an honour that so many people have trusted them and said 'I believe in your dream, I believe in you', that the sense of duty in fulfilling your artistry becomes magnified!
Another thing is that 80% of people who support crowdfunding campaigns actually know the artist involved personally. It's usually a small circle of people (50-250) who really care about the artist and want them to succeed just as they probably reciprocate and would wish the same on you. It's not really about selling, impersonally, to 'the masses', or in fact about 'selling' at all. These people already care about you and your dreams and feel glad to have a hand in making them a reality. Small or big, money or no, artists need the collective support of a group of people in order to carry on, and we shouldn't be shy to say in front of people 'I have a dream. This is the most important thing in the world to me, and I'd be delighted if you had a look at my project'.
I of course am writing this because I'm coming to the end of my third successful crowdfunding campaign, and honestly the flow of positivity and support coming towards me right now is humbling and a little overwhelming. There's just a few days left on my campaign to make it the biggest and best it can be, and I would be delighted if you checked it out, by clicking the picture below which will take your to my campaign video, or by clicking HERE.