With growing popularity, crowdfunding is becoming a new and innovative way to raise funds for independent projects or other means. To raise money for a project on a crowdfunding website, someone must first make a video in which they talk about and explain the ultimate goal of their plausible and evidently practical and doable project. In the project, for the people funding, there needs to be rewards for donating a certain amount of money, such as 10, 20, or 50 dollars. Rewards can vary to any and everything from limited edition merchandise mailed to you, to more intimate rewards that would be given personally from the person raising the money.
Projects that are asking for funds can vary from things such as some guy from Columbus, Ohio that wants to make a potato salad, which makes a huge statement to everyone across America and the world, all the way to people very sincerely and genuinely asking for funds to help them pay a hospital bill for a life-saving surgery, which touches the hearts of thousands of people and rallies them together for a good cause.
The utter lack of importance of the underlying subject, in fact, is exactly what tells you how close to the surface and at how high a temperature these conflicts are simmering. (Linda Holmes)
While the potato salad guy and the person asking for help with a hospital bill are essentially on complete opposite ends of the spectrum, certainly, there’s got to be a little ugliness in between them. While much of crowdfunding isn’t done in ill will, there are plenty of people using crowdfunding as means to make as much money as possible in a way that’s not genuine at all that just exploits the system and the people giving them their own earned money, which was brought to my attention a while ago in an article from noisey. Those people are the lazy and greedy people giving crowdfunding a bad reputation. A large group of the people abusing that are starting musicians that want to be “DIY” or don’t want restrictions from record labels. As that sounds well and fine, they’re starting a crowdfunding project and asking for an absurd or unnecessary amount of money, while offering completely ridiculous rewards, which is unjustifiable.
There’s some bands crowdfunding that are looking for absurd funds to make a debut album or EP, or even go on tour. In asking for funds, they’ll completely exaggerate a price for something like reserving a studio or the recording process of their album, while giving ridiculous rewards for donation such as things like writing a song about the person that donated, if they donated five hundred or more dollars, or a member of a band taking someone on a tour of the studio they’re going to be recording in, with the trip expenses not covered by the band offering the reward. That may sound awesome at first, but a song written about you, no matter the price, without any true or intimate feelings, you’ll soon find out isn’t worth the time or money. No one wants a bunch of meaningless words written and sung about them.
For starting bands, with my own prior experience in making music, and with friends that make music, I can confidently say that, for a starting band, you don’t need twelve thousand dollars to make a record, nor do you need to raise money to go on tour. Growing up and making music in bands with a punk-rock ethic, no one thought of crowdfunding or asking for ten-thousand dollars to make music. Instead, we put together our own money to buy recording hardware, got the software (I don’t condone illegal downloading, but you can find recording software anywhere, take it where it’s free), and made music for under a few hundred dollars. For a group of 15-year-old kids to be able to make a demo on almost no budget, there’s no excuse for anyone to ask for thousands of dollars for a piece of music, that isn’t even written yet, to be made in a highly and unnecessarily professional studio for a debut album that, more than likely, won’t support the band.
If you’re absolutely serious and passionate about making music for a living, then put some heart and effort into it to tour and sustain yourself, not by using someone else’s money; that’s not how you make music. Don’t result to bleeding your fanbase dry of their money with ridiculous and overpriced crowdfunding rewards, especially when you haven’t even released an album yet. Make your own music and, instead, reward your loyal fans with that. Don’t directly make your income through fans. Follow the simple steps to make your music, make t-shirts and merch to get your brand out there, get a van and rent a trailer to go on tour, struggle when you have to, but don’t exploit your fans by raising twelve-thousand dollars to produce and album, and then adding on to it after you’ve reached your goal amount to make a music video.
If you’re a musician or band, and you’re going to crowdfund: just be completely honest, if the cause is good enough. Whether you’re a veteran band that’s not on a label, or an unsigned underground band raising money for a project, be honest and give people the decent rewards they deserve without ripping them off. Don’t charge 15 dollars for a low-quality MP3 download of the new album that you haven’t even written yet. Just be smart, professional, and genuine.
Finally, if you’re a consumer, a supporter of any crowdfunding site, or a supporter of a cause, do your best to make sure you’re provided with genuine and correct information and not a sad or sketchy story. Crowdfunding is a very powerful thing with a very creative way of making money, at the forefront of a new way of independent project funding, but that doesn’t mean the people asking for money should be exploiting it and being rewarded in their skeevy, slimy ways. If crowdfunding is making way into the mainstream world, let’s present the world with crowdfunding as a method of community funding for genuine and professional projects, without having to make an excuse about the idiots that are using it in a way to only help themselves and not everyone involved with helping them.