Written by Tricia Stansberry
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website that began in 2009. Since its beginning, Kickstarter has successfully funded 135,000 projects. Kickstarter has been known to generate headlines, both positively and negatively. While many people applaud the website, some projects are called into question for their legitimacy and necessity. However, while there may be some naysayers, Kickstarter helps fund projects that might never have seen the light of day otherwise.
To many, Kickstarter is still a new idea. Traditionally, people with ideas and inventions had to pitch them to companies who often did not choose to bring the idea to fruition. Many ideas were crushed before they even began. Kickstarter aims to make sure that good ideas have a way to be completed. It nurtures creative ideas and finds an audience for them.
Kickstarter has been particularly helpful for struggling musicians. In the traditional music industry model, a band would have to garner enough attention to attract the intrigue of a record label. However, in the current musical landscape, there are many other ways for an artist to find an audience. The induction of technology and the internet into music has revolutionized the way musicians make their music and distribute it. Many streaming services are available for artists to place their music online, from Soundcloud to Spotify. However, what is the next step? How does a band that acquires some sort of following garner enough attention to hit the big time?
Kickstarter, that’s how.
Here’s how it works – an artist makes a project page on Kickstarter and explains why the project should be completed. There will often be a sample of music and an explanation of why this project should be funded. Then, from there, people can become a “backer” of the project by pledging money to the campaign (any amount they like). If by the end of the pledging period the project has been raised enough money, the project will be funded. In exchange for the donated funds, backers often get prizes such as behind the scenes information, t-shirts, and autographed merchandise.
Kickstarter allows musicians to reach out for help. Not every artist has access to record labels that are willing to go out on a limb and hire an independent musician. It allows their fans to donate to a cause they actually care about. By enlisting fans, it breaks down the wall between musician and fan and actually allows the fan to be a part of the music-making process.
Kickstarter is revolutionizing independent music because it is cutting out the corporate aspect of music – major labels. Musicians can make the music they want for their fans without having to feel the hot breath of a record label breathing down their necks. In essence, it’s the most DIY punk thing a musician can do – give a big middle finger to the music biz and make the music they want to.
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