Starting Without a Kick: Why We Decided Not To Use Crowd Funding

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If I haven’t bothered you about it before, here it is: yowza, I’m in a band! I play the drums in my sister’s band ( I know, I know, the Twitter and Facebook pages need some updatin’). AhemNextGigIsSeptemberThirteenthAtPAsLoungeinUnionSquareAhem.

As you fellow musicians know, recording takes a lot of time. Therefore, recording can require a good chunk of money. Musicians aren’t known for always raking in dough (hence the Inner City pressure image).

Oh, what’s that? Use Kickstarter, you say? We actively decided not to.

Crowd sourcing is used a lot for film projects. Understood. Being a film student can be frighteningly expensive. I donated to an Emerson student film a few months back, but I was also interested in it due to its mission to raise awareness about eating disorders. Donating to this project then meant many things to me–I strive to give back to colleges or students when I can. I went to school on a scholarship, and hope to help others who need financial help with education as much as I can. Helping those with eating disorders is also very important to me.

I’ve donated to some of my friend’s projects. I’ve donated to help those impacted by the Marathon tragedy. The Children’s Hospital, a small business dedicated to ethically made clothing…you get the idea. I’m not against crowd funding, and I am very much in support of helping others through donating.

We just didn’t feel that us wanting to record an album warranted asking others to pay for our project. When I look around and see these causes and projects that I did donate to, me wanting to record myself playing the drums seems a little self indulgent. Certainly, to myself, too self indulgent to ask you to help me pay for it.

Kickstarter has been in the media because others disagree with how some celebrities are using it. One could argue that celebrities shouldn’t be asking for project money the same way a college student or musician/waiter could be. But we can’t stop people from donating.

I’m not arguing that creative projects shouldn’t use sites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. I especially admire individuals whose projects are aimed at something positive, or created an impact or social statement, such as the Emerson film project previously mentioned, or Gaby Dunn’s current pilot project.

Let me ask this…don’t you get frustrated when you keep getting asked to perform for free? You say, you’d never go to a restaurant and offer to compensate the chef with ‘experience’ or ‘something to put on your resume’, right? That’s why we, as artists, get tired of doing free work.

Yet we didn’t feel right asking for money to record. Yes, it’s work. But it’s something we decided to do on our own time. It’s not a performance…not quite. We have a very kind family friend who is recording us back in New Hampshire, and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it! But I don’t think you should have to pay for that anticipation. If you’d like to pre-order an album, buy songs on iTunes later, come see one of our shows…great! But I don’t want you to actually bank on something that is, currently, something I’m pursuing in my free time.

I guess what I mean is, where do we draw the line with crowd funding? I would like a new drum set. So? Am I going to ask you to help me pay for it? No! Do I need a Master’s degree someday? Not sure. But if I do, I won’t ask my friends to pay for it. Want to see if I can go on tour as a robot dancer? No, you don’t? It’s ok. I wasn’t going to ask you to pay for it. But I invite you to robot dance with me at any upcoming parties or events.

What do you think? Did you use crowd funding for our album or tour? How did it go?

Do you think there’s a limit to what people should ask for, in terms of asking for money from sites like Kickstarter?

 

EDIT

I am in no way saying our decision is the best, or correct, decision. I’m mostly hoping to start a discussion here on the topic of crown funding.

Opinions, experiences, stories are extremely welcome.

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5 thoughts on “Starting Without a Kick: Why We Decided Not To Use Crowd Funding

  1. I totally see your point. But there are a few (ahem) musicians who need that little bit of leg up to get that little bit of promo that brings people to the venues to see them play. And that is where kickstarter/indiegogo come in. As that leg up.

    Now, my issue with bigger acts using those campaigns is this: i hear that “omg (fill in celebrity that I love here) is making a new (movie/record/etc)” i’m totally going to pre-order, maybe even with the special autographed lithograph for $10 more. Which is what the campaigns become – not a leg up for unknowns, but another venue of promo for known names that may or may not give them street cred but either way take the spotlight from someone who needs a little extra spotlight.

  2. Totally! And I see the comparison to using crowd funding and pre-ordering, as Flutronix mentioned on Twitter.

    So, do you see Kickstarter campaigns as a fundraising/pr combo?

    1. Agree! I guess we didn’t feel comfortable asking people to fund our hobby, as much as we love it. I’ve started to see people ask for tour money, etc, and I’m not sure how I fee about it. Funding an album is one thing–it’s hard to get gigs without an album, and overall helps teh artist a ton to have that recording.
      Agreed on the celebrity kickstarter. I know that these projects still cost a ton of money without a major backing, and some celebrities don’t have that kind of money still. But asking your fans to pay for it? Hmm.

      1. I definitely would feel better asking for set up money – recording, etc – over “hey I’m famous and you know who I am so you’ll give me money.”

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