Monday, April 7, 2014

Fan Funding: Pledge Music

The music industry continues to go through so many changes that have meant business innovation on the part of the musicians. Just to keep up with the changing nature of the business, artists are now seeking new ways to create and maintain their fan base. Newcomers to the game find themselves having to do much of the marketing, promotion and production of their own albums.

This has led to the rise of fan funding online platforms. It is usually sold as a win, win situation because through the fan support, artists are able to record their music while the fans feel that they are given the opportunity to be part of the process. 

Pledge Music is one such website, where artists upload some of their songs to give the listener a taste of what they have to offer. The website is very simple to use and has a clean and professional view. Their tagline ‘we are not a fan funding site, we offer the experience,’ captures both the musician who wants to raise recording funds and capture a wider audience and the music lover who wants to be involved in the music creation process. It is quite a popular website with a diverse array of music from different genres to different world music.

Some of the artists who have had major success in the past are joining to revamp their styles, genre and band as a whole in an effort to remain relevant. For example, Van Morrison returned to record for the Bang and through the fan funding efforts, they intend to release a final double album. Lindsey Stirling is a classically trained violinist who has achieved a lot of success without the backing of a major label and has had sold out tours around the world. The pre selling of her album ensures she gets it done and she has instant feedback from her fans. 

On the website, the fans get first dibs on the music and the artist merchandise.  On the other hand, it creates an alternative revenue stream for the artists. The music albums are presold and the more a fan is interested, the more they purchase other perks connected to the artist. The average pledge is $60 and according to the website, some fans may spent over $800 in a single transaction. The exclusive offers include album downloads, CDs, Signed CDs, signed T-shirts, Skype sessions with the artists, meet and greets and signed instruments.   

The website offers the artist the freedom to maintain their creative process.
According to the site, 76% of fans pledge without having a connection to the band. 86% of the projects in 2013 surpassed their goal. The website charges a 15% flat fee with no hidden costs to the artist or fan.

The website encourages the belief in giving back and so the artists are motivated to donate a percentage of their total project funds to a charity of their choice.  
This new way of reaching out to the audience is a revamp of music business. Although it does not take the place of music labels it certainly is a threat to the middlemen in music.

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