Thursday, 29 July 2010

Two Rare Occurrences

Well here’s a bit of a turn up, or rather two of them.

Firstly me (Jake) writing a blog post.  This hardly ever happens as I’m not a natural ‘blogger’ and can’t help but think that most people won’t be terribly interested in my thoughts and opinions and those that would be interested I generally seek out and rant (or enthuse) at.

Badge Anyway, the second rare occurrence is something very different in the world of music production.  We know about big record labels pouring millions into artists’ music with a consequential influence not unlike Steroids on a toddler.  We’ve also heard about about bands begging and borrowing to fund their own first tentative steps on the slippery music industry ladder but I’ve come across a third way which really took my fancy.

I really like the music of Emmy The Great (check her out on last.fm too) and subscribe to her email newsletter which is how I heard about something called Pledgemusic which she is using to raise money to fund her new album.

The concept is pretty simple and I think a great bridge between self finance and being owned by a record company.  As far as I can see it works like this…

  • The artist comes up with a series of things to sell (Pledges), these are fun and meaningful things which have an intrinsic value, ranging from a copy of the album as a CD or download when it’s released, postcards sent to you from each location on a tour, a guitar or song writing lesson with the band right through to a gig in your own front room.
  • You being a fan of the artist and keen on the success of the project (of course) buy up some of these pledges and so end up being a micro backer of the project.  You don’t own a slice of the band of course but then you have bought yourself a sweet limited edition poster or something so mustn’t complain.
  • Oh and also a slice of the money goes to charity too.  In this specific case Amnesty, Wateraid, Samaritan’s Purse and the Enough Project.

The idea of losing the middle man – record companies and distributors appeals to me.  As much as what they do might serve a purpose I can’t help but think that the main relationship here lies between the artist who wants to make music and have people love that music and the music listener who also wants that.  Yes if the album never gets made and Emmy skips off to Brazil with a few thousand pounds we’ll all be fuming but then if she wanted easy money she may has well have sold her soul to a big fat record label.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this goes and can’t help but thing it’s a concept that has a boatload of potential.

Check out the project here and see what you think.

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