How are you listening to your favorite music right now? My bet is you’re either tuning in to an online or terrestrial station or streaming from one of the favorite services, am I right? We have learned to borrow music – ownership is only for collectors items, special experiences. And there is nothing wrong with that – how cool is it to have access to any song at any time anywhere? 10 years ago we couldn’t have imagined a world of streaming and unlimited access. I remember saving my weekly allowances when I was 10 years old until I finally had enough money to walk downtown to a record store and buy my first LP – it was the Beach Boys Greatest Hits. I was so excited to own this recording and listened to it over and over. The theremin on Good Vibrations is burnt in my memory. I kept the recording in my collection until we left the country for the US and sold all our belongings. I remember most of the recordings that I bought, especially the LPs and the beautiful artwork and liner notes and the concept albums. One night in 1973 – I was a little kid and had a 15-year old brother – that brother pulled me into his room. He turned off the lights, put The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd on his record player and told me to close my eyes. It was an amazing listening and bonding experience – the music transformed the room into this galactic non-worldy space and seeing the cover and the pictures changed my life.
None of these things will ever come back – we can’t make America Great Again, we have to just make America Great. Similarly we just have to make music great. But – part of this new world is a new system for financing great music. There is no market to sell CDs and LPs, because of the streaming – but we still need new music to change lives and inspire our future leaders. The new system to make this possible is a direct connection of the artist to the fans – the fans decide to support a specific artist and buy the product, even stream many times, and go to their concerts. A lot of these relationships are created through crowdfunding campaigns where the artist reaches out to possible supporters and asks them to preorder the product in order to subsidize the immense costs for the studio, engineering, mastering, producion, designing, printing, and distribution. So – the next time an artist reaches out to you for crowdfunding, please consider a preorder, especially if you appreciate their music and would like to keep them performing and recording. My guess is that the cost for getting a download card or a physical copy is about the equivalent of three single Starbucks runs – except, the coffee is gone after 5 minutes, but the crowdfunding contribution will live on for generations.
Where do you find these crowdfunding projects? There are plenty of sites – my favorite is indiegogo.com, there is also Kickstarter.com and contributions such as gofundme.com. Why is this important? It’s the only way an artist not signed to a major label (which is more than 90%) can create permanent goods and subsidize their living expenses. For many of these projects it’s actually no a donation, but a preorder of the music with a T-shirt, all signed. So – next time an artist reaches out to you for crowdfunding, do something special and change the world. And if you’re so inclined – Pre-orders are open for SHEroes – click here.