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Gigfunder Launches Crowdfunding For Music Tours

Gigfunder-logoA new crowdfunding site dedicated to funding tour dates launched early this morning. Gigfunder has numerous similarities to established crowdfunding services such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo but focuses solely on tour funding. Bands set up campaigns, fans pledge to support a visit to their town and live music ensues. Gigfunder combines some ideas already in existence to create a new crowdfunding niche.

Given the current proliferation of crowdfunding sites focused on projects, Gigfunder's focus on touring not only differentiates it from related services but creates a crowdfunding niche that did not previously exist. While bands do try to fund tours, tour vehicles and trips to particular events such as festivals via crowdfunding, Gigfunder allows fans to support visits to particular locations in the U.S. which may include spots where bands didn't even know they had developed such a fanbase.

Once a fan has set up an account on Gigfunders, they can tweet out an invite to a band to consider touring to their location. In that sense, Gigfunder has turned a service like Eventful's "Demand it! into a feature. But that's not the real strength of Gigfunder.

When a band sets up an account, as we see with this group of early adopters, they then create a tiered set of pledge rewards as one would find on Kickstarter or Pledge Music. Bands can then publicize their specific tour plans or availability within a set time period and fans can start a campaign for a specific location though not a specific date.

Costs of touring to a location are set so campaigns have to reach those amounts to succeed. What that means is that bands are not only getting a signal of fan support in a specific location but actually getting the funds to make it happen with a form of presale that can include support beyond the cost of an actual ticket.

I recently spoke with Gigfunder Founder and CEO Matt Pearson who filled me in on the above details much of which you can now figure out from the site including the handy FAQ. He told me he's built the company with his own funds and hopes to continue bootstrapping it without depending on investors. Pearson feels that approach will allow him to focus solely on the needs of artists and fans.

He initially envisioned the service as one that artists would use to organize whole tours or fill in spots along the way but he's findng that some artists are already planning to respond to requests for individual dates. Some of the bands have also come up with unique awards for higher pledges including:

  • Cowgill - "you both can come on stage to contribute handclaps when we perform our song 'The King of Wales'"
  • Michael Shoup - "a House Show at YOUR HOUSE during the tour!"
  • Kat Parson - "skype cover session"
  • onelinedrawing - "You'll get to write the whole set list (as long as I can play the tunes)"
  • Shannon Labrie - "write a custom song about the topic of your choice, record it, send it to you, and perform it during the show you attend"
  • Dan Macauley - "Sing one song on stage with Dan!"
  • Oh No Oh My - "You and up to 3 other people will be personally wined and dined by the members of ONOM before the show when we're in your city."

A number of the artists mention Skype concerts or conversations which is an interesting development.

Pearson shared a bit of his motivation for starting Gigfunder including his experience in a punk band and the fact that his social life revolves around music. He has an MBA and was working in financial services but realized that he needed to be focused on something that really mattered to him.

Pearson says his decision to build a tour crowdfunding platform grew out of his recognition of the importance of touring and referenced Brian Thompson's guest post on Hypebot that states:

"Touring sets you apart from every other band out there, because it's YOU who's in town tonight...not them."

Touring's key to any band's development but one of the biggest obstacles for emerging artists has been funding tours. Now Gigfunder is introducing a flexible way to meet that need.

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) maintains a business writing hub at Flux Research and blogs at Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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