Though a variety of people, some of them undoubtedly well-intentioned, have criticized music crowdfunding over the last few years, their criticisms generally fall flat. Ranging from namecalling to misrepresenting financial reality, such criticisms indicate objections that are fairly limited and fail to recognize crowdfunding's emergence as a legitimate approach to funding.
One could simply reject all criticisms of music crowdfunding as beside the point as does Bemuso below. And the bottomline is that no one's required to pledge to a campaign.
Bemuso Takes a Clear Stance
But criticisms do represent claims that may pop up randomly in the course of crowdfunding and it's nice to know why they don't represent a credible threat to the legitimacy of all that hard work you're doing.
It's In Bad Taste, Like Panhandling!
When people attack crowdfunding with name calling, it usually reveals their misunderstanding of crowdfunding. Calling it panhandling or handouts is an attempt to give crowdfunding an air of randomness and illegitimacy.
But pledge/reward-style crowdfunding as practiced on Kickstarter, Indiegogo and PledgeMusic by musicians, is an odd hybrid of presale and patronage that is based on the voluntary participation of individual supporters who typically receive a reward for their pledge. That seems neither random nor illegitimate.
How Can You Ask Your Fans to Pay For the Process?
A corollary to this concern might be an objection to the self-publishing aspects of crowdfunding but that's more an issue in literary circles than in music. However both tend to focus on the idea that only certain sources of money are appropriate as funding sources.
But crowdfunding's disruption is that of unleashing the crowd, the audience, one's army of fans, and allowing them to fund what they wish to receive rather than waiting to buy what they're eventually offered. It's a powerful concept that strongly differs from the idea that only those with plenty of money should be able to decide what's available to fans.
But There Are No Guarantees With Crowdfunding!
It's true that crowdfunding platforms don't offer refunds, they simply facilitate transactions, and it's true that some people will take advantage of those platforms to defraud funders. To some degree that's simply natural. Put humans and money together and such things happen.
Though it's true that bands have been funded and couldn't complete projects, most of the big failures have come from gadgets that were incredibly overfunded and yet not really ready for producton or that miscalculated the costs of production.
Music campaigns tend to be based on the musician as brand, recieving support based on their actual networks from friends to fans. So music campaigns tend to be backed by the desire of the musician to follow through with a successful outcome. Not a sure thing but certainly far from a landscape randomly littered with grifters.
These Mean People, They Make Me Feel...Bad
I think if you look closely at most objections to crowdfunding music, one finds that they tend to be based on misunderstanding crowdfunding or even on misunderstanding how money itself functions in society.
But the power of logic may not always be enough when someone close to you pops up with an unexpected objection. So feel the fear and do it anyway with advice from experts below:
- Slam The Door On Your Fear Of Asking For Money: A Music Crowdfunding Tip
- Jon Gomm Responds to Fan Funding Critics
- How to convince skeptical backers to support your Kickstarter campaign
[Thumbnail image courtesy _tar0_]
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.