Toad the Wet Sprocket is putting out their first album in 16 years and they did it with Kickstarter's help reaching fans who supported their request for $50,000 by pledging over $264,000. Luscious Jackson are back together and putting out two albums, one for kids, inspired partly by the "whole new world" presented by PledgeMusic where they reached their initial goal in 2 days. Just as we've seen with YouTube stars, the artists who don't fit or don't want to fit older models are creating a new terrain of success built on their relationship to their fans.
Toad the Wet Sprocket
Since Toad the Wet Sprocket have continued performing together on occasion since breaking up in the late 90s, they aren't necessarily reuniting but they are back in the game full-time and are putting out their first album in 16 years funded via Kickstarter.
As lead singer Glen Phillips discussed in a really great interview with Todd Olmstead, they are no longer big enough for major labels and don't feel a strong fit with indie labels who are trying to figure out the best way to move forward in the current context. But he's very positive about what's now possible for DIY acts:
"I don't think it's discouraging at all. It's very encouraging. It means we can give up on the old rock 'n' roll dream that served so many people so badly. This idea that you're going to somehow just get discovered and you'll be magically transformed into a star...Now people understand that it takes a ton of work, even if that work is very playful."
"I think of something like Pomplamoose, they're giddy with play. But they also kept making video after video, song after song..."
"I think the freedom in music right now is wonderful, it's exceptional. People are making brilliant records and those records are getting heard..."
"The labels are these big, huge marketing monsters. They're great at what they do. But to think that all music has to fit through that filter is insane. There are a lot of other ways to go about it...We're actually better off that we don't have to try to fit into that world. It's a wonderful era."
Kickstarter fits right into this scenario of self-empowerment, one which depends on the direct support of fans. Their campaign for "New Constellation" raised over 5 times what they requested:
"Doing this Kickstarter campaign was like, you know what? People still give a shit about us! They don't give a shit about a lot of the cool bands from the '90s. I feel really proud of what we did, and I'm glad that we're finally getting some credit for it. "
Luscious Jackson's Jill Cunniff stated:
"A friend working at [the direct-to-fan platform] PledgeMusic presented it to me and we were like, 'Wow, this is a whole new world'...So we decided to regroup the band and make new music."
The experiences of both Luscious Jackson and Toad the Wet Sprocket speak to the power that direct-to-fan platforms can bring to musicians who have strong ties to fans. Finding that direct connection and, yes, monetizing that relationship is key to taking charge of one's career.
- A PledgeMusic Campaign That Was More About Community Building Than Funding
- Don't Let Criticisms Of Music Crowdfunding Stand In Your Way
- Patreon Receives $2.1 Million In Funding, Jack Conte Currently Supported At $6,153 Per Video
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.