2012: The Year Music Crowdfunding Broke

2012-spell-with-flickr2012 was a big year for music crowdfunding. Though crowdfunding isn't new, this year was marked by a general buildout of the music crowdfunding space from new services to wide ranging campaigns, outstanding crowdfunding campaigns on the parts of musicians with powerful fanbases and the notable emergence of concert crowdfunding as a niche platform.

2012 saw a lot of music crowdfunding action on every level and, from the launch of new niche platforms to partnerships between services, the infrastructure of funding platforms and related businesses continued to develop.

Musicians funded not only albums and tours but raised money for vans and documentary films. Funding was also attempted for such projects as new electronic music equipment and mobile apps

But what really broke music crowdfunding in 2012 was not the ongoing buildout of the space but outstanding campaigns exemplified by those of Amanda Palmer and Ginger Wildheart.

Amanda Palmer Raises the Bar for Music Crowdfunding

Amanda Palmer had the year's most noted music crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter that raised a record setting $1,192,793 for a record, art book and tour.

Palmer shared her secrets en route to success and then ran into a landmine when she sought volunteer musicians for the ensuing tour. Despite the uproar, Amanda Palmer is 2012's biggest success story in music crowdfunding.

Ginger Wildheart Demonstrates the Way to the Charts

Ginger Wildheart showed what could be accomplished using PledgeMusic with his Triple Album Project which reached 592% of goal. This project included the release of an album, 100%, which debuted at #27 on the UK album chart. This campaign alerted many to the potential for charting via fan-funded presales.

Team Wildheart followed this campaign with a second, Mutation & Hey! Hello!, which has reached 519% of their goal with 65 days till release. Along with Amanda Palmer and other artists whose campaigns outperformed, they've shown what's possible for musicians who include their fanbase in the process.

Multiple Platforms for Crowdfunding Concerts

Crowdfunding concerts became a strong niche growth area for new crowdfunding platforms with a number of new launches in 2012.

Of particular note was the launch of Gigfunder as a dedicated music concert crowdfunding platform and the gradual entry of Songkick into concert crowdfunding.

Other entrants included Bandtastic and Queremos!.

Music crowdfunding as a feature was also introduced by Hear It Local and Picatic.

Tools and Resources

In addition to my blog, Crowdfunding For Musicians, some interesting third-party tools and resources launched over the course of the year.

IgnitionDeck is a WordPress crowdfunding plugin that was used by A House For Lions.

Launch & Release is building a database of 100 Kickstarter music campaigns as they examine what makes Kickstarter campaigns succeed.

Kicktraq launched as an analytics tool for Kickstarter campaigns by "just one guy who likes data."

The Crowdfunding Bible is about crowdfunding in general and includes a look at both campaigns that succeeded and campaigns that failed.

2012: The Year Music Crowdfunding Broke

Despite the continued attempts by music crowdfunding critics to cast it in the light of begging or other pleas for help that are apparently a bad thing, crowdfunding is now solidly established as a funding option that keeps power in the hands of the musicians and their fans. Ultimately what people say about music crowdfunding doesn't matter as much as the fact that musicians are successfully using crowdfunding to not only raise funds independently but to build deeper relationships with people who want to support their music.

[Thumbnail image via Spell with flickr.]


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/App.net) blogs about music crowdfunding at Crowdfunding For Musicians (@CrowdfundingM). To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. Your blog posts are excellent Clyde, many thanks! I am assisting with the development of a UK based crowd funding site for musicians. we’re still a little way off yet but your articles and posts are extremely informative! 🙂
    Perhaps when we get underway we could have a chat?

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