Is it time for a music crowdfunding comeback?

When was the last time that you read an article about music crowdfunding? I’ll bet it’s been a while.

From 2012 to 2018 as Spotify and streaming services evicerated income from downloads and CDs, fan funding of music was touted as the savior of independent music.

Then in the spring of 2019, one of the largest and certainly the most visible crowdfunding site for music stopped paying artists.

PledgeMusic’s eventual bankruptcy affected thousands of musicians who were owed an estimated $3 million or more that had been collected from their fans in exchange for music and merchandise.

Adding insult to injury, despite being stiffed by PledgeMusic, many artists felt obligated to somehow pay for and deliver the ordered products to the fans.

Several startups promised to fill the void, but perhaps because artists were afraid of getting burned again, no new music crowdfunding service ever gained traction.

Time for a music crowdfunding comeback?

Music crowdfunding refused to die, however, and as independent musicians and labels crawl back from the pandemic shutdown, now could be the time for music crowdfunding to make a comeback.

Two established crowdfunding sites that also work with tech innovators and other creators have continued to successfully service musicians and music projects.

Both Kickstarter and Indiegogo have always courted musicians, but now there’s a lot less competition.

We found several dozen smaller music crowdfunding campaigns successfully raising money on Indiegogo. Crowdfunding leader Kickstarter has about 200 music crowdfunding campaigns currently live with several having raised more than $20,000 each and counting.

That’s a far cry from Amanda Palmer’s 2012 Kickstarter campaign which raised $1.2 million from 25,000 fans for her “Theatre Is Evil” album and tour. But it does show that crowdfunding is still an option for musicians who are able to connect with their fanbase.

Kickstater says that it collected $1 billion in pledges in the last 15 months across all categories. As musicians and labels rediscover crowdfunding, now is the time to capture a larger share of the next billion.

Bruce Houghton is Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank and serves as a Senior Advisor to Bandsintown which acquired both publications in 2019. He is the Founder and President of the Skyline Artists Agency and a professor for the Berklee College Of Music.

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