It’s been a great run, but the time has come to close down the Radio Crowdfund shop. I simply can’t find decent music on Kickstarter or Indiegogo any longer and PledgeMusic is a thinly veiled old school record label doing a great job of administering album pre-sales and laying off the development costs on the bands and artists they carefully select to participate. And I can’t find any good music there, either.
Bottom line is that I feel like I’ve witnessed the rise and fall of music crowdfunding over the last 18 months. It used to be easy to find great new artists and their music on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. But the heady days of Amanda Palmer ($1.2m in 2012) are a distant memory and the vast majority of music campaigns on the big three platforms these days are pathetic, unrealistic, and for the most part unsuccessful. Don’t get me started on the countless artists who have never followed through on what they promise to their backers or themselves. They raise thousands of dollars and then… nada.
The music crowdfunding campaigns that do get traction are either religious-themed or, more often than not, have raised plenty of money but have only a few backers — some don’t even hit the Kickstarter minimum of 10 required to display them. The math never works out to anything but a few wealthy contributors (thanks, Mom and Uncle Joe!) and zero track record. I have nothing against religious types and it’s great when family can chip in, but the music related to these campaigns? 100% Grade Z awful. And I double dog dare you to disprove that statement.
With the precious few projects that have more than 25 backers (and believe me, I’ve lowered that number every month), my critical ear comes into play and again, I find the music frightening. These artists or bands are superb at networking and have clearly channeled their inner street preacher, but damn, can they not hold, play, or record a listenable tune.
Back in June, I saw this campaign and the gears began to slow: a faux duo named The Carbines crowdfunding on Kickstarter to create “a GREAT Indiegogo campaign.”
And when Kickstarter (“Projects must be honest…”) let this one into the mix last week, Kurt Quinn’s very funny “Bandrum” campaign to raise $28, I knew it was time to call it a day. Like this project, the major crowdfunding platforms have become a music industry joke.
OK! Over and out. Thanks for the memories. I hope you have enjoyed the music I’ve surfaced from the bands I discovered before it all went to hell. See you in the funny papers…