How about Fair Trade Music?
Last week I had a nifty blog post nearly ready about Lee Fletcher and his PledgeMusic drive to finance his next project. Circumstances prevented me from finishing it and in the meantime, as luck would have it (said without irony), Lee’s drive has exploded and reached it’s goal in a mere 7 days. No matter, since any extra payments over the set goal will raise quality of the final product AND will also help the Multiple Sclerosis Society, now more than ever, it’s time to help. Here goes:
Nowadays, what is there to do for a musician who wants to pay the rent? What is the alternative to music labels now that they are on the way of the Dodo? A musician, or comic book artist for that matter, relies on advances from expected sales to put butter on his toasts while his new project is in gestation. That’s why we have labels and publishers; if they believe in a project, they pay us an advance so we don’t starve for a year while we do the work.
Again, what is there to do for a musician who wants to create a new masterpiece? Yes, he can tour which is only a fraction of his possible income and is, IMHO, a gigantic straw man waved by bootleggers in front of everybody (more on this topic on a later post). Yes, a day job at your local burger joint is an option, but you’d have to wait eight years for the next record to come out.
In the last few years, we’ve seen a new alternative popping up: Crowdfunding. I’ll skip the details, but with this nifty new concept where you can truly help the indie musician create music YOU will enjoy. The only thing you do is pre-order the music (or other goodies) on the musician’s pledge page. If all the pre-orders add up to the cost of making the album (the set goal), then and only then, you pay for the music. If however, the minimum amount needed to do the album hasn’t been met, no one pays. In other words, there’s no risk and if the goal is met, everyone benefits. The artist gets to create his music and you get the music, but also many exclusives and extras. See Julie Slick’s Kickstarter drive to get a good example.
Here’s a quick description of the project: “‘Faith In Worthless Things’ is the title of my forthcoming semi-solo album, created in part with my two closest musical allies: Markus Reuter, touch guitarist extraordinaire and member of King Crimson offshoot bands Stick Men & The Crimson ProjeKct (with Tony Levin, Adrian Belew, and Pat Mastelotto), plus Lisa Fletcher, my long-term musical partner, vocalist, and “better half”.
Go on. Look and listen. After all, we have Fair Trade Coffee, how about Fair Trade Music?