Bleu, a musician who’s been through the major label ringer, was Kickstarter’s artist of the year in 2010, utilizing that service — where the musician sets a monetary goal and a time limit, hoping fans will contribute money to fund the recording process — to collect some $40,000. Of course, not all artists who use Kickstarter, or a number of other sites like it, are quite so successful.”I think half of the projects still fail,” he said. “To me that’s great — it means it’s working for the people it should be working for.”
It’s a curious concept, the panel all agreed, that the microfunding model seems to be catching on, especially when you consider how difficult it has been to get consumers to spend 99 cents on a song. Why would they rather spend $10, or even $100?
“The thing that people want is to be involved directly and feel like they’re a part of it,” Bleu said.
In earlier days, the music industry was like playing the lottery, Gotcher said. “I’m a big believer in the emerging direct-to-fan business models. Artists need to think about creating a small business and building customers over time. I think there’s a real desire among fans to cut out middlemen of any type. There is a patronage motive.”
“Paying for music has become voluntary, Ron Nordin, a VC behind companies like Nimbit, said. “Essentially now, everyone becomes a patron rather than a consumer.”
That’s partly because they appreciate being able to pay the artist directly, but also because consumers are starting to realize if they don’t, the music might not ever be made.