Thursday, March 14, 2013

For The People, By The People

Young Indian artists need crowdfunding, besides relevant lyrics, a distinct sound and a reality check,
but this is a great place to start. Whether it’s for a gig or a new album, a growing number of music
 enthusiasts are willing to lend voice and support.

Last September, close to 10 promising bands, mostly from Mumbai, took to the stage for their debut
show at Control Alt Delete, an event that was completely funded by its 600-member audience. Rishu Singh,  manager of bands such as BLEK, who coorganized the gig, claims to have raised a sum of Rs 95,613 on the crowdfunding platform Wishberry within a month, posting a daily update on the day’s collections on Facebook.

In fact, the Mumbai gig managed to get online contributions from Chennai, Gurgaon and even Washington. “We needed about Rs 90,000 to make the gig happen excluding the bands’ fee,” says Singh, “We finally  raised Rs 1,64,000 including contributions at the gate and each of the 10 artists got a fat, princely sum of Rs 7,000 .”

A crowd of contributors placing their money and faith in events like Control Alt Delete is in stark contrast to the other side of the coin: the frustrating reality where organizers and venues find it tough to draw audiences to gigs across the country.

American performer Amanda Palmer, who is one of the biggest success stories on international crowdfunding site Kickstarter [she raised $1.2 million within a month] wooed the crowd by offering everything from digital downloads to CDs, vinyl and even dinner and private performances alongwith a photoshoot with her band.

Though many attribute the early success of crowdfunding to initial euphoria, others feel it could be the beginning of an alternative movement against the money mintinglabels. Musicians, for their part, are only hopeful that this new online avenue will finally give them a voice. Whether crowdsourcing will help indie India is a matter that we will only find out in the coming years.

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