Kickin’ It with Kickstarter


Launched in 2009, Kickstarter is a crowd funding platform that provides start-up organizations, programs, and businesses with an opportunity to raise money for their projects. Although ranking among the most-successful projects are video-games, technological devices, and films/videos, a plethora of musicians and bands have funded their albums and exerted their presence in a genre through the use of Kickstarter. As the prices of production, touring, and recording continue to increase, bands are finding it harder and harder to acquire the resources and time to climb the ladder to stardom. Since a majority of bands don’t gain fame overnight, there are plenty of years spent on the road traveling from show to show on very little money and, quite frankly, sleep as bands attempt to expand their fan bases and attract the attention of record labels. As the years pass and progress seems stagnant, many bands disband and pursue other careers because they can’t meet the rising costs.

One of the major components of rising to the top revolves around the quality in the recording and production of a record. The tools necessary to record high quality albums and the rising costs of studio time present quite the dilemma because many of these struggling bands don’t have the funds to professionally record their songs and therefore never attract the attention of labels. Although there are obviously artists and bands that find solutions to this problem, bands in smaller/underrated genres typically fall victim to lack of funding and breakup despite the fact that there music is enjoyable and unique.

Kickstarter provides a practical solution to this problem as it allows interested people and parties to donate to projects. Naturally branded ‘contributors’, the supporters can support as little or as much as they desire to project and typically, they will be rewarded accordingly. Moreover, depending on how much one donates the band usually reciprocates by sending merch in return.

Although there prove to be a plethora of projects that don’t acquire the proper funding, multiple projects that I am familiar with have been rather successful on Kickstarter and the effects are definitely noticeable. I’m going to apologize in advance for writing about ska once again, but it’s a great example for the power of Kickstarter.

About 3 years back I saw a band at a ska festival called Survay Says! Although I enjoyed the band’s performance and their dedication to the genre, the performance wasn’t exactly memorable. After that I would stumble upon their music on Facebook or Spotify, but the quality was noticeably poor and made it seem rather unenjoyable and somewhat immature. For a wage of the quality, take a look at one of their songs from one of their earlier albums.

Despite releasing 3 albums before their latest album that was funded through Kickstarter, the band was finding it quite hard to break through the barrier into the next level as a band. Although they were performing 200+ shows a year in over 42 states without any external banking or management, the band was facing challenges regarding making ends meet and gaining attention from record labels and bigger names in ska.

Earlier this year, as mentioned, they launched a project on Kickstarter to fund their newest album. I was skeptical of whether or not they would be able to attain their goal of $5000; however, they managed to raise over $6000 through the network of fans they have built over the past few years. To show just how much of a difference this made for the band, take a look at one of the songs off their latest albums. Although their growth as a band has aided them improving in talent, the overall quality of the song is definitely noticeable.

If you don’t believe me that this Kickstarter quite literally kicked this band into the spotlight, they have signed with a record label and just announced a tour with one of the biggest names in ska, Reel Big Fish.

Overall, I think Kickstarter provides a great outlet for smaller bands to fund their projects as they attempt to gain the attention of record labels and expand their fan bases, especially for smaller genres that are suppressed by today’s popular music preferences. As the costs of developing as a band continue to grow it’s only going to become harder for bands to ‘make it’. So if you’ve got some extra cash and want to support some upcoming bands or if you’re a band and need a little boost, definitely check out Kickstarter!

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