Beatriz A. Medeiros and Natalia Dias: Universidade Federal Fluminense
Crowdfunding is not for everybody: Performance in the Art of Asking
ABSTRACT: This paper had as main goal to understand the importance of performance inside a process of crowdfunding, from the video produced by the independent musician Amanda Palmer, for the platform Kickstarter, to promote the project for launching her album, Theater is Evil. One of Kickstarter’s main requirements are audiovisual productions that assist in the dissemination of artists and their projects. Such videos seem to be the leading engagement products to attract “backers”. However, the hypothesis is that this is not the ultimate persuasion of this model. Resorting to Reception Studies as methodological basis and using internet ethnographic as inspiration, comments relating the video of Palmer’s project, present at the Youtube and Kickstarter platforms, were analyzed. Thus, it was possible to observe that not only the audiovisual performance is important to move “backers”, but also there’s a need of previous knowledge of the artist by these financers.
[Beatriz presents this jointly-authored paper on behalf of both authors].
The research subject is Amanda Palmer, a US-based independent artist who started her career in a piano/drums punk duo (signed to Roadrunner until 2011) and is now a solo independent artist. Her first album ‘Theatre is Evil” was crowdfunded via Kickstarter and later Patreon; Beatriz shows us a screenshot of the funding page, which shows pledges of $1,192,793 against a target of $100,000.
Justin Williams / Ross Wilson (Bristol University): Music and Crowdfunded Websites: Digital Patronage and Artist-Fan Interactivity
This chapter investigates the economics of virtual bands—funding strategies and business frameworks that reflect virtual music business cultures in the Web 2.0 landscape. Most pertinent is the recent trend of fan-funded projects, also known as “crowdfunding” or “micro-patronage,” of which sites like Kickstarter, Pledgemusic, Sellaband and Rockethub provide a successful model. After an overview of terminology and online funding methods, the chapter focuses on three case studies that demonstrate the different ways groups and artists use crowdfunding for their projects: jazz orchestra composer Maria Schneider (on ArtistShare), canonical hip-hop group Public Enemy (on Sellaband) and singer-songwriter Amanda F. Palmer (on Kickstarter). The case studies raise important questions surrounding genre and ideology, new conditions of the digital music industry, artist-fan interactivity and the role of the internet in facilitating spaces for musical creativity and communication.
Mark Thorley (Conventry University): Participatory music culture: the challenges for identity, creativity and recognition
The advent of recording technology served to break down the link between musician and audience (Eisenberg 2005), and the music participant became the music consumer. Emerging digital technologies are now reversing this trend and music participation is all the more possible. Though the environment for recorded music continues to experience significant threat, the environment for music participation now thrives in ways not previously imaginable.
Much of this new participation is enabled technologically, and its likely impact has received attention. For example, the concept of the ‘Prosumer’ was originally established by Toffler (1980) and participation culture has been examined by Jenkins (2006). Additionally, the potential of networks is considered by Benkler (2006), and the concept of peer-production by Tapscott and Williams (2006). As the opportunities for the music creative expand, and the role of the music consumer shifts to participant, key questions emerge as to how this change challenges established roles.
Drawing on concepts outlined in a chapter in ‘Music and Virtuality’ published by Oxford University Press, this paper focuses on key impacts on the Producer and Fan. For example, in adopting Crowdfunding, how does the shift challenge the music producer? For the fan, what does engaging with the funding of projects do for their identity and recognition within the process?