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.