Most bands don't have a problem sharing their music. From torrents to Soundclouds, the internet has provided up and coming musicians with a multitude of channels to be heard. An important aspect of living off of music, sure, but as artist profitability from record sales drops, the need to get on the road and tour has become more important than ever.
And unfortunately, that's no easy task. Financially, logistically, and even motivationally, putting a successful tour together can be as difficult for a band as recording an album. Unless Coachella's hologram technology takes off — and dear God we hope it doesn't — traveling across the country performing live for dedicated fans will remain a challenging endeavour.
Enter Matt Pearson and his new crowdsourcing project GigFunder. The online service, which launched Tuesday, will allow fans to build campaigns around their favorite musical acts, collecting donations until a desired amount has been met, affording the band an opportunity to go on tour.
“The bands and the fans are the people that matter in the industry. It’s great for the musician and for the venue.”
The process is simple. First, a band registers for the site, then the usual social media avenues would be used to spread word and gather donations, until full funding is achieved. At this point the band would book its venues, a task made easier by all of the tickets pre-sold through GigFunder, and hit the road.
Pearson, founder and CEO, talked with me about the obvious comparison to fellow crowd-funding start-up, Kickstarter. “It is a fair comparison...except we only focus on tourism. We're not really going to compete with Kickstarter,” the Acton MBA entrepreneur went on to explain his vision of GigFunder.
“When we have all these bands all over the country that have money to tour and pre-sold tickets, these venues are gonna want to look at this database of bands we have and bid on the bands that are touring. So, why not offer a marketplace for venues to bid on bands themselves?”
An ambitious concept, but one that makes perfect sense in a world so enthralled by social action. From Change.org to Tugg Inc., to the White House's debatably artificial online petition service, we are increasingly a people motivated by strength in numbers. And when a service like GigFunder comes along making it as easy as possible to band together for a common cause, people take notice.
With 13 artists committed to the site on launch, ranging from Atlanta dubstep to Nashville singer-songwriters, Pearson and his project seem to on the right track.
“The biggest thing is that we’re taking it to the actual people that are gonna hear this first,” Pearson begins, “The bands and the fans are the people that matter in the industry. It’s great for the musician and for the venue...I hope to create the marketplace for fans and bands.”
Matt is clearly a guy driven by the music; a CEO interested not only in profit, but also in seeing his favorite bands make it on tour. A guy who saw an opportunity to bring people together around art while helping potentially thousands of artists showcase their talents in a way they might never have though possible.
For that noble intention, we wish GigFunder booming success.
The full list of bands includes: onelinedrawing, Oh No Oh My, Shannon Labrie, Kat Parsons, American Revival, Michael Shoup, Cowgill, and Dan Macaulay. You can add your band to the list, or donate to one here.