Crowd-funding music reveals lack of self-respect

emotional fan

Crowd-funding is a relatively recent form of generating revenue, employed by various actors to raise money for whatever it is that they are doing. A third party acts as liaison for the transfer of funds between producer and consumer, over a limited period of time. Once the concerned product is ready, it is made available to funders along with special perks added to sweeten the deal. This process works on the good faith in practice between the two groups. The producer will provide assurance on a good final product and the consumer will aid him in his creative efforts.

This could be a munificent initiative when it comes to subjects related to the humanities, like maybe building a well or a school somewhere in Zimbabwe. But where art is concerned, is this assurance sufficient justification for suspending one’s better judgment which, after all, can only be formed once one has had time to absorb and digest the product? Music history is littered with countless examples of bands who have taken a collective shit on their legacies, releasing albums that have been universally panned by a previously devoted fan base. Is the artist a machine with well-oiled parts, guaranteed to release a universally satisfying product? On what basis then, other than unreasoning bias, are fans willing to part with hard-earned money? This arrangement is tantamount to the fan saying,”I have no self-respect as a free-thinking human being. I cannot, nor do I want to, exercise my right to buy after hearing what it is you’re selling me. Here, take my money! Just take it! Come back if you need more, I’m a Rockefeller scion.”

It seems to me that crowd-funding in art/music appeals to a peculiar kind of mindset, gullible and easily suborned, and incapable of forming reasonably objective ideas from independent action. Crowd-funding is a plea to emotion, wherein the musician makes his clientele feel special and wanted, by implanting the notion inside the fan’s head that he is indispensable to the creative process and that by funding the venture, the fan is rebelling against the evil music industry for the greater good of mankind. By airing their penury for all to see, musicians induce a subliminal indebtedness in their fans to which the sheep just have to react by opening their purses. Idol worship never goes out of fashion and clever musicians prey on their fans’ foolishness.

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5 Responses to Crowd-funding music reveals lack of self-respect

  1. fenrir says:

    I don’t think it’s a bad idea, actually. I don’t see how it is worse than the previous system.

  2. turbomotherlover says:

    Agreed, no one can guarantee a ‘great’ final product after all the crowd funding. But it’s not like the fans don’t think at all before parting with their money.
    They can refer the artist’s previous albums and the various teasers for the upcoming album and decide on good faith that their favourite band won’t disappoint them. In the end, it’s the most devoted fans who get involved in the crowd funding so one way or another they won’t mind too much about funding the campaign because they want to see that favourite band do well.

  3. Justafan says:

    I dunno about other fans who are “gullible and easily suborned, and incapable of forming reasonably objective ideas from independent action”, but I plunk down my hard earned cash to fund something because I believe in the artist – I have sampled his previous works and believe they deserve to get the resources necessary to create another piece. I have funded 2 different crowd funding campaigns, and neither of them had finished products that reached the excellence of the artist’s prior efforts. But the artists were sincere about what they wanted to do and that’s what I was paying for – a sincere attempt at a homerun.

    I guess you would prefer to pay for the product rather than the effort, which is a valid approach. But as far as I can see, a lot of process with uncertain outcomes are funded in advance (my employment hinges on a product built over a period of time, and I’m being paid to do it without certainty of its quality or success), enough to be able to call it the norm. Agreed, in music it isn’t often the case, but then can’t we draw a parallel between crowd-funders and patrons of the past?

    While some projects might fall into the purview of what you are talking about, calling all crowd funders, “gullible and easily suborned, and incapable of forming reasonably objective ideas from independent action”, is amusing, but toothless.

    • I understand what you’re saying. In hindsight, this post was just me standing on the outside chucking turds at others. But what I say does still hold, for me anyway. Artists deserve to be known, if anyone “deserves” anything in the world other than what they get, for the work that they have done, not for what they may do in the future depending on fickle inspiration. But even if it isn’t obvious in the post, I do think this is the best of a bad situation. However, musicians also need to put up more evidence of their thought processes in the present rather than resting in the shadows of what they may have done in the past.

      There are people out there who put out stuff for free. That is an art free of material contamination. Everything else, however ethereal it may seem, is a product so I choose to treat it as a product. I don’t have solutions, I’m just pointing out blatant blind faith.

      • Justafan says:

        Well this I agree with. I remember someone, maybe Coppola, saying that it doesn’t make sense to “pay” for art anymore – it’s so ubiquitous on the internet, that artists who are serious about producing art will need to fund it by working day jobs (as Coppola himself does nowadays by running a vineyard apparently). This seems to be the route to “purest” art.

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