Going Skint For A Living: It’s my project and I’ll fund it if I want to. 2

Going Skint For A Living: It’s my project and I’ll fund it if I want to.


When I was first asked to write this article for GIITTV as part of an ongoing discussion on the current state of the music industry and its relevance in 2012, my focus was primarily to blabber on about my new album and explain how I’m raising funds for it.

Then I started uncovering other articles and blog posts – some on GIITTV itself, some gleaned across the internet – inspired by the open letter to Emily White (http://thetrichordist.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/letter-to-emily-white-at-npr-all-songs-considered/) which has spawned a never-ending splurge of opinions, usually of the moaning variety. The original post by Emily White you can read here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/allsongs/2012/06/16/154863819/i-never-owned-any-music-to-begin-with.

Us musicians are seemingly a sorry lot – particularly if we have depressive tendencies because, boy oh boy, aren’t we on a slippery slope, just look at what happened to Vic Chesnutt*, right? If we go down David Lowery’s route it won’t be long before there are health warnings on torrent sites ‘for every 100 tracks you download for free a musician considers suicide’. You think that’s harsh? It may be so but please hear me out. Having personally come from a background where mental illness and suicide risk was a part of my daily life (through family members and friends alike) as well as struggling with my own demons, making a joke of it was/is sometimes the only way for me to stay afloat. Needless to say I don’t agree with the current negative outlook, I don’t find it productive and it’s just not healthy.

So instead I’ve decided to offer some advice (how presumptuous of me) to those of you considering using crowd-funding as a means to generate cash for your musical outpourings and at the same time I’ll be talking about my experiences. I will throw in some opinions too because everyone else is doing it and I don’t want to feel left out. Right, now to introduce myself.
My name is Jo Whitby and I am a musician, artist and web geek. Music has been and still is a passion of mine from as far back as I can remember. It’s the air I breathe, it’s the food of my soul. If I’m not making it I’m writing about it. If I’m not writing about it I’m drawing a picture inspired by it or building a website to promote it. My life revolves around music and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

I don’t consider myself new to the music world but in all fairness I’ve only ever enjoyed a bit of local success. I’ve been performing in bands since I was 13 usually tucked behind a drum kit. After slogging away in bands that were really good at not going anywhere I decided enough was enough. Apart from anything performing in bands was making me ill so the only way to keep my sanity and health was to back out of the scene and go it alone.

I finally got around to releasing my first EP last year under the moniker Laurence Made Me Cry. It was a collection of folk songs I’d written throughout 2006. ‘The Rain Song’ EP was completely self-funded with many woman hours going into drawing the 100 CD covers by hand because I like to torture myself. I thought that if I made something unique that I would love to own and treasure other people would too. I’ve been told by a few musicians that I was “crazy” for putting so much effort in – perhaps an indirect way of saying “I think your music is shit” but I’d like to think that they just couldn’t fathom why anyone would want to spend hours hunched over 100 recycled cardboard sleeves getting hand cramp from drawing (unless one has stooped to new self-gratifying lows).

If I’m perfectly honest I’m yet to recoup all the costs of making the EP and in hindsight 50 probably would have been enough. However, the release has enabled me to gain much needed exposure so in that sense my investment has paid off.

Right now I’m working on my debut album ‘The Diary Of Me’ which once finished will be a collection of songs, poetry and artworks – think Aidan Moffat but as an overweight woman who isn’t Scottish and less jazz, quite a vision there. This is why PR people are employed to write press releases. I’ve decided to fund it via Sponsume which is a platform similar to Kickstarter the only difference being that you get what you raise at the end should you meet your target or not. Both options carry with them their own risks. Personally I’d rather have some cash than none at all, it gets the ball rolling at the very least and also gives me a target I have to reach – I must deliver what I’ve promised.

Working with me on the project (and it is a ‘project’ as un-rock ‘n’ roll as that may be) are a whole host of collaborators from across the world thanks to the internet – these are people who I’ve come to befriend via social networks such as Twitter and Facebook or through the music zine I run (sporadically these days). I’ll also be utilising the lovely musical talents of some old school friends to help add the final flourishes to the record. Even my family can’t escape – the album artwork being a joint effort between myself and my mother! The project is turning into quite a beast which is as exciting as it is challenging. Only good can come from it. Believe me.
To start us off then…

Not everyone cares about music as much as you do.

I thought I’d begin with this as I’ll be referring back to it throughout the article. Keep this in mind when you start fundraising. Don’t take it personally – it has nothing to do with your songwriting abilities. Some people have lives that do not revolve around music as shocking as that may seem.

The ‘illegal download’ brigade doesn’t really apply here as they obviously care enough about music to download it but not enough to pay for it (I’ll get on to that later). The folks I had in mind are those thousands of people who for instance watch TV and sometimes acknowledge a good piece of music on Jersey Shore but then forget about it (they are watching Jersey Shore after all). These people frequent social media sites and you probably went to school with them. No amount of pleading with get them interested in your strange hobby.

If you don’t ask you don’t get: Don’t be afraid to ask people to support your crowd-funding project. You might not always get a positive response but there really is no harm in asking. Be ballsy but don’t spam.

There is no ‘right way’: I’ve always had a tendency to jump head first into ideas and then worry about the planning after. So I usually end up with lots of bits which I need to then piece together. I’m always surprised when people tell me I seem so organised – ‘seem’ being the operative word. This haphazard way of doing things can be applied to my record funding approach although I did make sure I knew how much I needed to raise (I made a list with costs for every item/service – as accurate as possible) and a good idea of the overall project. I advise you do that too.

A good example of someone successfully crowd-funding a record is Amanda Palmer (here’s a blog post on the topic: http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/05/03/amanda-palmer-kickstarter-and-everything/). That doesn’t mean that her way is the ‘right way’ but she’s pretty darn close. Her amazing crowd-funding achievement didn’t happen overnight though so don’t assume when you launch your Kickstarter page you’ll make millions – if you do I want whatever you’re having.

One thing Amanda has that lowly musicians like myself don’t is a large group of supportive fans. I haven’t the time or funds, yet, to be touring constantly and building a fanbase that way. Maybe, as the music industry would have anyone believe, that’s the downside of launching your career ‘later in life’ (I’m an ancient 28 years old – pass me the zimmer). Most of the bands I’ve performed in over the years haven’t had the luxury of a decent fan following, at least none that I’d be able to tap into for my current project. I’m not the most social of people either and can at times be cripplingly shy – if making hurdles for myself was a competition I’d be winning.
My conclusion is doing things in the right order would help but then it wouldn’t be fun; however you do need some sort of plan before you choose to crowd-fund your project.

Be grateful for the support you do get and keep you fans and backers updated: This is so, so, so important. Keep in regular contact with your backers and update them on the progress of your project. For ‘The Diary Of Me’ I’ve made several videos previewing in-progress tracks from the album as well as regularly posting on social media sites with little tit-bits and cool discoveries I’m making throughout the recording process. Your backers and fans are VIPs and should be treated as such. Don’t forget to thank them.

Is it even worth approaching labels? I think having label representation isn’t essential. However I would still approach a few on the off chance they might like what I’m doing. Labels, other than giving you a warm fuzzy feeling when they add you to their roster, can help you deal with time-consuming things like promotion, touring, distribution and registering your publishing rights. If you’re going in on the old model of expecting a monetary advance then you’ll probably be disappointed if you’re not the next pop sensation (but hasn’t this always been the case?). For some the end is already nigh for bands without label representation: http://mkdo.co/post/26352263455/radiohead-wouldnt-exist-without-early-major-label
It goes without saying that if you are willing to put in the hours there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do it yourself and be successful. If you know when to be an artist and when to have your business hat on then releasing your own music should be relatively painless and the gains are all yours.

Paying for something that doesn’t exist yet: This is a concept that some people find difficult to accept. Let’s start with the main myth: crowd-funding is just a posh way of begging. I’d like to think it’s a bit more like busking but with a business plan and you get to take the busker home with you if you like what you hear (metaphorically speaking). Musicians are not magic and cannot poop money whenever they need to make a record. There are not as many labels willing to invest in up-and-coming artists anymore so there has to be an alternative way of generating the dosh needed to fund the making of an album/music video/tour etc.

The other argument is based on a lack of trust: “I’m not going to give you my money because I don’t believe you’ll deliver the product” (read: I think you’re a flaky musician and will probably spend the money on drugs). I know there will be a small percentage that won’t deliver what they promise but I’d like to believe that the majority will.

You need to make sure when setting up a crowd-funding page that you cover these arguments in your plan, if need be. Your project description needs to be clear and honest. Potential backers need to know what you are doing, why you are doing it and when they can expect the return in their investment. It sounds logical and obvious but if you miss something out it can greatly affect your chances of reaching your goal.

Stop moaning and be proactive:
The short answer: Embrace change and be proactive in finding new ways of making things work (crowd-funding being a good example of finding new ways: http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture-professionals-network/culture-professionals-blog/2012/feb/03/crowdfunding-belle-sebastian-arts-creativity).

The long answer: The old model (labels/getting an advance/being superfamous) isn’t working anymore and no amount of moaning will resurrect the music industry to its former glory. Times have changed and rather than stubbornly clinging onto to our plastic coated discs we should be embracing the new technologies and find new ways of making the music world work for everyone.
The ‘music industry’ was slow to react when the internet came along and started changing everyone’s consumption habits. New technology has meant that musicians can bypass the usual routes and can release music themselves without the need of label backing. Services like CDBaby have enabled lone artists like me to digitally distribute my music with a few clicks of a mouse.

It has always been only a small minority of musicians who have actually managed to live comfortably from the proceeds of their art. We all know that labels expect the artists to pay the advances back – if your album sucks in terms of sales the dream of being signed becomes a nightmare and you can be dropped at the click of a finger. Not all artists were successful ‘back in the day’ and they certainly didn’t make a lot of money.
What has also happened is that the bedroom musicians who used to play to a few friends from time to time can now share their creations with a wider audience. The internet has made the invisible visible and we tend to forget that.
I could go on but Dave Allen says it so much better: http://www.north.com/latest/the-internet-could-care-less-about-your-mediocre-band/

Who are you again? So I’ve already established that having a fan base is useful but to build one can be a slow process and isn’t always easy. For Laurence Made Me Cry I’m relying mainly on the internet to help spread the word about my project first and the funding second. What this means is I’m spending a lot of time in front of my computer networking which sometimes involves updating people about the meal I’m about to cook and sharing a photo of a kitten. People like photos of kittens.
Recently I’ve had some support from several radio DJs which has been fantastic. Not only are they helping me spread the word it also means that when I release my album there are some eager ears waiting to play my tracks on the radio. I advise that you have some material to send out to stations before you begin your funding adventure. Amazing Radio loves new music so make sure you upload something on Amazing Tunes and then nudge a few DJs. There are also many top quality internet radio stations worth submitting to. Put an evening aside, do some research, make a contact list and send them your music.

This brings me on to….

Followers and fans – quality not quantity (but it helps if you actually have some): Having thousands of followers on twitter does not equal thousands of people who will fund your album. Out of the followers you do have probably only 4% are actually interested in what you do enough to give you money (Bemuso has some interesting data about this: http://www.bemuso.com/?p=435). There is a whole theory about ‘true fans’ too and I suggest you have a read of this: http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/03/1000_true_fans.php/
My advice is to not focus your time on trying to get more followers on social media platforms. Prioritise those who take an interest in what you do. Regular interaction is the best form of networking plus you’ll end up with quite a few awesome friends too.

Having lots of collaborators doesn’t equal more backers (but it does equal a lot of fun and some amazing musical creations): ‘The Diary of Me’ at the moment has 7 collaborators not including the remixers I’ve got on board to do their magic on a few tracks once the album is finished. 4 of the collaborators have backed the project which is very sweet; they want it to happen as much as me which is a great vote of confidence.
I’ve noticed bands tend to do better on crowd-funding projects – most likely due to there being more people involved in the core output rather than a solo artist working with others who won’t feature permanently in the line-up. I could go full on in trying to utilise my collaborators fan resources but unless they decide to promote it themselves I’m not going to pursue it. They are already doing me a favour by creating some rather lovely music and poetry for me.

Don’t rely on anyone who owes you favours: It’s good to keep in mind that nobody owes you anything even if you think they do.

Don’t rely on your Facebook friends: See previous point and also ‘Not everyone cares about music as much as you do.’

Don’t give up: Easier said than done but stay positive. It’s hard for everyone at the moment. Even those who you think are doing well are probably only just making ends meet.
As I write this article my Sponsume page informs me that I’ve reached 17% of my fund raising goal and I have less than 11 days to go. To make my album I ideally need to reach at least £1000 but I am resourceful and if I don’t reach the target I’ll find another way of raising the remaining cash. All it will mean is that the record will take a bit longer to get released – but it will get released no matter what.

Always have a back-up plan whichever crowd-funding tool you decide to use. It might be easier to break down your project into parts – each with a smaller target so you have time to promote each one – obviously you’ll need different incentives. Whatever you decide to do remember that crowd-funding is not a miracle cure for the ailing music industry, you need to put the work in to get results and even then you might not get the results you want but don’t give up. Give it a try and if it doesn’t work take a step back, gather your thoughts and have another go.


Marry a sci-fi fantasy author: This isn’t essential but having a supportive partner who happens to be a successful author helps boost your moral if nothing else and can read to you at night when you’re feeling a little worse for wear.

So there you go. If you made it this far then I congratulate you on your perseverance and hope that if you are considering using crowd-funding as an option at least some of my rambling advice was helpful. My project is nearly over so if you want to see how I’m doing it pop over to my Sponsume page: http://www.sponsume.com/project/diary-me or visit my website: http://laurencemademecry.com

*Using the death of Vic Chestnut as an example of how musicians are affected personally by the decline of music sales was crass. Using this tragic event as a way to almost make those who download illegally responsible for Vic’s death is just not acceptable nor appropriate, whether Lowery knew Vic personally or not. Depression is a complex issue with many factors contributing to the consideration of taking one’s own life.

  1. Nice one Jo, all the best with raising your funds and getting your album released and out there! Thanks for your honesty and openness about your work in progress…

    Agreed re the crassness and over simplification of citing death of Vic Chesnut as example. Depression and suicide are very complex issues and although financial insecurity may have played a big role in this it is inappropriate to cite this as cause without further unpacking the specific situation etc…

    A couple of questions (Hope you don’t mind me asking…)

    Do you see music as your job or something that you have to do regardless or both?

    How do you feel about the free culture download issue personally and do you think that this has an impact on you as a musician?

    Re the Amanda Palmer (married to Neil) successes- No one can deny that she has worked her butt off self promoting and marketing and that she has utilised the web and social networking with fan base brilliantly… I certainly take my hat off to her…

    I do find myself wondering if her success would be the same if she hadn’t been formerly signed to Roadrunner in the earlier days- and able to carry her fan base through with her after it went pear shaped and she went solo and indie…
    if this is the case is this a realistic example of success at crowd funding for bands who are just starting etc… ? ( I know you did mention about her existing fan base in the article )

    Re her personality and her methods of sharing with her fans that create the whole Amanda Palmer experience- These methods really suit her and work for her. How does it work for a more introverted musician who is all about the creating of music and struggles with the needing to share your life and constantly engage with folks beyond their comfort zone?

    Cheers and good luck!

    1. Thanks for your comment Rachel! Some good questions you’ve put to me and I’ll try my best to answer them.

      >>Do you see music as your job or something that you have to do regardless or both?

      I see it as both. Anything I have to keep accounts for is technically a job to me whether I’m doing it for only a few days a month or full-time. I’m a freelance illustrator when I’m not making music (another easy industry to be in) and when that’s quiet I’m an odd job girl doing a bit of web design and PA work. In my ideal world I’d have a good balance between music and illustration both of which I will continue to do regardless.

      >>How do you feel about the free culture download issue personally and do you think that this has an impact on you as a musician?

      I had a feeling I’d be asked about this and I avoided it for a reason – such a big question to answer! 😉 I recently described the internet as a big radio station that gives you access to pretty much any kind of music you can imagine – and isn’t there A LOT of music out there? Rather than taping off the radio (which I used to do, naughty me) people can now download the music, legally and illegally without paying for it. I believe that partly due to the slow reaction from the music industry giants and their insistence on fighting with even the little guys hasn’t helped and probably escalated the free download culture. It’s going to be a slow process to change the perception of the monetary value of music and I don’t have all the answers. Most who download illegally will agree that music has a huge cultural value so we need to make sure there are new ways for people show their appreciation to the music creators via financial means.

      One thing is I feel that we shouldn’t be greedy any more. I was reading an article somewhere recently complaining that a some artists ‘only’ made £30,000 annually – heck, that’s more than I’ve ever earned in a ‘normal’ job. A similar article said that the earnings on Spotify were very low in comparison to the $70,000 an artist made on iTunes. If I was making $70, 000 on iTunes I wouldn’t really care how much I was earning through Spotify – although I do think the payments from Spotify and other streaming sites are ridiculously low. I recently got $0.0008 from Last.fm. I don’t know if these artists have label backing or not, I expect they do/did. For artists going it alone it’s probably too early to say whether it’s affecting them or not.

      Personally I’ve not been negatively impacted. My EP was featured on a blog that basically posted links to free (and usually illegal) downloads. It was a very popular blog and meant my downloads on bandcamp rocketed. My EP was listed as pay-what-you-want and surprisingly quite a few people put in a little amount. It got me some well needed exposure as an artist starting out. Ask me the same question in a year or two and I might have a different answer.

      >>Re the Amanda Palmer (married to Neil) successes- No one can deny that she has worked her butt off self promoting and marketing and that she has utilised the web and social networking with fan base brilliantly… I certainly take my hat off to her… I do find myself wondering if her success would be the same if she hadn’t been formerly signed to Roadrunner in the earlier days- and able to carry her fan base through with her after it went pear shaped and she went solo and indie… if this is the case is this a realistic example of success at crowd funding for bands who are just starting etc… ? ( I know you did mention about her existing fan base in the article )

      It probably isn’t a realistic example for bands starting out. I was using it mainly as an example of how the platform can be used well particularly if you already have a decent fan base (via label representation or general hard work for quite a few years). A band that springs to mind is a french group called Huxley Met Soda who recently crowd-funded their debut album (http://www.ulule.com/huxleymetsoda/). They didn’t have the initial label representation and still managed to get more than they needed from utilising their fan base and friends. They’ve set up their own label now so still very much independent.

      The key I think, especially if you are a new artist, is to already have some material before you try and crowd-fund. Release an EP or 2 online, build up some press (contact blogs and music press who you think are likely to feature you), get something of a network together (both in the outside world and within social media) and then you can consider crowd-funding. Starting with nothing will usually result in nothing.

      >>Re her personality and her methods of sharing with her fans that create the whole Amanda Palmer experience- These methods really suit her and work for her. How does it work for a more introverted musician who is all about the creating of music and struggles with the needing to share your life and constantly engage with folks beyond their comfort zone?

      I am very much an introvert but I’ve found the internet to be somewhere I feel comfortable enough to talk about (almost) anything. My rule is: whatever I say on the internet I should be more than happy to talk about it in real-life. So for someone who finds engaging in the outside world difficult (it doesn’t show but I usually need a good rest to recover from a large social gathering where I have to talk to people) having to share and engage on the internet is an amazing opportunity. I get inspired by some of the interactions which then fuels my music making. I know this won’t apply to everyone. If you really struggle to interact with your fans and listeners on a regular basis then using a PR might be a good idea or at least find a friend who is willing to help look after the social media aspect.

      Phew! That was quite a challenge! Thanks for all the food for thought Rachel!

  2. Ah thanks for that Jo and taking time to write such considered great answers 🙂 your music is lovely also…

    All you’re saying makes sense and some good advice there.

    As a working musician who has experienced both the old and now new models of creating/ marketing products (I feel very old these days) and is still trying to eek out my living through my art I feel strongly about challenging current perceptions of what art is worth and fair wages for artists. This is across the board, not just copyright issues, but payments for gigs, sessions etc…
    But totally agree re what you said about greediness etc…
    I know so many musicians who have families to support, (on top of everything else re costs of living) These are folks who are at the top of their game as far as their skill base and technique, who have trained for many years, who have brilliant track records of experience on their CV and who are struggling (as I know everyone is at present) to sustain a reasonable salary, (and these folks are also diversifying and doing extra jobs etc to make things work)

    The innovation and power that the internet and current new models of communication give back to artists is unprecedented and exciting…
    Alongside this I personally think its positive and constructive for artists to continue to question and challenge where there are issues of fair trade in the industry right across the board to help galvanise a best possible working practise that can go hand in hand with new models… ( though I know most likely ludicrously optimistic) As you say change is happening and has happened regardless- but here’s to voices of reason-not just belligerent moaning or spoon-fed reactions etc… that they may be heard in amongst it all and in some way help shape these new models… (oh dear I do sound preachy)

    anyways, all the best with all that you’re up to!

  3. This is a superb article, with some great proactive advice for artists and labels.

    Whilst I agree on the whole the internet and the shift has greatly befitted musical discovery and interaction between artists, labels and fans, it has also had a practical monetary impact for some(which I guess is natural but some of which could have been avoided). I think there are issues and you touched on some of them ie the sheer ammount of music out there CAN make it difficult for the quality to shine through, hopefully that’s where sites like this and great podcasts and other trusted media can step in.

    However as I said the continuing drain of money from the industry is also affecting music media(which is probably a good thing in some ways) but in others it is bad as it reinforces a status quoe in music where the big commercial, big label acts dominate and the levels below that continue to get ignored often on snobbery grounds(ie they don’t have a label). And whilst I agree that there are some fabulous indie labels out there it has become harder and harder for them to survive let alone progress and expand, and while there will always be those that will create music regardless, the means by which they can get them to the listener has changed which again is a double edged sword.Sure platforms like soundcloud and bandcamp have been great and are brilliant but often the rewards for using these platforms are nothing compared to say what selling cds or playing a gig used to bring in? All of these things have been affected. For every ‘greedy’ Sting or Bono there was a working musician who made a decent living out of gigging or selling a few cds, sure many of them probably give up and do something else if there isn’t the demand or in many cases they weren’t good enough, but the point remains that has gone and probably won’t come back, and is related to the slow death of live music but that’s another strand of this whole debate for another time!

    In summary I agree the internet revolution has been liberating for many artists and labels who may never have ‘made money’ from music anyway. But it has had consequences in terms of how music is consumed is a mp3 really better quality, than a proper record? Self released records may have a personality and a charm that you cannot get from a big label artist but if not enough people are listening to you then it can become frustrating?! The death of the record has an impact on the album and the record shop in the long term? The stripping of a whole middle grouping of independent artists that may not have had a big audience but were working towards something better and progressing, now they lack the funding. So now there is the commercial end, and the underground and very little inbetween which is problematic, I firmly believe that artists need time and money invested in them at some point if they really want to progress to that next level sometimes.

    I agree linking downloading with mental health of muscians is very extreme, as is suggesting it’s the fault of the downloader alone like some sneaky criminal they are the ones to blame. The truth is since Napster, it is the way the music world has shifted for better and for worse. The large labels were too slow to respond and have reaped what they sow, it’s sad in some ways that the ‘old system’ has changed but in other’s it could be the biggest opportunity yet.

    Another point is fairness of trade I mean I am for FREE downloads as a way of teasing listeners and I have found no end of artists through blog posts of free downloads. But there has to be some trickle down to the artist and the label somewhere.Also is it fair that Spotify for instance (which is a great tool for listeners and Spotify itself) takes a large percentage of any profits it makes at the butt of the artist and label? Also they are eating into a downloads market that is very slender and only concentrated in Itunes case mostly on the upper end.I think the point about the willingness of people to buy a Ipod or a Mac or whatever expensive technology in order to consume music and media yet they will balk at paying for a download or a record is an interesting one, but again it is tied in up in how things have changed, again in some ways for the better and some ways not.

    I guess the future is uncertain but with your help we shall continue to examine where we might end up!

    1. Great input Bill! I was having the same chat with a friend a few days ago and all your points came up.

      Format is a big issue with regard to ‘value’. Mp3’s are not a physical product and getting listeners heads around that is a challenge for sure. The online digital music market still needs to be ironed out, iTunes can charge £8 for an album which is what you’d pay for a CD, the artist only gets a small percentage (sounds familiar doesn’t it?) which begs the question what the hell is iTunes doing with the rest of the cash.

      My article wasn’t written as a way to overlook all these issues. I’m just fed up with people in the industry moaning all the time and not offering up any answers. This was a way to keep us a little positive and enthusiastic about the future in what is a rather bleak world for everyone at the moment!

  4. Aye it’s good to have a proactive approach especially at the moment when people are very negative/down in the dumps and battered by the recession and decline in music in general. I am just raising some of the questions that trouble me in some ways and excite me in others. Some that you are probably well aware of but were over looking in this particular piece….

    I definetly think there are spaces for new models I think Itunes and Spotify are both quite flawed for the artist. I guess it’s again a way for the big labels to retain some kind of control while their power and back catalogue is becoming less and less of worth(royalties/money wise). I thought Last.fm was orginally a great concept but for me they ruined one element of it by limiting the ammount of downloads and streams they made available, it’s a shame because that unlike Spotify(which is a bugger to get on for some artists/labels) included more underground and independent artists and made their . Facebook pages too don’t integrate bandcamp or soundcloud well enough yet for my liking and the constant changes they make to page settings don’t help visibility of artists/labels in their news feeds…

    You make some great points though about the way artists can harness their ‘fans’ and by that I don’t just mean likers or followers on twitter/faceache I mean actually people who have engaged with you or your work. So bravo Jo, my points were in no way to detract from anything you said which I think is great advice to artists in particular when considering these kinds of sponsership/crowd funding projects.

  5. Do you know what to do about publishing and royalties if you are an independent ‘bedroom’ solo artist? So I get the part about crowd funding… so they raise the money to record with… then do you sell the record after that also? And what about having songs played on the radio? Don’t you need a publisher to recoup the royalties from radio plays for you? Or are you suggesting keeping it simple and just turning a blind eye to these revenue streams in favour of the publicity? Then just selling your downloads to the people who pride themselves on not stealing music?

    1. Yes and that’s the next step after you’ve crowd-funded your record (if you haven’t already signed up to PRS/PPL beforehand). With a little research it’s easy enough to sign up for these royalty collection services as a solo artist without a label.

      Crowdfunding is just a means to raise enough cash to produce a record. You obviously want to make that record work for you after making it. I couldn’t cover every point in the article and I wasn’t suggesting that crowd-funding is a replacement for selling records – it isn’t – it’s an enabler to help get your music out there.

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God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.