In 1990, Sir Paul released a double live album of his just-completed world tour. The version of “Let It Be” was recorded at a show in Miami, and I was part of that crowd, singing away with thousands of my closest friends.
But I know it. I was there, part of that crowd. It was a sold out show, and there’s no real danger that it wouldn’t have happened if not for me. But I loved Paul (still do) and was happy to give him my hard-earned money in support of that show (tickets plus two t-shirts).
The album still would have happened, and the version of “Let It Be” would have been recorded elsewhere, because even if everyone in South Florida had decided not to support that tour, he’s still Paul McCartney and there are plenty of others across the globe that would have eagerly handed him their money.
It’s hard to connect the former Beatle with Crowdfunding. He has enough die-hard fans from his lengthy career that he could record himself singing in the shower and everyone would buy it.
But what about all those who weren’t in the Beatles. The ones that haven’t had years of sold-out shows. The ones who have never had a platinum record. Or even a gold one.
The ones who just have the dream.
Dreams are really where Crowdfunding begins.
Odds are pretty good that you know someone, or at least know OF someone, who has been involved in Crowdfunding.
It’s possible you don’t know that you know they’ve done it, or at least tried it, but since so many have been involved one way or another, statistically, you’re probably at least as many degrees from them as you are from Kevin Bacon.
For those who don’t know, Crowdfunding is a way to raise money by letting your friends, your fans and even people you haven’t been in contact with yet, find out about your project and give you their support. It’s kind of like getting investors to support you, but instead of going to business meetings and pitching your ideas to the suits, you’re taking it right to the public.
In 1990, when there was nothing comparable to today’s social media, you supported an artist by buying their music and going to their concerts. You may have even told your friends about that new band you like, and convinced them to buy a CD or go to the show.
For those too young to remember that, that’s how social media worked back in the days before Twitter and Facebook (and even before MySpace).
It’s not begging, though some do seem to approach it that way. There are a few popular examples of people using Crowdfunding to pay off their credit card bills. While this may have worked once or twice, it’s unlikely that this kind of project would be successful again.
Many singers and bands have done this. Like social media, it’s a great way to connect with fans. It also allows those who love what you do and believe in you to actually be a part of your project.
You may or may not know of Amanda Palmer. She’s someone who’s name is often tossed out amid discussions of Crowdfunding.
Amanda was the lead singer for the Dresden Dolls. More recently, she’s released several solo albums and singles.
She is also one of the best at connecting with fans, and has very successfully gotten them to be a part of her projects.
The terminology there may not be quite right. Saying that she’s “gotten” them to be part of her projects sounds a little like she either tricked them into it, or somehow persuaded them to do it.
Neither is true.
It would be better, or much more apt, to say that she allowed them to be a part of her projects. And there eagerness to help her is something that most who think about Crowdfunding will never quite get.
Here’s a terrific talk she gave at a recent TED conference. I know it’s longer than you probably want to commit to, but if you have a dream you think you could achieve with just a little help, you really should watch this!
There’s a very cool project that’s on the way, connected to my day job at the Good Day Show. I’ll have some more details soon.
While I don’t want to reveal too much too early, I can tell you that, if there’s something you’ve always wanted to do – be it your own album, a book, a business or something else entirely – but you’ve never been able to figure out how you’d ever get it off the ground, I just might be able to help you out, or at least get you pointed in the right direction (and help you tell LOTS of other people about what it is you want to do)!
While I wrote this, I was listening to a playlist that just might figure into something I hope to be working on soon! Here’s what shuffled out…
The Rolling Stones “Doom and Gloom”
John Fogerty “Rockin’ All Over The World” (live)
Bruce Hornsby and the Range “The Way It Is”
Noel Gallagher and the High-Flying Birds “The Death of You and Me”
Steve Winwood “Valerie”
The Smithereens “The Blues Before And After”
Little Feat “Dixie Chicken”
The Hooters “Hanging On A Heartbeat”
Paul McCartney and Wings “Live And Let Die”
Glenn Frey “Lyin’ Eyes/Take It Easy” (live)
U2 “In God’s Country”
Slade “Mama Weer All Crazee Now”
Jackson Browne “The Pretender” (live)
Rush “Something For Nothing”
Elvis Costello and the Attractions “Every Day I Write The Book”
Grateful Dead “Built To Last”
Paul Simon “American Tune”
Joe Jackson “Is She Really Going Out With Him?”
R.E.M. “We All Go Back To Where We Belong”
The Yardbirds “For Your Love”
Men At Work “Underground”
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers “I Should Have Known It”
David Bowie “Heroes”
Robert Plant “Tall Cool One” (live)
By the way, don’t spend any time trying to figure out some significance to the artists or the songs I posted. They really did just shuffle out of my player in that random order. I have some pretty cool things to share beyond all this, but I’d just thought I’d subjected you to enough. For now.