by Kevin Korber
Photograph by Laura Carbone
You can’t have music without fans. Fans buy records, fans go to shows…and now, fans help artists make records. This is all thanks to crowdfunding, the fan-driven online systems that funnel money directly from fans to artists. One of the strongest forces in the modern music industry, crowdfunding allows artists to make their dream projects happen outside of the traditional label model. Some see it as the future of music; some see it as detrimental to artists and their relationships with fans. Whatever the case may be, many musicians have taken to the concept in a very big way.
The notion of artists using the Internet to get projects made seems new, but it’s been around for more than a decade. ArtistShare, started in 2000 by Brian Camelio, first offered what Camelio still prefers to call “fan-funding.” At the time, it was a radical idea in the music industry, but it quickly caught on, and by 2005, Maria Schneider’s Concert in the Garden, an album funded and released exclusively through ArtistShare, won a Grammy for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album.