Any artist knows that their livelihood is almost entirely owed to the people who like their work and support them by buying it. Unfortunately for musicians, the ease with which fans can download their music for free these days means that they can’t even rely on that source of income any more. What they need is to find a new way to not only engage with their fans, but also get them to spend their money to get the music.
Ginger from The Wildhearts is someone who has always engaged with his fans through his various projects, even more so now that he’s one of the most entertaining artists on Twitter. He’s given albums away for free on the internet recently, and his latest project is an experiment to try and get fans to pay for him to make new music before he’s even made it.
It’s called the Triple Album Project and will see him record 30 new songs if he gets enough pledges to pay for it (with 10% of the money going to Save The Children). The music will be available as downloads, CDs, signed CDs or a special package with vinyl, CDs and downloads and a personal mention in the liner notes, all depending on how much money you pledge.
He’s not the first artist to do this, Rachel Yamagata, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Charlie Simpson from Fightstar (and Busted) and The Subways have all used the same website, Pledge Music, to get their fans to pledge money towards the creation of albums that they then exclusively receive.
It’s an interesting concept, particularly when used by bands who are struggling to get a record deal, but have a growing fanbase willing to subsidise them. In a perfect world, this is probably how all music would be made, cutting out the greedy record companies, the idiotic radio DJs and the trend-obsessed magazines, and giving fans more of a sense of ownership over the music.
I’ve certainly already pledged my money to Ginger’s project and I’m looking forward to feeling like part of the process of it, as well as hearing the finished product, knowing that I helped it to happen. Let’s hope more of this kind of thing can be successful…
STOP PRESS: He had 60 days to reach his total, but it only took six hours for Wildhearts fans to match it, so clearly this is something that can work. You can still make your pledge for Ginger’s Triple Album Project here…