As wallets tighten and money is less available to artists for creative projects, Irish musicians and filmmakers are turning to online funding as a way of creating the capital required to make their art.
Sites like Sellaband, Kickstarter, Slicethepie and Pledgemusic have given people in the arts a new way of appealing to fans directly. Each crowdfunding project has different incentives depending on your level of investment: from receiving a production credit to a pre-release download to private concerts to revenue shares – if you’re a fan and you have spare cash, chances are there is something you can get out of it beyond satisfaction.
Since crowdfunding began, it has seen a fair mix of success and failure. Public Enemy were forced to concede that their original $250,000 asking price was too high. Now, nearly 11 months later, the band have raised 80% of their re-adjusted $75,000 price. Duke Special’s Pledge Music finance-raising efforts for three new albums earlier this year received 129% of its asking more modest total.
At the moment, two Irish artists are hoping to follow in Duke Special’s footsteps. Laura Sheeran, a musician from Dublin who has been working on her debut album for the last four years has also signed up to Pledge Music. Sheeran hopes to release Lust of Pig and the Fresh Blood physically in September and, at time of writing, Sheeran has raised 52% of her goal with 19 days left to pledge. Sheeran’s incentives range from a download of the completed album to a gig in a pledger’s house.
Award winning film director Eoghan Kidney has long been hoping to bring his pet project to the big screen. Rogue Moon is a sci-fi novel which was written by Algis Budrys in 1960. Kidney has already secured the rights to make the film and has invested time and resources into the project. Kidney is hoping to create a “low budget high concept sci-fi film” and turned to Kickstarter as an appropriate way of securing additional funds. Kidney is asking for $15,000 over six weeks to raise necessary funds to hire an expert script writer and produce a trailer.
$15,000 seems a lot of money to raise in six weeks but Kidney says he’s just being realistic. “A lot of projects don’t ask for enough, “says Kidney “I think this betrays inexperience and make me doubt they can pull off what they say they are going to do.”
Kidney’s proposition is unique in that, he already has a backer who says they will match whatever money is raised on Kickstarter, effectively doubling every dollar made. Kidney acknowledges though, that crowdfunding projects are in their infancy and there’s a certain element of experimentation with it. “We really want to make this project and we really believe there are enough people out there to get this funded,” Kidney says. “But as Werner Herzog [notorious German filmmaker] said ‘When you’re project is good, the money follows you like a dog with its tail in between its legs.’”