Artists / Bands, Culture, Indie / Alternative — August 6, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Crowdfunding: a new community formula


In reaction to our capitalist and money-driven world, more and more local initiatives aiming at gathering communities to work towards the same goal, see the light – to name a few: Fooding, community gardens, car sharing, crowdfunding.

© Venture Village

Popping out these past years on the web, crowdfunding platforms are a digital extension to fund creative projects – some universal, some neighbourhood-driven, and some even selfish. I remember seeing campaigns ranging from a girl raising funds to develop her yummy home-made range of cereal bars, a scientist couple looking for help to prepare their bicycle trip during which they would research migratory birds in Eastern Europe, to even a girl wanting to finish her tattoo in process (sic). But, and that remains true for all of these projects, the driving element is passion. Without passion, no one will take part in the financing process, even if the first adjective coming to mind while watching the project’s descriptive video and the rewards is “cool”. Guts have to be involved.

More and more specialized platforms have followed the giants such as Kickstarter and IndieGogo, to pave the way to certain kind of projects: charity, entrepreneurship, music tour, and so on. No need to waste your precious time browsing projects you don’t care about, just head to the right platform. But in fact, it’s not that simple, and today’s world citizens are not that open-handed. Like people donating to local NGOs or their church, the Internet users also head towards familiarity: their friends’ projects. A recent study by Ethan R. Mollick (University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School) shows that “The Power of the FFF” (Facebook Friends of Founders) drives the success of a crowdfunding campaign. Guts and friends have to be involved.

Crowdfunding is now hitting less-developed regions compared to the US or Europe: to name a few, ArtisteConnect for the Philippines, and ToGather.Asia for South-East Asia. The Trees & The Wild, one of the hypest indie band from Indonesia, is currently raising funds for a European tour in September, being the very first music project of ToGather.Asia*. ‘DIY’ being one of South-East Asia’s guideline for small creative projects, community-funding will be a valuable helping hand to make things happen. A pinch of education will be needed: the importance of art is still superseded by consumption in this region, but the community-bond is great. As Prof. E. R. Mollick states, “Personal networks and underlying project quality help predict the success of crowdfunding efforts; geography plays a role in both the types of projects proposed and successful fundraising.” The same study highlights the fact that projects that are successfully funded tend to do so by relatively small margins, and projects that fail to fund tend to fail by large margins. In short: crowdfunding leads either to success or to failure, there is no in-between. And such a campaign requires personal involvement in promotion, marketing, and ‘evangelism’ from the project owner.

We will need a little time to figure out how the region will pick up the habits of crowdfunding (project initiative and project funding), but there’s a fertile soil for sure!


*Note: If you feel like helping a high potential Indonesian band to reach Europe for an Autumn mini-tour, head to The Trees & The Wild’s campaign on ToGather.Asia! After Germany for the special South-East Asian Showcase presented by Music Services Asia at Reeperbahn Festival – Hamburg, the band will head to Finland and Estonia. Real cool merchandising awaits to reward pledgers!