Digital & Mobile, Interviews — June 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm

A crowdfunding platform for Asia: ToGather


Musicians worldwide such as Amanda Palmer and Ben Folds Five have harnessed the power of crowdfunding to raise financial support for their upcoming musical projects. By encouraging pledges from fans in return for special perks and privileges, the essence of crowdfunding goes beyond simply raising money but it also acts as a way to engage and involve listeners in the creative process. Now, musicians in Asia will also be able to explore such opportunities with the formation of online crowdfunding platform ToGather.Asia, which aims to gain momentum for crowdfunding projects specially based in Asia. Music Services Asia interviewed Bryan Ong, the founder of ToGather.Asia, to discover how crowdfunding can impact creative industries in this region.

MSA: Why did you build a crowdfunding platform for Asia? Is there a difference with the US exisiting ones?
Bryan Ong: Throughout our research about the crowdfunding industry before we started ToGather.Asia, we realized that most popular crowdfunding platforms have a relatively much stronger presence in the United States and in the European regions. Although there are global crowdfunding platforms that serves Asia as well, however, majority of the projects posted did not come from Asia and are dominated by the above-mentioned regions.

Moreover, we found out that the emergence of local, country-based, crowdfunding platforms in Asia have resulted in a surge of projects stemming from Asia alone.

As a result, Asia is a relatively untapped market with huge potential for crowdfunding. And that was why ToGather.Asia was created to be the preferred crowdfunding platform in Asia.

In terms of features, payment systems and platform, we are very much similar to the available crowdfunding platforms. However, running a successful crowdfunding platform isn’t all about its features and systems, but rather, how well-entrenched the platform is in the local/regional communities. Being able to connect well with these communities is the quintessence to successful crowdfunding of a project. Therefore, although our features may be similar, there are plans underway to customize it specifically for the Asian market. We will also be placing more emphasis on community curation and outreach in Asia.

How will the crowdfunding projects reach their funders? What are the communication means available with ToGather?
There are a plenty of ways project creators can reach out to their funders. Firstly, once a project creator have started a project on ToGather.Asia, a dedicated URL will be created, allowing project creators to post the weblink in emails and on their own websites or blogs.

Secondly, project creators can use the social networking sharing functions to broadcast their projects to their friends, fans and customers on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

Lastly, the platform also provides an efficient two-way communication between the project creators and their funders. Funders can send private messages to project creators and comment on their projects. Whereas, project creators can notify all their funders about their latest happenings through an Updates page. Furthermore, funders or potential funders who have subscribed to a project will receive an email when the project has a new update or when the project campaign is ending.

Will there be room for music projects?
Definitely! In fact, our team believes that music projects have one of the highest chances of successful funding and will make up a considerable percentage of all projects posted on ToGather.Asia.

What are your expectations regarding this creative industry?
I am hopeful of the creative and music industries in Asia. These industries used to be larger in Western regions, however we have seen a stark rising trend in the music and creative scene in Asia just over the past few years.

How do you see ToGather.Asia in 3 years for the Asian audience? And for the bands and artists?
In 3 years, we will strive hard to make ToGather.Asia the preferred crowdfunding platform for projects in Asia. We have plans of organizing yearly events to celebrate the success, to showcase and to share the successful stories of projects which were crowdfunded on our platform. Expect more features and services to be added during this period as well.

I am personally very excited about crowdfunding for bands and artists. In the near future, I hope that ToGather.Asia will be able to work closer with indie bands and artists from Asia and to bring them to the rest of the world.

Thank you Bryan!


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