Yahoo! News

As record labels embrace new platforms to create direct-to-fan releases, they’re changing how the industry thinks of websites usually associated with unsigned or emerging artists. Two recent examples stand out. Pledge Music and are the two leading online fundraising websites that allow fans to help finance new projects. The fan-funded release of albums is hardly a new idea. But new platforms like Kickstarter and Pledge, both launched last year, are helping expand the fan-funded model beyond the early adopters and do-it-yourself crowd. Kickstarter offers artists and fans a conditional purchasing system under which an artist establishes a fund-raising goal for a project and then solicits contribution pledges. The artist collects the funds and manufactures a product only if the goal is reached. By the end of its first year, the site had raised $1.5 million and logged its 1,000th successfully funded project. It acts only as a fund-raising platform and leaves the marketing of projects to artists. London-based Pledge takes a somewhat different approach. Whereas Kickstarter focuses exclusively on raising funds, Pledge chooses its campaigns and works with the artist and label to set and reach realistic targets, according to founder Benji Rogers. Rogers says 41 have met their goals, 70 projects are under way, and 300 campaigns are waiting for approval. Ultimately, these companies can be important sources for labels wary of risking resources on certain projects. Kill Rock Stars’ Sabin says her label isn’t abandoning its role of finding and developing talent. Instead, it’s using these fund-raising platforms for projects it wouldn’t otherwise pursue.


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