No Label, No Problem as ‘Idol’ Alums Turn to Kickstarter (and Fans) to Fund Their Music

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(From Billboard Biz, October 10, 2013) Imagine if there was a way for artists and fans to work together to create the artist’s next album. Now imagine musicians being able to connect with fans on a personal level offering private concerts, dinner dates, lunch parties, a phone call, and more as rewards.  Artists are now, more than ever, choosing to use crowd-funding sites to finance their independent musical projects making both of these imaginations a reality. Nationally known American Idol alums are one group of musicians who are using Kickstarter, a crowdfunding source, to their benefit.

Siobhan Magnus from season 9, Jacqueline Rose from season 11, Bo Bice from season 4, and Scott MacIntyre from season 8 all have two things in common; first, they can proudly call themselves ‘Idol’ alums. Secondly, they are all musicians that have used Kickstarter to reach out to their fans for help with funding their musical projects.

Kickstarter allows individuals to raise money for a cause while giving fans a platform with which to connect to their favorite artists. Meanwhile, Kickstarter is not limited to just musicians but also includes artists, directors, writers, producers, visionaries, and more. Fans pledge a certain amount to the cause and often receive incentives to do so. Erika Van Pelt, a top 10 finalist on season 10, offered private lunch as a reward to whichever individual pledged $500 to her cause; Scott MacIntyre, a top 10 finalist on season 8, promised a private concert to whichever person pledged $10,000 to his cause.

“I’m one of those types of people who hate asking for anything. It’s an Irish pride kind of thing and when my producer approached me about doing Kickstarter I said no. But he started to explain it to me that people get rewards so it’s not a charity,” Van Pelt says.

“Kickstarter and other similar crowd-funding platforms could be the way of the future when it comes to music. Artists are able to connect more intimately than ever before with their fans through social media, and I see Kickstarter as a logical extension of that concept,” MacIntyre says. “It allows fans to be a part of the album creation process from the ground up.”

Several American Idol alums’ goals have been matched by those contributing to the cause; Van Pelt’s goal was $20,000, and she was pledged over that amount at $20,471. MacIntyre’s goal was $25,000, and so far $27,500 had been pledged with his campaign still ongoing.