Joining the growing ranks of musical crowdfunders, it has emerged that the five-time Grammy award winning girl group TLC are crowdfunding their next (and very last) album. Going live with their Kickstarter campaign on 19 January 2015, TLC are looking to raise $150,000 to fund “great music that touches everyone”. We have seen crowdfunding fast became the financing arsenal of choice for many non-mainstream / “indie” artists and the take up (and go) of this financing option by the more mainstream pop culture is very much indicative of the wider crowdfunding trends whereby crowdfunding as a concept has moved on from being an ‘alternative’ funding option to a ‘mainstream’ option for all.
TLC, like many crowdfunding musicians, are relying on a form of crowdfunding known as ‘reward based’ (or ‘donation based’) crowdfunding. After determining the amount of money that needs to be raised for the project, the crowdfunder sets up suggested donation amounts, attached to which will be a specific reward or incentive. The rewards and incentives are ‘perked up’ as donations escalate and top the various set donation thresholds. It has been reported that TLC are offering (amongst other perks) cinema visits and photo shoots (with the band of course). Given that it has emerged that the band have so far raised over a third of their target in a matter of days, it would appear that they are ‘creeping’ healthily towards their very last musical bequest.
Reward based crowdfunding is not the only option for fundraisers, equity crowdfunding and debt crowdfunding (or peer to peer lending) can also be considered. Equity crowdfunding involves people investing in an opportunity in exchange for equity (shares) in a company, or a small stake in a business / project or venture. Debt crowdfunding / peer to peer lending allows for the lending of money via platforms, with investors receiving their money back with interest. Like reward based crowdfunding, equity and debt crowdfunding are shaking off an image of being a lender of last resort and are fast becoming normalised financing options in the business world; an option which, particularly for new start ups or people wanting to fund ad hoc projects, may enable the chasing of those ‘waterfalls’ which the banks (and other more traditional funding lines) refuse.