You might be wondering why I'm choosing to use the term "fanfunding" instead of "crowdfunding," the more common term you may have heard. Well, it's because my fans are awesome! They know me and my lyrics and music. Many of them have tuned in to hear weekly, online concerts, have become what we call our "online family." People support that which they know and feel they have a connection. You are not part of a faceless crowd, you're fans and family. That's why I call it "fanfunding."
So, why $12,000? My project is on the smaller side. While $12,000 is a sizeable amount of money, and I don't think lightly of the responsibility it places on me to create a quality product in return for fan contributions, the dollar amount is also pretty manageable. This allows me to reach out to people who are interested in, and familiar with, my work and not so much to the general public.
Furthermore, you might be questioning why I'm not using one of the well-known crowdfunding sites that are so popular these days. The reason is three-fold. First, many crowdfunding projects need the goal to be met within a defined timeframe before the artist can collect the pledges. It's all or nothing. That can slow things down on the recording and production end of things, which is not ideal. With fanfunding, the project funds can be used on a rolling basis. Second, crowdfunding platforms take 8-15% of the collected funds. Wait...8-15%? Yep! That a lot! Instead, I'm electing to keep contributions between my fans and me with no middleman. That allows me to put 100% of the pledges toward the music I want to create for my audience. It also provides contributors the knowledge that their money isn't going, in part, to support some faceless, crowdfunding platform. All of the contributions toward Whispers from the Woods, for which I am extremely grateful, go toward the new record, and the contributing supporters and fans become partners in the creative process with me. Third, many crowdfunding platforms do not pay out unless the goal is completely met. This means an artist could find him/herself 10% short of their goal and receive non of the pledge money at all, which could bring recording to a grinding halt.
Recording, mixing, producing, mastering, promotion, pressing... It's more than most indie artists can absorb, especially in this age of streaming when artists get an average payout of...wait for it...a whopping $0.004 per stream! Let's say a song gets 100K streams. That means the artist only sees $400! Seriously, there is very little profit to be made in record sales and airplay these days. We are far away from the time when records were king. Now, any money to be made at all in music is in live performance, not in music sales.
All of this points to why fanfunding is so important to indie artists. It's a relationship between the artist and the fans. While it's nice to have a record company support and back an artist financially, that only happens to a small minority of artists. For the vast majority of us, keeping things between an artist and the fans is what keep us going, keeps the music alive, and is, I believe, much more personal and meaningful.