Friday 12 August 2011

Can Microfundo Save the Economy Through Crowdfunding Music?

The global financial crisis shows no signs of improving and many services that rely on government finding are finding themselves on the receiving end of imposed austerity measures. In particular arts and culture programs are losing funds thus leading to unemployment. In such dire times when people are spending less the question is how can the economy recover? Microfundo, a crowdfunding platform for artists and arts organisations offers a solution.At a time when the US and European economies are failing, other parts of the world are more prosperous, like Brazil for example. 

Brazil has seen prosperity in technology, blue chip investments but in particular local arts and music. Microfundo has taken inspiration from how Brazilian musicians promote their work, a highly organised system in which street vendors sell recordings of artists work and promote their upcoming performances. The vendors keep any money made from sales and the artists keep any net profit from the shows, which usually sell out filling venues with a crowd capacity of 4000 to 5000 music lovers. 

Microfundo recently formed a partnership with musicians Kim Taylor and Todd Thibaud to benefit the US city of Boston's famous non profit  performing arts venue, Club Passim. The artists made two exclusive EP albums available for download, ahead of their performances at the club on 2nd August 2011, with fans deciding how much they want to pay for the recordings. The vendors consisted of anyone who helped increase sales and awareness sharing links to the music on Facebook. Vendors who secured sufficient "Likes"  were offered free tickets to the shows. Sales from the recordings were donated to Club Passim whilst sales from the shows were retained by the performers. 

The project proved successful with Kim Taylor's music raising over $230 (£143) for Club Passima, with 25 people having downloaded her album at a rate of $9.20 (£5.70) per album. The performance sold out which for Club Passima is impressive given that it is a 100 seat capacity venue. Whilst the figures might not seem explosive for one night it was a success and represents the potential this model presents. In Brazil it has contributed to the country's economic recovery, a country with pockets of extreme poverty. 

With so many arts and cultural programs losing the support of their government Microfundo offers a viable self sustaining alternative that could fill the void left by public spending cuts and even provide an alternative model for a whole new way of conducting business.Further information about this project can be found by clicking here.

Image Credit; First Daffodils

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