Thursday, 29 November 2012

Help Write the Next Crowdfunding Book

Crowdfunding is taking hold in the UK rapidly with more organisations using it for commercial and charitable purposes, finding a lifeline where traditional forms of funding and investment are not available. Plans for a new book about crowdfunding have been announced by Modwenna Rees-Mogg, founder and CEO of Angel News, one of Europe's leading news service for the investment market. Research is currently underway and Modwenna is calling on anyone involved in crowdfunding to take part in a survey that will help shape the book.

Angel News was founded by Modwenna in 2003 initially as a hobby project. The idea came about after having identified a gap in the provision of investment news, specifically information about companies involved in funding rounds which left investors with little knowledge on the progress of their investments. Since then it has grown into a leading provider of information on over 1,800 rapidly growing businesses, as well as promoting investment opportunities to its network of angel investors and venture capitalists. Angel News also holds events every two months on hot topics surrounding the investment culture including exit strategies, as well as preparing the perfect pitch. 

The survey is aimed at those who are or have been involved in crowdfunding, specifically project owners, crowdfunding service providers or platforms, and investors who have donated to projects. To take part and help shape a potentially insightful and informative UK publication on crowdfunding, click on the following links;
Early participants could be in with a chance of winning a free copy of the book with around 150 to be awarded, that is fifty copies to the first fifty people who take part in the surveys. The book is as yet untitled and currently undergoing research. It is however billed as being a book written by the crowd for the crowd.

Image Credit; Alex E Proimos

Saturday, 17 November 2012

UK Artist Aims for Third Crowdfunded Album Success

Acclaimed British musician and artist Tallulah Rendall is once again looking to crowdfunding to help produce her latest album. Having enjoyed crowdfunding success with her first two albums, the latest entitled "The Banshee and The Moon" looks set to follow in their success. Unlike other artists, who use crowdfunding platforms,Tallulah is raising the funds needed directly through her website, offering supporters a plethora of rewards including an invitation to a one off studio recording session in which the crowd can not only watch but also participate in the recording process.

London born Tallulah is the daughter of John Rendall, famous for buying a lion cub from Harrods in 1969 then releasing it into the wild, and high profile Marketing & PR consultant and author Liz Brewer. Tallulah is a graduate of Manchester University with an honours degree in Latin American Combined Studies, American Liturature and Film. In 2006 she used crowdfuding to finance her first EP "Without Time", which was released to critical acclaim. Following on from that success, Tallulah once again took to crowdfunding this time her first album "Libellus in 2009". Unlike digital downloads and standard CD compilations, "Libellus" was released with a seven inch hardback book featuring an assortment of photographs and artwork by various artists. This set the format for her subsequent crowdfunded 2010 album "Alive". Tallulah's work has earned praise from the likes of musician Jools Holland and prominent newspapers such as the Evening Standard and Daily Mail. 

"The Banshee and the Moon", Tallulah's third album will be produced by Danton Supple who has worked with Coldplay, Kylie Minogue and Amy MaDonald. Crowdfunding once again will play a big role in financing Tallulah's latest album, however unlike other artists, she will be using her own website through which supporters can pledge their donations. The use of her own website means that no extra funds are needed to cover percentage costs levied by crowdfunding platforms. This leaves all the money raised to be spent on producing the album, which will not only be presented in hardback but feature Tallulah's own artwork and short stories. She is looking to raise £18,000 by the end of the month and to date has already reached 50% of her funding target. 
A third album is more expensive as new levels are reached and aspired to. To keep the costs realistic we decided, having firmly established the trust and the relationships, and proved herself as an artist, with stamina and commitment, we would keep the amount needed relatively the same by not raising a percentage in commission required by a site. - Melanie Gow, Manager and Mobile Photographer
In return for their donations, starting from as little as £10, supporters will receive a variety of rewards including various limited edition merchandise as well as digital copies and even signed limited editions of the album itself. For those who are able to donate significant sums supporters will be rewarded with an acoustic performance by Tallulah for £750 either at their home or venue of choosing, a concert at any chosen venue (£1,500), or even a song written for those who pledge £2,000. As well as funding, Tallulah is inviting supporters to pledge £100 for which they will be rewarded with a ticket only invitation. The studio event will offer ticket holders an opportunity to see how music is recorded in all it's maddening wonder. Supporters can simply observe and learn or participate in a recording. The event will be held on 17th December 2012 by which time Tallulah and her crew should be midway through recording and will be happy to provide an update on the project.

Since her debut EP Tallulah has been hailed as a performer who breaks boundaries which is evident in both her artwork and music. Through crowdfunding, she has not only succeeded in getting her work out to audiences without going through the conventional recording and studio companies, but has engaged her audience through the collaborative power of crowdfunding allowing them to be more than just listeners. For more information on the project and how to make a donation click here to visit the site. 

Image Credit; Melanie Gow  

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

ImageBrief Campaign Crowdsources Unseen Images

The latest campaign from crowdsourced image provider, ImageBrief, takes a different route in the search for numerous and unique quality images. To launch the campaign, a short film entitled "The Lost" was made to inspire photographers to search through their catalogue for lost or forgotten images and allow them to be found and made available for all to enjoy.

The campaign was devised by Whybin/TBWA Auckland in partnership with the production talent of Flying Fish. The short film premiered at the New York Photo Festival which also marked the launch of ImageBrief's US operations. According to ImageBrief, approximately 12.5 million photographers around the world have captured over 60 billion images, many of which have been filed away and possibly lost or forgotten. 
"This is a visual, inspirational film that was carefully crafted to appeal to our highly visual target audience – photographers. One of the key drivers for the success of this business is the quality of the photographer base we recruit; hence this campaign is a key element in our overall marketing strategy.” - Stephen Pearson, Marketing Director, ImageBrief

The film looks to increase ImageBrief's community of talented photographers to meet the demands of its increasing image buying customer base, and is an indication of how the platform continues to challenge conventional web based image providers. As well as providing its customer based with an extensive crowd of talented photographers and a vast array of images, ImageBrief also allows photographers to earn a living selling their images to high profile clients. For more information visit the ImageBrief website.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Success for the Manchester Crowdfunding Workshop

The Crowfunding Workshop held in Manchester on February 2nd 2012 was organised by Anne Strachan to fully inform and arm delegates from a variety of sectors about the rise of crowdfunding in the UK as an alternative source of funding projects.  Primarily the focus of the workshop was to explore how crowdfunding could benefit the third sector. Of the twenty plus delegates only three (including me - ed), fully understood what crowdfunding entailed. The remaining delegates, only heard of it in passing but wanted to know more, and Anne's workshop took on the challenge of providing those answers to a sold out gathering.

Anne Strachan has worked for over 20 years as a trainer and fundraiser within the third sector. At a time when she has seen the effects of government austerity measures, Anne has become passionate about crowdfunding and the potential it has to offer, which she conveys through her own website CrowdfundUK . It's goal is to "promote crowdfunding to build community and raise funds for social enterprises, charities, creative organisations and community groups". The workshop, possibly the first of many, was designed as an extension of this goal. 

Through a series of slide show presentations, Q&A sessions, group exercises, and videos, Anne covered every aspect of crowdfunding starting with the overall principle to the intricacies of the all important pitch. There were the usual practical considerations such as choosing the right platform (as some tend to specialise) and preparation. In calculating the budget, it was stressed that all costs must be factored in such as the percentage taken by the platform as well as the cost of the rewards offered to investors. When preparing the pitch many fundamental aspects were considered in detail including;

  • how to sell the project and the people behind it - consider the use of videos
  • building a network of contacts
  • set up and using social media and attracting followers.
  • designing the right rewards.
  • length of the campaign (essential to be available while it is active)
  • post launch promotion and contact.

The workshop identified key influencing factors in a successful crowdfunding campaign following its launch; 

  • Regular contact with potential investors. Anne's message was clear; "You must be thankful to people who donate". Thanking investors as they pledge support, and providing regular updates could prove pivotal in attracting more donations making passionate supporters from investors who will encourage others to donate. 

  • Quality of the rewards. Even for a nominal sum of £10, the quality of the rewards can make all the difference in getting people to part with their money. The project owner's "eternal thanks" for example, is likely to discourage investors whereas a personalised acknowledgement, be it a handwritten card, or a person's name emboldened clearly in the finished project would be more enticing. Personalised merchandise, as well as some sort of involvement should also be considered.

Crowdfunding provides a means of raising funds at a time when the recession is hitting us all. It's increasing popularity is evident when you consider that "crowdfunding" attracted over 50,000 hits through search engines. Anne was adamant however that crowdfunding was more than just about the money, but as a means of allowing people to participate, have shared ownership and build something they care about. 

There was no doubt, Anne's workshop was a success, and much ground was covered. By the end of the day, there was much excitement abound and those with little or no knowledge of crowdfunding, already had ideas as to how they could use it for their organisation. The session was fun filled and informative, even for the Gazette, which gained a perspective not easily sought from the comfort of a laptop. 

For more information you can follow Anne on Twitter @crowdfunduk.

Image Credits; Comedy Nose

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Afrika Bambaataa - A Hip Hop Zulu Warrior

Afrika Bambaataa was the creative force behind the rise of Electro Funk music, modern R&B and of course Hip Hop and one of the first DJ’s to sign a recording contract and release Hip Hop music commercially. Despite his material having never made it to respectable places in the hit parades of the day, it helped to spread the growing hip hop subculture around the world. Bambaataa was also a musician with a message, of peace, unity, tolerance and acceptance which he conveys through his Universal Zulu nation. As a teenager, Bambaataa was more than just my musical influence but helped to shape my philosophical beliefs.

Friday, 6 January 2012

[Interview] Indie Film Makers Share Crowdfunding Success

Recently two independent film makers have enjoyed the benefits of crowdfunding giants Kickstarter and IndieGoGo in a bid to see their projects reach completion. Actor, screenwriter, and director Jayce Bartok raised $20,000 to continue filming his drama Tiny Dancer through IndieGoGo, whilst Andrew Berends, thanks to Kickstarter raised $16,000 to complete his project Delta Boys. 

The two film makers were recently interviewed by New York based creative digital agency Flightpath. Here they share their experiences of how the process empowered them yet presented its fair share of challenges;

Jayce Bartok: It was the hardest thing we’ve ever done. For those 60 days, it was just insane.
Andy Berends: Yeah. It’s awesome in a lot of respects, but I wouldn’t call it fun. For me, the first thing was you have to pretty much put aside your pride. 
For the full interview please click here.

Image Credit; Tahmid Munazâ„¢

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Crowdsourcing and Collaboration Help Make Sweet Music Success

A new platform has been launched that will enable musicians and songwriters to collaborate on creating fun and original music thanks to the far reaching power of crowdsourcing. RecordTogether brings musical talent together to create new songs that is cost effective, and rewards contributors for their work.