For most of history, artists with an idea for a project had to find a company or a patron willing to fund their creative endeavors. But, thanks to the Internet, artists can now see their dreams fulfilled with money from fans who believe in them.
This is the concept behind the Internet funding platform called kickstarter.com, which Ventnor singer-songwriter-pianist Anj Granieri, 29, is hoping will allow her to raise the cash needed to record a 15-song album.
Kickstarter began in 2009 and is now the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world, said Justin Kazmark, director of communications for Kickstarter. More than $100 million has been pledged by more than 1 million backers, helping more than 13,500 projects reach their funding goals.
Kickstarter combines social networking with fundraising to provide money for a broad spectrum of projects across 13 creative disciplines, including film, music, art, comics, dance, design, fashion, food, games, photography and technology. About 44 percent of projects launched on Kickstarter reach or exceed their funding goal. Projects reach their goals for a number of reasons. One key to success is having a compelling idea, Kazmark said.
"They articulate what they want to accomplish clearly. They are able to speak to the audience that they are reaching out to," Kazmark said.
Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing funding mechanism. Either the creative people receive all the money they need to make their projects by the deadline they establish, or no money changes hands. Friends and fans make pledges with a credit card tied to the Amazon Payments system. Money is pledged in advance, but no one has to give money until the campaign ends, and only if the goal is reached, Kazmark said.
Artists retain 100 percent ownership of their work, but they come up with a list of rewards people who pledge money will receive as a thank you and as an incentive to give.
On Oct. 21, Granieri launched a six-week campaign to raise money for her studio CD, "The Giant Unquiet" - The Battlefield Between Fear & Faith." As of Nov. 21, she had 103 backers, who pledged $8,710. The project will only be funded if $15,000 is pledged by 11 p.m. Dec. 8. Her campaign has 12 days left.
Granieri worked day jobs and funded her two previous CDs herself. She has performed previously in places such as Tre Figlio in Galloway Township, Fuel House Coffee Co. in Vineland, the Merion Inn in Cape May and Joseph's at the Tuscany House Hotel at Renault Winery in Egg Harbor City. This year, she made the decision to be a full-time musician. The money she makes from gigs pays for food and rent with no money leftover for recording a new album. That's why she turned to kickstarter.
It would be bliss if she is able to raise all the money she needs, Granieri said.
"What a blessing it would be. It means that all those people believe in the product and want to see it come to fruition. That's almost better than the money. That's such a huge boost to my self esteem and my music career to know that they feel that way," Granieri said.
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Fundraising and shows
Granieri performs original music free 7 to 9 p.m. Dec. 3 at Bogart's Books & Cafe, 210 North High St., Millville.