At a time when record labels have slashed budgets and are ever wary of investing in unproven acts (warning: there are only so many hoary old '80's hair metal acts that can be wheeled out of retirement before we need a new plan), artists are increasingly seeking innovative ways to fund albums.
From cheap home recording to government grants and seeking venture capitalist investment, there have been a variety of takes on this new challenge, some more successful than others. One of the more heartening methods, however, is a band seeking advanced funds from their own fan base, returning them a completed album and various other stages of reward upon release. I was reminded of this in the latest newsletter from Philadelphia's visceral alternative rock band Sinch.
MP3: Sinch - Tabula Rasa
Taken from the 2002 album Sinch - BUY
MP3: Sinch - Identity Theft
Taken from the 2005 album Clearing The Channel - BUY
Having been moved by the sounds - and visuals - of the band for almost 10 years, I've followed this project on and off since its inception. The band have already raised over $10,000, as shown by the widget below, which is no mean feat given the last release was 5 years ago. Of course, this means fans are eager to hear the new music, yet it can be hard for artists to continue engaging their audience over such a long period of time, let alone convince them to shell out cash before those new tunes are ready to roll.
With various levels of reward dependent on the amount donated, Sinch offer some solid incentives for added generosity. Although it remains to be seen how sustainable such a model would be if taken up by a much larger number of musicians, as an exercise in fan engagement and DIY mentality this is something to be admired.
And if it gets that new album out before the year is out, all the better.