I honestly think browsing crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter or Indiegogo is one of the best ways to find out about new musical projects and incredibly interesting artists who you would never have heard of before. It certainly brings me a ton of joy to see all the incredibly creative ideas musicians all over the world have, and watch them do everything they can to realize those ideas — including asking complete strangers if they’d like to help.
Whether you’re looking to help a friend or family member reach their goals — releasing an album, touring the world, or finally finish building out that home studio — or whether you’re more interested in contributing to community-building projects in the music industry, crowdfunding is a powerful way to give and get a lot back in return. Today I’ve chosen six crowdfunding campaigns open to the public right now that have won us over with their story, their unique edge, or their understated brilliance. Which one are you going to support?
If you’re a musician with a project you’d like to get funded, check out Soundfly’s free course, Crowdfunding for Musicians, for tips, strategies, and inspiration.
This Could Go Boom! Records
∇ Washington DC
Hey how ’bout this crazy idea? A record label focused on promoting gender, race, and sexual orientation EQUALITY.
The world needs more non-profit record labels, first of all. Second of all, this non-profit label, founded by members of the DC rock band, The OSYX, seeks to use their publishing and promotional platform to bolster the community of artists and bands who have been marginalized by an industry that has, since its inception, been dominated by heterosexual and largely male performers. Through curating, creating, publishing, promoting, and distributing the musical work of under-represented, diverse peoples, This Could Go Boom! is making equal representation the new normal over the airwaves, online, at music festivals, and in positions of power and influence throughout the musical landscape. They just need a little help to kickstart their journey.
Check out more on TCGB!’s campaign.
Recording Composer Dame Ethel Smyth’s Masterpiece
∇ New York City, New York
Dame Ethel Smyth was the first woman to have an opera performed at The Met in 1903. The second was in 2016. Even today, only 4% of the music performed by orchestras worldwide is written by female composers. New York’s Experiential Orchestra hopes to change that by creating a culture in the classical music sphere that values orchestral music written by women on its own terms.
Their newest project, to create the world’s first ever commercial recording of Ethel Smyth’s final masterpiece, The Prison, is a major step in that direction. Smyth is perhaps best known for writing what would become the anthem of the Suffragette Movement, a piece called “March of the Women.” But despite her limited compositional output, due largely to the gender discrimination she experienced in her career, her final work shows maturity and singularity in style. The Prison is a large-scale piece for full orchestra, chorus, and two soloists, which lasts over an hour, and it’s never been recorded. You can have a hand in this recording coming together.
Check out more on The Experiential Orchestra’s campaign.
Olive: Next-Gen Hearing Aid with a Social Mission
∇ Seoul, South Korea
The Olive is a human-centric piece of technology, affordable hearing for all. Because of the financial barriers (decent hearing aids cost, on average about $4,400) and the negative social perception of wearing hearing aids, many who are hard-of-hearing simply give up on hearing perfectly. The team behind the Olive overcomes both of these barriers with a cost-effective, technologically advanced product that also looks nicer than your average iPhone earbuds, so as to create an experience of wearing an accessory, as opposed to a medical device.
Their campaign seeks financial assistance in their development phase, but also R&D participation. So if you’re hard-of-hearing, or have experienced hearing loss of any kind, get in touch with them to test out their product and offer your thoughts!
Check out more on The Olive’s campaign.
Lakou Mizik Album Fundraiser: Haiti Meets New Orleans
∇ New Orleans, Louisiana
Lakou Mizik is one of Port-au-Prince’s most important bands. In a decade that has seen economic despair and humanitarian crises stemming from immense natural disasters on the island of Haiti, culture is one of the things needed the most in order to bring joy back to a fractured nation. Similarly, New Orleans has seen its share of ups and downs and yet continues to battle back on the strength of its cultural vibrancy.
Lakou Mizik has traveled to this city to work with its best jazz artists and instrumentalists, as well as producers and engineers, to rewrite the cultural connections of these sister cities in song. It’s an ambitious project, and from the looks of it, they’ve already done a significant amount of the hard work to compose and rearchitect the music of their homeland to make space for new world Creole-inspired ideas. We’re super excited to see how this album turns out!
Check out more on Lakou Mizik’s campaign.
Echoes of Sophiatown
∇ Cape Town, South Africa
Not many people know that South Africa had its own swing dancing and jazz music scene between the 1930s and ’50s, but that’s not because the music and culture didn’t influence a wide community of people, it’s because the Apartheid government that came to power in 1948 systemically destroyed this culture and almost every artifact to have come from it.
Sophiatown, a suburb of Johannesburg, was one of the hubs of South African swing music, and black African culture, and while tons of music and historical records of this time and place have been lost, an important few remain. This crowdfunding project, helmed by a modern swing dancing organization called Cape Town Swing, aims to revive these relics and retell the history of this cultural movement before it’s lost forever, by rereleasing the remaining songs they’ve been able to find from the period, and transcribing the music so others can play and enjoy it.
Check out more on Cape Town Swing’s campaign.
Big Band Revival: Lionel Hampton Transcription
∇ Asheville, North Carolina
If you love big band swing music from the 1930s and ’40s, well this is your day, I guess! Here comes another heritage project, this time by the likely candidates over at Big Band Revival, who have a history of this kind of thing. They’re on a mission to bring more accurate, easy-to-read charts from some of the era’s greatest stars into existence, since so much of the music in this era was either never written down, lost, or just simply incorrect. Thus, if you’re a big band today, it’s actually incredibly difficult to get accurate charts of the most classic songs from that era.
Big Band Revival has already undertaken projects to revive the chart music of artists like Chick Webb and Jimmie Lunceford, and now they’re tackling the catalog of the great vibraphonist and band leader Lionel Hampton. The resurgence of swing music in America has proven that it’s a genre that will never go out of style, so help bring back the timeless classics from the great era of swing with one of these campaigns.
Check out more on Big Band Revival’s campaign.
Learn how to crowdfund like a pro with Soundfly! Check out our free course, Crowdfunding for Musicians, and learn how to raise money while developing your core fan community and sharing your unique story with the world.