It’s probably safe to say that jazz isn’t a lucrative art form (unless you are Wynton Marsalis). And given these difficult economic times, it’s rarely been more difficult to make a living playing, recording or basically just getting jazz out into the world.
Enter Kickstarter. Billed as “the world's largest funding platform for creative projects,” it crowdfunds everything from really big paintings (The Colossi) to infusion vessels (The Porthole).
Didn’t know there were such things as infusion vessels, let alone infusion vessels seeking $28,500 in funding (all funds in U.S. dollars)? Well, as of Aug. 8 on Kickstarter, $65,985 had been pledged. Clearly, a lot of people want to infuse.
Jazz musicians have taken note, mostly in the U.S., since it’s complicated to get Kickstarter funding otherwise. And there are any number of jazz projects seeking funding, or having been funded this way. But as Howard Mandel points out in his blog Jazz Beyond Jazz, ”Kickstarter started as an alternative way to connect with venture capital, not meant to be a funding end-in-itself but rather to launch things that would eventually be self-supporting.”
Kickstarter or similar crowdfunding projects are obviously no way to finance a career, despite the many “Fund my jazz album, please" appeals on the website. Where it makes most sense is for unique projects. (Full disclosure and personal plug: I make a brief appearance in a film about the guitarist John Fahey, funded in part by Kickstarter.)
Crowdfunding, in my opinion, isn’t a solution to the ongoing struggle to create some of the most expressive music in the world – jazz – and get paid for it. Still, there are some very interesting jazz projects that have been crowdfunded, and here is a quick look at some of them.
1. The story of Jazz in India
2. Search and Restore: Devoted to "expanding and sustaining the live jazz audience in New York and beyond."
3. Pat Metheny – The Jim Hall Live! Project (ArtistShare)
4. Peace Old Jazz Band: World's oldest band
5. Charles Mingus jazz documentary: "Mingus on Mingus"
Vijay Iyer calls Banff jazz workshop ‘crucible for creativity’
A kickstart to raising funds on Kickstarter
on Aug 14, 2012