The web and social media have made it possible for artists to connect directly with their fans on a scale far beyond what was possible before the digital era. It’s also given them the freedom to release the kind of music that means the most to them without having to go through record labels as gatekeepers.
One of my favorite ways some artists are connecting with fans is through websites like PledgeMusic. These fundraising sites allow artists to essentially take pre-orders on their albums to help pay for the cost of recording and releasing them. Usually, there are multiple levels of funding available for project backers, with rewards ranging from advance digital downloads, signed CDs or vinyl, and t-shirts, to getting your name in the album credits or a private in-home concert.
I’ve never pledged at a level high enough to have a concert in my living room, but I do have an assortment of autographed CDs I’ve received for my support over the past few years. Today, I pledged on the upcoming Joan Osborne album of Bob Dylan covers. Her version of “Man In The Long Black Coat” is a bigger highlight on her 1995 album “Relish” than the hit “One Of Us.” I’m excited to hear what songs she’ll include in this album length tribute.
If you’re a fan of Joan, I encourage you to pledge, too. If not, it’s still worth taking a look around the PledgeMusic site to see what other artists are working on. You may find a forgotten favorite is planning something new… and you could be one of the first to hear it!