Well, not before anyone else. But the first ones to do so in the last century. Interestingly, musicians were among the first pioneers who used this method of financing. Both bands and independent artists have used it to finance their projects. But how did everything start? Today we’ll explain it.

The musicians as pioneers of crowdfunding

We can safely say that the first use of crowdfunding didn’t come from a musician. However, in the late 80s and early 90s some of the first crowdfunding “campaigns” were registered. Made nothing more and nothing less than by musical bands. From here, crowdfunding would begin to popularize slowly in the world.

Some consider that the British rock band Marillion was the first to start this trend. But others argue that the closest use of crowdfunding by a band happened earlier. In the year 1989 in Spain, by the Spanish rock band Extremoduro. They had the idea of ​​selling coupons in exchange of 1000 pesetas, with one coupon anyone could get a free copy of their first album. They raised 250,000 pesetas.

extremoduro spanish crowdfunding
Rock transgresivo (1989) was the first album of the band Extremoduro. Funded in a similar way to offering “rewards” in exchange for money in traditional crowdfunding. Source: El Dromedario Records

However, the first known case of a crowdfunding campaign as it’s known today was in 1997. Precisely with the Marillion group, who did a campaign on the Internet. Through it they made their fans contribute $60,000. So that they could make a tour in the United States. The success of this campaign was such that in later years, they financed other albums with crowdfunding.

This last event would allow the popularization of crowdfunding although at a slow pace. The truth is that many more years would pass even before the word “crowdfunding” began to be used. In previous years, the word “financing” wasn’t even that fashionable. But at the beginning of the 2000s, “crowdfunding” in Internet would begin to popularize between musicians and artists as such.

The proliferation of crowdfunding by music

Marillion’s crowdfunding campaign drew much attention at the time. This inspired artist and music producer Brian Camelio to create what’s considered to be the first crowdfunding platform in history. ArtistShare, created in 2000 and directed exclusively for musicians as such. From here, artists of the stature of Maria Schneider would begin to campaign on this platform.

In subsequent years, crowdfunding would become more popular and another platform would be born: Sellaband. Which was founded in 2006 precisely so that artists could fund their albums through fans. Here would come another crowdfunding campaign that would become slightly recognized. This time perpetuated by the Japanese garage rock band Electric Eel Shock.

electric eel shock crowdfunding pioneers
Electric Eel Shock is considered a pioneer crowdfunding band. Having managed to finance their projects through their fans. And they even created their own crowdfunding platform in 2012, called Fan-Bo.com. Source: Overdrive.ie

But curiously in 2004, two years before that campaign, this band would raise 10,000 sterling pounds. Through 100 fans who contributed money to get a lifetime membership to their guest list. Already in 2006, they launched a campaign in Sellaband and managed to raise $50,000 through their fans. They became the first campaign on this platform to raise this number quickly.

Between 2007 and 2009 crowdfunding would come to be known as we do today. Through Kickstarter and Indiegogo. But even here, musical crowdfunding wouldn’t stop being relevant. In 2012, American singer Amanda Palmer would make one of the most famous crowdfunding campaigns in the music industry. Her intention was to raise $100.00 to produce a new album and an artbook. But in the end she ended up raising $1.2 million.

Amanda Palmer Kickstarter Campaign
Theatre is Evil (2012) was Amanda Palmer’s album that she managed to finance with a campaign. Proving that the ancestral success of musical crowdfunding lies in the connection that a singer has with their fans. Source: ypoiw

In the last decades countless musical crowdfunding campaigns have been registered. From there, other sectors would begin to look at this method of financing. Allowing businesses, companies, organizations and industries to use it and even create derivatives of crowdfunding. But something is clear: musicians greatly helped to make crowdfunding known to the world.

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This is how the musicians started everything!