With crowdfunding, as with any investment, you get a return. However, rather than a financial return, what you’re most likely to gain is a creative product, be it a book, play, performance or CD.
On the other hand, unlike with a financial product, you know exactly what you’re getting for your money as those who are doing the crowdfunding have to be upfront about what they can offer.
You’re involving your audience not only in concert, but also in advance, and to make them aware that they have a responsibility for the music to happen”
Hans Huyssen The Cape Consort.
For instance, for an investment of 50 rand the Cape Consort will put your name on their website. Meanwhile, for 20,000 rand you can get four tickets to one of their performances, signed programmes, and an exclusive private concert among other things.
But can online crowdfunding work in a country where so many people don’t have access to the internet?
Media analyst Arthur Goldstuck says it is already working, adding that while the digital divide may not be an issue, there are challenges.
“Those who have the means to participate in crowdfunding wouldn’t really be the ‘have-nots’, so in South Africa the ‘haves’ have relatively good internet access… so that really isn’t the constraint,” Mr Goldstuck says.
“The constraint is more around trust of the crowdfunding model and the essence of crowdfunding is you have to hype up your product and create enthusiasm for it and that’s not how investors like to be drawn into an investment opportunity.”
‘Funds with benefits’
Thundafund’s Patrick Schofield also believes that the crowdfunding model can be an ideological tool that can bring about change.
He calls crowdfunding “funds with benefits” and says it “allows us to make the world as we would like it”.
If the audience supports an idea online, the idea will come to life; if there’s no support, there’s no execution. This allows an interactive audience to dictate what they want to see in the creative arts arena by supporting it.
As Hans Huyssen, from the Cape Consort, says, “music is not something that relies on musicians only.
“I mean we can rehearse and perform, but unless somebody hears what we do, the musical experience doesn’t happen.
“So you’re involving your audience not only in concert, but also in advance, and to make them aware that they have a responsibility for the music to happen.”