I can't recall if I've mentioned it before but I'm a big Ginger Wildheart fan
Like, courtesy of Big's podcast connections I once got to tag along to a interview with him, which meant I got to meet the guy and I was a total gibbering idiot. That kind of huge.
Now I know the Wildhearts are not exactly a household name. They got a little somewhere in the nineties, but between 'naughty' lyrics, an unwillingness to compromise, drug addictions and fallings out, they never quite managed to hit it as big as they deserved to. But if you take the time to seek out their stuff, it's sooo worth it. Frontman and driving force of the band is Ginger and even when he's not working with a line up under the Wildhearts name, he is always working and puts out an incredible amount of material every year. He tours at least twice year too. One year he did an acoustic tour followed by a full electric tour where he was in the support band as well. And if I remember right he was in at least one other band at the time as well. Phenomenal musician, phenomenal work ethic. And funny too, as Geordies so often are.
This time last year, Ginger experimented with that new way of funding arts projects, crowd sourcing. Using the Pledge Music website, he launched a drive to fund his new, at the time untitled, album. Going by the recommendation of the site and the experience of other artists, he set a 60 day time limit to attract the minimum required funding. He hit target within 6 hours. That is how great his fanbase is.
In the end, we all got a triple album, either in MP3 format, CD or vinyl or special fancy edition in accordance with what we pledged to buy. Then we got to nominate our favourite tracks to go on to the commercial, single album release. The triple was called 555%, to reflect how many pledges were raised at the point they decided to close pledging. The single album was called 100% . It was just released recently and there were a few articles in the music press expressing surprise at this 'unknown' artist breaking records and successfully utilising a new way of producing music.
Tonight, he's having another go. It launched at 7pm and when I went to log in the site was crashing and they had to throw a heap of other servers behind it to cope with demand. It took me fully 50mins to successfully get my own pledge in. It's now 8:30pm and having just checked, it's at 99% of target!
That is incredible.
I know Amanda Palmer has also become a big fan of crowd sourcing through Kickstarter and I really have great hopes of it as a way forward for getting honest music out there. If the record companies won't support real musicians then we'll do it ourselves.
You can be a part of the Mutation Pledge campaign by following this link