With no precedents for these artistes to follow, there’s a collective discouragement for anyone who would be brave enough to chase that route.
Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people, today often performed via Internet-mediated registries, but the concept can also be executed through mail-order subscriptions, benefit events, and other methods. Crowdfunding is a form of alternative finance, which has emerged outside of the traditional financial system.
The crowdfunding model is based on three types of actors: the project initiator who proposes the idea and/or project to be funded, individuals or groups who support the idea, and a moderating organization (the "platform") that brings the parties together to launch the idea.
Basically, it’s begging for a noble cause that’s bigger than the receiver of the funding. In music, a number of examples stand out from singers and bands. Many DIY musicians have turned to crowdfunding to raise money and build a community of fans in support of upcoming albums, tours, recording projects, and more.
We Nigerians collectively hate begging in every form. From the guy who is down on his luck and has to ask for help, to the neighbor who just suffered a misfortune and needs a necessary injection of cash from friends to tide him over, we hate to beg. This is all personal and society enforced. The Nigerian society is one of egos and materialism. It values the concept of respect, the opinion of others and the feeling of superiority that being in an advantaged position provides.
Begging isn’t just our thing.
But the music industry needs this, with plenty of our artistes and talents stifled under the weight of poverty and a lack of funding for their projects. This has in many ways dictated the state of the music we consume. Artistes with alternative genre sounds have had to rely on budget campaigns and projects to get their word out, resulting in very little promotion for the products of art.
There are two principal reasons why Nigerian artistes don’t crowdfund. There’s no question of a system not being in place for the realization of funding. We have seen it work countless times in the health sector, and recently in the sporting departments.
The first is the pride: we are intrinsically proud people in a society that conditions us to be so. This can be a blessing and a curse. On the positive, it is the root cause of our tremendous hustling spirit, which has made many of our countrymen rise above their stations in life.
But it can also be a hindrance to seek true help when it is needed. These artistes unable to create art due to a lack of funds, is a dire situation that crowdfunding can sort. Why not beg total strangers for help instead of living with a lifetime of regrets and wondering what would have been?
No. We have pride.
The other chief reason for the lack of crowdfunding utilization is the fear that the appeal for cash will not be considered serious and will be met with derision from all quarters. Clear examples of cases where crowdfunding has helped are in the curation or management of life-threatening health issues. Take the controversial Mayowa Ahmed’s case, or the late OJB’s call for help.
History is littered with numerous examples of has-been celebrities who have fallen on hard times, and needed public intervention for help. Artistes are yet to go past the mental limitation that Nigerians will not consider the plea to make art, compelling enough to make them part with their cash. But nobody has ever sold their dream to Nigerians in a structured way, via a platform, with detailed explanation and accounting on how the potential money raised will be spent.
With no precedents for these artistes to follow, there’s a collective discouragement for anyone who would be brave enough to chase that route. Who would bell this menacing cat?