Working the power of the crowd

Candice Lopez-quimpo
Artiste Connect works as a funding platform for Filipino artists

MANILA, Philippines – The concept of crowdfunding isn’t entirely new. It follows a history of alternative funding models for those who, for one reason or another, need to find another way to finance a project or business without borrowing from traditional lending institutions, like a bank.

Let’s break it down.

Crowdfunding literally means that a large group of people provide capital for a venture or a beneficiary. Most of the time, these take the form of solicitations and sponsorships from stakeholders who believe in the venture in focus. These investments are usually small amounts, with the idea that adding them all up will amount to the required capital identified.

Crowdfunding’s viability stems from a couple of things: the evolution of online transactions that has made it supremely simple for anyone to securely send money from anywhere in the world, and the small amount required from potential stakeholders to participate in the process.

It’s a manner of business that requires a little stretch outside the traditional zone. It’s progressive, it’s revolutionary, and it’s collaborative.

Untraditional methods

It’s no wonder that a number of crowdsourcing platforms are set up to support creative endeavors. The kind of thinking is right up the artist’s alley, he who has a history of busking, fundraising, and creative marketing just to get their work out.

This practice is precisely what Artiste Connect caters to. The website works as a funding platform for Filipino artists who need financing for their projects.

By utilizing online payment gateways like PayPal and online banking, Artiste Connect lets artists solicit funding in a safe, secure manner while tapping the internet’s very wide reach.

On the flipside, it allows fans and patrons to show their support in a practical way, involving them in the process and, in some cases, even given them a feeling of ownership in their favored artist’s creation process.

Artiste Connect works in very specific ways. When an artist signs up with a project, he ascertains the target amount he needs to create it and assigns a timetable to raise the money. Pledge packages are laid out, in definite amounts, which supporters can choose from.

In return, the stakeholders receive a few special things. These can range from an acknowledgement on an album sleeve, special show passes, limited edition merchandise and even the title of co-producer of a project.

These decisions are given to the artist to work out. Just like any business, finding the perfect mix of marketing and pricing come into play. Thankfully, the people of Artiste Connect are at hand for questions and some professional advice.

The Pinoy Touch

Mark Laccay, one of the co-founders of Artiste Connect, shares an astute observation.

“With Filipino artists and fans, relationships are not purely online,” he says.

“It doesn’t work purely online with them. Mas magandang pumunta ka sa gig and shake their hand. In that way they feel secure. Totoo kang tao. Hindi ka nagtatago. Wala kang tinatago. Ganun ang Filipino artist and Filipino fan. They love to mingle. Online is just an additional ting with Filipino artist,” he shares.

This insight about Filipino behavior, he claims, is what makes Artiste Connect different from other established crowd funding sites.

From any part of the process, an artist can expect the team behind the website to personally attend to their concerns: whether it’s at the start when the concept needs to be explained, or at the point when they’re signing up, or during the times when they need to promote the project they are raising funds for.

Collaborating for success

Crowdfunding, as an idea, sounds brilliant. But there are pitfalls, especially for those who assume it’s the magical answer to their dream projects.

“If you’re a band tapos you just sign up and you think it’s going to fly by itself, hindi eh, hindi magwo-work ng ganun,” says Diego Mapa, another of the site’s founders.

“You have to plug it, talk about it in your gigs, send personal emails to your friends,” he says.

Diego also insists on utilizing the access to stakeholders after they’ve pledge an amount to support a project. A thank you email, for instance, reinforces the trust they give you and also acknowledges the value of a stranger’s effort to help you pursue your dream.

In this sense, crowdfunding is another way to collaborate. Mark points out that the creative process shouldn’t stop at just putting the final product out there, it even continues with distribution, marketing and even nitty gritty details of accounting.

For a creative venture to take life, it needs to cover all the business bases as well.

Wide open for business

In one way, Artiste Connect limits itself. It focuses on creative endeavors and projects. A lot of the current projects revolve around expected artistic pursuits: music albums, films, photo exhibit.

On the other hand, the nature of projects that fit the site’s focus is quite boundless. Creativity, after all, can be implemented in many ways – whether it be a five-course sit down dinner, a motor show, a novel, or even a fundraising effort for artists in need.

Since the site has already loosened up the constraint of funding, the challenge is to fully exploit the potential with even more creative ideas, regardless of industry. Done right, crowdfunding through Artiste Connect may actually help transform pipe dreams into reality. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.