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Indie Music Nonprofit Wants to Build a Family of Donors

By / Mar 14, 2017 (CASH Music screenshot)

CASH Music, a group focused on offering technical assistance to independent musicians in the internet age, launched a new crowdfunding effort to help fund its future. The group will be working with some well-known rock stars to support the endeavor.

If you’re into indie music, this might be just the crowdfunding campaign for you.

CASH Music—a nonprofit that offers technical services that allow musicians starting out in the industry to promote themselves and sell their music online—announced a new effort to help fund the initiative, called CASH Music Family. Donors have the option to send money to the nonprofit on a monthly or yearly basis, in a format that’s closer in design to the famed pay-what-you-want form for Radiohead’s In Rainbows than your standard Kickstarter.

The initiative offers a lot of benefits for music fans who donate—including access to a curated feed featuring famed artists such as Neko Case, Thurston Moore, Craig Finn of The Hold Steady, Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney, and Will Sheff of Okkervil River, among others. Those who spend $5 or more per month get access to the feed.

“The feed is where all Family members get recommendations, reviews, and downloads straight from some of their favorite artists,” explains Jesse von Doom, the nonprofit’s executive director, in a post on Medium. “Imagine a Twitter feed filled with nothing but rad music with sample downloads and purchase/stream links.”

The initiative will also allow donors to help shape the future of the organization and its publication, Watt.

It’s the latest evolution of the decade-old nonprofit, which not only offers information and resources that indie artists can use to better understand what can be a challenging industry but also a revolving fund that artists can use to get temporary financial assistance as necessary.

The group has been funded by The Shuttleworth Foundation for the past three years, von Doom writes in an article for Hypebot, but is launching the new approach to encourage its long-term sustainability.

“Funding any organization is hard. Funding a nonprofit in a space dominated by well-heeled for-profit startups is something else entirely,” von Doom explained of the CASH Music’s strategy. “We’re not a fit for most grant-based nonprofit funding, and we don’t have ownership or sales revenue to offer investors. (This part is on purpose.) Our strength lies in the people we support and the people who support us.”

The crowdfunding approach, for the right kind of music fan, could prove just the way to support a thriving scene in the long run.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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