Having had stellar success funding her album and video with Kickstarter, musician Kim Boekbinder set out on tour, only to find that some of her gigs were barely attended. After playing to 18 people in Portland, OR, she decided that she needed to use the same tools that pre-funded her album and video to pre-book her tours. Her plan is something like Upcoming.org's facility for fans to register their desire for a show in their town, and her description of the whys and wherefores is great tonic for people wondering about the relationship between performers and their audiences:
There is no "Making It" or rather, this is making it. Right here, where I am, with my small but dedicated fan base holding me aloft while I drift through the detritus of an imploding music industry that never did a thing for me yet still manages to get in my way. I'm a modern musician with modern tools trying to navigate an old broken system; a system which declared that all musicians must work for free until picked up by a record label which would either make or destroy them; a system which drove a wedge between fans and their music, musicians and their audiences; a system that forgot that the entire reason it existed was to facilitate the experience of art...GUEST INFORMANT: Kim Boekbinder (via JWZ)
What I do know is that I can start my own system. I can use the tools of communication, networking, and technology to help my fan base be part of my art. I pre-sold my album to fund the recording and now I'm pre-selling shows before I even book them so that I can come and play for my fans wherever they want me to play.
Since launching my first pre-sold show four days ago I've gotten letters from venues, fans, and musicians, all thanking me for such a great idea. I wasn't sure it would work, but my first show got funded in 24 hours and I'm still selling tickets. And everyone is excited. Jill Tracy said it should have always been this way. Rosanne Cash called me a genius. I'm ecstatic that I get to put on an amazing concert in New York without worrying how many people will show up. I already know my audience size and can book the appropriate venue. My fans are excited because they get to help me make the show happen. Other musicians are excited because they see how this kind of innovation can work for themselves.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.