By Fred Bronson and Michele Amabile Angermiller, As the music industry becomes increasingly crowded with artists clamoring for ever more elusive record deals, several “American Idol” alums are turning to the crowdfunding site Kickstarter as a way to raise money for their projects while simultaneously connecting with fans.
Earlier this year, season nine finalist Siobhan Magnus successfully raised over $23,000 to support her ‘90s tribute band, Doubtful Guest, and other alums are following suit. Idol season four runner-up Bo Bice, season eight finalist Scott MacIntyre and season 10 finalist Erika Van Pelt have all recently launched campaigns to fund and market their respective releases.
Why cull the power of thousands after having been watched by millions on the Fox show? Van Pelt says there is a common perception that because someone competed on “Idol,” or any singing competition for that matter, “automatically means we are successful,” but that isn’t always the case. “A lot of us are still on the grind,” she adds.
To wit: Van Pelt just this week begins a gig as commentator on a Rhode Island NBC affiliate offering weekly insights into the competition on such shows as “The Voice” and “X Factor.” Her campaign to raise $20,000 for her debut album, “My Independence” (out Oct. 8), was successful, clocking in at $20,471.
MacIntyre, a recent transplant from Scottsdale, Ariz. to Bice’s home turf of Nashville, has also been working on songs for a new album and as of this writing, had already reached his $25,000 goal.
“The number of songs that end up on the album depend on how much funding we raise through Kickstarter, so every dollar truly makes a difference,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter. “When the Kickstarter campaign finishes on Oct. 14, I will know a lot more about what studios, producers, engineers and musicians I can work with based on the funding that has been pledged.”