HumanFankind is an organization I recently heard about on a LinkedIn music industry group I belong to.
The President of the company was speaking of what they do; it caught my attention and got me interested enough to visit their web site.
Their platform is simple; they provide a place where fans can donate money to their favorite artists. If they’d rather send a simple note or message, HumanFankind can get that to the artists in their database as well.
I spent a good amount of time looking around at the list of artists HumanFankind has access to at present. I must say, I was impressed. There’s a pretty good chance you’ll find your favorite artists. Everyone from 50 Cent, Metallica, The Beach Boys, and Metric, to Kate Nash, Alice Cooper, Belle & Sebastian, and Radiohead. They also have contact information listed throughout the web site in the event you don’t see an artist you’d like to send money to.
It’s very likely you’re asking yourself “Some of these artists are hugely successful. Why should/would I want to send them money?”
There could be any number of reasons. For a start, a lot of people often have the misconception that everyone who is a full time musician must be living a life straight out of an episode of MTV ‘Cribs’ and, there typically comes a point at which they learn the reality. Multimillionaire musicians are a rarity. Musicians fortunate enough to do what they love without a “day job” are far from the norm and it takes A LOT to get there.
It’s more often the case that artists are successful enough to live comfortably in modest homes because of the support of their fans. They aren’t typically living in 35,000 square foot homes trying to decide which Bentley will best match the outfit their wearing that day.
The logic of HumanFankind is that, when artists you love give away free MP3s (or perhaps you’re feeling a bit guilty about illegally downloading a few) you can send a few dollars to show appreciation.
Maybe if you get a free, unreleased track for signing up for a mailing list, you can go to HumanFankind and send them the $1.29 you would have spent on iTunes.
Another thing to consider is iTunes itself. As wonderful as iTunes is, artists don’t get most of the profits from sales on iTunes, and the same goes for Amazon and all of he major MP3 retailers.
If it ever bothers you that you buy music on these sites to support artists whom you love, especially smaller acts, sending a small donation of which they get 100% of the money may be a nice solution.
You may not feel the need to send a huge selling act anything, but perhaps there’s a smaller band you’d like to support. You can also try to get local bands added to the web site to help them in their efforts.
HumanFankind also offers the option to serve as a crowdfunding site. Should you be in the position of trying to fund a new record, merchandise, a tour, or anything else related to music making or touring, you can use HumanFankind as another crowdfunding source.
After looking the site over, I wondered what many of you may be wondering; how do I know my money will really go to the artists and not be used for the personal gain of the web site founders?
I decided to email the folks at HumanFankind to see what they had to say. I explained that I understood they couldn’t divulge many specifics as such information could be used by competitors, but said that I just wanted to know how users of the site could be assured their money would go where they wanted it to go.
I quickly heard back from Matthew, who was very kind and helpful.
He explained that the company is only a few months old and plan on offering ‘verified artists’ and donation counters in the near future to provide user confidence. He also stated that they are trying to work with artists to offer donation confirmations and receipts. They do feature quotes and Tweets from artists whom they’ve gotten donations to thus far, but stated they’re trying to get caught up with everything as they’ve had a big response in a short time.
If you attempt to donate money to an artist and HumanFankind is unable to reach them, they will offer you a refund or the opportunity to donate that amount to the charity Music for Relief, whose goal is to work within the music industry, as well as the global community to provide disaster relief to those in need and reduce global warming.
It’s definitely an interesting idea and I look forward to following their progress as the company matures and they get all of their features up and running.
Check out their web site here: http://www.humanfankind.com
Find them on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/HumanFankind
Follow them on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/humanfankind
Information on Music for Relief can be found here: http://www.musicforrelief.org/main