I’m a Micro Medici.

I bought an album last month by David Mead, one of my favourite singer songwriters. I say bought, I spent $15 on an album that doesn’t actually exist.

You see I became a backer on the US website Kickstarter, which is a funding platform for artists, designers, filmakers, journalists and musicians. The site promised me nothing less than the chance to ‘fund and follow creativity.’

It’s an all-or-nothing approach where projects must be fully funded in a certain time or no money changes hands. Think ‘Just Giving’, only instead of your mate running the marathon, it’s your favourite artist running with an idea.

It certainly worked for me. Last December I received a short video from David Mead’s dog ‘Stan’. Stan informed me that David needed to raise $20,000 to make his next album and would I support him via the Kickstarter site. Well if Kanye West needed $3 million to make his album, 20 grand seemed like a bargain.

Exploring the site was like being a kid in a David Mead sweet shop. For $15 I got the album. But by upping my sum I could be sent video footage. I could listen to demos, I could visit the studio, I could become an executive producer. Hell, he could even write and record a song especially for me.

I’m pleased to say David Mead reached his target. Recording began and for the next three weeks I received updates and demos. It’s the closest I’ll ever come to being George Martin, and the best experience I’ve had purchasing a CD.

Having said that, another professional singer songwriter I know nearly choked on his pint when I told him what I’d done. “What about artistic integrity?” he spluttered into his Hook Norton. But the arts have always been about patronage. It wasn’t just Pope Julius II and the Medicis; Picasso, Tchaikovsky, the Velvet Underground, they’ve all had patrons while keeping their artistic integrity too.

And right now the Picassos of this world need all the help they can get. With all the cuts in public spending here in the UK, the arts are going to be one of the biggest losers. So instead of relying on multi-millionaires for backing, now we can all do something about it. And with Fundraising Managers decrying the cuts and predicting the imminent collapse of the Big Society, isn’t there a place for group philanthropy? Shouldn’t we all become micro Medicis?

  • Rory

    I frankly find it terribly disturbing that this article can be described as journalism. Rather than celebrate Ms Bowens well deserved Lion. You choose to write a pitiful story about the demise of British radio. Not only is this a poorly thought through story, it abuses the subject (Clare in this case) and lacks any statistical merit or scientific cause and effect. How many awards were on offer? What has the trend over time been? Is the radio category any different from any of the other award categories. You also forget one major thing – most of the award winning UK creatives and sponsoring clients are from diverse multi cultural backgrounds – and you fail to consider UK personal winning for other geographies and markets.