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Ben Folds Five Launch Crowdsourcing Initiative to Fund New Album

Ben Folds Five
Jeff Gentner, Getty images

Ben Folds Five have launched a crowdsourcing campaign to fund their new album — and reached more than 85% of their undisclosed goal only six hours in, with more than 1,200 pledges. Check a track from the forthcoming record on the campaign’s site and make a donation if you wish — surely beginning your week with good indie rock karma.

In a move that bypasses music industry inertia, Ben Folds and the Five have reached out to their well-earned community of listeners by way of PledgeMusic, a direct-to-fan funding site — think Kickstarter with uninspired web design and a music industry focus. The platform uses a threshold ladder of enticements for would-be pledgers, and Ben and his gang — who are probably the biggest act the site has seen — have a solid, if standard, menu of donation rewards.

A basic pledge of $10 earns a digital download of the album, $25 a signed CD, and $62 a signed vinyl record, a Ben Folds Five tour t-shirt, and a download of the album — with other offers arrayed between those price points. While the band clearly doesn’t need any off-beat enticements to attract donations, we’d like to see something a bit unconventional, like the chance to give Ben Folds a soundcheck serenade. You know he’s always wanted one.

The rapidly successful crowdsourcing gambit sets a pleasant precedent for directly funding artistic endeavors, and really does, if you’ll permit the pun, put the “independent” back into indie rock. That an act as established as Ben Folds Five takes this route lends credence to the process, whether kickstarted, sellabanded, or pledgemusiced.

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