With the rise of crowdfunding as a way to produce projects and pay creatives, we’ve also seen the occasional demand for financial transparency. Most often, this is the case when projects fail and backers feel cheated, or people raise way more than they set out to make and nobody can quite figure out where that extra money flew off to. Rarely do creators respond with the transparency requested (and many would argue they aren’t obligated to), or if they do, they throw around vague and/or confusing responses in hopes of distracting their supporters from some other lack of information or blatant lies.
No matter how you look at it or what you think of the relationship between creators and those who support them financial, money and budgeting is forever the confounding aspect of…well, a lot of things. We’re often raised to think talking about money is impolite. And as such, if you’ve ever been in a role where you’re creating something that requires it — whether it be a movie, a record, a physical book, etc. — you may find yourself completely lost as to what costs you may incur or where to even begin.
In a very uncommon move, Jack Conte has written up a post detailing all the expenses and profits relating to his band Pomplamoose‘s latest tour.
It’s a thorough breakdown without becoming tedious, informative in regards to the financial hardships of touring as an indie band without being self-pitying or begging for money from fans. While Jack does say that the band ultimately lost money on the tour, that isn’t the purpose of the article. It’s a glimpse into the nitty gritty aspects of that world the rest of us aren’t generally privy to.
Jack has been helping to innovate the online space for creative people for a long time now — originally, and always, via Pomplamoose (of which he is one-half, alongside Nataly Dawn), and more recently with his crowdfunding site, Patreon, which differs from Kickstarter and Indiegogo in that it allows fans to pledge money to their favorite artists per created item or per month, rather than in a one-time campaign.
Is Jack also trying to influence others who fund their creations largely through fan support begin to make at least portions of their budgets and profits transparent? Who knows. But that could certainly set an interesting precedent. Encourage fans to give if they know what their money is going towards? Hold creators accountable when their income is directly provided to them from their supporters?
A shift towards something like that could be great. Or it could be a complete trainwreck. But Jack’s breakdown is hands down a worthwhile read regardless of any future influence it may or may not have. And you gotta respect both him and Nataly for being up front about something like this when they didn’t have to be.