AT a time when record labels are desperately trying to harness the money-making power of social media, Kim Boekbinder is already an online success.
Like many musicians of the past few years, the New Yorker connected with her fans around the world through the internet, but when it came to bypassing the traditional music industry success model, she went one better, sourcing $20,000 from fans to record her debut album. “It was right when crowd funding was starting up, so people weren’t really sure of what was happening,” she says. “Now it’s much easier to raise that much money because people are more used to the concept.”
After six months of accepting online donations, The Impossible Girl was created, but Boekbinder hasn’t stopped there. Despite the enormous online following, her concerts didn’t reflect the same support. “I thought there was something wrong with the way I was touring, because I know I have fans,” she says laughing. “I know they want to come to shows so I need to make sure they’re going to be there.”
Hence the 2011 US pre-sold tour was born, with the singer-songwriter “empowering the fan” by allowing them to fund her way to their hometown. Feedback from fans and venues alike was overwhelmingly positive.
Now in the process of crowd funding her second album which she is recording in Melbourne (she lives in Collingwood with her Australian boyfriend – and yes, she met him on Twitter), Boekbinder says as a modern musician, she is just trying to negotiate an old, broken system. Instead of encouraging artists to engage with fans via free videos and songs on the internet, record companies often just get in the way. “The industry thinks that the audience are passive consumers, and that just doesn’t work anymore,” she says.
“It’s artists and labels at odds with each other – the culture and the technology are changing faster than the music industry can, or wants to.”
Kim Boekbinder has a residency at the Evelyn Hotel this April. You can donate to Kim Boekbinder at kimboekbinder.com.