Daniele Groff and the Italian Wave of the Future: Crowdfunding in Italy’s Musical Scene
Daniele Groff is an Italian singer-songwriter from the northern city of Trento. Groff”s life took an unexpected turn in the 1990s, when brit pop came and took him and his motorbike on a journey across the United Kingdom. This important trip around the UK, where Groff explored not only the country but also a whole myriad of musical genres, styles, and scenes, enriched his musical experiences.
Underground, indie, and brit pop merged in his first album, “Variatio 22″, which was released in London and Rome by Road House Music. It’s probably safe to say that “Variatio 22″ is one of the records that brought pop rock to Italy. Groff’s music can be described as a mixture of a sound engineer for Coldplay, Oasis, and the Killers.
Groff first appeared on the Italian musical scene in 1998, when with “Daisy” he won “Best Newcomer” nomination at Sanremo Festival, which led to him selling over 300,000 records in Italy since.
“Mi Accordo”, his latest album, is a collection of hits with “Come Sempre” and “Morning”, with which he reached the Festivalbar finals at Arena di Verona and got the JPF 2006 Music Award. His first class collaborations include Italian as well as international artists such as Davide Rossi, Wil Malone, Phil Palmer, Lucio Dalla, and Renato Zero.
In 2012, Groff decided to involve his fans and supporters in backing him for his project/album to be released in 2013. It can be said that the year 2012 has been the year of crowd-funding* for Italy. Groff, famous for his hits “Daisy”, “Adesso”, and “Sei un Miracolo”, decided to be among the first Italian singers to engage in crowd-funding, and he did it successfully.
He explains his vision: “Now I’m about to fulfill my musical dream to record my first international album. If my fans and supporters want to take this challenge, they have to be ready to sing!” The idea is to release the album in English.
Ain’t no more time to wait, no more time to try.
It’s time to be.
It’s time to meet, time to share.
Time for a change, time to make history: together!
As for the funds, Groff fixed his minimum goal at €10,000, which is vital to start the project; the total cost is estimated to be €50,000. This amount, collected through the crowd-funding platform Ulule, will be used to cover the initial costs for producing, recording, mixing and mastering, as well as associated travel expenses (to come directly to your country maybe!).
Fans who supported Groff’s project became co-producers of his new album, and decided on the amount they wanted to contribute themselves (minimum €5). Supporters will receive a special reward which will depend on the amount they put in; these include a ticket, an album, the possibility to spend an evening out with Groff and his band and even a private gig at your place.
In October last year, Groff managed to reach his goal, receiving 116% of the initial sum. Such a great success opened doors for crowd-funding in Italy, which could become a wave for the future of the Italian music scene.
After the success of Daniele Groff, many other Italian singers and bands are planning to use crowd-funding, among them: Lo Stato Sociale from Bologna, Shandon from Milano, Lubjan from Veneto, and Salvo Vinci from Sicily and Gianni Maroccolo. Marta Sui Tubi’s singer Giovanni Gulino and producer Tania Varuni launched Italy’s first crowd-funding platform Musicraiser in October 2012.
However, while around the world crowd-funding has been enjoying many successes, in Italy it has received criticism; the practice is judged as “begging for handouts”, a view that ignores its potential for the future of music in an increasingly technological age.
In the US, president Barack Obama successfully used crowd-funding to support part of his presidential campaign with contributions from his supporters.
In the 2008 elections, Obama and the Democrats could be defined as a high point for the digital media. Through an excellent use of crowd-funding, Obama managed to have his campaign funded “by the people” versus the Republican campaign funded through “corporate America”. Obama and the Democrats’ election machine mobilised his supporters and raised $600m.
Through this practice, good ideas that do not fit the conventional patterns can find a way to get through, attracting cash from their supporters. But far from being only an innovative way to secure funding, crowd-funding also involves the people directly. As Groff’s example shows, music fans can also become co-producers of their favourite artist’s latest work.
Examples abide. The British rock group Marillion funded their US tour thanks by a fan-based internet campaign, while the Japanese rock bank Electric Eel Shock became in 2004 the first band without a recording deal, counting entirely on crowd-funding. The Beach Boys, Amanda Palmer, 10.000 Maniacs have all used crowd-funding in recent years. In an article in 2012, TIME magazine described and rated the best crowd-funding platforms all over the world, which today are more than 500.
* Crowd-funding in the artistic/music sector refers to a practice wherein a singer or a band decides to involve their network of fans to pool their money to support a project they have, such as a new album. The method is also used in disaster reliefs, start-up company funding, independent film production, and political campaigns.
All pictures via http://www.danielegroff.com.