Earlier this week the music group TLC launched a Kickstarter campaign in an effort to raise money for their next album, which they are saying will also be the group’s final album. The goal for the campaign was $150,000, as well as fan participation. The campaign is an effort to have as much control over this final album as possible, with help and input from their fans.
The $150,000 goal was set in an effort to cover the cost of a studio writing session, as well as the producer and engineer needed for that session. TLC has said that anything that is raised over the original goal will be used for booking additional producers, studio time and the other costs associated with producing the album.
When asked about the fundraising effort, founding member Tionne Watkins (also known as T-Boz), told the Los Angeles Times that Kickstarter is a way for artists to get a chance to creatively express themselves without the restrictions of a major label. She also discussed the fact that her group was known for being creative, out of the box and innovative and that this campaign is an opportunity to continue to showcase this. Watkins also said that she felt that the fundraising was a way to have the fans become involved in the creation of their final album.
The TLC Kickstarter campaign is set to run until February 19, 2015; however, as of Thursday evening the group had already surpassed their original goal with help from other big name acts and their fans. Katy Perry, New Kids on the Block, Russell Simmons, Bette Middler and others have all contributed to the fundraising efforts.
TLC is not the first established star to turn to the fundraising platform in an effort to finance a project. Past campaigns that have successfully raised money include Zach Braff’s campaign to raise money for Wish I Was Here, and even Spike Lee has turned to Kickstarter with success. Those efforts were met with criticism, although they ended successfully with the campaigns reaching their goals. In the case of TLC’s campaign, much of the feedback has been positive although there has also been some concern. One of those concerns is what fans can expect, since the group is short a member following the accidental death of Lisa Lopes (better known as Left Eye) back in 2002.
Since the very beginning TLC has been very public with what has happened with the group, both professionally and personally. While some may be cautious of a Kickstarter campaign to fund a final album, others believe it makes sense for the group. Fan letters inspired the groups 1999 album Fan Mail and the fans have been a witness to many of the tragedies and triumphs of the group since their inception.
With the Kickstarter campaign, TLC is hoping to keep their fans involved. In fact; the group wants fans to have a say in the title of the album, how it looks and even the tracks that make it onto the album. There are even incentives for those who donate money to the TLC campaign. Depending on level of contribution, fans have the opportunity to receive one of nearly 20 different incentives including a photo shoot with the group.
By Kimberley Spinney