Crowdfunding the arts in South Africa

Cape Consort The Cape Consort offer CDs, signed programmes and tickets to performances in exchange for investment

Money for a Monteverdi melody, and Bach for their buck. The Cape Consort is a Cape Town-based ensemble in search of investment to help them put on a concert.

Technology of Business

As with many struggling artists, they are in need of funding. After all, "musicians need to pay rent and eat just like everybody else," says Hans Huyssen, cellist with the group.

The Cape Consort has turned to crowdfunding, an online collective fundraising approach. They achieved their target amount of 15,000 rand ($1,525; £945), raising 60% of that in just six days.

The funds raised allowed them to put on a series of concerts, with the last one having just taken place on Sunday in Cape Town.

Instead of approaching one investor to ask for capital, crowdfunding is an online platform that allows small initiatives like Cape Consort to post proposals on a dedicated website and ask the world wide crowd for funding.

Even though the concept of collective fundraising is not new, (New York-based Kickstarter is widely credited with pioneering online crowdfunding in 2009), one crowdfunding website in South Africa is using it in an unusual way, to get funding for the arts.

Hans Huyssen Hans Huyssen from the Cape Consort says musicians rely on their audience

Patrick Schofield is the founder of Thundafund, described as a "crowdfunding cafe" for African innovators and creative entrepreneurs. It provides both a crowdfunding platform together with mentorship.

"I think the funding is one thing but people need the supporting environment to help them realise their idea and to make it successful, and that's what we bring together," he says.

Thundafund has been up and running for over four months, and 80% of the projects that have gone on the website have gained funding.

People power

Michelle Constant is the chief executive of Business and Arts South Africa (BASA), a public-private partnership that aims to build partnerships between business and the arts.

"It's simplistic to assume that the private sector and the government can do all the funding of the arts as we move forward into the future," she says.

Patrick Schofield Patrick Schofield believes crowdfunding "allows us to make the world as we would like it"

Funding arts projects will always take a backseat to issues such as reducing poverty and improving healthcare and housing - issues which are key in Africa.

"So if there is an opportunity where people who in their individual capacity can give [to the arts], it's exciting," says Ms Constant.

But crowdfunding for the arts is about more than just funding a specific project - it's also about tapping into a more engaged audience by using technology as a platform.

Mr Schofield compares the power of crowdfunding as a vehicle for raising money to the power of social media when it comes to current affairs.

"When you talk to 100 people and say, 'look, I'm not asking you for a huge amount, instead I'm going to say back me with a small amount and together we'll all make it happen' - in many ways it's the same way as news is fed through Twitter.

"There's 100 people talking about the event and it's often so much more powerful than one voice and they will funnel 100 people together to a larger channel."

Capital for creativity
The Cape Consort's page on Thundafund website Thundafund's website has been running for just over four months

With crowdfunding, as with any investment, you get a return. However, rather than a financial return, what you're most likely to gain is a creative product, be it a book, play, performance or CD.

On the other hand, unlike with a financial product, you know exactly what you're getting for your money as those who are doing the crowdfunding have to be upfront about what they can offer.

Start Quote

You're involving your audience not only in concert, but also in advance, and to make them aware that they have a responsibility for the music to happen”

End Quote Hans Huyssen The Cape Consort

For instance, for an investment of 50 rand the Cape Consort will put your name on their website. Meanwhile, for 20,000 rand you can get four tickets to one of their performances, signed programmes, and an exclusive private concert among other things.

But can online crowdfunding work in a country where so many people don't have access to the internet?

Media analyst Arthur Goldstuck says it is already working, adding that while the digital divide may not be an issue, there are challenges.

"Those who have the means to participate in crowdfunding wouldn't really be the 'have-nots', so in South Africa the 'haves' have relatively good internet access… so that really isn't the constraint," Mr Goldstuck says.

"The constraint is more around trust of the crowdfunding model and the essence of crowdfunding is you have to hype up your product and create enthusiasm for it and that's not how investors like to be drawn into an investment opportunity."

'Funds with benefits'

Thundafund's Patrick Schofield also believes that the crowdfunding model can be an ideological tool that can bring about change.

He calls crowdfunding "funds with benefits" and says it "allows us to make the world as we would like it".

If the audience supports an idea online, the idea will come to life; if there's no support, there's no execution. This allows an interactive audience to dictate what they want to see in the creative arts arena by supporting it.

As Hans Huyssen, from the Cape Consort, says, "music is not something that relies on musicians only.

"I mean we can rehearse and perform, but unless somebody hears what we do, the musical experience doesn't happen.

"So you're involving your audience not only in concert, but also in advance, and to make them aware that they have a responsibility for the music to happen."

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories

RSS

BBC Business Live

  1.  
    QATAR AND AIRBUS 10:59:
    Airbus A380

    Qatar Airways has taken delivery of its first A380 superjumbo, following a three-month delay, during which it wrangled with Airbus over cabin fittings. Airbus has also been trying to fix an issue with seals around the doors of the jet. Qatar will be the first customer for the Airbus A350 and Airbus says it will deliver the first plane by the end of the year.

     
  2.  
    UNEMPLOYMENT 10:46:
    A  general view of a Jobcentre Plus in Glasgow.

    The ONS data also shows the claimant count - the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance - has fallen below 1 million for the first time since September 2008. It now stands at 966,500.

     
  3.  
    'SICK' FRANCE 10:36:
    Emmanuel Macron

    "France is sick," the country's new economy minister Emmanuel Macron has told French radio. He said France has no choice but to "reform the economy". Unemployment is currently at a record 10% and there's been no growth for two quarters. Meanwhile the government budget deficit is expanding. The Business live page wishes Mr Macron good luck.

     
  4.  
    UNEMPLOYMENT 10:14:
    Iain Duncan Smith

    Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith tells the BBC News Channel that pay in the financial services industry is distorting current average wage growth statistics. He says pay rises in the manufacturing industry are up 2% year on year. He also points out that food prices are coming down and inflation generally is falling.

     
  5.  
    Via Twitter Andrew Sentance, former member of Monetary Policy Committee

    tweets: "UK unemployment rate at 6.2% & still falling sharply. At current rate of decline it'll be <5% next summer - pushing up pay & inflation."

     
  6.  
    WAGE GROWTH 09:58:
    Hand and coins

    The ONS data shows average pay was 0.6% higher in the three months to July, compared to a year earlier. That's an improvement on the previous figure which showed a 0.2% decline. Pay excluding bonuses also rose slightly by 0.7%, the previous figures was 0.6%. Pay rises are still running well below the rate of inflation. On Tuesday data showed consumer price inflation running at 1.5% in August.

     
  7.  
    INTEREST RATES 09:35:

    There was no change in voting patterns at the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee at September's meeting. Two members voted in favour of raising interest rates to 0.75%.

     
  8.  
    UNEMPLOYMENT 09:32: Breaking News

    The unemployment total fell by 146,000 to 2.02 million in the three months to the end of July, official figures show. The Office for National Statistic said the unemployment rate for the period was 6.2%, down from the previous level of 6.4%.

     
  9.  
    EUROPEAN CAR SALES 09:27:
    The new body of the Volkswagen Passat

    Car sales across Europe rose for the 12th month in a row industry figures show today. They were 1.8% higher at 701,118 in August, from 688,464 a year-earlier the Association of European Carmakers (ACEA) says. Volkswagen, Ford and Opel all benefited from improved demand in Spain, Portugal and Ireland. But car sales in Germany - Europe's largest car market - were 0.4% lower.

     
  10.  
    INTEREST RATES 09:20:

    At 09:30 the Bank of England publishes minutes from the interest rate policy meeting in September. In August's meeting two members of nine-strong monetary policy committee voted to raise interest rates. Will others have joined them in September? Watch this space.

     
  11.  
    Via Twitter Kevin Peachey Personal finance reporter, BBC News

    tweets: "Hold music among biggest consumer service irritations says @WhichUK survey - any views on the most annoying?"

     
  12.  
    TECH SHARES ARE UP 09:04:
    imagination technologies

    Shares in two of Britain's most successful technology companies are sharply higher this morning. Imagination Technologies, which designs chips for mobile devices, has seen its shares jump 6%. That's after the company forecast a strong performance in the second half of the year. Fellow chip designer, ARM Holdings is leading the FTSE 100 higher with a 1.9% gain.

     
  13.  
    HEADLINES
     
  14.  
    MARKET UPDATE 08:34:

    Shares in London are higher in early trading with the FTSE 100 up 16 points

    • Smiths Group slumps 5.4% after sales fall
    • JD Sports up 2.7% following half year results
    • Pound slightly higher at $1.6296
     
  15.  
    SCOTTISH REFERENDUM 08:26: BBC Radio 4

    Former Bank of England Deputy Governor, Sir John Gieve says the Bank is "a creature of Westminster" and will be an adviser in any currency negotiations. "I think it could work, " he says of currency union but adds it "relies on careful negotiation". A lot of policy decision would remain in London, he adds. If the economies of Scotland and the rest of the UK began to diverge more than they do at present that could be a problem.

     
  16.  
    INTERNET OF THINGS 08:17: BBC Radio 4

    The Internet of Things is a phrase bandied around. ARM Holdings boss, Simon Segars is fresh from a conference about it - but it all sounds a bit pedestrian. Mr Segars says one example is a coffee cup that has a microchip in it that could tell you if you're consuming too much coffee. There is already a fork that can tell you if you are eating too quickly. On Today he also mentions apps that help you find a parking space.

     
  17.  
    JD SPORTS 08:11: Radio 5 live

    We're not far off being saturated with sports shops in the UK says Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports on Radio 5 live. But the company is having "significant success" competing in Spain, German, France and the Netherlands.

     
  18.  
    PHONES 4U RESCUE 07:57: BBC Radio 4

    It is "perhaps not surprising" that Vodafone and EE are looking at buying parts of Phones4U now that it is in administration, says Laura Lambie of Investec Wealth and Investment on Today. Both EE and Vodafone had been approached by Phones 4U which tried to interest them in buying the retailer, she says. After refusing that approach, Vodafone and EE are now looking "to pick up assets on the cheap", according to Ms Lambie.

     
  19.  
    SONY PROFIT WARNING 07:50:
    xperia phones

    The profit warning at Sony is the result of a review of its mobile phone business. It says there has been "a significant change in the market and competitive environment". As a result, it has taken a £1bn charge to reflect the loss of value of the mobile business. It is reducing the number of models it produces and is concentrating on a premium lineup.

     
  20.  
    JD SPORTS PROFITS 07:36: BBC Radio 4

    "The high street is alive and well," says Peter Cowgill, executive chairman of JD Sports on Today. The retailer has a strong presence in shopping malls and online but Mr Cowgill says a high street presence is "still very important to JD Sports". The retailer has a contingency plan if Scotland votes Yes to independence. But he adds: "We don't think there will be a major impact on our trade. We think there will be no change to prices [if Scotland votes Yes]."

     
  21.  
    SONY PROFIT WARNING 07:32: Breaking News
    Sony office

    Sony expects to report a much deeper loss this year than originally forecast. The firm now expects a loss of 230bn yen (£1.3bn) for the year which ends 31 March. Its previous forecast was for a 50bn yen loss.

     
  22.  
    JD SPORTS PROFITS 07:29:

    Profits at retailer JD Sports doubled in the first half of the year. Before exceptional items it made a pre-tax profit of £19.9m. Sales at stores open for more than a year rose 13% from the same period a year ago. But its fashion business which includes Scotts and Bank had a "disappointing" first half, the company said.

     
  23.  
    INDITEX RESULTS 07:10:
    Zara store

    The world's biggest clothing retailer, Inditex has posted a 2.4% fall in first half net profit. The owner of Zara, made 928m euros (£738m). That was not as bad as some analysts were expecting. The company also said that sales for the start of the third quarter rose 10%.

     
  24.  
    SPACESHIP CONTRACT 06:56: Radio 5 live
    Space X Capsule

    Nasa has awarded up to $6.2bn (£3.8bn) to Boeing and SpaceX to develop space vehicles that can take crew into space. The firms are aiming to have their spaceships ready by 2017. Since the space shuttles were retired in 2011, the Americans have relied on Russia and its Soyuz vehicles to get to the International Space Station.

     
  25.  
    SCOTTISH REFERENDUM 06:38: BBC Radio 4
    Scottish bank notes

    Former Bank of England deputy governor Sir John Gieve tells the Today programme he expects Bank staff to be at work very early on Friday morning to try to calm markets, whichever way Scotland votes in the independence referendum. In particular, the Bank will be busying itself with the possibility of "deposit flight" so that "we don't get the sort of panic that there was with Northern Rock". That means for starters making sure that cash machines remain fully stocked.

     
  26.  
    ARM CHIEF EXECUTIVE 06:27: Radio 5 live
    Arm processor

    It's arguably Britain's most successful technology company, but you may have never heard of it. ARM designs computer chips and is worth almost twice as much as Marks and Spencer. On Wake Up to Money chief executive Simon Segars says most of the firm's customers are in California, China, Taiwan and South Korea. "It's a shame" there are not more technology companies in the UK, he says. People have been keener to go into financial services, Mr Segars says.

     
  27.  
    SCOTTISH REFERENDUM 06:16: Radio 5 live

    Whichever way the Scottish independence vote goes, the business impact "remains unclear" says Nora Senior, chair at Scottish Chambers of Commerce on Wake Up to Money. Big questions over currency, Europe, debt, pensions and tax were raised in the run up to the vote, she says. "Business wants a decision that is clear and swiftly executed," Ms Senior says.

     
  28.  
    BEREAVEMENT AND WORK 06:10: Radio 5 live

    A third of employees who have suffered bereavement in the past five years felt that they had not been treated with compassion by their employer, according to a survey by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). It is launching guidance for companies. "Managers need appropriate training and support," said Sir Brendan Barber, ACAS chair on Wake Up to Money.

     
  29.  
    PHONES 4U RESCUE 06:00:
    Phones 4U sign

    The Financial Times is reporting that Vodafone and EE have approached the administrators of Phones 4U about buying parts of the failed business. Around 550 shops and 6,000 jobs are at risk. The private equity owners of Phones 4U and its founder, John Caudwell have blamed the aggressive tactics of EE and Vodafone for the collapse of the firm. Both network operators deny those accusations.

     
  30.  
    05:59: Matthew West Business Reporter

    Morning everyone. As always you can get in touch with us via email on bizlivepage@bbc.co.uk or twitter @bbcbusiness.

     
  31.  
    05:59: Ben Morris Business Reporter

    We'll get the latest unemployment figures and data on earnings at 09:30 this morning. Plus the Financial Times says that Vodafone and EE are looking to buy parts of their former customer, Phones 4U. Stay with us.

     

Features

From BBC Capital

Programmes

  • Cinema audienceClick Watch

    Brighter 3D films - the new laser-based system promising to deliver crisper, clearer movies

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.