Crowdfunding for their favourite band

Have you ever waited years to see your favourite band perform in Cape Town? Two local Capetonians are looking to use their background in IT and passion for music to make this easier.

Stuart Walsh from Parklands and Richard Theunissen from Sea Point have created a new crowdfunding site called Inbound Sound. The website, which went live in May, gives music fans the chance to use crowdfunding to entice top musicians to perform locally. And Stuart and Richard hope to have their first successful gig soon.

They say they got the idea from one of their favourite bands who played at a crowdfunded concert in a town in Virginia, in America.

“We’re both huge Foo Fighters fans. A lot of fans got together and they were getting frustrated with not being able to see their favourite band perform live. It had been 16 years since the band last played there.

“Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl caught wind of this, and the group ended up playing an unscheduled concert there,” said Richard.

“I’ve been following Dave Grohl since he was still a drummer at Nirvana. Then he started his own thing, which he picked up a lot of flack for, but look at what he’s made of himself. I’ve always wanted to make something for myself.”

Stuart and Richard decided to take the crowdfunding model and use it in South Africa but in a much bigger way.

“We don’t only want to cater for the big mainstream artists but open it up to smaller local gigs. Our feeling is that there is a lot of local artists who are not getting the coverage that they deserve and, in a sense, are overshadowed by the international artists,” said Richard.

The variety of artists fans can select on Inbound Sound ranges from heavy metal rock to a local pianist. “Everyone’s got different tastes in music, we didn’t want to create a platform that was limiting to what people could select,” says Richard. “That’s how the concept was born and we have tweaked it to suit the landscape and tap into the gap we saw in the market”

It’s still early days but they have received a lot of positive feedback on social media about the website, which currently caters for Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town.

“It’s very exciting for us, and it is a good sign that we’ve created something that people are keen on,” says Richard.

They soon realised just how big the support is for local artists, with rapper Cassper Nyovest drawing more requests than some international acts.

“He’s massive, and it is interesting to see that popularity in local music. People are hungry for something like this, and I think that is why we are getting the positive feedback. There are so many people out there who must want their favourite group to come to their city. That’s where the idea originally came from, our passion for music.”

Richard doesn’t feel like they are cutting out music promoters whom, he says, still play a vital role in the industry and whom he and Stuart are in talks with.

“We are not looking at encroaching on the organisers and promoters, we are offering a complementary service. They determine a ticket cost of an artist, which is determined by a number of factors. If the artists don’t gain enough interest in a certain amount of time (a six-month period), then backers will get their money back.

“We engage with promoters and work with them. It’s about organising concerts that might not ordinarily have happened because we can see demand up front.”

And while music is their first love, they’re not closing their eyes to other opportunities.

”We are focusing on the music industry but there is a lot of potential in expanding to other areas in entertainment,” said Richard.