As more evangelical figures embrace crowdfunding, is the format demanding too much of them?
To release her first contemporary Christian music album back in 2004, Beth Barnard signed a contract with Sparrow Records during her freshman year of high school.
Her 11-song debut was self-titled Bethany Dillon, a stage name she adopted at the recommendation of execs who thought her maiden name—Adelsberger—would be a mouthful. Through Sparrow (now Capitol Christian Music Group), Barnard spent most of her teen years recording music. Her hit songs were nominated for Dove Awards and appeared on WOW compilations.
She then married Shane Barnard—one Shane-half of Christian music group Shane & Shane—and realized that she wanted to stay at home with her family rather than record and tour. More than a decade and four kids later, Barnard sensed last year that she had another collection of songs to share. Only this time, she launched a Kickstarter campaign.
The crowdfunding site had allowed Barnard to release a worship album, A Better Word, in 2017. She turned to Kickstarter again in 2021 to bypass some of the business baggage she was happy to leave behind when she stepped away from the music industry years ago, like marketing efforts and hitting the road to promote the album.
Her fans remembered her and came through, giving more than $20,000 in the first 12 hours of the fundraiser in January.
“Thank you, thank you … not only for helping us meet the financial part of rolling this out, but also for what that speaks … that you’re behind this and excited about it,” Barnard told backers in a recorded video after her project was funded.
Kickstarter, where supporters can pledge for a one-time project, and platforms like Substack and Patreon, where they can pay to subscribe for content …