One of my favorite bands, Thousand Foot Krutch, has announced that they are releasing their latest album as an independent band, using "crowdfunding", microloans, or whatever you want to call it. Their contract with Tooth and Nail Records has apparently expired, and they opted not to sign a new one.
They are looking to raise $40,000 for the project, and as an enticement they are offering various packages for certain donation levels. In a sense, they are basically trying to pre-sell the project to the tune of $40,000, in order to make it self-funding.
There have been some complaints about this, however. At least one that I read complained that TFK was just doing this to pocket even more money, that they were a successful band, and they should be able to just pay for it. But my guess is that this band hasn't really worked with a label before. As I understand it, the label assumes all the risk, pays for the entire project, and pays a predetermined amount to the band. Further, the label typically owns all rights and title to the work.
By going independent, TFK will now have complete control over their work, and the freedom to do what they want. However, they have to pay for recording studio time, for mastering, for mixdown, for production and distribution. They have a big enough name that they should not have any problems getting distribution channels.
The more I think about this, the more I like it. It gives them the independence to do what they want. It's not a typical micro-loan or crowdfunding scenario. Every donation of a certain level accrues a benefit to the individual making the donation. You get something tangible for your money. You might be paying a bit more than street value for the project will end up being, but if you're a fan, that's never really been a problem.
So, I say good luck to TFK, and keep throwing up your rawkfist!