Christer Falck on ‘Norske Albumklassikere’

Christer Falck is one of the initiators of an exciting new crowdfunding project in Norway: Norske Albumklassikere (Norwegian Album Classics). Together with his friend John Richard Sternberg he presented the project on the crowdfunding platform Bidra.no last January. Their goal is to give new life to classic Norwegian music albums by producing them on CD in a serial crowdfunding format. We interviewed Christer about the intriguing project that has already turned into a great success.

Christer Falck is well known in the Norwegian music industry. Apart from having started a music label and owning a music store, he was also the man behind Norway’s first crowdfunding platform New Jelly. This website started in 2009 and focused primarily on music, books and films. Bidra, the platform that now hosts the campaign for Norske Albumklassikere, incorporated it in 2017. Christer explains the platform choice for his new project:

“Bidra bought NewJelly when we didn’t manage to make it lucrative during the six years we ran it. After that, Bidra has proven to be fast thinking and service minded, plus they have very professional people working there. That’s why I decided to work with them for Norske Albumklassikere. If I have an idea, they customize my visions and they work day and night. It’s a perfect match.”

Needless to say, Christer has a lot of experience with crowdfunding:

This is probably our 100th campaign, but it is the first time we’ve been thinking serial. Usually it’s just project by project.”

The serial aspect of Norske Albumklassikere is unusual and remarkably effective. In January, the first 20 music albums were presented on Bidra. The goal for each of them was to get support from 150 backers within 30 days. If the goal was reached, the album would be printed on CD and each backer would receive a copy. If not, the funders would get their money back. The campaign was an immediate success with some albums being financed within 24 hours. By now, the first albums have been produced and several new batches have been presented online.

Christer believes that Norske Albumklassikere has benefited from crowdfunding in many ways:

“Crowdfunding is the smartest funding strategy if you have limited money, but are overflowing with ideas. Using it, we only invest our time and nowadays time is all we have. Without crowdfunding, the project would not have been possible. Within two months we have financed over fifty albums. If we’d do this the traditional way, we’d have to pay 1,5 million NOK in advance and hope for a good market. On top of that, it’s a perfect way for artists to get republished. Many of the albums that we produce are not available on streaming services. Record companies usually think it’s too expensive to make them available. With Norske Albumklassikere, we manage the expenses and they receive the remastered files. It’s a win-win situation. That’s why, in general, there’s no problems with copyrights. There are certain records we would like to have in our series, such as Vazelina Bilopphøggers, Jan Garbarek’s ‘Til Vigdis’ and some punk-records, but they have many different owners, with as many views on this project.”

The project has an active Facebook-group that might just be the key to the project’s success. After all, every crowdfunding campaign depends on its ability to engage a crowd, and Norske Albumklassikere Facebook-group alone has reached nearly ten thousand music lovers. Christer and John daily receive dozens of album requests from the Facebook-group members and are optimistic about the continuing project success:

We currently have a list of 1400 albums, which is constantly growing. We use our gut feeling to decide which albums we’ll publish. John’s the ‘pop’-guy and I’m more into the non-commercial music. We always agree and since he knows more about the music’s availability on CD, I always let him have the last word. He’s a fountain of knowledge and he’s really doing it for the love of music. We’re planning to continue as long as there’s a market. Hopefully, the album’s goals will be easier to achieve when we gain more followers. Then we can start with campaigns for rarer records. I’m not sure if we can keep up our current pace of fifty records in two months, but three to four albums a week should totally be manageable.”

You can find more information about Norske Albumklassikere on the project’s website and support the campaign through its page on Bidra. Christer and John have some exciting new plans for the project. If you don’t want to miss out, become a member of the aforementioned Facebook-group.

This blog first appeared on the CROWDCUL website, on 15 March 2021.

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