Working in the music industry can get expensive. Equipment, recording, rehearsing…it can all add up! And the fact that it’s difficult for musicians to make any money means that it can be tough to get ahead.
If you are hoping to embark on your next project, whether it be a video, a recording, an event or any other type of opportunity, but are lacking the funds to make it happen, crowdfunding is a great option.
There are several crowdfunding platforms that allow you to launch a campaign to raise money. But in order for your campaign to be successful, there are certain strategies you should use. This article will help you come up with the best way to promote your cause and raise the money you need.
It’s Convenient: Crowdfunding is a great way to get funding for your project. It eliminates the need of you having to hit up people independently, which isn’t easy to do. It gets the word out about your project to several potential donors saving you tons of time.
It’s Easier Than Grant Writing: Grant writing is another option for raising money for your project, but it’s not as simple as fundraising. It takes a special skill and it’s not easy to do. Crowdfunding, on the other hand, is relatively simple. Most platforms are user friendly and offer resources to creators looking to take it to the next level.
It’s Great for Promotion: A crowdfunding campaign not only gets the word out about your cause, it gets the word out about your project and/or band. If donors are dedicated enough to back your project, it’s likely they will end up becoming loyal fans and may come to your shows, follow you on social media and purchase your products in the future. And even if people don’t donate, just listing yourself on a major platform will get you exposure.
It Gives You Credibility: If you launch a successful campaign, it will show that your project is good enough that people want to invest in it. This will look impressive to anyone that has an interest in your band in the future.
What Type of Projects are Most Suited for Fundraising?
When it comes to music, you may want to fundraise for a recording, to get enough money to tour, to shoot a video or to host an event that is beneficial to a certain cause or community.
Stay away from raising money to create merch or a similar goal that may not seem as worthwhile.
Merch may be part of touring expenses, but you don’t want it to be your campaign’s main focus. That’s because merch is just a way for your band to make money. It’s not likely to get backing and it won’t have enough sentimental value to inspire people to give.
And you certainly don’t want to raise money to support your drummer’s beer fund!
Choosing a Platform
When planning your fundraising project, the first thing you will need to do is choose the crowdfunding platform that is right for you.
There are several platforms out there but it’s advisable to go with one that specializes in performing arts related causes. These will provide you with the tools that will help you build a campaign that’s suitable to your needs. They will also attract an audience that is more likely to donate to your cause.
With this in mind, here are some platforms you will want to check out.
Indiegogo is unique because it allows you to choose your funding model. You can choose to keep all the money you raise whether you reach your goal or not, or you can go with the all or nothing option. While it may seem ideal to keep all the money you raise, it also may make people less likely to donate.
Indiegogo is popular with creatives, but its focus is more on global, tech and entrepreneurs. Therefore, your campaign may not end up getting on the Team Favorites page for optimal visibility. But that doesn’t mean you won’t be successful.
The platform also offers and InDemand option. This will allow you to continue getting funding even after your campaign ends. You can opt into InDemand when you create your campaign or after it ends. It can also be used in conjunction with crowdfunding campaigns on other platforms.
To find out how to use Indiegogo to your best advantage, check out its educational resource page.
The platform charges a 5% fee and 2.9% + $.30 for each transaction. If you use a different platform and switch to InDemand, your fee will be 8%.
Kickstarter is a massive crowdfunding platform that’s more focused on creatives than business. It has a broad scope that includes projects related to film, food & craft, games, music and publishing.
The platform uses an all or nothing model so if you don’t reach your goal, you will not be able to hold onto any of the money you raise. They charge a 5% platform fee and processing fees of about 3-5%.
One thing that’s nice about Kickstarter is that it has a framework that promotes discoverability. It has Fresh Favorites and Home Stretches pages that potential funders can browse to find new causes. Funders can also subscribe to newsletters that will let them know about recently listed campaigns.
Patreon is not exactly a fundraising platform. Rather, it allows creators to receive ongoing donations for their work. It is a great way for musicians, visual artists, video creators and nonprofits to make money.
If you perform music on a regular basis, you can set up a Patreon page and ask people to donate. In return you can offer them things like exclusive access to your music, merchandise and more.
You can create different membership tiers and give members better deals depending on how much they donate.
You wouldn’t use the platform to fund a specific product like a video or recording, but you can use the money that comes in to help out with your career in general.
The platform offers different tiers of service to their users. With the Lite service, you will pay a 5% processing free. With the Pro service, there will be an 8% processing fee and the Premium fee is 12%.
Processing for transactions over $3 are 2.9% plus $0.30 and it’s 5% + $1.10 for transactions below $3.
WithFriends is similar to Patreon in that it allows you to collect revenue through monthly donations and you can make different membership tiers depending on how much they are donating. It also has a ticketing platform that makes it easy to offer your supporters discounted tickets to your events.
It is a good platform for artists, but it also supports small businesses and organizations.
The site charges a 10% platform fee, and half the cost of your payment processing fees.
Withfriends isn’t as big of a platform as some of the others included in this article, and that can work for or against you. On one hand, your campaign will get out to a smaller audience, but on the bright side, there will be less competition when it comes to getting funding.
Seed & Spark is a crowdfunding platform that is focused on filmmakers. It’s a good choice if you are looking to create a feature, short, documentary or video for your band.
The platform allows you to keep all the money you raise once you hit 80% of your fundraising goal minus a 5% platform fee. Your funders can also opt to pay the platform fee along with their donation which is an option two thirds of supporters agree to. Therefore, it’s likely you will be paying a platform fee closer to 2%.
Seed & Spark offers other resources for filmmakers including distribution and finishing funds for projects with over 500 backers. You will also have access to in-depth reporting and educational resources.
Creating the Right Campaign
Now that you know which platforms are best suited to your campaign, here are some tips for making your campaign more effective.
Make an Emotional Connection
When you create your campaign, you will have the opportunity to include a description of your company and why you are raising funds. Here’s where you’ll really want to make your cause stand out.
The best way to do that is to make some sort of emotional connection.
For instance, is there any cause related to your project? Once you get your project off the ground, will you be donating any of the proceeds to a charity or nonprofit? If so, this can be a good way to get more donations.
If you will be donating money to a cause, be sure to talk a bit about the cause and why it’s near and dear to your heart.
But even if you’re not supporting a cause, you can make a connection by talking about why you make music. Does it help relieve depression? Is it an outlet for self-expression? Whatever it is, let potential donors know. This will make your campaign more relatable and it will increase the chances that you will reach your goal.
It is pretty standard for creators to offer perks in return for donations. When it comes to music, here are some ideas for what you can offer your funders:
- Exclusive access to the content (such as a recording or video) before it’s released
- Free merchandise
- A private performance from your band (which can be a livestream or in person)
- A song written and performed specifically for the funder
The gifts you offer should be in line with how much they give, so the more money they donate, the better their gift will be.
Share on Social Media
Most platforms will provide tools that make it easy for you to share your campaigns on social media. It’s highly advisable to use this strategy.
Use all the platforms you’re on to let your friends and followers know that you are looking to raise money. This will help get the word out making it more likely that you will get the funds you need.
In most cases, you will simply be able to share the link to your campaign on your social media, but you can also create your own digital posters and publish them. This will make for eye-catching materials that will boost promotion.
Reach Out Via Email
You can also email people on your mailing list to let them know about your campaign. This will help to bring in more funding.
Use Photos and Videos
Platforms will also provide space for you to include videos and photos in your campaign. You should definitely take advantage of these features.
Including photos and videos will provide a personal touch making people more likely to donate.
Make sure the visuals you include send a strong ‘brand message’ in promoting your band’s image and what you’re about.
If you use a video, make it as authentic as possible. Don’t rely on a script and don’t hold back on emotions. A video can be your most powerful tool when it comes to making a connection.
Send a Follow Up Email to Donors
After receiving a donation, it’s advisable to send out thank you emails. Many platforms can automate the process to ensure every donor is thanked for their contribution. This will let them know that their kind deed has not gone unnoticed.
Once you have the donor’s email, you can continue to stay in touch letting them know about the progress your project is making.
Ask Others For Help
You can also ask others to help your cause. Of course, asking friends and relatives to share your campaign can help get the word out, but to get widespread visibility, you will want to get some real power.
One way to do this is to hit up influencers. Celebrities are great influencers, but if you don’t have that kind of pull, you can also hit up social media influencers. These are social media users with high visibility and a strong following. If they back a product, it’s likely their followers will too.
To get in tight with an influencer, start following their pages and commenting on their posts. Eventually, you can let them know about your band and your product. Building a rapport will help you get a foot in the door.
For a more direct approach, simply send them a press release and follow up with emails and DMs.
It’s also helpful to get a company to back you. In the music industry, this may be challenging as you would be hard pressed to find a company that backs your product, but it’s not impossible.
For instance, if there is an indie record company that is willing to put out the release but can’t afford to finance recording, they may be willing to support your cause. If they have a big enough reach, they may even get your campaign to go viral.
Be Prepared to Provide Information
Before people invest in your product, they may have questions regarding how it will be used, etc. For instance, if you are making a recording, you may be using it to shop to labels and post on streaming sites. You may be selling it or giving it away for free for promotional purposes. You may be using it to make money for a nonprofit.
People want to know that their money is going to a worthwhile cause so it will not be wasted. Get prepared for these questions in advance by thinking of how the material will be used. Present the information it in a way that makes donors feel confident they are making the right decision when donating to your project.
For example, if the product you are making will fill help you attain a specific goal, be sure to let donors know. A recording that is being used as a record label release may get more backing than one simply done for pleasure and recreation.
Be Prepared for Failure
While crowdfunding is a good option for many reasons, it is not always successful. In fact, according to statistics, 71,000 Kickstarter campaigns have failed as of January 2014 while IndieGogo campaigns experience a 91% failure rate.
These numbers are pretty disheartening, but it may be worth the risk for some. You also may consider using IndieGogo which allows you to keep the money you raise, even if you do not reach your goals.
Crowdfunding is a great way to make money for your music project. The tips in this article will help you launch a successful campaign that will give you a leg up in the industry. What do you recommend musicians do to raise money in this difficult industry?