Crowdfunding for Musicians: 7 Steps to Success
Crowdfunding campaigns are an excellent way to fund a specific project in an artist’s career. Also called participatory financing, this system aims to give an alternative method for independent organisations such as artists or music groups to finance themselves with a large number of donors.
Appearing a few years ago, this concept is growing steadily and fast, and more and more musicians are deciding to take the plunge and create their own crowdfunding campaign. We have seen all types of financing projects revolve around music: the production of merchandising, the production of music videos or even entire tours. Indeed, there is no limit to what you can ask for, as long as your fan base is ready to follow your lead. And this is where it is important to follow a step-by-step approach to succeed in a participating fundraising campaign.
So, these are 7 tips to apply to make your fundraising a success!
1. Understand crowdfunding
If you think it is enough to be present on a participatory financing platform so that your project is won in advance, then you have your keyboard in your eye. (Ouch.) Without fans or visibility, you will not go very far. Those who follow you and admire you will be most likely to boost your campaign.
It isn’t easy to estimate the size of the audience, their loyalty and willingness to participate financially, so your campaign must take the unknown into account.
- How many friends do you have on social networks?
- How many people come to your concerts?
- How many subscribers do you have to your newsletter?
- What do you estimate their average budget to be?
- Are your fans receptive to your messages and calls for action?
All these data will allow you to have a more precise idea of what you can expect from a crowdfunding campaign.
Many artists (even famous ones) fail and never reach their financing objective, often due to too much greed and / or a lack of understanding of their fan base. Do not miss your opportunity and prepare yourself.
2. Choose your platform
Crowdfunding is trendy, and many platforms arrive each day with their own specificities. It is essential to compare the characteristics and advantages among the different platforms Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Ulule or Kisskissbankbank.
It is up to you to take into account the costs of each platform (commissions, fees), constraints, preferred project types, platform size, reputation, various tools offered, and the language of the service as well as their user experience. In terms of the chosen platform, the rolling-out and finality of your campaign can be well modified.
3. Establish objectives
- How much would you need?
- How much would your compensation cost you?
- What would the desired budget be by adding the costs associated with the crowdfunding campaign (commissions, taxes, compensation, margin of safety etc.)?
Knowing your fan base, does this goal seem realistic? Here are the questions you should consider in order to take into account the objectives for this fundraising. Although this is an event for your career, do not hesitate to stay reasonable if this is your first campaign and you do not know how your fan base is going to react. It would be more than silly to do a crowdfunding campaign to finally get you into debt because of a bad calculation of the necessary budget.
4. Determine the compensation
It is essential to offer a wide range of compensation ranging from €5 to more than €1000. Indeed, it must be taken into account that your fans are not alike. Many of them would like to make a small gesture to bring their stone to the building, while others jump on the opportunity to enjoy a unique VIP experience.
Do not hesitate to offer both traditional and original compensation in order to satisfy everyone: CDs, vinyl, limited editions, downloads, merchandising, dinner, a call / Skype, a party with the group, backstage access, in the studio with the group, a music lesson, personalised song, handwritten transcriptions of lyrics, private concert, signed instrument, etc.
5. Plan the campaign
- How long is your campaign going to last?
- How will you feed the buzz during this time?
- What is the cost of these operations?
- What do you need?
- How long would it take to put all this in place?
During this 5th part, it is necessary to develop your broadcast plan and determine what content will be broadcast on which channel and at what time. A mistake to avoid would be to promote your campaign only at the beginning and at the end of it. By planning your actions for the duration of the operation, you will maintain a constant interest even during the slow period of the campaign. Therefore, be sure to consider:
- Creation of original content throughout the campaign: new compensation, new video, new excerpt from a demo of the album etc.
- Your emailing campaigns and the creation of segmented lists.
- Your detailed social media publications at each stage.
- Your press releases, updates and contacts with blogs and media.
6. Prepare the basis of the campaign
In order to give your campaign the maximum opportunity, you will need to produce quality promotional content: a pitch video, professional photos, full description, optimal online presence (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and your official website). These elements are essential since they are the ones to sell your project to your fans.
It is therefore necessary to put all your efforts in your communication in order to have a quality result that is clear, entertaining and that represents your brand image. To do this, put yourself in your fans’ shoes. It is often what your fans are going to receive in exchange and the reasons for helping you that make them get out their credit card or not.
The video is particularly important. Try to answer through it the main questions related to your campaign, while getting it to take shape: who you are, what’s your story, why this campaign, what are the compensations, acknowledgements, call to action etc. Make sure that this is as light, fun and informative as possible.
7. Communicate about the campaign before, during and after
It will be vital to keep contributing fans informed throughout the duration of the crowdfunding campaign. As patrons and supporters, it is more than normal that you are transparent, showing them budget calculations, calendar, partners etc., and inform them of updates at the least.
The interest here is not to take money from your fans and go out into the wild to make your album, but to create a stronger and reciprocal connection than ever. To make this campaign work, you will need the help of your entire network:
- Yourself and the different members of your group.
- Those close to you, your family and the professionals who follow you closely
- Your fan base and its network
- The general public and general media.
Do not forget to monitor the progress of your campaign on a daily basis in order to improve what is not working. Be responsive and listen to your fans.
Whatever the end result of your fundraising, do not forget to express your full gratitude openly to all those who follow you near and far. Your fans would not like you to take this relationship for granted and regard your connection as just a money transfer. Be human and stay close to them, even when you do not immediately need them.
With these tips in mind, it is now your turn to try your luck and raise funds thanks to your fan base. You will learn more by carrying out your campaigns yourself, so get a move on. Happy crowdfunding campaign to you!
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