Google+ Badge

Monday, 8 April 2013

What makes a successful music crowd funding campaign?

As we continue to develop our Crowd Funding site for Musicians I thought that I'd do a little more research on what actually makes a successful crowd funding music campaign.

First of all. What is Crowd Funding?
Crowd Funding should not be confused with Equity Funding. 
Equity Funding is where a company raises money from individuals in return for preferred or common stock. The investor, in return, receives a dividend based on the profits of the company.

Music Crowd Funding is where individuals pool their money to support projects initiated by a Musician; in return for "rewards". An example of a reward may include; A thank you note, a CD or music download, T shirts or other merchandise. I've even seen one recent project that will get a song written just for you (if you pledge enough money!)

If you are in any doubt as to the viability of crowd funding, take a look at the profile of Amanda Palmer. Amanda has been on Kickstarter since September 2010. She has created 3 projects. Each of these 3 projects have been successfully funded. 
She has been pledged over $1.3m from nearly 30,000 Backers.

You may not need a £1 million. Maybe you want some much needed studio time to record and produce your new album? Maybe you need some funds for merchandising for an up coming tour? But surely if Amanda can do it you can too?

So let's analyse the following points and see if we can establish some good criteria for creating a successful music crowd funding campaign.

  1. Clearly define your project.
  2. Research.
  3. Carefully work out your rewards.
  4. Plan for your successful project. 
  5. Write up your project.
  6. Be inspiring.
  7. Engage with your audience.
  8. Don't give up!
First and foremost. If you think crowd funding is an quick option to enable you to raise "easy" funds for your music project. THINK AGAIN!. Now the hard work starts!

1. Clearly define your project

Start making lots of notes about your project. Talk to other members of your band or discuss with your manager and your friends and family. Ask yourself about your goals for the project. Are you aiming to high? Do you have a decent enough fanbase to be able to assist you. The importance of a good fanbase must not be underestimated. Will you be marketing your project on and offline? Do you have a blog? Do you know someone else with a blog that could do a write up for you? It's not too early to think about the successful completion of your project; what rewards will you have in place? How will you communicate with your fans? Remember that your fans and backers are not loaning you money they are receiving a product, a reward, to help you succeed. Often they are receiving that product ahead of the marketplace. So you have something of value. How will you administer the rewards when your campaign is a success?

2. Research.

As more Crowd Funding sites appear, you will find more a plethora of information on the net. Here are a few sites to help you start your research;

3. Carefully work out your rewards.

One of the toughest aspects of crowd funding. What are you going to offer your backers? How will you ensure that your rewards are delivered, on time and within budget. Have you factored in the costs of your payment provider? PayPal, Amazon etc. These fees are normally between 2%  and 7%. These costs will come out of your raised funds. Don't forget the costs of post and packaging. Once your project has been saved and published, rewards are not editable. Remember that it's a contract that you are entering into. Project deadlines are not flexible. Projects last for a set amount of time being; 30, 60 or 90 days. You decide.

4. Plan for your successful project. 

Start with the end in mind.
Imagine that you have successfully completed your project. You have your funds in your bank account. You have increased your fanbase. You have booked the time in the studio. But have you thought about how you are going to give your backers their reward? Have you promised to send them something in the post? How are you going to get everyone's email address? Have you factored in the post and packaging on items? Working with you will have all backer's email addresses when you successfully complete your project, so that's one less thing to worry about. You will need to decide on how often to update your backers. Marketing is good. Spam is not!
Don't forget to thank your backers!

5. Write up your Project

Do some research on similar crowd funding projects for musicians. How have they written their opening statement? Have they used video? Upload some of your tunes to your profile. Check to make sure that your crowd funding platform allows music uploads. Use a catchy opening statement. Be bold! Be knowledgeable. You need to make your campaign stand out from the crowd.

6. Be inspiring

Write your project content and bring in your fans so that they feel part of it. Use lots of "...we can do this..." and "...with your support..."
Check the layout and design of your project. Could you enlist a friends help with your graphics or video? Ask people to proof read your project. Silly spelling mistakes at this stage could put people off. Check out other bands and musicians and emulate their success!

7. Engage with your audience.

Your project is now your new baby. You will need to nurture it, cuddle it, gurgle to it and sometimes wipe its bum. You will need to communicate with your backers on milestones achieved, you may need to edit some information, upload new photos and in turn engage with your backers to ensure that they share your project details. Ask them to share your updates. Perhaps you still need a little push to get your funds in time for your project deadline. It may only take one external author or music critic to comment on your project and that'll be enough between making or breaking your project. 

8. Don't give up!

Yes, it will be hard work. Ask yourself; Would you rather go to your bank manager, cap in hand,  who probably knows nothing of the UK Music industry? Perhaps you have a rich uncle or auntie? By uploading your UK Music project to you are targeting the very audience that are coming to see you and want to listen to your music.  Increase your fanbase at the same time. 
Start thinking about your next UK Music Project!