Hey guys, this is part two in the two part series on crowdfunding for musicians. You can see part 1 here. Once you’ve read part one, come back to this page and read the rest. Here we answer a lot more questions on the subject, so hopefully you feel motivated to go out there and get your music funded. 🙂
If you’ve ever wondered how to get funding for your music, then crowdfunding might well be the answer. Have a read for how to get started.
How Much Does Setting Up A Crowdfunding Campaign Cost?
It’s important to note that there are no upfront costs needed for putting a campaign on a crowdfunding website. Most of them take a percentage cut of the money you make at the end, but if you don’t make anything, then neither do they. In other words, you haven’t got much to lose.
That said, you’ll likely find there are other costs which come up along the way. For example, you may need to pay for promotional materials to promote your campaign, need money to make a good looking video if you haven’t already got the necessary tools, and generally raise awareness of what you’re doing. You should aim to predetermine how much you’ll need in terms of promotion related activities, although getting your campaign on a crowdfunding site doesn’t cost anything.
When Is The Right Time To Crowdfund An Album
Ok, so I’m sure you’re probably wondering when the right time to set up your campaign is. If you’re just starting out and have a fanbase of 0, should you set one up and use the money to create your music? And is this even possible? Well, not really.
The thing is, if you want a successful crowdfunding campaign, you need to be able to actually raise the needed money. You should at least have a core fanbase who you can tell about your campaign, and you need to be willing to promote during the course of the campaign in order to get in front of new people who have an interest in your genre of music.
It’s difficult to put into numbers how many fans you should have before you get going with this all, mainly because different campaigns will need a different number of backers. A campaign raising $500 for example will need much less of a fanbase than one aiming to raise $30,000.
On top of this, not all fans are created evenly. If for example you’ve built up a fanbase of 5,000 facebook followers who you’ve collected by giving your music out for free, they most likely won’t contribute as much as a email list of 500 who have bought at least one of your releases. The second group contains quite simply more financially valuable fans.
As a ground rule though, you should be able to raise at least 30% – 40% of your campaign’s aim by calling on your existing network. If you don’t feel you can do that yet, then it’s not the right time to start a crowdfunding campaign. So work on building up your fanbase, increase your knowledge on the subject, then start one up once you are more ready to succeed.
How Much Can Musicians Earn Through Crowdfunding?
I know this is the question most musicians want the answer to. How much can you earn through crowdfunding?
In all honesty, there’s no strict limit to how much you can raise. The only limit that’s in place is how much people are willing to fund your project for. Need $1,000 to go towards EP recording costs? Fair enough. Need $20,000 to help in various aspects of your music career? If you feel you can achieve that goal, go for it!
A lot of the platforms that allow you to crowdfund do however have a minimum amount you can raise. This varies from platform to platform, so have a look into each one to find out what their minimum is.
How Much Money Should You Aim To Raise?
So good news, there’s no limit to how much you can ask for when setting up a campaign. Does that mean you should go all out and ask for a huge amount of money? Well, not really. There are two main reasons this isn’t a good idea:
1. People Like To Back Winners
When it comes to getting others to back your campaign, how well your project is doing will play a big part in whether or not they look into you, as well as whether or not they back you financially. Sites such as IndieGoGo and Kickstarter display to people what your financial aim is, and how close you are to reaching that goal. Have a look at this picture:
Which one looks like the more successful campaign to you? The second one right?
While they have both raised the same amount of money, the one which is closer to it’s goal will look more appealing to the majority of people. It looks more like a winner, and people love to back projects that actually seem like they can be achieved.
So don’t aim for a lot of money just because you can, be realistic about your expectations and set a goal you can likely achieve. The next reason though, is the main reason you don’t want to aim for too much of a big target.
2. Some Platforms Only Pay You If You Hit Your Target
While this isn’t true for all platforms, some will only pay you the money you’ve made if you reach your goal. So say for example you aim to raise $5000. If you reach that amount or go above it, you’ll get that money. If however you fall short and raise $4,194, your backers will be refunded and you won’t get anything.
There are platforms out there which will pay you out regardless of how much you make (even if you don’t hit your targets, so have a look around and see which platform is best for you.
What Kind Of Incentives Should You Offer To Fans?
As I mentioned, crowdfunding is an exchange process. In exchange for the money people give to you, you need to provide them with something of value other than the warm fuzzy feeling they get for helping out. But what type of things should you offer? Here are some examples:
A Shout Out
These are often the rewards for people who contribute lower amounts such as $5. You give them a shout out over one of your social network profiles, or on your website.
A Digital Copy Of Your Music
If you’re making a EP / album, you give them a digital copy. This is usually given out around the $10 or so mark.
A Physical Copy Of Your Music
If they contribute more, offering them a physical copy of the release is a good idea.
A Personal Meeting For Locals
For those who start contributing a lot more, you may agree to meet up with them for a coffee or other lunch arrangement. Be sure the money you’re getting for this is worth it; you want this to appear as a premium option, possibly with only a limited amount to give out.
The Opportunity To For Them To Contribute Some Ideas
A mid range incentive could be the opportunity for them to give ideas towards how the project will be shaped. People love to feel involved.
A Feature On Your Project
Need a incentive which will potentially have people paying the big money? Then give a limited amount of people the chance to lend vocals to the project.
There are a lot of other things which you could offer in exchange for their funding, so have a think outside the box. To get a good idea of what other musicians have offered before, take a look at some completed funding campaigns.
When Do You Have To Deliver These Incentives By?
It’s important you let people know when you’ll deliver each incentive by and have it up clear on your crowdfunding page. Due to the nature of the projects musicians usually get funded for, it’s impossible for you to give out the incentives as soon as the campaign’s over. It might take you another few months to fully make the album, so you can’t give it to them before then. The good news though, is that people are aware of this. Just be sure to make the date they’ll get their rewards clear so there’s no confusion.
You’ll want to look realistically at when you could have the project completed by, and use that date as the date contributors will get what they paid for. During that time, be sure to keep fans involved so they continue to support you in future.
Crowdfunding sites are a great resource for many musicians No longer do you have to wait for a record label to come along and supply you with funds, instead you can go directly to your fans and see if they’re willing to help you out. If you have a loyal fanbase and want to take things to the next level, this could be how you fund that progression.
So what do you think, is crowdfunding something that you’ll potentially try out? Have you created a campaign before? How did it go? And do you have any tips you can give to others? Let us know in the comments.