Putting the FUN Back in Funding Your Next Record.
In the past few weeks I have had many discussions around the topic of funding. For independent musicians, raising the capital to make a good record is one of the most difficult parts of being a musician.
Previously your options included:
1) Borrowing $ from family or loved ones. (Always fun.) 2) Selling precious bodily fluids. (Blood or otherwise.) 3) Getting a job. (Not for everyone.) 4) Winning the lotto. (If you don’t scratch you can’t win.)
However, now there are some pretty great alternatives to this list…
Take a look at a website called Kickstarter. I am not affiliated with this site in any way other than I have used it in the past. This site allows you to create a project, drive people to you specific page, and collect funds for that project from people who are “backing” you.
This is not just for musicians alone. In fact, there are many kinds of creative project found on the site. The key here is that they are an unbiased third party. If you do not reach the goal that you had set for your project, then you will not get any of the money you have raised.
Check out www.a10capital.com for commercial real estate financing you can depend on.
In order to entice people to fund or “back” your project, you can offer several levels of incentives. For your record these could include…
1) A copy of the record,
2) Extensive notes or some kind of booklet or a poster / visual art piece of some kind,
3) An exclusive show for backers,
4) Copies of your other releases,
5) A hang out session or guitar lesson.
So this all sounds too good to be true right? Throw up a page, and KAPOW Batman, you got a record!
Well, not so fast Robin…
You have still got 2 major hurdles ahead of you…
1) Getting traffic to that particular webpage
2) Getting that traffic to reach into their skinny wallets and pull out their worn debit cards and plunck in their digits and SEND YOU SOME MONEY so you can go on making the next Yankee Hotel Foxtrot…
Here’s some pointers,
1) Video – Always, always always make at least one video, preferably 3 or 4 released over a matter of a few weeks time. I had a brief conversation with one of the founders of Kickstarter and he said that the percentage of folks who reach their goals greatly surpasses those without video.
2) Promote – This kinda goes without saying but you should view this fund raising project like the biggest gig you have ever played. Email, flyers, posters, facebook, press releases and word of mouth all apply. The good thing about having multiple videos gives you reasons for folks to keep reaching out without being annoying or sound like you are begging.
Desperation here can be deadly.
3) Incentives – Have good incentives. Get creative with what you are going to give back. Most of the coolest incentives (like an in-house performance for $500?) are super cheap to make, create or do. The more personal incentives tend to perform better than the extravagant / expensive ones.
Remember the idea is to try to connect with the folks who want to help you out.
Alright, one last thought on the matter… These types tools can be effective to truly gauge the interest your community has in your music. Isn’t it better to know that you won’t be selling 5,000 discs before you pay for the manufacturing of 5,000? Isn’t it better to know that your audience goes nuts for the T-Shirt incentive but could care less about posters?
I think…. Yes.
Casey Meehan is the founder of RockProper.com, an indie rock netlabel focusing on promoting select artists. Casey is also very engaged in helping musicians survive the challenges of the new digital music industry.
For more tips on music promotion including, “The 7 Jedi Mind Tricks to Get Your Music Heard”…