Ask any artist or songwriter within the Eastern Caribbean what is one of the greatest challenges in their music career is, and we’re certain generating finance to fund their music projects will be one of the top 5 answers. Indeed a resounding cry from creatives in our region is that accessing debt financing from banks and other financial institutions proves exceedingly difficult. Admittedly part of the difficulty lies in the inability of some music creatives to draft a thorough music business plan as well as inadequate income and expense tracking methods. So in case you haven’t yet, we urge you now to take a read of our two previous blog posts which focus on providing music professionals with tips and techniques to draft a thorough music plan: Elements of a Business Plan and Drafting a Music Business Plan .
Yet beyond conventional means of financing, today’s modern era, the internet, technology and social media has paved the way for a new creative means of generating capital. Crowdfunding—thanks to popular sites like pledgemusic, Indiegogo and kickstarter—is one such avenue.
So for those considering crowdfunding to fund their next music project, we present below a few helpful tips from Founder of the New Artist Model, Music Business Career Coach and Former Vice President of Berklee College of Music, Dave Kusek.
For starters Kusek advices that when setting a crowdfunding goal, you should carefully consider the size of your fanbase, your fanbase demographic variables—such as average age, income and behaviour—as well as factors such as number of people on your mailing list, how many people come to your shows and number of social media followers.
Selecting the right crowdfunding platform for you is another thing Kusek says music professionals should pay particular attention to. “Don’t just use Kickstarter because it worked for Amanda Palmer, Have a reason for your platform choice,” offers Kusek. Researching the various platforms available and weighing their pros and cons, specifically at relates to your specific goal and scenario is therefore important.
Additionally Kusek says it is important to set a budget—one which encompasses not just the cost of the project you are raising funds for, but also takes into consideration the platform’s percent service fee, taxes, the cost of any rewards and incentives which you plan on offering fans in exchange for their support, as well as shipping costs.
Careful consideration of the rewards and incentives offered is another tip presented by Kusek. “Make your rewards relevant to your project and your fans,” Kusek advises. He adds, “Make sure you have rewards that take different levels of fans into account so as not to alienate anyone. Digital downloads, physical CDs, posters, magnets, and other little things like that are great lower end options. These are great for your more casual fans that may not be willing to or have the means to donate very much. Mid-priced rewards like vinyl, a t-shirt, or personal things like signed copies or special notes are great for your more serious fans and those that crave personal interaction. Have a few higher-end options. A private house concert or VIP pass is a great way to get your super fans involved.”
Additionally Kusek warns not to “over-invest yourself in the reward process.” “You need to make sure you have the time to create the rewards. Handwritten lyrics may seem like a good idea, but keep in mind that you could be writing hundreds,” he offers.
Lastly Kusek says posting new, creative, exciting and engaging content at various intervals during your campaign can significantly help drive pledges throughout and not just at the beginning or the end.
Kusek, D. (n.d). Musicians: Crowdfunding the Right Way Retrieved from https://bandzoogle.com/blog/musicians-crowdfunding-the-right-way
Picture sourced from https://techcrunch.com/2016/10/12/what-regulation-crowdfunding-in-the-jobs-act-means-to-entrepreneurs-and-startups/