Crowdfunding for Musicians: Do’s & Don’ts For A Successful Campaign
Let’s face it – one of the biggest challenges for independent musicians is money to finance their music. If you’re not signed to a label or lucky enough to have a stash of money, it can be incredibly difficult to fund a well-curated release campaign without the necessary funds. Fortunately, crowdfunding, for musicians, has enabled independent artists to appeal to their fans, build excitement around their projects, and launch their music campaign successfully. So if you want to launch your own campaign, this one’s for you.
Crowdfunding for musicians: The Do’s
Set clear goals and expectations for your campaign
The first step towards a successful music crowdfunding campaign is to set clear and realistic goals and expectations. First, you have to decide how much money you want to raise, and clearly break down how this money will be used. If it’s a reward-based campaign, you need to decide what kind of rewards you would realistically be able to offer, and figure out how much that would cost you – including packaging and postage if you offer physical gifts.
It’s important to be as specific as possible about your goals. Break down what the money will be used for – e.g. PR, studio time, producer rate, etc. – and how each individual expense will cost. This makes your campaign more transparent and makes it easier for your fans to donate their hard-earned money to you.
Offer unique rewards and perks
A good music crowdfunding campaign should be a two-way street and a way to give back to your loyal fans. Unique campaign rewards and perks serve not only as a “thank you,” but also as a clever way to boost fan loyalty.
Personalising your rewards is a great way to acknowledge and value each and every fan. A Cameo-style video, a one-on-one video chat, or a personalised letter offers your fans a unique experience and shows them that you really appreciate their support.
Exclusive merchandise is another way to provide value to your fans. By creating a merchandise line that is exclusive to those who contribute to your campaign, you create an element of scarcity that encourages the merch collectors among your fans to contribute to your campaign.
If you’re unable to provide merchandise, exclusive content is another way to do it. Provide never-before-seen footage, photos, and work-in-progress demos to give your fans a sneak peek of what’s to come. These should only be available to those who contribute to your campaign.
In addition, you can also offer limited rewards specifically for the top tiers. These can include unique experiences, such as a living room gig, a guitar lesson from you, a chat over coffee, a cooking lesson, and any other unique experience you think your fans would enjoy.
Research which crowdfunding platform works for you
There are a lot of crowdfunding platforms online, but choosing one that suits your needs is crucial. Each music crowdfunding platform has its own fee structure, marketing tools, and requirements, so it’s important to do your research before you commit to anything.
First things first – check the crowdfunding fees! All crowdfunding platforms charge a fee and have different transaction rates when it comes to actually transferring the funds to you, so it’s important to compare different platforms.
Some platforms charge an upfront fee, while others charge a percentage of the fee raised. Music crowdfunding platforms are usually quite competitive in terms of fees, but you still have to be vigilant.
Furthermore, each crowdfunding platform has its own features. Some offer features such as analytics, communication with backers, campaign tracking, and tailor-made marketing tools, while others may be a bit more user-friendly. Review these features and see which one works best for you and your campaign.
Some music crowdfunding platforms also have an existing community of backers who can help your campaign gain more visibility. Having an existing pool of people willing to support music crowdfunding makes a world of difference when you try to reach a financial target.
In addition, some platforms have specific requirements – one of which is whether they release funds if the target isn’t reached – which can make or break your campaign and ultimately your project. Therefore, make sure you read all terms and conditions to avoid disappointment!
Crowdfunding for musicians: The Don’ts
Neglect Your Backers
Neglecting your backers is the worst thing you can do when you run a music crowdfunding campaign. These supporters are literally ready to give you their hard-earned money and support your career, so neglecting them is not only rude but also discourages them from supporting you in the future.
You need to keep your supporters informed of the progress of the campaign. Send them an occasional email or create a backer community on social media that you use specifically to keep your backers informed.
Make sure you express your gratitude to your supporter community and remind them how important they are to this project. If they have any questions or feedback about your campaign, it’s important to respond immediately and provide detailed and relevant information. This will show that you value their opinion, want them to feel included in your project, and are working hard to make the campaign a success.
Overpromise and underdeliver
While being ambitious is important, being realistic about your crowdfunding goals is crucial to avoid over-promising and underdelivering. Start by being realistic about the scope of your campaign and how much money you ideally need to reach your project’s full potential. Don’t set your goal too high or too low, promise rewards that you absolutely cannot deliver, or abandon your campaign midway. This will force your fans to abandon you.
Make sure your plan and timeline are fully in place before you start a music crowdfunding campaign. Creating a campaign without a clear end goal spells disaster. This also applies when it comes to fulfilling your rewards. If you don’t have the manpower or ability to fulfill certain rewards, don’t promise anything!
Once your campaign is over, it’s important to follow through with your project. Abandoning your project without returning the funds can be seen as fraudulent. Therefore, make sure that you’re one hundred percent committed to your project and that you deliver a high-quality project that meets the expectations of you and your supporters.
Give up too early
You may be tempted to give up your campaign if it’s not successful from the start. Crowdfunding campaigns can be a challenge, but giving up too early can do more harm than good. To mitigate this and ensure that your campaign is as successful as possible, allocate a timeframe (typically four to six weeks) to maintain a certain momentum and encourage potential supporters to donate immediately.
Make sure you promote your crowdfunding campaign properly. Relying exclusively on the crowdfunding platform to promote your crowdfunding project simply doesn’t cut it, as there are hundreds of thousands of campaigns looking for supporters. Reaching out to your network of fans, promoting your crowdfunding campaign on social media, and shouting about it from the rooftops is necessary to ensure your target is achieved.
Last but not least, don’t feel disheartened if your campaign doesn’t achieve its required goal. Conversely, learn from your mistakes to improve your next campaign. Remember: Your music career is a marathon, not a sprint. Each step is a learning curve – so make sure you don’t beat yourself up if this crowdfunding campaign is unsuccessful. There will be many more to come!