Crowdfunding an Album | How to Make an Effective Music Crowdfunding Campaign
Crowdfunding is a great way to take your music career to the next level, giving you that helping hand you need to potentially make it your full-time job! It’s incredibly satisfying to achieve on your own with your fans help but how can you create a successful crowdfunding campaign?
We see successful music crowdfunding campaigns every single day, you can be a success story too! To achieve a successful music crowdfunding campaign, you will need to think about what you want from the campaign, offer great rewards, promote it like crazy and much more.
Let’s take a look at the step-by-step process you will need to follow in order to have the best crowdfunding campaign ever. It doesn’t hurt to learn from the most successful campaigns either, so we can take a look at other music campaigns that reached their targets and then some…
How to create successful crowdfunding music campaigns
#1 Know exactly what you want from the campaign
Before you even set out on your crowdfunding journey, you need to know exactly what you want to achieve from the campaign. Is it for equipment, an album, a tour or merch? The options are endless and you will want a very clear goal in mind. Your fans who are donating will definitely want to know what their money is specifically going towards!
If you have an exact goal in mind, this will make it much easier to set a realistic money target. Remember, many crowdfunding sites don’t let you keep the money unless you meet your target, so be realistic. For example, Alexz Johnson needed $32,000 to fund her first tour but set her target to slightly lower at $30,000. This is what she believed that she could realistically achieve. Having said this, she did end up raising almost $70,000 but her campaign did go viral!
A lot of crowdfunding sites will ask you to set a deadline. You will need to think about your goal as you cannot access the money until the deadline. You will also want to think about the money you need, can you successfully raise that amount of money before the deadline?
#2 Choose the best website for you
There are so many crowdfunding websites out there, from the most popular Kickstarter to ones specifically for music such as Rocket Fuel. You will have to research to see if your campaign will fit in and appeal to those that use the websites regularly. You will also need to look at fees and which websites don’t let you keep the money you raise unless you meet your target.
Thankfully, the wide variety of crowdfunding website options just gives you more chance of crowdfunding success!
Crowdfunding for musicians
#3 Tell your story effectively
Don’t hold back here, you really want to be as personal as possible when it comes to sharing your musical journey. If you pull at your fan’s heartstrings and get them invested emotionally, they are much more likely to connect with you and actually care about your journey.
A great way to do this is to make a professional video that is passionate, heartfelt and really makes your fans want to donate towards your music career. Amanda Palmer made a great, funny, personal and unique crowdfunding video for her campaign for a new record and tour. It must have worked because she ended up raising over one million dollars!
Never underestimate the importance of a great video to tell your story alongside your crowdfunding campaign, it could be the difference between reaching your target goal or not.
#4 Show off what you can do!
Why should people believe in you? Why should they donate money towards your career? You’ve got to show them what you’ve got! What have you achieved so far? Any awards or experience you have to share?
Most importantly, share your music. This is so incredibly vital because otherwise, you are expecting people to blindly donate with absolutely no idea what you do or how you sound! You may not have the most professional equipment to record songs yet but if you can just share what you can do even just filmed/recorded on an iPhone, it’ll make a huge difference.
Let your talent speak for itself because we know you deserve the funds but you need to make sure that fans and potential fans know too. Don’t undersell yourself!
The Pixies wanted to raise money for their new hardcover book on Kickstarter. They made a great video that shared not only their music but what they had achieved throughout their career:
Crowdfunding an album
#5 Offer great perks and rewards
A great way to get people to donate is to offer them an incentive. You can do this by offering a number of perks and rewards, make sure that they are relevant to what you are crowdfunding for though. For example, offering people who donate a free digital download of the album you are raising money for etc.
You can offer rewards in a sort of tiered system.
- A £1 donation could give them a free digital download.
- a £3 donation could give them a free physical copy of the album.
- whilst a £20+ donation could give them tickets to your concert etc.
Many crowdfunding websites offer this tiered donation option, making it easy!
These rewards will push your fans to donate more and more as you are showing how much you appreciate them by giving something back in return. This is a great way of saying thank you to your fans for their support and makes them feel like they are part of something exclusive and special.
Music crowdfunding examples
- Many successful music crowdfunding campaigns have smashed their targets thanks to their use of rewards that are unique and exciting. Toad the Wet Sprocket offered some fantastic perks for donations and it definitely worked, they ended up raising $264,762! If you pledged $1 you got a free digital download of one of their tracks and an awesome virtual “high five” from the group! If you pledged $25 you were promised a limited edition of the studio album.
- Carman, a Christian singer, also offered great rewards. For pledges of $1 or more, whoever donated would receive a first look at the first released single and music video. Pledges of $100 or more got backers VIP elite concert tickets, not bad!
- As Amanda Palmer topped the charts of crowdfunding, raising over one million, we definitely cannot ignore what rewards she offered! A pledge of $1 got fans a digital download and bonus content. Pledges of $5,000 gave people the opportunity to host a house party that Amanda would attend! Amazingly, 34 people took the $5000 option and raised a total of $170,000 just with this one reward…
#6 Get friends and family involved
Crowdfunding campaigns can be difficult to get off the ground straight away. Which is why friends and family are absolute lifesavers! The more money backing a campaign, the more likely people are to donate. If you get all of your friends and family to pledge right off the bat, your campaign will already be off the ground. If a campaign stays at £0 for a long period of time, people might be put off backing it.
#7 Promote shamelessly!
You’ll miss out on so much money if you don’t promote and share your campaign as much as possible. Make sure that all of your existing fans know about it but also new potential fans! You will want to regularly promote your campaign on every single social media platform you can. Don’t spam people but once a day at different times will make a huge difference.
You can share update posts letting people know how close or far you are from achieving your target, mentioning incentives that might push people to pledge. Maybe you know someone with a large following? Try asking them to give your crowdfunding campaign a shout out. Reaching new, bigger audiences could be a huge help to your campaign.
Don’t be afraid to ask, you’ve put so much work into the campaign, you deserve it to succeed!
#8 Keep fans updated afterwards
Crowdfunding really does show who your most dedicated fans are so it’s important to give back to them and keep them updated once your crowdfunding campaign is over. You can still reward them with exclusive perks once the campaign has ended. For example, if it’s an album you raised money for, why not treat fans who donated to sneak peeks that no one else has heard or seen? Fans will be happy to donate to future campaigns, as they felt appreciated and involved when they did last time.
- Can I crowdfund without a fanbase?
It is worth waiting to build up your fanbase before attempting to crowdfund a project. Otherwise, you are at risk of wasting time, effort and money building up a campaign. Have a solid fanbase before looking to crowdfund!
- Should I tell people how much to donate?
It is worth making suggestions for donations, keep it low so as not to put people off! An easy way to do this is by using the tiered method where different donation amounts offer different perks.
- I don’t have the resources to produce a professional video, what should I do?
A professional promotional video is a great way to tell your story and win people over who might donate to you. However, not everyone has the time or equipment to do so. You could either just share samples of your music or even use your phone to film a short video of you talking passionately about your project and why people should donate. Thankfully, mobile cameras are such high-quality these days, you don’t need to invest in an expensive camera to impress!
- I’ve done everything you’ve suggested but my campaign was unsuccessful, what should I do next?
Sometimes your project may be unsuccessful just because the time wasn’t right or your fanbase wasn’t big enough. Take some time to work on your crowdfunding pitch and build your fanbase even more. Then, you can try again, maybe on a different website and you will eventually succeed!