Indie on a Budget

Crowdfunding Your Music Project with Indiegogo

Crowdfunding Your Music Project with Indiegogo

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

You have the songs. You even have the gear. All your band is lacking is the financial backing to get your project off the ground. With a little help from your fans, though, you can get there. Using crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo*, you can crowdfund your music project.

How Much Does Indiegogo Cost?

There is no cost to create a profile or start a music crowdfunding campaign with Indiegogo. There are two campaign options to choose from: fixed funding or flexible funding.

Fixed funding is an all-or-nothing approach. If you do not reach your goal, your donors will get refunds, and you will not receive (or be charged) anything. If you do reach your fixed funding goal, Indiegogo charges a four percent fee.

Flexible funding allows you to take in funds whether or not you meet your goal. If you do not reach your goal, Indiegogo will take a nine percent cut. If you do reach your goal, Indiegogo takes their four percent fee.

With both options, there is an additional three percent fee for processing credit cards.

Creating an Indiegogo Campaign

Go to the Indiegogo homepage, select “Create” at the very top of the page. Then, create a new account by entering your name, email, and password. The next page will ask you to determine what category your project falls under and your funding goal. You will also classify who will be receiving the funds (individual, non-profit, business, or religious organization).

On the following page, summarize your project and goals. Add a photo to your campaign’s page. Upload a video or narrative to tell why you are raising funds and how you will use the funds after the campaign. Set the time frame for your campaign.

Lastly, set the rewards. Remember to offer an incentive to campaign donors who contribute between 10 and 20 dollars. Set higher price points, too, including one hundred, several hundred, and a thousand dollars. The rewards—which should fit the donation level and increase in value accordingly—can range from CDs, t-shirts, and stickers to a house party or private concert.

Promoting Your Campaign

Indiegogo allows visitors on your campaign page to like your campaign through Facebook or tweet the link to their followers. Don’t count on visitors to do all the promotion for you; be prepared to do a lot yourself. In addition to Facebook and Twitter, you can link to your YouTube channel and your band’s website. Indiegogo has an excellent help center to guide you through the process, and they also encourage you to email with any questions.

Have you used Indiegogo to help fund a campaign or raise funds for your own creative project? Was the project successful?

* Indiegogo is not just for music crowdfunding; it can be used for other creative projects, including film, art, and theatrical productions.




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PledgeMusic: Crowdfunding Your Music

Crowdfunding Your Music Project with PledgeMusic

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Connecting directly with your fans is important. Without fan support, your band or musical venture simply is not going to make it. With fan support, though, your band has the chance to go places and achieve its goals. A clear example of this is crowdfunding, which funnels the support of your fans into raising the funds your band needs to make progress, whether it’s recording your next album or funding a tour. Services like PledgeMusic make the process of music crowdfunding even easier.

How it Works

On PledgeMusic’s website, you can create a profile for your band. Fans will use your profile to connect with you and fund your cause, so be sure to include information fans will love: your band bio, your artwork or photos, and some album tracks. Once your profile is complete, you’ll create a campaign, allowing fans to donate to your cause. Causes can include recording your music, creating a music video, or ordering albums.

There are two types of campaigns. In the first, when a fan pledges money, they receive an item in return. The larger the pledge, the better or more-inclusive their reward. Sample pledges and items include $5 for a poster, $10 for a CD, $20 for a band t-shirt, $100 for a backstage pass, and so on. In the second type of campaign, pledges are, essentially, pre-orders for your product.

Regardless of the type of campaign, you don’t receive any money until your fundraising goal is met.

Cost

PledgeMusic does not charge you to create an account or to start a pledge campaign. However, once your fundraising target is reached, the website does take a 15 percent flat fee.

Signing Up For PledgeMusic

PledgeMusic is rather straight forward. You navigate to the website, select the “Artist Sign Up” link on the left, and fill out the requested information. Include the type of campaign you want, your mailing list, and your Facebook and Twitter pages. Add any additional information to help set your product page apart; this could be photographs, album art, a video clip, etc. From here, you fill out information about your project, the pledge values and what you will give for every pledge.

Promoting Your Campaign, And Getting Help With Your Account

PledgeMusic auto integrates with your social media accounts to help you promote your campaign. Also, PledgeMusic offers a project health check to see if your campaign has room for improvement. The Frequently Asked Questions page is a great resource, and there is a realtime customer service assistance to make sure you receive the help you might require at any time.

Has your band used a crowdfunding site like PledgeMusic? What type of project were you funding? How did it go?




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Crowdfunding Your Music with Kickstarter

Crowdfunding Your Music Project with Kickstarter

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

If you’re wondering how to raise money for your next music project, and wondering if crowdfunding is an option, know this: using a Kickstarter campaign and trusting her fans to fund her project, musician Amanda Palmer raised over a million dollars. While these results are abnormal, they suggest that finding the funds for your project is feasible.

About Kickstarter Campaigns

Kickstarter campaigns are absolutely free, easy to start, and have only a few guidelines, including:

  • Projects must be related to the arts.
  • Projects must have a specific, obtainable goal with a measurable outcome. This means no fundraising to “launch my music career,” but you can fund an album production or release.
  • You can’t offer financial sharing to donors.
  • You can’t provide awards in bulk (defined as more than 10).
  • You can determine the rewards you give to your donors, but only within limits (no alcohol, GMOs, drugs, cigarettes, advice, beauty products, etc).
  • If funding goals are reached, you must complete the project or return the money to the donors.

Creating your Kickstarter Campaign

To create your project, go to Kickstarter.com and click on start new project. Create an account. Provide a project picture, description, location, and goal amount; set the number of days for pledging.

Next, determine your pledge tiers and rewards. Kickstarter suggests that you set a pledge tier that is under $20, giving people who have a little money the chance to support your project. Set a few other pledge tiers for fans that are interested in pledging more. For rewards, you can offer anything from a copy of your new album to an acoustic home concert. Set the values for the reward around the same price as they would go for in the retail marketplace.

Lastly, make it personal. Add a video to your page talking about your project or playing a song from the album you’re trying to fund.

Promote and Share

Kickstarter embeds the Facebook like button and the Twitter tweet buttons to your project’s page. While some people do browse Kickstarter looking for projects, you need to get the word out about your campaign. Send personal messages to friends, acquaintances, and interested parties. Don’t post or send too many messages, though, or you will come across as a spammy, money-hungry musician.

Additional details and answers can be found on Kickstarter’s site, especially on the Kickstarter FAQ, Kickstarter School, Guidelines, and Contact pages.

Have you used Kickstarter, either to raise money for a project or to help fund another artist’s project? How was your experience?

See also: Crowdfunding: 5 Websites for Funding Your Album Recording.




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The Price of Hits: Competing with Big Labels

The Price of Hits: How Can Independent Artists Compete with Big Labels?

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

For independent artists attempting to make it big in the music scene, there is an obvious and daunting obstacle to overcome: the music machine. In the hands of major record labels, this machine is focused on a formulaic production of art. Generally, the machine favors proven winners over cultivating new talent and focuses on safe returns on investment instead of risk-laden creativity. But, it doesn’t have to be that way.

The Music Machine’s Formula

The time, financing, and resources put up by the machine can discourage musicians just getting their footing. Some reports put total financial investments at upwards of a million dollars for just one potential hit song. That massive figure includes sourcing a team of producers, songwriters, and lyricists who collaborate on creating the songs; then, the actual recording process takes place. Once the songs are recorded, they must be distributed and marketed, which includes creating collateral material (music videos, ringtones, etc) and sending the artist on the road to promote the song and perform. Sometimes the formula works, and the song is a hit. Sometimes it doesn’t, and it’s a costly failure.

Independent Artists

As an independent artist, you may look at the machine and think there is no way to succeed against the machine. Relax. As daunting as the machine is, the music industry has never been so accessible to the average musician.

First, you don’t have to invest a million dollars to make a hit track. You do need talent, timing, and hard work; you need to think like a business. If you’re writing your own music, you don’t need to hire teams of songwriters. You might want a producer or manager for guidance. You can find good (even great) studios at a fraction of the machine’s cost, or use the many software programs and hi-def audio equipment available to record, mix, and master your own music. You can promote your band’s gigs and upcoming releases at a relatively low cost using your band’s website and the many social media platforms available. For the best impact, get your music in front of the right people as often as possible. You can also find and set up the distribution channels that best suit your band’s needs.

Second, define success for your music career. Is success making millions on each single, or is it simply sharing your passion for your music with a dedicated fan base through performances and sales of your songs? For the best results, keep making your art the priority.

How do you, as an independent artist, compete against the music industry machine? Do you think it’s possible to compete? Do you focus on putting out a record-breaking hit song, or have you defined success differently?




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Make More Money

5 Ways to Make More Money at Your Gigs

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Every artist actively playing gigs wants to make more money for their time. In a stiff market, though, how do you increase your profits? Focus on two things: marketing your music and your merchandise.

Music Marketing – Long Term Increase

Promote gigs to your existing fan base.

Tell them when your next show is and why they shouldn’t miss it. Tell them again. If you can bring your own crowd to shows, venue owners will soon be seeking you out. Bigger crowds mean more profits for the venue and, in the long run, for you.

Get to know your fans.

Get to know your audience on a personal level: hang around before the show and after the last set, sit down and have a drink with them, ask for their names and contact information. You don’t have to go overboard and interview everyone in attendance, but make it a goal to really meet five or ten of them. If the five fans you genuinely befriend at one gig like you and your music, you can bet they’ll gush about it to their other friends… which means more fans at your next show. Also: try to remember fans you’ve met before.

Market research: learn what your fans like.

Talk music with them and listen to what they have to say. Ask which songs they liked and what they want to hear more of (even if it’s cover songs). Ask if they’ve been to the venue before, which venues they like, how often they’ll go to concerts, how they heard about the gig. If their feedback is solid, put it to use.

Your Merchandise – Short term

Bring all your merchandise with you.

Don’t leave it at home or only sell it online. Your fans—existing and new—are HERE. Bring CDs, download cards, t-shirts, hats, key chains, lighters, stickers, ringtones, posters and more. Mention on stage that items are available, and humbly ask those fans you’re meeting if they have your CD yet. Let the entire band autograph CDs sold at shows.

Focus on quality.

Does your merch fall apart in a week or look like a 12-year-old made it? If your stuff looks cheap compared to the next band’s, your sales will probably suffer. Find a good graphic artist to create eye-catching, fashionable designs, and find quality suppliers to order from.

Your music is art, yes, but there’s also an art to the music business.

Are you struggling to make enough money from your gigs? What have you found that has helped increase your profits from gigs?

See also: 3 Ways to Market Your Next Gig, 4 Steps to Getting Better Gigs, Increase Your Merchandise Sales at Gigs, How Should I Price My Merchandise?




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Small Town Music

Thriving Outside the Big City as a Musician

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Forget the myths. You don’t need to live in New York or L.A. to become famous. It didn’t work that way for R.E.M., playing their way through the small city of Athens, Georgia. There are some great ways to get more fans without having to book a world tour.

Get out there and gig

It’s the old-fashioned way, and it’s the best. No matter the how big your online presence gets, fans will never know what you’re all about until they can see sweat dripping off your face. Just remember two rules: Start small, and start locally. That will lead you to…

Become a fixture in your home town

There is something to be said about the fact that the Beatles played sold-out performances at Liverpool clubs before anyone in America knew their name. They were Liverpool’s band first. Don’t try to conquer to world right out of the starting gate.

This “social media” business

You may have noticed this thing called social media that all the kids are raving about?

Of course you know the value of social media. But what you may not realize is that there’s an unspoken code of behavior on various platforms. Fans will expect you to adhere to it. For example:

  • Facebook should be a professional platform for news and announcements. Forget the pictures of the cat sitting in the guitar case.
  • Twitter is the place for fun stuff and mini-updates. Keep it band-related. No politics.
  • Instagram is where you get to play around a bit. Feel free to post pics from last night’s after-gig party. Put a more human face on your image.
  • Tumblr is your personal soap box. Got an opinion? Post it here. Engage your fans and solicit their comments. Don’t forget to respond to them, for…

Decrease the distance between you and your fan base as much as possible

Yes, that’s a pretty long heading, but read it carefully. Read it again. Building a fan base is like growing a plant. It doesn’t happen overnight. It happens in stages and only through careful cultivation and diligence. If you want to get more fans, you must remember that this is the age of interconnection. Encourage fans to share things you post. Engage them in dialogue. Hold contests. Don’t be afraid to send out a personal email every once in a while to thank a fan for his or her contribution or loyalty.

Are you a small town musician? What steps have you taken to help your band thrive?

See Also: 4 Steps to Getting Better Gigs




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Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding: 5 Websites For Funding Your Album Recording

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

So, your band is rockin’, your set list is solid, you’re performing regularly… and then you start thinking about recording. A little research shows that it’s not a cheap process. You could always tap into your trust fund to finance the project. Wait, you don’t have one? There are your lotto winnings to consider. Not that lucky? I suppose you don’t want to max out your credit lines, either?

What if there was another way to fund your project, one where those who like your music and want the end product help you get it? More and more artists are pursuing this path and crowdfunding their recording projects. Want to learn more or join in? Here are some of the top sites for doing just that:

PledgeMusic

You set your own goals determined on the needs of the project. The site doesn’t charge fans unless the funding goal is reached. Once the project is fully funded, PledgeMusic charges its 15% fee; however, there are no hidden fees for credit card processing. Pledge Music can also be used for pre-orders if you already have a completed album.

SellaBand

This site also charges a flat 15% fee upon reaching the funding goal. Sellaband does offer revenue sharing as an option. You can offer a revenue share to donors who buy a certain number of “parts,” to encourage larger donations. This revenue stream for an album is five years or the length of the tour (if the project you’re funding is a tour).

Kickstarter

Probably one of the better-known crowdfunding sites, Kickstarter works with musicians as well as artists, photographers, designers, and so on. The site charges a 5% fee along with a 3-5% fee for credit card processing. Kickstarter also has a legal contract that you must fulfill. They require that, if the funding goal is reached, you must complete the project; otherwise, the funds must be returned to the donors. This could be problematic if you spent the money on the project and are still unable to complete it, because you’ll need to re-raise the funds to refund your donors. However, this guarantee might comfort those investing in your project.

Indiegogo

This site offers you the option of a flexible funding or fixed music crowdfunding campaign. Musicians that choose flexible funding will be charged 9% by Indiegogo and 3% for credit card processing. If you reach your goal, Indiegogo gives 5% of their fee back to you. If you don’t reach the goal, they keep the whole 9%, but you also keep the rest of the money that was raised. With fixed funding, 4% of raised funds go to Indiegogo once the goal is met. If the goal is not met, everything is refunded to the contributors.

Feed the Muse

Like the other sites, this website lets you set up a project and share it with potential investors. Funds are generally sent out weekly (by electronic transfer) or monthly (by check), as long as the amount is over $100. If the amount is under $100, payments will be made quarterly. The amount taken by Feed the Muse is unclear, since one page states that it takes 10%  and another page lists 7.5%. However, it does state that the fees include those for processing credit cards. The site does not give an option for refunds to donors.

Have you used one of these sites? Or one like these? How was your experience?

See also: Recording vs. Performing: A Musician’s Focus, The Right Recording Studio For Your Music, Make Money Selling Your Music, Increase Your Exposure: Streaming Music, Musicians and Crowdsourcing.




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Promote your music on a budget

4 Cost-Free Ways to Promote Your Music

By NationWide Source - Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

The magical world of independent musicians—where we play to feed our passion and where making money may be just a dream for the distant future—requires many of us to wear multiple hats, from scheduling our own gigs to finding the best (and budget-friendly) marketing strategies.

With that in mind, here are a few easy and free marketing techniques that you should be utilizing:

Google Alerts

Do you know that you can get free alerts from Google when new internet conversations occur about your band’s music? Google scours the interwebs to find the keyword and sends you an e-mail. If you have a unique band name, like “Punky and the Obese Flies,” sifting through the results should be quick and easy. If the name of your band is “The Frogs,” then you may have to weed through links about licking psychoactive frogs. Stay focused! It’s marketing time! Follow these free trails back to the discussion about your band and interact with these fans.

Follow up with your fans

Get in on the conversation. Use social mediaFacebook and Twitter, for starters. The way most fan bases grow is through sincere interaction between musicians and the fans. Drop the “rock star” complex and talk with your fans. Thank them for supporting you, listening to your songs, and coming to your shows. However, if you don’t post regularly, your Facebook “likes” may forget why they ever like your music in the first place.

Videos

Another great (and free) social media platform is YouTube. Post videos of your band’s performances or covers of your favorite songs on YouTube, then link them up to your other social media profiles.

QR Codes

Have you heard of these? Anyone with a smart phone can scan the code (on your gig flier or business card or disc packaging) and be directed to a webpage of your choosing without typing in the address. You can link this barcode to your ReverbNation profile, your Facebook fanpage, or your band’s website, giving potential fans immediate and easy access to the unique musical creations of your band.

Now, go out and put one or all of these to good use… then get back to playing!

Have you tried any of the above methods to promote your music? How did it work out? Are there other methods you’ve tried that market your music better?

See also: 3 Ways To Get More Fans in a WeekMusic Promoters: Use One or Do It Yourself?




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