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:
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.
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).
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.
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?