Ready to get started crowd funding your music?
My name is Erika. I am a DIY artist
and I sing for my supper. I have been singing since I was 13.
I started off at the tender age of 13, singing with the English National Opera and from there I have dabbled with Musical Theatre, Soul, R’n’B, Dance, Ska, Pop, Rock and Met
al. I have finally settled on more of an Art-Pop -Electro sound with my heavier roots coming through at my live shows.
I have been close to signing various management, recording and publishing deals and for one reason or another they have not been successful. However my drive and ambition to move forward has never waivered. So I decided to release my first record on my own label back in 2009. I have not looked back since despite genre changes, mistakes made and learnt on the way….
Here I am about to release my fourth record on my own label…..
I have decided to pre-release and get funding through a crowd funding site.
What is Crowd Funding?
Crowd funding is a platform for creatives and/or entrepreneurs who have a product; whether that be an album, a film, a new invention or anything that needs financial backing. The great thing, you can try crowd funding your music.
Crowd funding your music isn’t begging.
It is not begging you are pre-selling your album/ep. You are essentially asking your friends, family, supporters to be your record label and give you the money upfront in return for the actual product. So you are cutting out the middle man and going directly to the consumers.
How do they pay? Why should I use a crowd funding site when I could just set up my own shop from my website or band camp?
You 100% could do this. If you have enough followers that trusted you, then you could. However using an established crowdfunding site could be a more trustworthy place as the money does not come straight out of your account. I think people are more willing to support and give the more legitimate the site.
It is safer for all parties.
There are so many crowdfunding sites who should I go with?
I must confess I have been scratching my head for months about who I should choose and the three crowd funding companies that screamed out to me were:
Pledge Music -15% commission – you receive money only if you hit 100% target.
Kickstarter – 12% commission you receive money only if you hit 100% target.
Indiegogo 8-12% commission – Can receive money if you don’t hit target.
They take 12% commission if you don’t hit target and 8% if you do.
Patreon – 5% Obtain funding from patrons on a recurring basis or per artwork
So I have gone again with Pledge Music …. Why did I choose Pledge?
Although Pledge takes a higher cut I decided to go with them as I have used them before and whenever I had an issue, it was always resolved quickly. There is only music on the site; there are no inventors, film makers or candle stick makers, so you know what you are getting. The website is clear and concise – the larger bands have the main page, but there is an obvious section for emerging indie artists.
From the get go Pledge discuss what a realistic target is for you by looking at your social media sites. Another reason is, I already have followers and subscribers from my last pledge campaign, so I wanted to keep the continuity and familiarity. The first time I used Pledge I had no outside traffic come and buy; this time however I have had a lot of pledge traffic and supporters of independent artists. It has been really encouraging to feel like a part of a community. I don’t know whether this is because my music is better or because
Pledge Music has grown as a community and as a company. I would like to think the latter.
I am raising money to be able to have my EP, pressed to vinyl.
This is an extremely expensive way to release music, but the very nature of how I made the record is the reason why I wanted to press to vinyl. I recorded with some incredible musicians and producers in a very organic environment and I wanted every nuance to be heard with every crack of the record. I am also raising money to build on my European following and to do a full band tour in 2016. As I have a musician’s salary from teaching, gigging and sessions, having to pay out for a tour is an extremely expensive outgoing, so this is why I ask for help.
How To Get Started Crowd Funding Your Music
1. Register with the site online
2. Upload my introduction with my aim to my future pledgers
3. Decide how long you want the campaign to last two or three months
4. Upload your exclusives and packages
5. Register how much you would like to ask for
6. Upload your video to your future pledgers, letting them know your intentions for the campaign and ask for help. You can see mine here:
Watch other people’s videos and see what they have done – come up with a fun unique idea that represents you, the artist.
7. You then click the “for approval” button, then a member of staff gets in touch with you and advises whether you are a viable applicant and whether the amount you are asking is achievable by looking at social media.
What can you sell to make this money?
The artist has a shop where people can essentially pre-buy the product e.g. Album, EP. The products you sell from these sites can vary from posters or exclusive merchandise made to generate money. The packages can vary depending on project from the product itself to a Q&A with the inventor/artist.
I sell google goggles (goggles needed for my app.), hand made CDs, vinyl, downloads, handwritten lyric sheets, polaroid pictures, dedicated songs and can even go for afternoon tea together!. Check out my pledge store here:
How do you get people to back you?
At first I really struggled with this idea of having to ask people for help. It is simple though… you ask.
I was so surprised to see how many people mucked in and helped!! Last time I hit my target 2 weeks before and this time I’m at 70% with a month to go… Which means once I have raised enough money 15% of the extra goes to my charity of choice. Last time it was the Sophie Lancaster Foundation. This time I have chosen Refuge, a charity for women as this EP is called, Onna, meaning woman.
I absolutely love crowd funding, it really feels like you are part of a community and as a solo artist that does everything herself; it’s my equivalent of an office community. My on-line community are my colleagues, my family and my friends. They keep me going, when sometimes I feel like hitting my head on my desk.
If you want to join the gang and get involved with supporting new independent artists or larger bands deciding to go on their own go to pledge music and be a part of a change, maybe helping an artist or an inventor to achieve their dreams.
Be a part of a movement. Together it is possible.