(UPDATED) Crowdfunding sites now have a solid history of supporting new work. While each platform has its own quirks and some even focus on music, the core concept remain the same, to mobilize a supportive fan base that will provide the funds to complete your music project.
Crowdfunding can be approached from a number of perspectives, from emulating grassroots fundraising to pursuing the logic of the sales funnel, but I think Michael Masnick's focus on connecting with fans and giving them a reason to buy, aka CwF + RtB = $$$, is a great way to organize your efforts.
Connect With Fans
Kickstarter cofounder Yancey Strickler encourages crowdfunders to not "wait until the thing is out to build an audience. Do it constantly and directly."
Filmmaker Matthew Porterfield reveals that his supporters have never been moved by info products. Rather, "they invest or donate because they connect to you as an artist, whether you make that connection over coffee or if you make it over the Internet."
Keep in mind that depending on your current family, friends and fanbase may not be enough, especially if you're in the early stages of your career. You should definitely use the campaign as a marketing tool to introduce yourself to more people and expand your support by connecting with new fans.
Give Them a Reason to Buy
Creating enticing offerings for fans was a key consideration for Progress Report's Hubert Sawyer who says that "as a music fan, I thought about what I would find intriguing if I were to give money to a music act in advance. Trust me, it would take quite a bit, if I did not already know a lot of their work."
Jill Sobule approached the problem by going directly to fans and offering them a rich array of options from $10 for a digital download of the album they were funding to a $10,000 option to sing on the album.
However, the concept of giving fans a reason to buy shouldn't just be limited to enticing goodies but also by explaining why your project is worth supporting. But keep in mind that, as "Made to Stick" points out, moving people to action is better done by story telling than by analytical arguments. To get yourself into story-telling mode, consider checking out StoryAmp's free ebook "Amplify Your Story".
- Nick Mango: The Vinyl Bailout - Part 4 - Kickstarter
- NoFilmSchool: Ten Must-Read Posts Before Running Your Own Crowdfunding Campaign
- IndieGoGo Founder: Crowdfunding Tips For Entrepreneurs On The Hunt For Cash
Crowdfunding platforms include the well-known Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and a number with a stronger focus on music including Hypebot sponsor Pledge Music, ArtistShare, hifidelics and early entrant SellABand.
Check out this amazing use of Kicktsarter happening right now: Amanda Palmer & Neil Gaimen Raise $85,000 In Just 60 Hours On Kickstarter To Finance Tour
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) maintains a business writing hub at Flux Research and blogs at Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.