6 Mistakes We Made In Our Crowdfunding Campaign

Flexi-logoGuest post by Erik Peterson (@hifidelics) of Hifidelics from Flexi of the Month.

A lot of you have been curious as to why we were unable to reach our funding goal in order to begin our flexi-disc singles club. Admittedly, I wasn’t 100% sure either, but after some research and 20/20 hindsight I believe I have found the culprits. Actually it was I who was the culprit, but looking back I can see the mistakes that were made. In sharing this with you my hopes that you can use this information for your own campaign.

  • We didn’t start with a pitch video:
    Actually, I did make/publish a pitch video; however it wasn’t until approximately two months after the campaign began. I’m a little ashamed that this wasn’t one of the first tasks that was completed. I should have known better, but if you were following from the beginning I’m sure you were aware of how casual I was keeping it. In hindsight, a ‘casual’ campaign is not the way to go. I’m a casual person by nature, but if I expect supporters to take it seriously, it stands to reason that I should have shown how seriously I was taking it. Before I made the video, I’m sure a lot of you just thought of me, and the campaign, as just another anonymous attempt to make money. That was most definitely not the case, however how would you know unless you already knew me? Remember that for your own campaign. Most people have no idea who you are or if you can be trusted with their hard-earned money. 
  • No due date set/incentive:
    Again, I waited until we were a couple months into the campaign before I announced the final day potential subscribers could get their pre-orders in. Not only that, but we never offered any real incentive to join early, or ‘pre-order’ their subscription. Had we offered something special for early supporters, and informed everyone the last day the offer was valid from the beginning, I feel we would have had a lot more interest and urgency in pre-ordering; therefore reaching our funding goal.
  • Didn’t plan promo well:
    I only had a vague idea of how I wanted to promote the campaign, and naively I assumed all the rest would fall into place as we went along. What I should have done was to have a good marketing/promo plan in place before I even added the ‘order here’ button. Since we were donating all proceeds to charity, I probably should have contacted the charity and worked out some sort of cross promotion. Roughly halfway through this campaign someone asked me why more music blogs weren’t talking about the ‘Flexi of the Month’ project. Well, that’s because I stupidly never told them. We did get some press from a few well-known blogs, but it was pure dumb luck on our part since they found us. If you’re curious, the blogs that wrote about us were Hypebot, MTV’s O Music Awards, Alan Cross & The Album Drop. (thanks again, guys!)
  • No call to action or theme:
    I believe this was one of the most important, if not THE most important, ingredients we were missing. Honestly, there was no real reason for me to pursue the flexi-disc project other than I thought it would be fun. As it turns out, that’s not enough of a reason to get others excited. This goes back to my first point That not many knew who I was or what I was about. Had I had a real call to action (reason for doing it) I think people would have been far more supportive. As far as a theme goes, that should have been tied into what should have been our call to action. If we were raising awareness for a social issue it would have been a good idea to have the participating bands record a related song specifically for this release.
  • Artist genres/styles were too broad
    I truly love all the artists involved, but I think their genre styles were too far apart. We focused on the Rock genre to start and my thoughts were to cover as wide a spectrum of the rock genre as I could with three bands. In the long run I believe that hurt us. Had we focused on a specific Rock style it would have been much easier to get fans of that genre style interested.
  • No guidance for bands’ promotion:
    Last, but certainly not least, is my lack of guidance to the artists in helping promote the campaign. I have a horrible habit of assuming everyone else knows what I’m thinking or talking about. I let the bands wing it with their own promotion, but I should have provided some sort of guidance or plan on how they should be promoting the project. That’s not to say they couldn’t handle it on their own, only that this project’s concept was foreign enough to the vast majority or artists and fans that a little direction would have only helped.

Overall this project was a great learning experience, although it was a huge bummer that we weren’t able to get it off the ground. I really wanted to see it work. People keep asking me if we plan on trying it again. The short answer is, “I don’t know yet.” As much as I would love to, Hifidelics is taking up more and more of my time. Perhaps I can find someone to take over the reins. Either way, I hope you learned something from all this, because I sure did.


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  1. Frankly I don’t think crowdfunding works unless an artist already has a really strong fan (and large) fan base or has a product that fully intrigues newcomers. I don’t think the second point holds much merit with music because music is so subjective in the first place. It really only applies to an actual, physical product.
    The other thing is that no one really knows where the money is coming from. A campaign could get only half of its goal and the artist running it could put their own money in to reach the goal so they at least come away with something, rather than nothing.
    Free album download at http://www.facebook.com/chancius

  2. You’re right in that a strong and/or large fanbase, and an intriguing product are quite often a necessity for a crowdfunding campaign. However, I’m a bit confused on what you mean by the second point holding no merit. Are you suggesting that incentives and funding end-dates are unnecessary?

  3. A very interesting article. If anyone’s in Australia, you might be interested to know that we now have domestic crowdfunder. Who would’ve thought! Using it now to fund Vertigo – a Linux based audio mixing app.

  4. Erik, thanks for being so candid and helpful. It’s hard to admit to our mistakes, but you’re helping artists learn through your experiences. Much respect.
    Wes Davenport

  5. Also,the artist and/ or artitsts need to be reasonable with what they are asking, their vision and feasibility. You can get anything crowdfunded, but the more you are asking for the harder it is and larger of a fanbase that you would need.
    For example; My project is planning a 2 leg mini tour. We are not invested in and are starving artist lifers. We are planning to build a campaign and just try and get a nominal (compared to some that I have seen) amount. Hopefully by just trying to raise enough to lubricate a tour and providing interesting incentives, will turn some heads.
    I do completely agree with you Erik. Every thing that you brought up in hindsight is valuable for a movement and I truly needed to read at this intersection. Thank you for sharing and watch out.. if we do it properly, we may be stopping by your neck of the woods?! Good luck with your endeavors man..
    -Joshua Emmitt

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