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Fan Funding Your Recording Project, Marketing Campaign or Tour Support

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This is a guest post by Darren Gallop, Marcato Musician CEO. Mr. Gallop knows a thing or two about the music industry as he has been working in this industry for over 15 years! We’re thrilled that he took time out of his busy schedule to guest post on our blog. And be sure to check out our guest post “Why Music Artists Need Technology” on Marcato Musician’s blog afterwards.

Fan Funded pre-sale campaigns are one of the best ways for artists to raise money to record and promote their music. In this article we share what we’ve learned about fan funding through running fundraising campaigns for our own bands and solo artists.

Why run a fan funded project?

Here are a few advantages of fan-funding your release:

-You don’t owe anyone money at the end of the campaign as is the case with a label, an investor or a lender

-You own 100% of the recording

-Your funding campaign can serve as early marketing for your release and fuel content for your social media strategy which creates awareness for your band

-You end up having sales straight out of the gate before Day One of your official release

What do I need to run my fan funding campaign?

If you or someone in your band or circle of friends has some web development skills, you can build this out on your own website using Paypal or another similar payment processor, however there are lots of great tools on the market today that are built specifically for this purpose. We like:

*Kickstarter
*Sellaband
*PledgeMusic
*and artistShare

These are the tools we’ve used and enjoyed or heard the most positive feedback about. There are always new players in this space, so do your own research to find the best fit for your project.

The objective of these dedicated services is to make it easier and faster to build your campaign. If your act doesn’t have a huge following, they also help you to reach an existing community of music lovers interested in funding artists like you.

Each fan funding service has slightly different terms and conditions so research and compare to find the one that best suits your project. Whether you build a campaign on your own website and accept donations via Paypal or use a dedicated fan funding service, these companies will likely charge a percentage fee of the money you raise.

In the case of a dedicated fan funding service what you get in return for their ‘commission’ are tools that help you market the project and simplify the transaction such as Facebook widgets and other social media tie-ins. Some of these services also allow you to offer contributors input into the creative process.

How do I design my campaign and package offers?

The first thing you need to establish in setting up your campaign is exactly how much money you need to raise and how it is going to be used. This is your ‘pitch’. This tells a potential contributor why they should give your band money.

You might also want to create:

-a well laid out recording plan with some demo or pre-production samples of your music

-a live video, some recent accolades you’ve achieved, and a professional photo

-details on how you’re going to promote and release the recording

-a ‘pitch video’ that explains what you money need, how you are going to use it and why this is a good idea. This can be posted on Youtube, embedded in your campaign site and shared on Facebook and Twitter

You will want to offer multiple packages that range from as low as a donation of a few dollars up to $1000 or more which can include exclusive downloads, signed artwork, videos, vinyl, a private house concert and whatever else your creative mind can come up with. This is key because you likely have fans that have different levels of dedication to your band as well as varying incomes. You want to make sure that you have something for everyone.

Here are a couple of examples of great campaigns that can give you some ideas on how to build and present your packages:

The Shadowboxers’ Kickstarter Campaign

Three Sheet’s PledgeMusic Campaign

Once you have your packages all sorted out it’s time to set up your campaign site and start your campaign.

How do I promote my fan funding campaign?

Once you have your campaign set up, you need to promote it! Here are a few things you can do to market your campaign:

-Post the campaign on your website and post regular updates of your campaign’s success.

-Post your campaign video on Youtube and any other video services that make sense for your band.

-Keep your followers on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn engaged in your campaign and campaign updates (some fan funding services have tools that make it easy to keep your fans and funders up to date on your progress)

-Share the campaign with your fan base in a blast to your email list (Don’t have an email list? Start one!)

-Print business cards or handbills promoting the campaign to give out at your shows.

-Share the story of your campaign with bloggers. As always when working with bloggers, you want to be specific in your pitch to them, writing about elements of the project or campaign that will be relevant to each blog. A blanket email to a pile of blogs can do more harm than good.

-Write a press release about your campaign and distribute to your media database. Again as with pitching to blogs, you should modify the press release to accommodate each outlet you are pitching to.

-Contact promoters and local business people about your campaign. You may find a few buyers of the upper tier packages through this method.

There are lots of great opportunities to get your fans to pitch in and help you reach your fundraising goals, beyond just buying your album or a ticket for your show. You’re limited only by your creativity in coming up with offers that make sense for your fan base.

There are many fan funding success stories, and they’re not limited to raising money for your recording project. Your campaign might focus on raising funds for tour support or maybe you’re not a band at all! Craig Mod and Ashley Rawlings raised $24K in 30 days for their book, Art Space Tokyo. Craig has written a case study that provides a ton of information, details and analysis about their experience. If you’re serious about fan funding your project this is definitely recommended reading.

What experiences have you had with your own fan funding campaigns? Have you ever contributed to another artist’s fundraising campaign? Tell us about it in the comments, post on our Facebook or tweet us!

Marcato Musician CEO Darren Gallop has developed fan funding campaigns for the bands he manages and built the Marcato Musician platform to help artists and managers collaborate with their team and assign and track tasks when planning and executing projects like fundraising campaigns. Learn more and try Marcato Musician free for 30 days at marcatomusician.com


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