Crowdfunding an Album: Can You do It? – Part 2

Kickstarter has said that only half of the projects in the site get fully or overfunded. The other half completely fails or thoroughly underperforms. Some will say it’s a matter of popularity, that the more famous you are, the more likely you’ll get completely funded, but in reality, as we saw in Part 1, fame isn’t the end-all-be-all of crowdfunding.

Finding backers has a lot to do with planning ahead, being smart about your resources, and understanding that it’s not asking people for money in exchange for nothing, but about giving them value. Here are the things you have to keep in mind:

Have a Community

Your community is what will make or break your campaign. That is, if you’re still completely unknown and no one has ever listened to your music, you’re not ready for a crowdfunding campaign. Your community needs to be established way before launch day.

These are the guys that will back you, if not with money, by promoting what you do and getting others interested. So, you need to have a well-established community before you can ask for funds. This is when social media becomes really handy, as it can allow you to interact with people who connect to your work and gauge their interest. A good way to start is by creating a site where they can all gather to either talk about your work or receive updates, this can be your Instagram profile, a newsletter, or even a Facebook page. Really any resource you can use to talk directly to your fan base and see how interested they are in what you have to say. If there’s no community, there won’t be any crowdfunding.

Create a Pre-Launch Buzz

You should have an estimate of how many people will share your campaign way before you launch it, How? Well, because you should workshop the idea way before you launch it. Let people in throughout your planning stages so that they feel they are part of the project and are more likely to share it as if it were their own once it’s ready to launch. Usually, you should start creating a pre-launch buzz about 1-2 weeks before the campaign starts. This is when you get people pumped for what’s to come. Maybe tease some of the rewards or remind them of how great the finished product would be. Just get them as excited as you are, and make sure they are aware of when exactly it is that you’ll need their help.

Have Attractive Tiers

Back to the Amanda Palmer example. Her lowest tier was her music download, because well, in the age of streaming, downloading isn’t really worth that much. Where she really got her money was in the tiers focused on experiences or value that her fans couldn’t get elsewhere, i.e. special merch and appearances.

While there probably isn’t that much value in offering an appearance by an up-and-coming (at least not $10,000 kind of value), you can think outside the box and offer a lot more than your music. Think special edition merch, art, discounts, tickets. Basically, anything that audiences would be interested in acquiring. Crowdfunding isn’t just about asking for money, it’s about earning it.