As you are likely aware, there are many steps in the process of writing, tracking and releasing an album or EP. If you have ever made an album, you know there is no greater satisfaction than hearing back the mixes the first time. Oftentimes, writing a full-length album can take a year or longer. Seeing it all come together is quite a magical experience.
While it is a magical experience, the process of releasing an album has its trials and tribulations. The writing and tracking of the music is just one piece of the puzzle.
Depending on your choice of production, it can be a costly endeavor. The cost to create your masterpiece is just one aspect of the financial burden. After all your hard work, it seems reasonable that you want it to be heard. Another major cost will be marketing and distribution. Album artwork, music videos, PR teams, social media advertisements, merch, the list goes on and on. If you are an independent artist, these are all important aspects to cover. Unfortunately, they all cost money!
Crowdfunding is one option to overcome the financial burden that comes with creating and releasing an album. Crowdfunding can be done by any artist at any level of their career.
However, there are some considerations to take into account before you decide to do so. In this article, we will take a look at a few of the considerations.
The first option to consider is the budget. What will it take to create and release your music? In order to set your goal, you need to have a rather concrete number in place. Oftentimes, artists will just set an arbitrary number as their goal. This is not good for transparency reasons.
If you are asking your fans to invest in your album, you should be able to highlight a breakdown of the costs you will incur. What will their hard-earned money be going towards? If you are asked this question, you should be ready to answer it indetail. It is important for the project success.
Are you or your team funding any of the process? You also need to consider whether your backers will be totally funding your album or whether they will partially do so. It seems that many artists expect their backers to fund 100% of the project. To me, this is a rather limiting approach. Optimally, you and your team would come up with as much of the funds as you can. Then have your backers fill in the gaps. If you want top end production but can only afford middle of the road, crowdfunding is a great choice. The total amount of your budget must be taken into consideration before you make your decision.
Running a successful crowdfunding campaign requires people contributing. This is rather obvious, I hope! The level of your backing will depend on how big and engaged following you have. There are many artists that had smaller followings yet have successfully funded thousands of dollars. Why? They had engaged followings. The opposite is also true. There are artists with larger, uninterested followings, that have not met their goal. The key is to identify if your followers are ready to become involved in this process.
You should gauge whether your fans would be interested in being a part of a crowdfunding campaign. All major social media sites allow you to develop polls. Instagram, Twitter and Facebook provide the means for you to ask your fans if they would like to be a part of a crowdfunding campaign for your next release. The key here is to make sure you word the questioning correctly.
"Would you give your money towards our next album?"
Seems money hungry and has a negative connotation surrounding it.
"Would you like to see us running a crowdfunding campaign, where you are a part of our process of creating and releasing our next work?"
This framing makes it seem like a collaborative process between you and your fans. Campaigns that succeed tend to have this framework.
This is quite possibly the most important part of your consideration. Will you be reliable? If fans invest their hard-earned money into your project, will you deliver on your end? The answer HAS to be “yes” here. If you set expectations high for your backers, and do not deliver on these expectations, this is problematic. You may even lose them as fans! You must make a commitment to meet the expectations you have set forth. You must do so in absolutely every way. If you feel confident in your ability to deliver, then choosing to crowdfund may be smart. If you do not feel confident in being reliable, the answer should be no. Try to overcome the reasons of misgiving , and then reconsider.
While crowdfunding is great for all artists, it has a time and place. Your budget, following, and reliability are some aspects to consider before deciding to or not to crowdfund. If you are an independent artist, the decision is ultimately yours at the end of the day.
Crowdfunding the right way can bring you in closer relationship with your fans and also give you access to funds you would not have had otherwise.
However, when done poorly, it can have the total opposite effect. It is important to weigh your options. This article can serve as the beginning of your consideration.