Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Crowd Funding and Trees.

Independent music artists are every where at the moment, you won't see them if you just watch the telly, listen to the national radio stations or generally refuse to move away from the dross you are are fed via the mainstream, but it is everywhere.  In every town and city across the world there are people making music and promoting and performing it without any outside support or influence.  This makes me happy, but it also makes me sad.
Success relies on band members having the spare money and the spare time to invest themselves, many will hold down full time jobs and see little or no income from the music they love so much. It must be incredibly frustrating. More so, when they have perfected an album's worth of material, have toured and rehearsed it endlessly, and there isn't the funds to actually make the album.  

The costs of making an album must be astronomical.  There isn't just the recording of the material, but also the artwork, promotions, the CD printing and much more besides.  Then there is the time, time would need to be taken to record an album and to tour the album, and if the band members work as well it becomes a difficult act to balance.

This is where Crowd Funding comes in.  

Crowd funding is effectively asking your fans and followers to pledge a donation to a specific cause ... in the case of a band, this might be to release and album, go on tour or make a video.  In return for the pledge, fans are given a choice of perks such as a mention on an album, a copy of an album, gig tickets or special items or experiences that cannot be bought elsewhere. If successful they receive the funding and can go on to spend it on the required activity. Sounds great yeah?

The trouble is campaigns might not always be a success.  Kickstarter for example are one of the most recognised crowd funding websites currently in existence and even with them:
  1. 1 in 4 prospective projects are rejected.
  2. 1 in 10 accepted projects receive zero dollars.
  3. The failure rate is 56 percent.
So how do bands make the most effective use of Crowd Funding? 
  • Research the crowd funding website you are going to use carefully.  Review the support they provide, the fees that they charge and the relative successes of previous campaigns.
  • Get your perks just right - make them unique, special and something money wouldn't normally be able to buy.  It's great getting a copy of the album, but what else ... what will make your campaign stand out?
  • Don't rely on the crowd funding alone - continue to promote merchandise and to tour/perform. 
  • Don't let up on the promotion of your campaign ... even if you are sick of hearing your own self going on about it, keep going.  People will only find out about it if you tell them.
  • Get Social Media Savvy ... use Facebook and Twitter to really pull out all of the stops, ask fans to share, ask fans to promote but remember to thank them, to update your accounts with other things (tour dates, silly quotes, photos, whatever you normally put up) and continue to provide value to those people who are following you online.
  • Most importantly?  Have fun don't give up and remember why you are doing it.
So you may wonder why I am talking about this?  Unless of course you following my Facebook and Twitter accounts of course.  Recently, Northern Oak launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the recording of their third album.  Last night they exceeded their target.  There are still 9 days of the campaign to go and although the target is met, I am really hoping that more pledges come through.  

Northern Oak finish their Astral Chaos Tour this weekend (which they have been touring during the Kickstarter campaign) with a night in Wakefield on Friday 6th December and Sheffield on Saturday 7th December (with A Forest of Stars).  Tickets are still available and I get the feeling the band will be pretty excited and in a celebratory mood!  

If you yourself are interested in crowd funding there are many websites available for you to consider.