In the post MTV digital era, today’s musicians, independent or not, often find themselves lacking the resources to produce music video art. Despite the absence of funds, YouTube and online distribution have made music videos more popular and more widely available than ever. For the disenfranchised, Kickstarter is bridging the gap.
Since Kickstarter’s launch in 2009, more than 4.5 million people have pledged over $723 million, funding more than 45,000 creative projects. The platform allows fans to contribute and create along with artists and projects they support. One recent example of a successful campaign has been Alex Grey’s Entheon, where the Electronic Dance Music community was encouraged to participate in the process of supporting and generating art. Grey’s “Entheon” not only raised $210,000 of its $150,000 goal, but also became the second most funded art project in Kickstarter history.
In August of 2011, SF group Beats Antique took to Kickstarter to raise money for their newest music video. In 30 days the group raised $11,552, passing their pledged goal of $10,000. Campaign rewards ranged from a “Custom Love Poem,” to VIP backstage access and wearing a mask on stage for the finale. In the process of raising the money, artists develop a massive PR push that generates an audience and builds anticipation for the product that’s being produced.
Portland video production collective Vinton Depiction saw Kickstarter as a way to collaborate with one of their favorite NW producers, Phutureprimitive. “We pitched Rain (Phutureprimitive) an exciting story that in our minds really embodied the Phutureprimitive narrative and sound,” says producer/director Jesse Vinton. “He was thrilled about the idea, but as an independent couldn’t afford to produce the video.”
So the team turned to Kickstarter, launching their music video campaign entitled “Lucid Dream.” Having launched their month-long campaign on July 16th, the crew has reached the halfway point, raising roughly $5,000 of their $10,000 goal. “We hope that we can set an example with this project about what we can accomplish as a relatively niche art community,” says Jesse. “We don’t need a huge record label to put an artist like Phutureprimitive on the map, we just need the community to believe in our vision and to activate.”
With information from each of these experiences we’ve put together the following tips…
How to run a successful crowdfunding campaign
1. Send Personal Emails – Facebook and Social Media are great! In fact they are a necessity, however don’t forget to mail contacts directly. Direct emails generate the second highest donation returns after Facebook.
2. Be Personal and Direct – Don’t beat around the bush. The goal is to raise money through donations. Ambiguous contribution requests shy away potential investors.
3. Create Relevant and Interesting Rewards – People like what you do! Chances are if they’ve found themselves on your Kickstarter page, they are devoted worshipper of your craft. Provide rewards that give fans what they want. Whether that’s the actual product you’re creating, or a chance to be more involved with your music.
To learn more about crowdfunding you can peruse past projects online. Kickstarter archives all of their projects on their website for case study purposes. Also, check out the following blog post entitled, “Hacking Kickstarter: How to Raise $100,000 in 10 days.” The piece gives a step-by-step breakdown of the crowdfunding process.
What do you think about crowdfunding? Have you used a service like Kickstarter or Rockethub to raise funds for your musical projects? How did it go? Let us know in the comments section below.
[This article was written by CD Baby’s very own Tracey Gill Miller.]
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