Here's How NOT to Run a Crowd-Funding Campaign for Your Music!

Crowd-funding BLUNDERS musicians MUST avoid

[This guest post is written by Jo-Ná A. Williams, Esq., Musician Business Coach, former vocalist and Artist Lawyer with her own firm in New York, J.A. Williams Law – The Artist Empowerment Firm.]

Your band has created some great music and you’re ready to take the world by storm. Awesome. Problem is, your creativity is flowing but your cash is not.

You think crowd-funding is a great idea! However you’re clueless about what it takes to create a successful campaign, so your campaign doesn’t get you the funds you need. But you’re determined not to give up. You know that people need to hear your band’s music and it’s time for you to stop dreaming your dreams and start living them. I feel you.

Many artists launch their crowd-funding campaigns and don’t reach the success they’d hoped for.  A successful campaign takes more than just a simple need for money; it takes creativity and some careful planning. And there are some things that you should NEVER do if you want your campaign to reach or surpass your goal.

Here are some tips on what NOT to do with your crowd-funding music campaign if you want to succeed:

1) Don’t forget to talk about the bigger goal

Why should anyone care about your campaign? How is your music going to add value to the world? Change your inner dialogue from, “What I need” to “How can I help?” Your giving attitude will make others want to give to you.

2) Don’t spam your social media pages over and over again with the campaign-

It looks desperate. While you may feel that way, put out carefully placed posts with a captivating message. I would recommend adding your regular content — and post about your crowd-funding campaign around your regular content schedule.

3) Don’t expect people to share after they donate-

Your fans have a million things coming to them all day long. Include a ‘call to action’ by simply asking them to donate AND share your campaign. Once they do, their work is done.

4) Don’t make a shoddy video-

You want to show people that you value your music and what you’re doing in the world. Make sure your video is high-quality. Get a film student or friend with a good camera to help you if you’re low on cash.

5) Don’t play the guilt game-

Don’t make people feel guilty if they don’t donate to your campaign. It’s manipulative and you don’t want that energy around your music, your brand, or your campaign. Help people feel GOOD about donating by showing them how their small donation will make a huge difference.

6) Don’t offer weak prizes-

Always think from the perspective “If I were going to donate, what would I want?” People don’t always donate for the prizes but it shows that you’re thoughtful enough to offer something of value and care to your audience.

7) Don’t forget to thank them and follow-through-

This is a big one. So often once the campaign is over, people forget to send their gifts and thank their supporters. THIS IS A HUGE MISTAKE. Why would anyone want to continue to support and spread the word about your music if you’re unreliable? These are YOUR fans! Would you like it if you paid for a ticket to see your favorite band, they promised an amazing show and then never showed up? Leaves a bad taste, doesn’t it? Don’t do this.

8) Don’t only come around when you need something

Why would you expect your fans to come flocking to support you if you haven’t been in regular contact with them? Build consistent contact with your fan base before you ever ask them for a dime. Remember, they did sign up on your email list to hear from you, so…they want to hear from you!

9) Don’t make it hard

If you have a campaign you want to go viral, make it easily shareable for everyone! Create social media posts and attach the shortened links so people can share easily after they donate.

10) Don’t forget your plan

While you may FEEL all over the place, don’t let your campaign look that way. Take the time to plan your posts, who you’ll partner with to get the word out, where you’ll do interviews, etc. Create a schedule for yourself in all the major areas of your campaign (marketing, partnerships, prize shipment, etc.). This way you stay on track and have more time to think creatively on how you can expand your campaign. Plans help you expand!

Crowd funding campaigns can be one of the best ways to raise the money you need while allowing your fans the opportunity to support you. But remember, you get out of the world what you put into it — so make sure you put your very BEST into your crowd-funding campaign! Go get it.

Jo-Ná A. Williams, Esq. can be reached at and on Twitter. For a FREE copy of her guide “Blueprint: The Insider’s Guide to Empowering Your Career as an Artist and Ditching your 9-5 for Good” Sign up here:

(Legal stuff: this article is for information purposes only. It does NOT replace the advice administered by a licensed attorney in YOUR state based on your specific situation. I know you wouldn’t assume I was your lawyer cause your mama “didn’t raise no fool.” But mine didn’t either, hence the disclaimer!)

For more resources on crowd-funding, check out:

6 crowd-funding tips for musicians

* Crowdfunding is Trade, not Aid



[Crowdfunding image from Shutterstock.]

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