Crowdfunding doesn’t receive much mainstream media coverage so it was groovy to finally see the New Yorker ask, “Can Crowdfunding Replace Artists’ Day Jobs?”
A big “right on, brotha” to the author for being a huge proponent of society’s many artists:
We shouldn’t forget that a flourishing creative middle class requires good jobs for arts workers… It’s not enough to help artists fund projects—we need to help a meaningful number of artists turn projects into careers.
But can crowdfunding replace artists’ day jobs?
Every stinking one of my Economics professors would say “it depends” and they’d be pretty much right. Some musicians who crowdfund may not have day jobs but it ain’t because they hit the Music Crowdfunding Jackpot sponsored by Amanda Palmer…
Because in reality, music crowdfunding in its current state isn’t going to help musicians quit their day jobs in the short term. Remember, seventy five percent of music crowdfunding projects raise less than $10,000.
The more relevant question you should ask yourself is:
How can music crowdfunding contribute to your goals, your hopes and your dreams?
Money hungry fools will be disappointed to note that I didn’t mention anything about money.
But for the rest of you who take your music seriously, you should be concentrating on the potential long term benefits that music crowdfunding brings to the table.
Finding Your True Fans
Heard anybody mention “1,000 true fans” lately?
The author cites Kevin Kelley’s 2008 article “1,000 True Fans” which asserts that any artist (musician or otherwise) needs to acquire only 1,000 true fans to make a living.
Ariel Hyatt and her team members have bought in and blog about 1,000 True Fans over at CyberPr.
True fans are people who WILL buy your music.
Hell, they’ll probably even pay more for it than the average fan!
So think about that number… Kevin Kelley points out that if 1,000 fans spent $100 per year on your art, that’s a hundred grand.
(The average pledge per backer for music crowdfunding campaigns is in the neighborhood of $50. In really good campaigns, it can be $100. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…)
Of course, it takes a lot of work to create TRUE fans and it is hard to know how many you really have.
One of the great things about music crowdfunding is that a campaign done right will absolutely help you find your true fans.
They won’t all be able to spend $100 on your project.
Many of them will pledge $20 give or take. They will also “spread the word” and likely account for some extra backers and exposure. And they may even send you a note of support thanking you for the opportunity to be a part of your project.
And there are also the fans who will pledge $200, $500 or even $1000!
You are absolutely going to get to know all of them if you don’t already.
These are the people that are going to support you year after year and will literally be responsible for much of your success.
So in the end, music crowdfunding opens up a dialogue between you and your true fans that will mutually benefit both you and them for years to come.
And that is huge!
A Choice in Where to Invest Your Money
I’m guessing that you invest most all of your time, energy and money into your musical career.
A $10,000 windfall is likely going right back into your career not your pocket.
Thus, any sum of money from a music crowdfunding project won’t end up in your pocket.
But it will allow you to do something different with the money you do have.
- Need to repair your van before you can tour?
- Need a website redesign?
- Need to make a merch order?
- Need to buy your way into a coveted opening slot?
- Need to advertise in your local market?
Your money is free to do these things if you’ve paid for your recording project, tour or video ahead of time!
The pre-Crowdfunding World Didn’t Work Like That
Hell, I should know.
My band spent over 2 years paying off $40,000 of debt we incurred recording our 2nd CD. (Hey, go easy on the judgement… of course it seems stupid in hindsight!)
We couldn’t expand our tour route to new cities and venues because we were locked into making enough to pay off our debt. We sure as hell couldn’t think about another recording before it was paid off. I’m sure you see what I’m saying…
The ability to pay for projects ahead of time through music crowdfunding changes all that by freeing up day-job-money, touring and merch revenue for further investment.
Time to Quit Your Job?
Obviously, music crowdfunding isn’t the only way to find fans and invest in your career. But it is one of the easiest ways to do so while achieving measurable results.
And the benefits of music crowdfunding are why Levi and I are so flippin’ jacked to be working on music crowdfunding!
It gives musicians just like us the power and ability to do things that we only wish we could have done early in our career when we were broke but energetic, hungry and motivated!
We know how to crowdfund and if you’d like our help, then you should get started with this free quick start guide.
Done correctly, it’s not a grab for cash. It’s not desperate. It’s not tacky or unrefined.
Music crowdfunding is smart and strategic both now and in the long run.
It keeps in mind both your best interests and the best interests of your fans. Because of that, I’d strongly encourage you to start thinking about it now.
You probably won’t be able to quit your day job right away but, when done well, music crowdfunding is a substantial contributor towards your long term goal of quitting your day job and focussing on your music!
So is music crowdfunding for you?
If you’re new to Launch and Release by all means you should grab our free two part training that will reveal all of the misconceptions we discovered while studying 300+ music Kickstarters.
Are you about to make one of these mistakes? Maybe you should find out!
In part two we’ll give you the full walk through of the 6-Step Music Crowdfunding System that we used to help one artist raise 10x the amount that his first Kickstarter raised. Pretty cool stuff:) Grab it here.