If you are in a hurry or can’t give your full attention to this, STOP READING and come back when you have time…
Now, if you are still with me, get excited because today’s subject is one badass project: a multi-level inspiration for independent musicians like you and me.
Shaking Through is a documentary series showing the birth of a song, sharing every part of the process with music fans around the world.
It is produced by Weathervane Music (WVM), a new music incubator and non-profit that creates projects to advance independent music and the community that supports it.
A Template For Including Fans In Your Project
If you have another 5 minutes or so, watch the following (if not, skip it for now but come back later):
This video and the many others in the Shaking Through series are practically a template for how to include a fan in your music project!
Now, don’t freak out if you aren’t intimately familiar with terms like backlighting, cross-cutting, MCU, or MLS. Yes, these guys are video pros, but you don’t have to be!
The important point to take away from all of this is that there is a process to the creative cycle; a process that many non-musical fans don’t completely understand.
Shaking Through takes you through that process from start to finish.
How can you take your own fans through what that process looks like to you?
You don’t need to copy this project, far from it.
Just be yourself, figure out how to capture the important parts of the cycle, then share them in a logical and cohesive manner that has good flow.
Can you envision this?
Once you can, the real trick is to communicate how you are going to do this UP FRONT in the video and project description portions of your Kickstarter. This will give viewers incentive to pledge because, instead of just ending up with a disc in their hand or a digital download on their phone, they will be able to visualize their access to the inner workings of your project!
Using Kickstarter Multiple Times To Fund The Creative Cycle
This project is also a great example of incorporating crowdfunding into multiple projects.
View Weathervane Music’s created projects. Notice the consistent growth of backers from the first through their last season: 37 backers, 82 backers, 220 backers and finally 360 backers with dollar amounts of $2755, $6631, $10465, and $21919, respectively.
Naturally, WVM has a built-in advantage due to the fundamental nature of their project: their fan-base grows organically with each new artist they feature in the series.
The parallel in a band’s world is that between each new project, you are marketing and attempting to grow your own fan base. Sure, there will be some attrition, but with proper planning and effort, your gains will outweigh your losses.
But the real reason that Shaking Through is successfully growing is that it is a high-quality project.
When it comes to your music, put all of your focus and effort into truly making a high-quality project (commensurate with your experience and budget) and then do a great job of getting it to your fans.
As long as you are 1) expanding your fan base and 2) delivering high quality projects, you can employ Kickstarter in multiple creative cycles without giving your fan base “Kickstarter fatigue”.
I love this project because it shows us how cool and beautiful and awesome the art of music is. Sometimes as musicians, we can start to take the process of bringing music to life for granted but this project gives us a chance to remember why we do what we do and how amazing it can be.
Our Interview With Weathervane Music
Ian – You are obviously having success incorporating crowdfunding into your funding cycle. What have you done to particularly groom this success?
WVM – By nature, our project reaches new audiences constantly via the new artists we feature. That means that at the end of each year we have a wider broader audience. As Yancy told me years ago they normally find diminishing returns when people try to use Kickstarter multiple times. But for us it works because our audience has doubled each of the past three years.
Ian – Your funding has clearly grown from project to project. Has this been an organic growth, sort of grassroots, or have you done more aggressive marketing? Any comments/insight?
WVM – The growth year to year has been completely organic. We reach out to the audience that we acquire the year before. This year we also had the aid of well known artists and such who support our cause. We are a nonprofit, after all, and many of them see the special value in what we provide.
Ian – What is your opinion of whether or not crowdfunding art is here to stay and why?
WVM – I’m not sure whether crowdfunding is to stay or not. I think it does run the great risk of poorly fulfilled projects sinking the ship.
Ian – Any other thoughts that could help independent musicians in the process of marketing their creativity? Particularly with respect to Kickstarter?
WVM – Prepare your campaign very well. have your email list in tip top shape. have your social media contact list as current as possible. try to get other people involved in your campaign, i.e. well-respected, well known supporters from the community that surrounds your project. Manage your expectations. Oh, and sit in front of your computer waiting to thank every single supporter as they come in.