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New @Kickstarter – Reviewing the most recent music crowdfunding projects

Here are my short reviews of the latest music crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter:

„Girl“ – by Jarrod Milton & Meya
– the pitch video is quite unpersonal
– I don’t understand what „Girl“ is about
– more time and efforts should have been invested in creating the rewards
– the campaign is obviously addressed only to friends and family
– no project FAQs
My prediction: not successful
My recommendation: don’t pledge

Re: Bach
– no pitch video
– project description is too short, more information would be great
– only 3 rewards and quite expensive
+ project FAQs
My prediction: rather not successful
My recommendation: don’t pledge

Birth of MiLawd. Reggae/Dancehall Album
– the pitch video is quite unpersonal
– the project description is quite unpersonal, no call to action
– no project FAQs
My prediction: not successful
my recommendation: don’t pledge

Mike Brunacini – Cherry Springs
– pitch video by Bruno is quite alright, but echoing the project description isn’t very cool
+ project description is OK
– no project FAQs
– rewards are only available for US fans
My prediction: with some changes the project could be successful
My recommendation: do pledge, if you like Powerpop and live in the US

Support The Dream
– the pitch video doesn’t have a message
+/- the project description is personal, but should be more about the music
– no project FAQs
– more Rewards
My prediction: with a good deal of work and creativity the campaign could be successful
My recommendation: wait and see how it develops, maybe pledge later

Travelling Marionette Band and Artists
– no pitch video, a video would definitely make the project more vivid
+/- probably a cool project if you read the description
– only available in AU
– no project FAQs
+/-more work should be invested in creating rewards
My prediction: not successful
My recommendation: don’t pledge

A Night to Remember
– no pitch video
– almost no project description
– almost no rewards
My prediction: not successful
My recommendation: don’t pledge

1431: The Road Less Traveled
+ very personal pitch video
– there should be more details in the project description
+/- cool rewards, but no rewards for less than 25 $
My prediction: successful with some upgrades on the project page
My recommendation: pledge if you’re into country/folk

The Agony of Choice … to Find the Right Crowdfunding Platform

A few days ago, Fiona Zwieb introduced musicians to three of the largest crowdfunding platforms (Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon) for their music projects in the DIY musician blog. Sadly, this falls a little bit too short. One of the most important aspects of preparing crowdfunding projects is, without a doubt, choosing the right platform. There is no such thing as the only one. Use the following criteria when making your choice:

  1. Will I reach my fans? An important aspect for the success of a crowdfunding project is activating the existing fan base and gaining their support. After all, the largest portion of your funding is going to come from this source. It is, of course, important to know who your fans are, where they live and whether or not they have easy access to the platform (such as language and handling of payments). You will surely tell your fans about your project through your website, project related email newsletters and through your social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Soundcloud, …). But, you will want to communicate with your fans through the crowdfunding platform as well. Naturally, this should take place in an environment where you both feel comfortable.
  2. The type of your project – Most of the crowdfunding platforms offer a large range of product categories for creative projects. It does not matter if you are funding just a music project (album, EP, tour) or collecting for a larger project layout which includes other art forms such as dance or theatre, an overview of the various platforms will pay out. Some platforms have specialised in music projects. The founders of these platforms often have a background in the music industry themselves, thus, likely have relevant contacts and can step up with branch experience. This is often not the case with platforms which cover everything from technology to social ideas and art.
  3. Platform support – Here, drastic differences between the platforms can be found: from engaged well-rounded support to a complete lack thereof, you can find it all. The well-rounded support includes support during the preparation phase (video, design and texts within the project profile), tips during the project (e.g. concerning how to increase reach and proceeds) and a final discussion. However, this service is often reflected within the platform fees. This is definitely something crowdfunding novices should consider. Experienced DIY artists can achieve substantial crowdfunding proceeds without such support. And, thus, save on platform costs which would otherwise reduce the project proceeds.
  4. What does it cost? We have now reached a crucial point when deciding for or against a platform. During the preparation phase of every crowdfunding project, a calculation should always be made. It is here that the more substantial costs will need to be documented, such as, for example, for production and for the shipping of rewards. The costs for the platform and handling of payments, to be paid by the project initiator (artist), are also a relatively substantial cost. This can be between 7 and 18 % of the funding sum and in extreme cases even up to 31.5 %. This simply means that this money is not available for the actual project. In some cases, the supporters must also help with the costs which could lead to the project not being funded or only being funded to a small amount.

These are just some of the questions which you should ask yourself during the preparation phase for your crowdfunding project. If you need some help or have any questions, then just contact me at mario(at) musicandcrowdfunding.com. Within the next couple of days, I will introduce some crowdfunding platforms here which are especially suited for musicians.

The One-Step Program towards Success in Music Business

There are many lists and advices going around the internet, which are supposed to help musicians overcome the steep ways of the music business. They consist of some more and some less helpful tips (from five up to 20). Actually, most of them are obvious banalities that could work for the marketing of any given product.

Here, I want to oppose those with my One-Step Program: “Act professional!”

And it is really easy to implement, by the way: The central starting point on the web has to be one’s own internet site. Its basic design should consist of bio information, music, pictures and gigs. There probably is a talented web developer/-designer among the friend circle, who can draw that up. All social networks should lead to your website. It’s not necessary to appear on every social network, however Facebook, Twitter and for musicians also important, Reverbnation or Bandcamp, are a standard. Fans are the most important capital a musician can have. Contact with fans should always be a number one priority- but in a modest way, not by spamming (this also includes adding to unnecessary facebook groups)… and being reachable for fans always and through all channels. These are only a few relatively banal things that need to be taken in consideration. And in this case, one which always applies online as well as offline: professional appearance, even if behind the stage this doesn’t always go so smoothly. The fan should notice none of that. At crowdfunding this is decisive for everything, even success or failure. A professional appearance should be a standard in this matter as well. Here, an example (not from music crowdfunding): I am one of many, many backers of Double Fine Adventure on kickstarter.com. Not because I’m a gaming fan actually, but because this project (Attention!) made an extremely professional impression on me. Somehow, an email from this project stayed in my memory, an email after which all backers living outside the North American continent, had to pay extra 10$ shipping fees. I was certainly not thrilled to have to pay for something once again, which explains my partial amnesia. 🙂 However, this amnesia ended yesterday so I asked the DFA staff about it via the Kickstarter mailing system. Promptly, meaning within a few hours, I received an answer (1. proof of professionalism) with a link to a website, on which I could type in my backer email address and be forwarded straightaway to payment per credit card or PayPal (2. proof of professionalism). Surely, someone might object that it’s a piece of cake to do so when you have a 3, 3 Mio. $ Budget. Could be, but I think that nowadays you can have a successful (and professional) online appearance even with a small budget…. Besides, the rest is commitment and hard work. For questions and advice – cost-free - you can contact me on my email address mario[at]musicandcrowdfunding.com