by elizabeth | May 2nd, 2010
As many of you know, I raised part of the funds for my upcoming record using the online platform Kickstarter. This winter, NYU jazz professor Gabriel Alegria brought me into a master’s seminar at NYU to speak on this topic, and I’ve gotten many inquiries from other musicians, who wonder “What works?”
It seems many people are wondering how to make a career in music work! So how do you make a micro-funding campaign successful? Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you get started:
1. Do you have an email list? Friends? Family? Have you been reaching out to them regularly, even when you don’t need something from them?
2. Do you have a budget? Sit down right now and make one. How much money do you need? What do you need it for? Be specific and realistic. Pad the numbers, too … it will cost more than you think!
3. Do you have a story? Why are you raising money for this particular project? What makes it special? Why will people want to throw money at you for it?
4. Do you have a sense of what your audience can afford? With Kickstarter, you can set the levels of contribution at many different levels. You’ll also set a threshold; to make any money through the platform, that threshold must be met. So set it to something you know you can reach, and work to blow past that mark. If you don’t make the threshold, you can’t go back to your audience a month later and put your hand out again.
5. Do you have spell-checker? Run your draft by a few trusted friends before you set the promotional wheels in motion, at least one of whom is not in your industry. They will see things you will never see from the inside.
Here are a couple of successful micro-fundraising projects:
elizabeth! – Kickstarter
Natalie John – Kickstarter
Ethan Lipton – Kickstarter
Jill Sobule – Her own site (read Jill’s letter to Bob Lefsetz on micro-funding at all levels)
Josh Freese – His own site
The Ramblers – Pledge Music
What’s worked for you? What other questions do you have?