How to have a successful crowdfunding campaign with PledgeMusic
Crowdfunding campaigns for musicians can be challenging so to help we asked PledgeMusic's Julian Wall for his essential advice...
Crowdfunding for musicians can be a great way for to connect with and reward fans.
Many acts including our MMus alumni funk rockers Keemosabe have pulled off successful campaigns. But, if not handled correctly, crowdfunding for musicians can end up becoming a huge undertaking. To ensure you can swerve as many pitfalls as possible, we caught up with PledgeMusic's Julian Wall to uncover what makes for a successful campaign.
Julian is well versed in not only the challenges and opportunities created by these initiatives but also the world of music and entertainment, having worked in a range of executive positions at companies including BPI and Universal Music. Check out his essential advice below...
What are your top tips for any artists looking to launch a PledgeMusic campaign?
Make sure you start by thinking realistically what you want to do and how much it needs to be properly funded - a conversation with a campaign manager at PledgeMusic is always useful upfront of doing a campaign.
Tip number two - have a good look round the PledgeMusic site (and elsewhere) for similar type artists and campaigns, so that you have some sort of context and bench-mark for what you are wanting to do … a bit of independent research invariably pays off.
And finally, you need to be prepared to be flexible; if things need to be changed during the campaign (financial targets etc.), don’t be afraid to grasp these nettles and make a decision.
For new artists, how long should their campaign be?
Duration is entirely your call, but anything less than three months might be a bit on the short side ... an average campaign is six months or more, but could be longer.
Do you have any advice on what kind of amount should be asked for?
Don’t be greedy; this is about the fans and they won’t be fans if they feel they are being squeezed - carefully budget out what is needed to do what you want to do.
What are the most common mistakes artists make with these campaigns?
Over-ambition in pricing and not fulfilling pledges in a timely manner; fans want what they have pledged for and expect it when it is promised (unless there are compelling reasons otherwise). If stuff is not happening, make sure you communicate quickly with fans what will.
What are the best ways to promote a campaign?
Social media direct to your fans is the best starting point … thereafter anything and everything, like any promotion exercise when you are starting off!
How can artists maintain the momentum of a campaign after it's finished?
The simple answer is to dream up and do another campaign! More seriously, as already mentioned prompt fulfilment is number one and then important subsequently to keep connected with all the fans that have been part of your PledgeMusic campaign (emails, band/artist website blogs and social media).
What have you been your favourite/most interesting PledgeMusic campaigns - and why?
Bit outside the norm, but I very much enjoyed working with Marillion on their last album … they were perhaps the first band to engage with their fans in this way and have been very successful over the six or seven albums they have funded.
They decided to use PledgeMusic and the challenge at Pledge was to add to their fan base through our three million plus community. The project we did with them (the album 'F.E.A.R.' ) was their most successful since their early albums on EMI in the eighties.
On a more ‘organic’ level, an interesting campaign has been with the Scottish artist Gerry Cinnamon. Gerry started doing an EP with us in 2015 and then his debut album 'Erratic Cinematic' in 2017, which upon release topped the iTunes singer-songwriter chart and landed top five in their album listings. He has since - through hard work and dogged determination - progressed to selling out two shows last December at Glasgow’s Barrowlands. Working together, we have built a fanbase upon which Gerry is fast developing well beyond his local fans. You can read a PledgeMusic interview with him from October last year.
Are you interested in launching a crowdfunding campaign? Visit the PledgeMusic website.
Study Music Business at ICMP
Looking to enter the world of music business ? ICMP offers music business courses aligned to industry for entrepreneurs looking to take that next step towards developing a long-term successful career in the music business.
Every year we strive to continually connect our students to high-profile industry professionals - through seminars, Q+A's and panel events held at our Kilburn campus. This ensures ICMP music courses remain up-to-date and relevant to today's ever-changing music industry. This academic year has been no exception - here are just a handful of the many guests who've passed on their advice and insight to our students this year:
Pete Simmons - A&R Manager, Universal Publishing
Martin Dell - A&R Manager, Columbia
Alex Eden-Smith - Head of Marketing, Columbia
Toby L - Founder, Transgressive Records
James Endeacott - Founder, 1965 Records
Phil Loutsis - Director of Label Management, AWAL
Maz Tappuni - Promoter, Communion Records
David Manders - Manager, Liquid Management
Jess Kinn - Agent, Coda
Jess Partridge - Founder, London in Stereo
Joe Parry - Senior Publicist, Inside/Out
Jason Carter - Founder, Get On Music
Joel De’ath - Label Manager, Music For Nations/Sony
If you're interested in studying a music business degree in London in 2018, contact our Admissions Team on 020 7328 0222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org who will be able to guide you through the application process.