Who needs labels in the Internet era? That’s what you can decide, looking at apps and services like https://show4me.com/ and its likes. With these, you can establish direct contact with your audience, accept donations from backers, and become your own label. But crowdfunding as art requires some knowledge as well as motivation and energy.
What Is Crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is a method of raising funds directly from the audience. It’s almost as old as civilization (and the money) itself, but in the Internet era, it has become more available and more transparent. There are numerous platforms that allow for crowdfunding on various bases.
What you will need is the art of selling your ideas before they become products. Inventors usually present a prototype of their devices. As for musicians, they can share their previous works, demos of new ones, videos of their live gigs or studio sessions, and whatever they want, including vlogs of band members or managers.
How Do Both Artists and Fans Benefit from Crowdfunding?
It has never been a disgrace for an artist to trade and negotiate (dismiss those romantic prejudices some of us still share). An artist should not remain hungry: it makes them underappreciated rather than true. In old times, a composer or a painter often had to find a rich or royal patron (which we’d now call crownfunding). Now they can directly address the mass audience and start crowdfunding.
Why does crowdfunding work for artists?
- Money goes straight to the artists, bypassing labels and managers. This also means you choose your studio, your video production, venues for gigs, and whatever else usually defined by the label. And you pay for that, too, but you know what you pay and what you get.
- When you start your campaign, you must shape the concept of what you are making. And not for yourself only. You should make a persuasive representation so fans would want to back it. At the end of the day, you benefit the most, as it helps you imagine and fulfill the project.
- It indicates how the audience is interested in new projects. If a newly announced project is obviously underfunded, maybe you should change something in your music or in its representation.
- It motivates you to work further. Backers are waiting, and while you can keep them satisfied for a certain time with extras and exclusives, they all keep in mind the final product.
As for fans, they also benefit from participating in crowdfunding. The benefits they get are the following:
- The favorite artist keeps recording music and making gigs. It’s great to realize that you are among those who keep them motivated.
- You can get digital or physical extras (posters, T-shirts, accessories, memorabilia, physical media or digital bonus tracks). They are worth much more than just their price: it’s the representation of the bond between you and the artist.
- You are aware of every event that the musician or the band is planning. This anticipation is itself keeping you connected to the art.
- In reciprocation, you can be recognized as a top fan and maybe get closer to the band. Some fans may become crew members or managers, and if you yourself are a musician, one day you can even join the band on the stage or in the studio booth.
- You can feel equal to some medieval prince or even king who was also a patron of the arts. Ridiculous but true.
Where to Do Crowdfunding?
There are various platforms that offer artists all the opportunities for successful crowdfunding. Not only do they have a stable audience, a body of reviewers constantly tracking what’s going on, or various payment options for fans.
On some of these platforms, you raise funds for a certain project that you start if you raise your minimum. On others, people can just subscribe and pay a certain sum monthly. You, as an artist, formally owe them nothing, but if they get disappointed, they just cancel the subscription.
In addition, there are specialized platforms for musicians. Not only do they allow for collecting money, but also for sharing music, streaming concerts and interviews, planning and announcing events, and sending alerts to subscribers. These combine the best of streaming services, crowdfunding platforms, and social media.
Crowdfunding as a system raises a lot of questions. Many people are still unfamiliar with how it works. Here are the brief answers to the most popular questions.
- I am a fan. What if I donate, but the project (a release, a concert, a video, etc.) fails to complete?
- On most crowdfunding services, the artist (the inventor, the entrepreneur, etc.) can set the minimum required for the project to start. If by the set date the minimum amount is not collected, the project is cancelled, and all the donors can get a refund.
- I am a fan. What if I donate, the project is completed, but I am dissatisfied?
- That’s too personal, and your disappointment is in general no reason for refund (if not for the artist’s good will). But you can decide not to support the artist in the future, until you see a real good reason to change your mind again.
- I am an artist. How much are the processing fees on crowdfunding services?
- Mostly, they are up to 5%, but if you collect significant sums, they can be lower. Many services take no fee if your project fails to reach your funding goals.
- I am an artist. What if my project failed to collect the minimum amount in time?
- Most platforms automatically do the refunding to all the donators if the deadline comes, and the amount is still below the minimum. Your crowdfunding project fails (but that doesn’t mean you have to like it). Meditate on your mistakes. Then start another project that will attract more audience.
Stop Hesitating, Act!
It may look like standing on the street with a guitar in your hands and a hat at your feet. But that’s how crowdfunding works. Art is not necessary for surviving, but it turns surviving into living. So come on: what you deliver is worth some reward, and you can make it as you want it. Independent from labels and producers, you can crowdfund your way to the top.