Written by Kyle Kraft of Krafty Entertainment
Krafty Entertainment is a music business development coaching company dedicated to providing guidance to musicians (and their teams) on how best to nurture supporters and profit from doing so. Krafty Entertainment’s founder Kyle Kraft has over 20 years experience in assisting both developing and established artists in substantially growing their net income from their music. Interested in working with us? Let’s talk!
As you are getting ready to start planning your next release, I recommend you seriously consider starting a crowdfunding campaign to maximize the income you can generate from your supporters as a result of the release in order to have more to invest in furthering your career. With the $50 - $100+ per supporter average that is the normal income from a well-run music crowdfunding campaign its not uncommon for artists with only dozens of real supporters (who can even all be friends and family) to raise thousands of dollars, and for artists with hundreds of supporters to raise well into the five figures.
You can make a compelling pitch to your existing supporters to help you generate income to invest in creating more awareness for your music than you would otherwise be able to, and can do so without coming off as needy or begging. In fact when done right not only can crowdfunding help build capital, but it can also be an excellent way to engage your core supporters and have them feel a greater sense of involvement with your music. That can actually lead to your supporters being more inclined to spread the word about your music to other people, which in turn can also potentially increase the size of your fan base.
The best way to provide yourself with a thorough understanding of how to be successful with crowdfunding for music is to read An Artist’s Guide to Crowdfunding Domination by Ian Anderson. You can find out more about the book, and also read Ian’s extensive blog on music crowdfunding (scroll to the bottom of the page to find the link to the blog) at:
Here’s some examples of successful Rap crowdfunding campaigns and their corresponding Kicktraq daily backer reports (for the Kickstarter campaigns) to help you get a better understanding of the potential of crowdfunding. Most of the following campaigns didn’t have the benefit of having access to the research and info that An Artist’s Guide to Crowdfunding Domination offers. While not every aspect of these campaigns was set up well, the numbers I’ve bolded below are the most impressive aspects of the results they achieved:
The Grouch (~80,000 Facebook artist page likes) & Eligh Kickstarter campaign that raised $90,729 from 1,288 backers ($70 per person average):
Erick Sermon (31k FB likes) Kickstarter campaign that raised $62,092 from 589 backers ($105 pp avg):
RMean (14k FB likes) Kickstarter campaign that raised $53,679 from 577 backers ($93 pp avg):
MC Lars (40k FB likes) Kickstarter campaign that raised $42,213 from 1,017 backers ($42 pp avg):
The Coup (36k FB likes) Kickstarter campaign that raised $40,281 from 808 backers ($50 pp avg):
Bambu (20k FB likes) Kickstarter campaign that raised $39,373 from 631 backers ($62 pp avg):
Mr. J Medeiros (8k FB likes) Indiegogo campaign that raised $28,417 from 527 backers ($54 pp avg):
Sirreal (4k FB likes) Kickstarter campaign that raised $25,191 from 96 backers ($262 pp avg):
Chris Porter (4k FB likes) Kickstarter campaign that raised $23,803 from 309 backers ($77 pp avg):
Xiuhtezcatl (1k FB likes) Kickstarter campaign that raised $22,685 from 302 backers ($75 pp avg):
Iron Solomon Kickstarter campaign that raised $18,986 from 101 backers ($188 pp avg):
The Procussions (6k FB likes) Indiegogo campaign that raised $18,450 from 312 backers ($59 pp avg):
Transit22 (7k FB likes) Kickstarter campaign that raised $15,489 from 142 backers ($109 pp avg):
Ill-Legitimate (1.7k FB likes) Kickstarter campaign that raised $13,180 from 110 backers ($120 pp avg):
dFresh (1.3k FB likes) Kickstarter campaign that raised $12,582 from 105 backers ($120 pp avg):
Jason Chu (3.5k FB likes) Kickstarter campaign that raised $11,989 from 218 backers ($55 pp avg):
Rel McCoy (3k FB likes) Kickstarter campaign that raised $11,081 from 134 backers ($83 pp avg):
Professor Toon (1.6k FB likes) Kickstarter campaign that raised $10,842 from 171 backers ($62 pp avg):
Jay Kila (1k FB likes) & Cav Kickstarter campaign that raised $10,080 from 81 backers ($124 pp avg):
Project Trybe (1k FB likes) Kickstarter campaign that raised $9,345 from 92 backers ($102 pp avg):
Ahmen (<400 FB likes) Kickstarter campaign that raised $8,305 from 75 backers ($111 pp avg):
Kingdom Crumbs (1k FB likes) Kickstarter campaign that raised $7,085 from 53 backers ($134 pp avg):
Boosh & The Dip (1k FB likes) Kickstarter campaign that raised $6,090 from 61 backers ($100 pp avg):
Some other rappers that have been successful with crowdfunding include De La Soul, Run the Jewels, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Public Enemy, Murs, Mobb Deep, Lil Dicky, Blackalicous, Bishop Lamont, K.Flay, Lyrics Born, Kurupt, Flobots, Chali 2na, DJ Rob Swift, Elzhi, Blue Scholars, and MANY more.
Here’s some ideas for bigger ticket offerings that some of your supporters might be interested in that go beyond autographed CDs with merch bundles and into the realm of experiences:
- VIP tickets to your release party/ listening party/ headlining show of their choice/ other event
- Including their name in the credits of the physical version of the album, in your video end credits, and/ or on your website
- Shouting them out on a “shout out” audio track on the album itself
- Recording a customized voicemail outgoing message for them
- Writing and recording a custom verse / a poem for them about topic of their choice
- Allowing them to appear in an upcoming music video of yours
- Vinyl test pressings or other rare of limited edition representations of your work
- Recording a cover of the song of their choice
- Framed lyrics of the song of their choice handwritten and signed by you
- Come on stage with you for the song of their choice at one of your shows
- Spending time in the studio with you watching you work
- Having a meal with them / doing another activity with them
- A session or sessions in which you instruct (and/or critique) them on songwriting/ vocal delivery/ performance/ production/ playing an instrument etc either in person or via Skype
- Collaborating with them on a song or remixing an existing song of theirs if they have already recorded
- Having you perform acapella/ with acoustic accompaniment/ etc at their event/ living room house concert/ BBQ/ etc
- Having you write and record a custom song about the topic of their choice
Kickstarter is your best choice of all the crowdfunding platforms to use since it is by far the most recognized name out of any of the crowdfunding platforms, because they allow you to share your campaign with potential backers before its live (increasing the potential for more social proof when you launch), and because the all-or-nothing approach they use (as opposed to getting to keep however much you raise regardless of whether you hit your goal) is actually more likely to help you convince people to contribute more to your campaign.
While it takes a lot of research, planning, and work to make a crowdfunding campaign a success, the income you can generate definitely makes it worthwhile. Even if you choose not to proceed with a crowdfunding campaign for your next release (and again, I really think you should do one), at the very least you NEED to ensure you have a solid pre-order campaign with merch bundles set up to upsell supporters as far beyond the $10 mark as is possible. The average contribution for a well-executed pre-order campaign (using Topspin) was $25 per supporter. While not in the $50 - $100+ range per supporter that you can get from crowdfunding, doing a pre-order campaign with merch bundles is still a lot better than ~$10 a head that you’d get from the sale of an album on its own.
Again the definitive guide to crowdfunding for music is An Artist’s Guide to Crowdfunding Domination by Ian Anderson, which I highly recommend reading: www.launchandrelease.com
Suggested podcast episodes to listen to about music crowdfunding:
The keys to successful crowdfunding for musicians (Creative Juice podcast episode 292):
Six critical steps to a successful music crowdfunding campaign with Ian Anderson, founder of Launch and Release (Musician Monster podcast episode 30):
An Artist’s Guide to Crowdfunding Domination with Ian Anderson, founder of Launch and Release (Crowdfunding Demystified podcast episode 149):
How Jamie Alimorad raised $20,000 via Kickstarter (The Miews podcast episode 88):
How to raise $50,000 for your next music project via Kickstarter (The Miews podcast episode 38):
Videos about and related to music crowdfunding:
2 public Launch and Release videos:
3 more public Launch and Release videos:
De La Soul on raising $600,874, and why crowdfunding isn’t begging and better than a record deal:
Amanda Palmer on raising $1,192,792 (yes $1.2 million!) via Kickstarter:
Using the “why”, not the “what” to motivate people:
Kickstarter for Musicians: Getting Started
Additional reading about music crowdfunding:
Please also check out the recommendations I've put together for people that do decide to proceed with a crowfunding campaign!
This information was compiled by Kyle Kraft of Krafty Entertainment. Whether you are an artist who is in the early stages of building your career and have next to no money to invest into it looking for the best paths to generating income, are an artist that has established a following and are interested in getting assistance with securing tens of thousands of dollars in funding to further your career, or are an artist or collective with an extensive fan base that would like assistance with increasing the efficiency of your business development, we can help you.
Want to read more articles written by Kyle? You can do so here.
If you want to get recommendations on how to build your music business as well the inside scoop on opportunities to grow, hit us with your info and we’ll send you occasional emails.