I managed to spend some time investigating crowdfunding with a view to raising money to make our first album. Pre-release sales seems to be the preferred term, meaning purchasers are pre-ordering rather than committing a charitable act. Marillion were the first band I can recall doing this. The following is taken from the Marillion Wikipedia entry.
‘The band decided that they would try a radical experiment by asking their fans if they would help fund the recording of the next album by pre-ordering it before recording even started. The result was over 12,000 pre-orders which raised enough money to record and release Anoraknophobia in 2001. The band was able to strike a deal with EMI to also help distribute the album. This allowed Marillion to retain all the rights to their music while enjoying commercial distribution. By this time the band had also parted company with their long-time manager, saving 20 per cent of the band’s income.
The success of Anoraknophobia allowed the band to start recording their next album, but they decided to leverage their fanbase once again to help raise money towards marketing and promotion of a new album. The band put up the album for pre-order in mid-production. This time fans responded by pre-ordering 18,000 copies.
Marbles was released in 2004 with a 2-CD version that is only available at Marillion’s website – kind of a ‘thank-you’ gesture to the over 18,000 fans who pre-ordered it, and as even a further thanks to the fans, their names were credited in the sleeve notes (this ‘thank you’ to the fans also occurred with the previous album, Anoraknophobia).’
Of course this approach is fairly common now. A friend of mine, Sudha Bonne, who I have booked for a number of music events at Chalice Well, Glastonbury, raised money for her recent album, ‘Sharanam’, this way.
I was already aware of Kickstarter and, having discussed it with the rest of the band, pretty much thought we would go that way when I decided to Google ‘crowd funding’, originally for some advice on how to make best use of this fund raising method. This search led me to a blog post, ‘The secret to successful crowdfunding’, on the CD Baby website, by Carlos Castillo. It was in this post I came across Pledge Music.
Now, Kickstarter looks fine, is well established and helps people all over the world realise their dreams, big and small. However, Pledge Music, as you will have no doubt guessed, is music focused. On top of that the team behind it seems more personable and hands on. Of course I won’t know for certain until we start to put our campaign together in a few weeks. I will update you as the process unfolds. One of the first tasks is to create our offer ladder, or whatever the official name is. This involves putting together a list of items and / or services available for pre-sale during the campaign. For example, you might start by offering a digital download copy of the album for £5.00, then a standard CD copy for £10.00, followed by a campaign exclusive copy (with extra tracks) for £15.00. Something like that anyway. Any suggestions for our campaign offer ladder would be gratefully received.
Meanwhile, as I was slaving over a hot keyboard, Davy had spent nearly an hour in the sound booth at Jaywalk Guitars, Street, trying out different types of guitars to add to the Lazy Daze sound! In the end it was a PRS SE Tremonti Custom – Black Cherry – SE Series, which caught his eye. And I don’t blame him. He asked me to pass on his thanks to the guys there for the help and advice.
The day ended with a good rehearsal. We spent a fair amount of time discussing our recent recording experience, which you can read about in a previous post, and what we might attempt during the next recording session on Wednesday. The decision was to carry on and add a few more tracks. No doubt I will add one or two tracks for you to listen to.
Once again, thanks for reading. If you can think of anything we can offer during our pre-sale campaign, whether it be private concerts or ideas for exclusive merchandise, please comment. And do let us know about your own adventures journeying down the road to a career in music, especially if they’re funny. 🙂
Best wishes, as always