Funding your music project


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With the past decade of decentralization in the music industry, there are plenty of opportunities for musicians to find and connect with fans on their own, provide products at varying price points to these fans, and pull off creative marketing campaigns to help existing fans tell your story to their friends.

In many cases, established artists have had years of label support to help create a dedicated fanbase, which these artists can then continue to tap into directly, even if they are no longer affiliated with the label. For developing, unsigned artists, there can certainly be a bit of a "Catch 22" when it comes to funding the activities they need to engage in to find their core fanbase, engage with this fanbase, and ultimately monetize this fanbase. How does a developing artist fund the marketing initiatives necessary to generate a core fanbase, without having a fanbase to tap into?

In this presentation, we'll discuss the various methods that musicians and music business entrepreneurs can use to fund their activities, from traditional opportunities to more cutting-edge options for generating funding.

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  • Top Ten Tips for Creativity, works for marketing – want to speak about first one.Book came out a couple of months ago
  • Top Ten Tips for Creativity, works for marketing – want to speak about first one.Book came out a couple of months ago
  • What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before.I consider marketing to be a creative endeavor.
  • Not a New Idea – no Kind of Blue without George Russell, who pioneered the Modal approach to jazz. Must also look to folks outside of the business for ideas.Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization 1953MODAL
  • How do you use what came before, plus new tool kits, to positively effect change on your marketing campaign? High Tide Rises all boats. Digital Audio INsider
  • First step – realize that all bands are different, and what works for some wont work for others. Focus on what’s working, find other areas to expand on. There is no silver bullet for all musicians to find success
  • 2500 fans necessary.
  • It all starts with your on siteHead of WebSpam team at Google. SEO expert – online tips for optimizing your site.Search Engine Optimization: how does spotify pay artists. Awareness.
  • Capture a permission based contact Topspin bones brigade
  • NickiBluhm. Topspin download anywhere, lightbox pops up. Provide widgets to third party sites as well. Can optimize Wikipedia, Last.FM, and others.
  • Edgerank looks at three things: affinity between content creator and content receiver, Weight of post, time decay. Some problems here.
  • Edgerank looks at three things: affinity between content creator and content receiver, Weight of post, time decay. Some problems here.
  • Once they did this, an auto response went back to the fan with a link to a new song and a link to pre-order the new album
  • Once you have a base, Traditional Options can play a part. Key is that musicians must look at multiple revenue sources. What I am going to cover is as follows.
  • Mike Doughty blog. Imuatable in scrutable.
  • Speaks to awareness and building a connection. Best way to engage with fans is through a tour. French Kiss Label. SST
  • Matt Druinmetric
  • Totally Up to you
  • Totally Up to you
  • Totally Up to you
  • Third Party Fulfillment Partners. The Connextion and Whiplash. Ship out for a fee. Working for minimum wage. Make sure your offers work for you.
  • Funding your music project

    1. 1. Funding Your Music ProjectMike King: Instructor and Course Author, Berkleemusic Berklee College of Music
    2. 2. How Music Works – David Byrne
    3. 3. Steal Like An Artist – Austin Kleon
    4. 4. Steal Like An Artist – Austin Kleon―The Only Art I’ll Every Study Is Art I Can Steal From.‖ – David Bowie•Nothing is Original• You are the Sum of your Influences• Your Job is to Collect Good Ideas• Your Job is to School Yourself onWhat Came Before
    5. 5. Steal Like An Artist – Austin KleonThe Genealogy of Ideas: Every New Idea is a Remix of Previous Ideas•This Idea is not new: Miles Davis wasa Disciple of George Russell•Some of the Best Music Marketingand Creative Funding Ideas Comefrom Outside of the Music Business•Hugh McLeod, Clay Shirky, SethGodin: All Massive Influencers forMusic Creators, None are SolelyMusic Focused.
    6. 6. Steal Like An Artist – Austin KleonCreative Leaps Are Made Through CombinationQuestion:What does this mean forfunding your own project?Answer:• Read, Learn, Stay Aware• Iterate on existing ideas• Karma: share your results
    7. 7. Introduction: The “Catch-22” of Funding"Thats some catch, that Catch-22," he observed. "Its the best there is.‖• Established artists have had years of label supportto help create a dedicated fan base, which theseartists can then continue to tap into directly, even ifthey are no longer affiliated with the label.• How does a developing artist fund the marketinginitiatives necessary to generate a core fan base,without having a fan base to tap into?
    8. 8. Part One: Building a Foundation•Common Trait Associated withFailed Campaigns: engaging infunding activities prior todeveloping a base.•Awareness and Acquisition offans is a necessity prior to anyextensive funding activities.•Key Channels for Discussion:Web, Social, Email, PR, Touring.
    9. 9. Awareness: Your Own Web Site•Two major ways to approachWeb optimization. #1: SEO.• The search engines look at avariety of factors in determininghow relevant your site is,including the freshness of yourcontent, how many relevant sitesare pointing to you, and howappropriate your messaging is interms of the search phrase.
    10. 10. Acquisition: Your Own Web Site•Once you have captured the attention of potential fans via SEO,next step is to acquire a permission based contact through therelease of free content.• Email is still a very effective conversion tool if used properly.•Topspin, Bandcamp,, many more.
    11. 11. Awareness and Acquisition: Third Party Sites • Ian Rogers: ―You never want your fans to come up empty in any online search.‖ • Acquisition example: YouTube video with the option of downloading the MP3 in exchange for an email address. •No longer an issue to have your music on all the major online retail outlets for a low cost from Tunecore of CD Baby.
    12. 12. Awareness and Acquisition: Social • Best way to acquire fans on social outlets? Create amazing content that your fan base will want to share with their friends, who in turn will provide you with additional permission based contacts. • Facebook: Great content rewarded via EdgeRank. • Posting engaging content, open communication, and responding to fans posts results in more visibility.
    13. 13. Best Practices: Email •Provide Something of Value. Seth Godin would call this the "prize inside." What can you offer in your emails that is compelling? • Frequency. Review open rates and click through rates. All fans bases are different, and determining how often your fans want to hear from you is important. •Creating Email Lists Organically. While its possible to purchase email lists, it is not advisable. You want to be reaching out to folks that want to hear from you, as opposed to folks you have paid for.
    14. 14. Awareness and Acquisition: PR •Acquisition through online PR can also be an effective way to build up a permission-based fanbase. Artists can ask writers to include the embed code for a streaming player / email for media player in their review of a live show or other outreach.
    15. 15. Awareness and Acquisition: Touring•Dont be shy aboutcollecting emailaddresses at live events.Providing a reason forfans to give their contactinfo greatly increaseresponse rate.• Ben Folds kills it.
    16. 16. Traditional Funding Options for Musicians•Funding from a Label•Traditional DIYApproach to Funding•Grants•Sponsorships
    17. 17. Overview: Funding from a Label•The labels are still powerhousesin the recorded music world, andstill have the ability to fund A-level projects in a very seriousway.•Tour Support, Advances, RadioSupport, Video Support,Marketing.• With leverage, artists can getmore fair deals. Karmin, ArcadeFire examples.
    18. 18. Overview: Traditional Approach to DIY Funding•DIY funding is not new. Bandshave been funding their projectson their own for years.• Slow build. Start out making$50 or $100 a show, and you justsave it. From there, keep costslow, and tour, tour, tour.• ―To me, a bands job is to go ontour. From a financial standpoint,its crushing and devastating if aband doesnt tour.‖ Syd Butler,Les SavyFav
    19. 19. Overview: Grants•There are governmental andprivate grants available for manyartistic endeavors, includingdance, music, education, andmuch more.•Example: Canadian grants.FACTOR provides grants up to$40,000; StarmakerFundprovides up to $50,000 infunding for digital marketing per Barr Brothers used Canadian Grants Extensivelyrelease; MuchFACT covers up to50 percent of the videoproduction budget to a maximumof $25,000
    20. 20. Overview: Sponsorships•Sponsorships are open to artistsof all levels. Key is to prove valueto potential sponsor.• Press story is important:Example: Stringbuilder andGreyhound.• Sponsorships vary greatly inscope and detail, and could beuseful in everything fromproviding free gear for your liveevent, tour support, or otherfinancial needs.
    21. 21. New Funding Opportunities for MusiciansFan Funding Developments: Options and Best Practices•Growing trend within the musicindustry: online fan funding orcrowd funding.• Fan funding complementsexisting forms of funding.• Fan funding is not an either/orsituation. Online fan fundingoptions can certainly live alongside of grants, touring, and otherforms of funding for musicians.
    22. 22. Fan Funding Overview•Fan funding is an extension ofthe direct to fan approach tomarketing and sales.• Successful campaigns focus onproviding fans with unique itemsthat are unavailable elsewhere.• Successful campaigns alsospeak to the artist’s personal Erin McKeowninterests. Erin McKeown is anoutspoken advocate for artistsrights, and offered to sign overher checks from Spotify for $11pledge.
    23. 23. Fan Funding Industry LeadersOver two dozen fan funding services currently exist•Best in Breed: Kickstarter, PledgeMusic, Indiegogo.Two Basic Models•All or Nothing o $ only collected from the contributors if the fundraising goal is met.• Keep it All o Whether the goal is met or not, all of the funds collected (minus commission) are handed over to the artist.
    24. 24. Kickstarter: Overview•Founded in 2008 by Perry Chen,Yancey Strickler, and Charles Adler,Kickstarter is currently the worldslargest funding platform for creativeprojects• Music projects are alsosuccessfully funded at a high rate—52 percent of music projects reachtheir goals versus 44 percent of allother projects.• More than $42 million has beenpledged to Kickstarter music projectsby more than 600,000 people.
    25. 25. Kickstarter: Details•There are no gates or middlemeninvolved in determining whether ornot your project is "worthy" for aKickstarter release. Easy CMS.• Currently U.S. and U.K. only.•All or Nothing model. Kickstarter willtake five percent of the fundsraised. Amazon will also apply acredit card processing fee of aroundthree to five percent of funds raised.
    26. 26. PledgeMusic: Overview•PledgeMusic was founded in August of2009 by Benji Rogers.• Worldwide access.• Unlike Kickstarter, all projects onPledgeMusic have active involvementfrom the PledgeMusic team.
    27. 27. PledgeMusic: Details•Not all submissions are accepted byPledgeMusic. PledgeMusic basestheir decision on the amount ofleverage and permission basedcontacts an artist has.• All or Nothing model. Over 80percent of projects launched on thesite successfully reach theirfundraising target.•Fee: PledgeMusic charge a flat, 15percent commission on all moneyraised, which covers all fees,personalized assistance
    28. 28. PledgeMusic: Case Study• Rachael Yamagata: PledgeMusicuser, Berkleemusic student.―I’m a major label artist turnedindependent with 11 years betweenRCA and Warner Brothers. Averaging4 years between releases - veryfrustrating!! Led me to wanting a directapproach to record and release musicthat cut out the middleman of anyonesaying it couldnt be done.‖ – RachaelYamagata
    29. 29. PledgeMusic: Case Study / PROS1. The Team. ―The team at Pledge 3. They Helped Promote my and the fact that it all centered Campaign. ―Whether it was a around music was my deciding feature on their home page or point. The sheer energy and inclusion on their newsletter - it enthusiasm of the team got my widened my audience. The attention.‖ mutual benefits of Pledge talking about me, and me2. The Technical Infrastructure. talking about Pledge, were ―The set up of their system great.‖ allowed me to be my own distributer of digital and physical goods in one place with all the technical organization handled on their end.‖
    30. 30. PledgeMusic: Case Study / Challenges1. Time Commitment. ―It was like 3. Offers. ―I had handwritten having a second full time job in lyric books as a pledge. I addition to making a record, offered them for $50 a piece. touring, promoting it, structuring Little did I realize that 10 songs the release as an independent = 10 pages = 500 total artist - artwork, videos etc.‖ handwritten pages to complete this one item. One of my songs2. Shipping. ―I did everything myself is so wordy it took me over half and it was insane. Investigate an hour for that page alone. I shipping supplies in bulk and then hand bound them, signed postage alternatives. Dont forget them etc. This was just one international shipping. I filled out item.” over 500 custom forms in addition to addressing each package with an address.‖
    31. 31. Indiegogo: Overview•Founded by DanaeRingelmann,Slava Rubin, and Eric Schell in 2008.• Similar to Kickstarter, the service isnot focused solely on music. Forexample, in February 2012, PresidentBarack Obamas Startup Americapartnered with Indiegogo to offercrowd funding to entrepreneurs in theU.S.•Indiegogo has helped to fundprojects across the creativespectrum, including music, charity,small business and film.
    32. 32. Indiegogo: Details•International scope.• Offers both the All or Nothing / KeepIt All Models.•Indiegogo takes four percent of thefunds raised if you reach your fundinggoals. If you are using All or Nothingand you do not hit your goal, you arecharged nothing and the funds arereturned to the donors. However,Keep it All campaigns that do notmeet their goal are able to keep theamount raised, but are charged ninepercent.
    33. 33. THANK YOU• Twitter: @atomzooey• Online Music Marketing, OnlineMusic Marketing with Topspin, Music Marketing 101•• 33
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