Music crowdfunding, also known as fan-funded music, is an emerging trend that is helping bands and artists around the world finance their dreams. Musicians aren’t the only ones benefiting from this new kind of fundraising. Fans can get a front row seat by pledging funds and helping artists first hand. Imagine if you could say you helped finance U2’s first major tour after seeing them play in a Dublin church hall in 1978 (or insert your favorite band and a picture that can tell the story of how you helped get them started). .
Crowdfunding is a financing method in which a group of people make many small contributions to fund something of greater value. Most people have heard of the most popular crowdfunding sites, Kickstarter and Indiegogo, which focus on fundraising for a wide range of topics. Niche platforms that specialize in very specific topics are also starting to appear. Sellaband and PledgeMusic are specifically focused on raising funds for musicians.
Musicians can participate in Sellaband or PledgeMusic and raise funds to promote anything related to their future success. Many artists start out on the sites by raising money for the costs of recording a new album. Artists also use money from fundraising campaigns to support tours, cover marketing costs, or fix their broken-down truck to prepare for many miles on the open road.
Musicians create a page on the sites where they perform to get funds. Artists can include music tracks where potential donors can listen to songs to discover a new band or experience new music from their favorite bands. Both sites offer a search page where people can browse through their favorite music genres to discover new artists. Both sites also offer musician discounts to preferred vendors who provide other services like mastering, promotion, or digital marketing.
The artist pages on Sellaband seem to have a better layout and seem to have a few more options. Both the PledgeMusic and Sellaband artist pages contain a profile, fundraising statistics, a list of rewards for contributions, a blog/update section where fans can add comments, a list of donors, and links to artist websites. bands and other social media pages. The Sellaband artist pages appear to have a cleaner look resembling a well built web page. The PledgeMusic Artist Page is more like a blog page with most of the content and sections crammed onto the landing page.
Sellaband and PledgeMusic give fans access to exclusive merchandise from musicians only offered on these sites. Artists often offer rewards that become more attractive as the contribution amount increases. The most common rewards offered are track downloads, CDs, T-shirts, concert tickets, and signed memorabilia. Artists also post very creative rewards that offer unique experiences. Some examples of these unique rewards include a lunch with the artist, a personal guitar lesson from the band, original handwritten lyrics, the ability to sing on a track, or an executive producer credit on an album. To get these types of rewards 10 years ago, a fan would have to win a contest with a 1 in 100,000 chance of winning. Sellaband also offers an option for additional capital in exchange for a contribution. Fans can get a percentage of the proceeds from future album sales or upcoming tours.
Sellaband and PledgeMusic are also benefiting from expanding usage of their sites. Both platforms charge a 15% fee on all successful campaigns. It’s free for fans to make promises. Pledges are forfeited by artists and returned to donors if a campaign does not reach its fundraising goal. These sites offer a new option to promote music and art in the world. Artists, fans and the sites themselves benefit from the rise of music-based crowdfunding. Everyone should explore these sites if they want to experience a new level of fan and artist engagement.