Our in-house music business guru, Jay Coyle, has managed crowdfunding and direct-to-fan campaigns for bands like the Barenaked Ladies, Veruca Salt, and the Presidents of the United States of America (to name a mere handful). He always instructs his clients to be themselves and share their stories genuinely when communicating with their fanbases.
By doing the same, you’ll ensure that your crowdfunding campaign stands out and starts a new, direct line of communication with your audience.
Crowdfunding’s magic lies in the fact that it takes both artists and fans to make a project happen. It’s not the typical, one-sided creative conversation that the music industry has been having for nearly 100 years. And although skimming through live campaigns on a regular basis is difficult if you’re looking after the health of your wallet, there’s really no better way to get a glimpse of the myriad ways music can connect people.
If you’re planning your own campaign, you should highly consider taking Jay Coyle’s in-depth Soundfly Mainstage course, Crowdfunding for Musicians — the single best way to set yourself up for successful fundraising.
To get inspired, check out these eight music crowdfunding campaigns going on right now. Learn from their success and think about how you can apply their tactics to your next venture.
Youssra El Hawary (Cairo, Egypt)
Youssra ِِEl Hawary is an Egyptian accordionist, composer, songwriter, singer, and actress. Her Indiegogo campaign raises funds to record her band’s debut album. The star of her campaign page is her video. It showcases personal endorsements from a number of artists and personalities in her circle. Each testimony is honest, uplifting, and respectfully urgent.
The greater importance of Youssra’s pitch isn’t at all lost in this narrative. There’s very little opportunity for female songwriters in Egypt to share their stories and perspectives. Her songs are bright, hopeful, and reflective of her desire to make the world a better place through music.
We love her campaign title. “Be the Producer” invites her fans and friends to join the process directly and make an impact on her project with their contributions.
Check out more on Be the Producer: Youssra El Hawary’s First Album.
In the Presence of Wolves (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
In the Presence of Wolves wants to record their sophomore album, stay the course, inch towards fame one step at a time, and do it with a smile. Okay, maybe a smirk. These guys are goofballs, and they’re able to convey their true personalities along with their struggles (“Dude, we play prog-metal, we don’t have any girls at our shows”) in their well-crafted pitch video.
One of the best ways to guarantee successful crowdfunding results is by being yourself and opening up to your audience about what drives you. Their video is basically a manifesto for why independent musicians should keep at it, even when all odds are against them.
Why do we really love this campaign, though? High-quality rewards and a lot of them (17 to be exact). Enabling your fanbase to choose from tons of different rewards all but guarantees there will be something for everyone. And this band does it perfectly by offering exciting, off-kilter perks such as letting you shave their beards, going to Medieval Times with them, and taking over Jim’s Tinder account. Can I be in this band, please?
Check out more on New Album by In the Presence of Wolves.
Vinyltryk (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Now, here is a project the world desperately needs! Vinyltryk is a record-pressing plant in Denmark, servicing both local and international artists and labels with everything from long runs to custom, limited-edition pressings.
As the company’s beautifully shot and edited video details, vinyl’s dramatic growth over the past 10 years is gravely hindered by a lack of pressing plants with the ability to fulfill the demand. Vinyl production today is expensive and time-consuming, slowing release times and often leaving artists with their backs against a wall.
Not only does Vinyltryk seek to offer solutions to these problems, it’s also building an eco-friendly press which cuts down on electricity and recycles its cooling water.
We love this project for its sheer ingenuity, its “think global, act local” mentality, and because Vinyltryk innovatively used custom-designed slides rather than plain text in its project description.
Check out more on Eco-Friendly Vinyl Record Press.
Project Sonata (Atlanta, Georgia)
Project Sonata is an American charity that uses the Japanese synthesizer program UTAU to create electronic vocals for its animated avatar, Sonata. Sonata helps raise awareness and funds for the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.
We’re suckers for a great charity project, and Project Sonata is using its Kickstarter campaign to create a collaborative album for and with supporters to mark its one year anniversary. The organization also pledges to donate leftover funds after costs to NAfME (The National Association for Music Education), one of our favorite charities!
We love that Project Sonata’s pitch video is highly informative and makes learning about this strange Japanese synth-voice program, and the global culture around it, interesting and fun. Both the organization’s and the campaign’s message empower female electronic music creators and people who suffer from clinical depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental health issues through the limitless palette of UTAU.
Check out more on Project Sonata: CREATION’s Physical Album.
Scratch Academy (Denver, Colorado)
This vinyl-related project couldn’t be more different from the one above. Until recently, Jesu Berkeley was just a talented dad. Now, he’s an educator and community activist with a dream to provide a creative space for students and at-risk youth to learn about DJing, turntablism, and scratchology!
His campaign seeks funds to create a Scratch Academy in Denver (not to be confused with the Scratch DJ Academy in New York with which Rob Swift is associated) as a result of local funding cuts for music and arts programs in schools recently. Not only is this a touching endeavor, but Jesu also uses his Kickstarter page as a place to post volunteer and freelance opportunities. He knows this campaign will attract attention from lots of people interested in the same things he is.
His itemized list of what each class receives helps build anticipation and a deep connection with the project, even in its infancy. A great project with great implementation.
Check out more on Scratch Academy.
Magnéto Podcasts (Montréal, Québec)
(Editor’s note: This one’s in French!)
Magnéto is a Montréal-based radio production agency currently working alongside Radio Canada and independently to create a platform for Québécois podcasts.
It aims to develop the culture of podcasting in its home province, producing high-quality content and inspiring others to do the same. The goal is offering local listeners a wider breadth of available, relevant audio programming, and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible.
What makes this campaign so powerful is the amount of care and work the agency put into its pitch video. Just look at the animated graphics, and the beautifully shot B-roll footage and interview segments. Listen to the crisp, well-EQed voiceover audio.
It’s showing the world what to expect from future radio and digital programming: informative, engaging, and professionally made creative content.
Check out more on Magnéto: A Home for the Québécoise Podcast.
Elise Dewsberry (Los Angeles, California)
Crowdfunding campaigns with pitch videos receive average contributions up to 12% higher than campaigns without. They’re also more likely to get shared on Indiegogo’s homepage. Finally, their success rates jump about 20 to 30 points on average.
Elise Dewsberry’s “Singing Sixty Birthday Recording” campaign lacks a pitch video, but the project is as heart-warming as they come. She does a pretty good job of selling it, too.
Dewsberry’s project is to finance the audio and video recording of a live concert in which she’ll debut 16 songs her friends have written for her 60th birthday. It’s commemorative and community-oriented, and it plays with the concept of a Sweet 16 — only fast-forwarded to age 60.
Her project is cleverly structured using Indiegogo’s flexible funding feature. As long as she reaches any of four monetary milestones, she’ll be able to complete her project. Well done!
Check out more on Singing Sixty Birthday Recording.
Chip Bit Day (Manchester, England)
If you’re a regular Soundfly visitor, you probably already know how much we love chiptune music. Richard Lewis is the founder of the British music blog Chip! Bit! Sid! as well as the annual 8-bit music festival Chip Bit Day held in Manchester.
For chip enthusiasts, Lewis’ campaign offers a great way to get involved and support a community that’s so dependent on DIY, grassroots support. Every one of his rewards (including Game Boys!) is affordable, making this campaign easily shareable and not easy to resist.
Lewis is upfront about what it’ll take to make this event happen, which helps get both artists and fans in gear to promote!
Check out more on Chip Bit Day 2017 — Celebrating Chiptune.