Fund your next music project with a Kickstarter campaign
As this is a tough time for musicians globally, we’re partnering with other creative companies to bring you ways to rally your audience and fund your latest project from quarantine. First up is Kickstarter’s Inside Voices initiative.
Earlier this month, we rolled out a new feature to help creators get financial support directly from fans by linking up to services like Kickstarter, Bandcamp, Patreon, Paypal and more.
We’re seeing fans opting to send money and buy merch, but if you’re in a position to offer fresh music, digital performances, production services or other quarantine-friendly releases, a Kickstarter campaign can be a powerful way to rally your community around a specific project. Saying, “Help me raise $5,000 in the next 30 days to get early access to my next bedroom pop album,” helps fans feel immediately involved with what you’re doing and is more powerful than a more vague request like, “Please give what you can.”
If you’re new to starting your own campaign, Kickstarter’s open call for creative work, Inside Voices, makes it easier to get things going. It’s an initiative that invites creators to launch simple, at-home projects and gives them the opportunity to be featured alongside peers who are also navigating new creative processes.
Here are a few tips based on how other creators are successfully using Kickstarter to fund their music projects:
- Share timely, relevant content. Danish guitarist and composer Mikkel Ploug is making a studio-quality recording of the lullabies he’s been playing on his balcony in quarantine.
- Take fans behind the scenes. When he’s not performing his daily IGTV piano bar segment, Julian Velard is making a digital EP—and has outlined stretch goal projects like recording a podcast or documentary if his fans raise more than his initial $15,000 goal.
- Create your own niche. Pink Boot is offering, among other things, “oddly specific 13-song playlists” for backers’ mood of choice, like “songs to play when showering on days when you’re exasperated but don’t necessarily know why,” “songs to play when you’re clearly tired but have decided to fight the urge to sleep,” or “songs to play when you’re in the passenger seat for a long drive and you’re wearing sunglasses and pretending that this trip is the opening scene of an indie-movie.”
- Plan for the future. Greg Fox is taking this time to upgrade his home studio into a public-facing venue for lessons and session work (once that’s allowed).
- Keep things fresh. Brooklyn’s iconic metal and hardcore venue Saint Vitus is releasing a rolling, 60-day lineup of livestreams, signed rare records, new merch designs from Caroline Harrison, skate decks, and music lessons (at a later date). Their strategy to release new surprise rewards along the way keeps their community coming back.
Other actionable things you can do right now:
- Seize the moment. Record and release a digital album of home demos (Inspiration: Shamir’s 2017 album Hope, a bedroom masterpiece made in 48 hours)
- Use what you already have. Dig through your archives and offer exclusive access to unreleased tracks through SoundCloud.
- Get crafty. Make a PDF zine featuring the history of your favorite band, tips for songwriters, favorite road recipes for van snacks on tour, show photos, etc.
- Go live. Host livestream performances on Instagram and take requests (or call your fans up one-on-one like Laura Jane Grace)
- Partner up. Set up a collaborative performance with fellow musicians on Zoom and share invite-only links with backers.
And lastly, here’s some advice straight from the source:
When applying the coveted “Project We Love” badge, Kickstarter director of music Meredith Graves looks for the genuine, human, homespun approach. “My main advice to creators is: don’t get overwhelmed! So much of what can seem complicated about Kickstarter turns out to be second nature to folks with backgrounds in DIY.” She adds, “I’ve always thought of Kickstarter as the ideal home for projects that, in the past, would have been like Sarah Records or Dischord. The long history of incredible music made specifically from your bedroom or living room can’t be denied.”
You’ve already got the homebase and we’ve armed you with some ideas on how to get started, so if you want to get your ideas out of your head and into the world, head over to Inside Voices now.
Looking for detailed advice on making your project? Check out Kickstarter’s Creator Handbook. And when you’re ready to launch your Inside Voices campaign, email firstname.lastname@example.org to get tagged.