It seems more and more I keep reading about another artist who is putting out a “fan funded” or “crowd funded” album. Recently, Public Enemy has raised $75,000 for their next album. I find the whole process of fan funded albums pretty interesting. While the gap between what you can record in your own home and what you can do in a studio is closing, there still is no substitute for a true studio recording. Now I have to assume if you’re reading my blog you don’t have piles of cash laying around to just record in a studio where ever and when ever you want. If you do have giant piles of money lying around and you’re looking to record I would highly recommend the Barber Shop in Lake Hopatcong NJ -http://www.thebarbershopstudios.com
If your broke and can’t afford to record what can you do? Here are 5 ideas you can try out to help raise funds for studio time.
1. Bake Sale – I’m sure someone in your band has a mom who can make some sweet lemon bars. Put her to work and before you know it you’ll be recording away.
2. Organ Harvesting – Does your drummer really need 2 kidneys? I don’t really think that he does and a quick Google search told me you can sell your Kidney for $91,400. With that kind of cash you could get into a really nice studio, pay for some great marketing and get a new drummer, one with two working kidneys.
3. Gigolo – Old ladies need love too, have your bass player take one for the team, and lets be honest he plays bass so he might appreciate the action.
4. Corporate Sponsorship – If your entire band is willing to tattoo GoldenPalace.com on their foreheads I am sure they will be more than happy to write you a decent check. How about adding some background dancers sponsored by Gatorade? You can call them the Gatorretts or something.
5. Become a Medical Guinea Pig – It’s not the hardest job in the world, mostly just taking a few pills to see how they work on you. You’re in a band, someone I’m sure likes to take random pills, so this should be no big deal.
Q: What is the worst that can happen?
A: HORRIBLE, PAINFUL DEATH.
So maybe these things aren’t going to work for you lets take a look into a few of these fan funded sites.
SellaBand / https://www.sellaband.com /- Based in Europe and is where Public Enemy raised their funds.
“With SellaBand, artists retain complete ownership of the works created and have the flexibility to determine which incentives they will offer their fans who fund them. SellaBand’s fan funding engine also allows artists the freedom to enter into deals with any label, management company, or publisher and there are no advances to pay back. Artists maintain control over their career and have 100% freedom to create the music that they want to create. SellaBand can also be utilized by management companies, record labels, publishers, sponsors and media companies to fund projects for their own artists while also building the core fan base required to launch an artist or take them to the next stage of their career”.
Pledgemusic / http://www.pledgemusic.com / – Different then other pledge sites because a percentage of the projects proceeds donated to a charity of the artists choice.
“PledgeMusic is a music company offering you a new way to take control of your career. We’re not interested in being a rights owner – Pledge does not want ANY rights to your music, live income, merch etc. We just help you fund whatever type or format of record you want to release next.
To do this we simply help and encourage you to participate with your fans in an exciting and unique way. Pledge allows you to easily create an irresistible customized menu of exclusive content and experiences that integrates your database, MySpace friends, Facebook fans, Twitter followers and various other social networking sites. You decide how much money you’d like to raise and your fans pledge money for whichever item or experience they want. They will only be charged once the full target amount has been raised and there’s even the option to build a charitable donation into your campaign. We charge a flat 15% fee and we have no hidden fees or transaction costs whatsoever.
You are your own A&R and Marketing Manager – you choose the studio, the producer, the artwork, the promotion – it’s all down to you! Let the fans be your label, while you keep the rights to your music.”
Kickstarter / http://www.kickstarter.com / – Not just for musicians, everything from films to comics can be funded here.
“Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative ideas and ambitious endeavors.
We believe that…
• A good idea, communicated well, can spread fast and wide.
• A large group of people can be a tremendous source of money and encouragement.
Kickstarter is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes ha Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative ideas and ambitious endeavors.”
I like the idea of fan funded records for a lot of reasons, but the main reason I like it is that I think it cuts down on piracy. I think a lot of fans would be willing to part with ten dollars up front to help fund the record, provided they get it back if your band breaks up or the recording never happens. Self funding your own recordings in this environment can be a huge financial risk. When you raise the money, or even worse, borrow the money to record and people illegally download your music you’re taking a huge loss. However if your fans are already invested in the project, they can’t steal what they already own. Plus they might be more inclined to help cut down on other people illegally downloading.
I personally haven’t talked to many bands that have been involved in this process. If you or your band has done the fan funded route send me and e-mail. I would love to hear more about the process and if it was a success for you or not @ firstname.lastname@example.org