How Do You Set a Fundraising Goal?

One question we’ve gotten a lot recently is: “How do I know how much I should aim to raise with my crowdfunding campaign?” The answer: you don’t! There is really no secret formula or magic number to help you decide what the right goal amount is…but here are some tips:

 

1) Be realistic.

Very few crowdfunding campaigns have raised a million dollars, or another gigantic amount of money. Is it possible? Sure. But you will have a much better chance of meeting your goals if you set reasonable expectations and approachable amounts. Your friends, family, and fans are more likely to respond favorably to your request for donations if your amount is practical and suits the project you are pitching. For example, $2,000 is a much more approachable and reasonable amount to raise to help with tour expenses than $10,000. Show that you know the value of the money you are raising by being willing to make it go as far as possible.

 

2) …but don’t be afraid to aim high!

To clarify, being realistic doesn’t mean aiming low. Understanding what a reasonable amount is doesn’t mean you have to ask for less than you need. Before starting any crowdfunding campaign you should have thoroughly researched what the total project expenses will be. Aiming to raise as much of the total cost as possible is a fine goal.

 

3) When in doubt, be ambitious, yet humble.

Like we said, there is no magic formula for figuring out how much to raise, but our advice for finding the perfect goal amount is to take the amount you need*, (let’s say it’s $10,000,) and the amount you think you can raise, (let’s say you have 300 friends, fans, and followers, and you think they will each donate an average of $15 – that’s $4,500…) and average them! The average of 10,000 and 4,500 is 7,250. So, if you set your goal at $7,250, you have aimed high, but remained realistic.

 

*Don’t forget to add in the cost of your reward fulfillment! If you are offering CDs, crafts, notes, or something that may cost a few bucks for you to make or acquire as rewards/gifts for your donors, factor this cost into the “how much you need” part of the equation.

 

Still thinking about the right amount to raise? Don’t hesitate to hit us up at
support@feedthemuse.net
with any questions. We’re here to help!

 

Fall is a Great Time to CrowdFund!

The leaves are changing color, jack-o-lanterns line the streets, and it’s one of the best times of year to kick off a crowdfunding campaign: here’s why!
While there are certainly great reasons to kick off your campaign in the spring, (new beginnings, etc.,) we think that the end of the year is a great time to set up and launch a new campaign to fund your creative projects. People tend to be in a charitable and “giving” spirit as we churn towards the holidays, and getting them thinking about donating to your campaign around this time of year might entice folks to send some funding your way. It’s also a great way to get inspired to give back to your donors! Creating rewards and thank-you gifts around Thanksgiving is a no-brainer: you are thankful for your donors and supporters, and you can show them your gratitude with holiday-themed rewards. (Holiday songs, holiday cards, or hand-made decorations!)
Also, the timing of a late-fall/holiday season campaign lends itself well to an end-of-the-year deadline, which you can opt to attach to your project. Having the deadline for your fund-raising fall on December 31st lines up nicely with the push to “make this happen by the end of the year” and additionally, “kick off the new year with a great new project!”
Setting up your campaign now will give you a solid two months before the end of the year to crowdfund, and this is a great length of time for a typical campaign. Whether you decide to go for it, or wait until the new year to kick off your project, we’re here for you to answer any questions so don’t be shy and hit us up at support@feedthemuse.net. Good luck!
 

What Makes a Great Donor Incentive

 

            For anyone who’s started a crowdfunding campaign, or even thought about it, deciding what incentives or perks to offer your donors can be incredibly difficult. You want to be able to offer donors something special, but you don’t want to break the bank doing it. Luckily, it’s possible to offer some meaningful perks that will help entice donors to contribute to your campaign. A great donor incentive will encompass the following characteristics:

  1. First, a great incentive is cost-effective. Your crowdfunding campaign should be focused on raising money for your special project; you don’t want to have to spend the majority of the money you raise fulfilling perks. A perk should never cost more to fulfill than the donor spent to receive it. Skype sessions and emails are a great, inexpensive (read: free) way to connect with fans.
  2. Perks should also be unique. Anyone can print up a t-shirt; truthfully, it’s likely to end up in the back of someone’s closet collecting dust. Rather than doing what everyone else is doing, put some thought into creating unique and special perks for you donors. If you’re an artist, create a small work of art for a donor, or offer one of your fans the chance to have dinner with you. Get creative!
  3. Last but not least, a great incentive needs to be personal. A hand-written thank you note or a personalized tweet can go a long way. Creating a personal connection with donors will turn them into lifelong fans and supporters, if they weren’t already.
 

The 5 People Who Will Help Make Your Crowdfunding Campaign a Success

What makes the difference between a successful crowdfunding campaign and a lousy one? There are many answers, but one of the most important factors that contributes to a successful campaign is its supporters. Here we look at the 5 best people to approach about supporting your campaign:

  1. Family. Your family members should be the first people you share your crowdfunding campaign with. Family members are ready, willing, and let’s face it, almost obligated to donate to your campaign. Relatives can often be your best supporters. Furthermore, family members should be encouraged to share your story with their network of contacts; even if they’re unable to donate, spreading the word about your campaign is an equally valuable contribution.
  2. Friends. Here’s another group of people that are ready, willing and (hopefully) able to donate to your campaign.  Most likely, they’re not in it for the perks, but rather to support you and your goals. Just like your family, your friends can get the word out about your crowdfunding campaign and garner more backers.
  3. Mentors. These are the people who are most invested in your success. Your mentors have watched you struggle and grow, and can offer support and encouragement as you attempt to run a successful crowdfunding campaign.
  4. Fans. This is perhaps the most obvious group of people to approach. Use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to reach your fan base and ask them to get involved. Offering exciting perks in exchange for donations will enthuse your fans and encourage them to support your campaign. Personal and genuine interactions with fans will motivate them to contribute!
  5. Anyone whose work you’ve supported in the past. It’s true what they say: you’ve got to give in order to receive. Offering support to fellow crowdfunders, whether it’s financial or otherwise, will make these people much more likely to offer you support in return. Choose to back campaigns that mean something to you; help out a friend in need or support a cause that speaks to you personally. Even if you can’t make a financial donation, share others’ campaigns with your friends and fans via social media. And when it comes time to launch your own crowdfunding campaign, don’t be afraid to ask for support from people you’ve contributed to in the past.

Now that you know who to look to for support, start your Feed The Muse crowdfunding campaign here: http://www.feedthemuse.net

 

 

Are You Scared of Crowdfunding? Why Not to Be

Scared of CrowdfundingYou’ve read the articles about how crowdfunding is the new way for musicians to make money online, but something is holding you back. Perhaps it’s the fact that you aren’t a natural businessperson (artists tend not to be) or you think it’s too technically difficult. Perhaps you are scared to fail, or even scared to succeed. Maybe you think it’s too much work or that no one out there is paying attention.

Any new venture is scary, but if planned properly, a crowdfunding campaign can be a huge success. On top of the money raised, a successful campaign is a fantastic way to connect with a fan base you may not have known was out there.

Start with the fan base you do know about. About 10% of your fans on social media, e-mail lists and concert attendees will dip into their wallets and offer small pledges. Count up all these numbers before you start to see if your goal is realistic.

Put together a schedule of what you will do when. When will you post on Facebook or e-mail your subscribers? Before you start, collect videos, images and interesting updates to keep your fans interested. If you can book performances during the campaign, they can be used to encourage donations. A press release and media interviews will help get the word out as well.

Think out of the box. You aren’t the only one out there crowdfunding, so try to make your campaign unique, either with your pitch or the incentives you offer. Do some research into what kinds of texts, videos and incentives have worked for other artists.

Ask friends and fans you have formed a relationship with to look over the campaign before you launch and offer their feedback. Listen to their advice and tweak before you go ahead and jump right in.

Once all the planning is done, hit send and start spreading the word. You – or someone else – will have to spend a considerable amount to time publicizing the campaign. Be prepared for a lull somewhere in the middle of the campaign and a rush toward the end, when you need to be constantly active to get those last few funders on board.

Now that we have demystified the crowdfunding process, it’s time for you to start creating your Feed the Muse campaign. For more information on why Feed the Muse is the best choice, check out What Makes Feed the Muse Different from Other Crowdfunding Sites?

 

Online Music Trends in 2013

Online Music Trends

Courtesy of Chris Ssk, Wikimedia

More musicians are turning to the internet to get their music heard by a wide audience. In accordance with the nature of the internet, changes are rapid and viral. Here we investigate the online music trends for this year.

Remember Psy and Gangnam Style? No one had ever heard of him outside of Korea until he made a hit Youtube video. With over a billion views of the video, he has made a name for himself on a platform which is increasingly being used as a radio substitute. Teens, especially, are using Youtube as a music source, with 64% saying it’s their main listening platform. Many artists are taking advantage of Youtube’s advertising platform to generate revenue from their videos.

Mobile apps are taking over the internet. Labels and artists are creating apps that remix albums, offer digital music magazines or serve as catalogues for purchases. Even Twitter has created an app exclusively for music discovery.

Streaming radio and personalized radio services like Pandora are gaining in popularity. With people spending so much time online, via computer and phone, it’s natural that they would play their music on the internet as well.

Social media continues to gain momentum. Artists are using Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about their music. A new professional social network for musicians called Giggem attempts to connect singers with bands, managers, labels and songwriters. And, of course, crowdfunding sites like Feed the Muse are being used by more artists raising funds for their new albums.

Music services like Amazon and iTunes have been around for a while, but now Google has joined the game. Google Play Music allows Android users to store up to 20,000 songs on Google Play for free and stream to any Android device or PC. Musicians are using tools like CD Baby and TuneCore to distribute their music to these services.

How do these trends affect artists? Musicians definitely have to work harder in the 21st century to make a living from their music. But even as the internet world creates new challenges, it offers many opportunities as well. Check out our previous blog post for some ideas on how to beat the free music trend.

 

5 Ways to Beat the Free Music Trend

Free Music Trend

Courtesy of Patrick Putzolu, Wikimedia

The internet has convinced people that great things can be free. This includes music, of course, with innumerable websites dedicated to pirate sharing and downloading. Add to that the ease of sharing files between friends, via flashdrives or Bluetooth, and musicians have a much harder time trying to sell their music.

But don’t despair, there are still ways to sell music online:

1.     Make your music available on iTunes. Consumers may be unwilling to buy an entire CD of a band they have never heard before, but will download one song for a small fee through iTunes. If they like it, they are likely to come back for more.

2.     Use services like TuneCore or CD Baby to submit your music to major online retailers. You upload your original music to the site, where it is submitted to retailers like Amazon, iTunes and Google Play. The site collects your proceeds and transfers them to you.

3.     Recordings aren’t the only way to make money. Think performances,  royalties, licensing and merchandise. Building up a social media presence can help you capitalize on these types of revenue. Besides direct sales via website and social media channels, an online presence can get your name out there to a broader audience.

4.     Advertise on Youtube to earn revenue every time someone watches you perform. Although it takes a lot of views to make money from Youtube advertising, if a video really takes off it can be very lucrative. And, although rare, there have been a number of musicians and bands who have been discovered by major record labels as a result of a Youtube video.

5.     Crowdfunding is a fun way to make money from your music. Fans feel like they are a part of your work and will enjoy the opportunity to enjoy your music before it goes public. Our crowdfunding platform,Feed the Muse,simplifies the process so that you can easily interact with your fans and encourage them to help you produce your latest album.

The old ways of selling music may be dead, but music production is alive and kicking. As CDs go the way of records and cassettes, musicians have to be more creative about selling their music. But just as newspapers have found ways to make money in the digital age, the music industry is developing in new ways to fit a twenty-first century model.

 

Is MySpace Still a Thing?

MySpaceSocial media and MySpace used to be synonymous, especially in the music world. But since its founding in 2003, social media platforms have popped up like mushrooms and eclipsed it. The young and hip users migrated to Facebook and use of MySpace declined, leading to company layoffs and an eventual buyout.

MySpace was a boon for musicians almost from its inception. Over 8 million artists have been discovered on MySpace! The social network has also been used by well-known musicians to launch new music directly to their fans. It was great for building a branded web presence and encouraging fans to spread the musician’s work. Despite Facebook’s rising star, many singers and songwriters stayed with MySpace because they already had a loyal fan base there.

But unfortunately the recent re-launch of MySpace erased all the connections from the previous version, forcing musicians to start all over again with building a fan base. The option to migrate contacts from Facebook and Twitter is available, but if you’re already connecting to these fans on other platforms, why do you need to reach them on MySpace as well?

The new MySpace is also more focused on public relations than on interaction. That might be attractive to bands and singers, but is probably less interesting to the average music fan. Fans can still collect and curate music, but of course there are already dozens of websites which provide that service.

Google is also not that interested in MySpace and doesn’t give it much attention in its search results. Results from Google +, Facebook and Twitter are much more likely to show up on the first page of results. And since almost no one clicks through to the second page, MySpace isn’t really all that useful for promoting a brand on search.

In short, although MySpace hasn’t given up yet, if you are looking to increase awareness of your band or music, MySpace is not to likely to help you much. Focusing on today’s trendy social networks will help spread your art to fans around the world. Open a Facebook page, start tweeting and join Google + communities. Connect to fans and potential funders on Feed the Muse. Then if you have some spare time on your hands, you might want to hop over to MySpace and open a page.

 

Facebook for Musicians: Tips and Tricks

Facebook for Musicians, Blues Band

Blues Band, courtesy of Euku, Wikimedia Commons

At this point you probably know that you need a presence on Facebook. Here’s a link so you can create your Facebook Fan Page, just in case you haven’t yet and need to catch up. Once you follow the steps (choose the ‘Artist, Band, or Public Figure’ box), come back here for tips on how to run a successful FB fan page. If you need step-by-step instructions (there’s even a video), go here.

How to run a successful Facebook Fan Page

First, you gotta get social. That’s what this social media thing is all about- interacting with your fans, not throwing content/ads at them. Your updates will only show up in your fans’ feed as a result of engagement = likes, comments, and shares. This is thanks to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm which keeps you engaging with your fans. Which is a good thing. The more social you are with your fans, the more likely your updates will appear in their newsfeeds, the more likely they will comment and share and then the more likely it will be seen by their friends.
There are rules to how often to post and what to post. Keep the 6:1 ratio in mind- for every 6 newsy updates about what your band is up to, photos, etc, you can promote your tour/album/single once. That’s right, once. Presumably, your fans already know your music but they want to get to know YOU- your likes, your opinions, your daily activity, the fact that on tour you’ve run out of clean underwear so you have been stealing a bandmate’s, you get the drift. Facebook is a great place to give your fans insider info, personal attention, and a little TLC. You will be rewarded with engagement- likes, shares, and comments, which will expand your reach and expose your music to the uninitiated. Often, asking a question at the end of a post will encourage engagement. Your fans answer, their friends see these posts, Facebook EdgeRank is happy, and you get more reach. As to when to post- the results of studies show that if you post around 11am on a weekday, you’re good to go. Just don’t forget your fans’ different time zones. That’s when the post scheduler comes in handy (under your status update there’s a little clock. Click on it and choose what time you want your update to post).

A few more tips for a successful Fan Page

  1. Focus on quality of likes over quantity. It’s better to engage with a few real fans than have many “fake” fans who aren’t engaging.
  2. Make sure you post pictures: a profile picture, a cover picture, and albums with LOTS of pictures. Research has shown that pictures create the most engagement. Your fans love to see what you’re up to. Post fan pictures as well and get fans to tag themselves which will get checked out by their friends on their newsfeed. And don’t forget they look to you for style, which is visual. So give them something to feast their eyes on!
  3. Ask a band to open for you: If you have a good relationship with a band, you can ask them to post your new music video/track/album art to their wall with a link back to your Facebook Page, and of course, return the favor.
  4. Post content that will get the conversation going: videos, pictures, articles you find interesting.
  5. Ask for input. Use Facebook questions and polls to get opinions from fans about new album art, song titles, tour stops, etc. To do this click on the green Offer, Event+ and choose Question.
  6. Whenever you play a venue, create an event and invite your fans. This gets them to RSVP which will create reminders and show in their newsfeed for their friends to see. To do this, again click the green Offer, Events+ and choose Events. Create events for things like TV appearances and album releases.
  7. Make sure you post your bios and names on your page. This makes it easy for journalists when writing you up.
  8. Do not forget to answer your fans on your page! Like their comments, share them, comment on them- keep the conversation going! A little engagement goes a long way.
  9. And of course, don’t forget to announce your Feed the Muse campaign to your fans! It’s more than acceptable to ask them to like and share. Your fans are your best ambassadors. Let them spread the word for you!
 

What Makes Feed the Muse Different from Other Crowdfunding Sites?

Music Crowdfunding - Guitars

Courtesy of Myrabella, Wikimedia Commons

Crowdfunding (AKA crowd sourcing or crowd financing) is an opportunity for the general public to participate in projects by making a donation. You can use crowdfunding platforms to raise money to produce your next album, fund your next tour or any project your fans, family and friends would like to see you achieve. As an example,in exchange for their support fans who invest in the project may be sent one of the first copies of the album once it is produced. Build a better, more lasting relationship with your fans, who become personally invested in your work.

Crowdfunding is a relatively new concept, but there are already a number of crowdfunding sites online. It can be hard to choose the right one for funding your project. At their core, all crowdfunding sites perform the same basic function.  They receive money on your behalf and then forward it to you at a predetermined schedule. Before making a decision, it’s important to read about the various features of each one, so you can pick the one most likely to help you attain your goal. Let’s explore the ways in which Feed the Muse stands out from the crowd:

Cost – Feed the Muse is free to use and we now only take a small 5% transaction fee from the amount you have raised, which is among the lowest in the industry.

Easy payment collection – It’s easy to get paid by Feed the Muse. You don’t have to set up internet payment systems or accept credit cards. Feed the Muse does all the hard work for you.

Ability to receive payment as it comes in – No waiting around for your money. Each month you receive a check for any amounts over $100.  Also unique to the crowdfunding industry, if you have a Paypal account, you have the option with Feed the Muse to receive your money within days of it coming in.

No goal – Many crowdfunding sites require you to cite a fundraising goal and some will only give you a payout if you reach that goal. This means that fewer than half the projects raising money will not receive a single penny. Feed the Muse allows you to fundraise any amount and receive every donation which is sent your way.

Support – Have a question about using the site? Email or call us and we will be happy to help. Want to know how the project is progressing? Check your stats in real time. Need new ideas about how to spread the word and raise more funds? Our site provides tricks, tips and tutorials for free.

Philadelphia-based – If you’re based in Philadelphia or looking to connect with the Philly community, take advantage of our location and hands-on approach with the local community.