How does Pledgemusic.com work?
We help artists engage with their fans, fund their music, keep their rights and raise money for charity. We do this by working with our artists to create engaging and exciting campaigns, that offer their fans not only value for money, but also unique and one off experiences. Artists choose a goal and a target amount of money to raise, a charity with which they want to be affiliated and support, a menu of exclusives to offer their fans, and amount of time in which to raise their target. Fans are not charged until this goal amount is reached (aka the project is "funded"). Artists can display their campaign goals as a target amount of money or just as a percentage or number of Pledgers (so the dollar amount is hidden). Lastly and most important, in exchange for the fans Pledging, artists upload to the "Pledgers Only Updates Page" exclusive music, videos, photos and blogs as the campaign progresses. We have found that the more an artist updates, the more they raise. In a nutshell you aren't asking your fans for money so much as you are creating the most exciting and innovative way to deliver your music to your fans whilst offering them value and participation. Plus, you get to do a little bit of good in the world by optionally donating a part of what you make to the charity of your choice. We take no rights. You maintain ownership of your music, we just take a flat percentage commission on the money you raise.
Can you share some success stories of bands that used PledgeMusic? Can you talk about the steps they took to achieve those results?
Our biggest success that we can publish here, as most artists have chosen to keep their target amounts confidential, was $98,000 from 1300 fans. We had another artist raise around $75,000 from 600 fans. The Damnwells campaign is an amazing success and still running. They have delivered 56 updates to their fans, in the form of videos, demos, photos and blogs, and have achieved 163% of their target amount (i.e. they shot for $20,000 and they are currently at $32,478 and climbing). The key is to strategically time emails that let the fans know you are uploading this exclusive access. Those fans whom have not already participated in the “Pledge” become curious as to what they’re missing. The more creative and enticing that the incentives are, the more likely fans are to participate.
As a Bandzoogle member and musician, can you talk about your personal experience using fan funding to support your career?
Yes indeed. I wish that all of our artists used Bandzoogle and I say that as someone who has been a member for a good few years now. It would make our job easier. When the site launched our first test project was my own. I emailed all of my fans using the Bandzoogle mailing list and was able to raise $6530 in 6 days. My target was $5000 and so it was a great success. My Bandzoogle made site is http://www.marwoodmusic.com and from there you can see the E.P. that I made using Pledge Music. I donate 25% of all profits from this E.P. to Amnesty International, a charity that I admire a great deal. The whole experience was amazing. I delivered a total of 53 updates to my fans during the campaign. I built this site as an artist looking for the most creative way to fund my music. When I looked for what I saw in my head, on the web, I wasn't able to find it.
Does an artist need to have a large fanbase to make fan funding successful?
No! A small and organized fan base is what you need. 500 opted in fans who buy your music and come to your shows are better than 5000 casual and loosely organized fans. Pledgers are the hardcore, those that want to show their support. One of our best achievements so far as a company (and personally) was when we helped an artist with 150 names on her email list, raise enough to finish her record and manufacture her CDs. Her record release show was a smash and with some Pledge guidance she has almost quadrupled her mailing list. It was a great success. It is also important to remember that Pledgers spend a lot more than most people would on a band's website.
What are some of the "best practices" to have a successful fan funded release? How should a band present the project to their fans?
This may sound odd but NEVER ASK YOUR FANS FOR MONEY!!! Think of the most exciting way that you can offer your music. Create the most exciting series of incentives for your fans and deliver them a campaign that you can be proud of. When you email your fan base let them know about all the exciting things that you have added to your updates page and try in every way possible to take them on a journey with you. Update! Update! Update and then email! I don't believe that artists need to show up, cap in hand, to beg for a few grand to make an E.P. or hit the road.
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