Elliot Chapple is the General Manager of Pozible, the Australian-based crowdfunding platform for artists, non-profits & startups. Music is Pozible’s most successful category, with 72% of campaigns hitting their target. In the opinion piece below, Chapple details the key ingredients of each successful crowdfunding campaign. 

When crowdfunding platforms first came onto the scene in 2009,  popping up in the US and here in Australia, there were little resources for funding a successful music campaign.

At Pozible, it’s been a matter of researching, interviewing creators and testing out ideas over the years,  to figure out what exactly makes a successful music campaign. In fact, now we can safely say, we’ve got it down to a formula made up of four key ingredients which I can share with you here.

The Formula

Supporter Base

80% of failed campaigns never even get to 30% of their funding target.

The first key ingredient for a successful music campaign is to have, or actively be building, a supporter base. Building up a base of supporters ready to pledge to receive your album pre-campaign launch is important. Whether it’s by promoting on social media or busking on the street, people need to start hearing and following your music! Luckily, this comes natural to musicians and generally this gives muso campaigners an edge over crowdfunders of other mediums.

Promotional strategy

58% of failed campaigners put it down to not having a promotional strategy in place for their campaign.

A strong promotional strategy comes in next. When people ask how to share their campaign we often draw a series of ripples. The first circle is always the same, it starts with your core supporters, the ones that already listen to your music and go to every gig, the ones that have backed you from the start when you came out with the EP recorded in your bedroom. The next circle might look like the group of ambassadors that follow you on social media that you’ve built up in the months or years before launching your campaign. You want to share your campaign by working your way out from most likely to pledge, to least likely. People are sheep, they won’t pledge unless their mate did.

Creativity

$50 is the most chosen reward amount across all campaigns, the average is $81.

While offering albums and merch remain popular reward choices, it’s important to remember to be  creative when it comes to rewards. Supporters who get behind a crowdfunding campaign often want to be taken on a journey and feel more involved than the average listener.

Experience based rewards such as house concerts and acknowledgement rewards such as writing a short song for a supporter make important connections with your fans. $50, $25 and $100 are shown to be the most popular amounts people pledge to a campaign too, so include these figures in your list. Typically people know they’ll hear the music at some point, so rope them in with other special perks.

Personal Story

We surveyed our top 1% of serial campaign supporters and asked them why they pledge. 93% said it was because they love supporting people and their stories.

This is something often missed by campaigners. The problem is most people don’t believe their story is interesting enough to share. To be honest, it doesn’t matter! What does matter though is whether or not you come off as genuine. Sharing your story and explaining why you’re pursuing this project and what your motivations are will build trust with budding supporters. People want to know if you wrote this song to help you through a breakup. Just don’t ask your ex to pledge…

Why crowdfunding for music?

With the endless options of streaming services/music platforms in play, Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud… how does pre-selling an album via a crowdfunding platform compete? With a high success rate of 72% hitting their target on Pozible – and keeping in mind projects are not rejected according to genre or audience size – it’s clear that crowdfunding works for musicians. For an industry largely driven by pre-sales, crowdfunding campaigns lend themselves to music projects because whilst raising funds, creators are also able to grow their audience.

With all-or-nothing based campaigns, listeners become part of the marketing strategy, they know the album they pledged for won’t happen unless they help you hit your target. In this way, they help push your music out there. It’s great for audience development, reaching new listeners and developing a community. Running a campaign is a lot of work, but done right, it’s often the motivation and skill building exercise an artist needs to advance their career – from creating a compelling pitch video, to marketing themselves as an artist or promoting their tour, these are invaluable skills added to a musician’s repertoire.

Pozible now has a dedicated collection for the music industry. To get involved head to music.pozible.com