It is a challenge for many artists to generate capital at the start-up phase. One of the tools that artists now have at their disposals is crowdfunding. Although artists have used this technique for a long time simply by asking their friends and family for support, technology has taken it to a different level.
With many crowdfunding projects being launched every day, it’s getting increasingly difficult for artists to reach their goals. Recently, KINK, launched their own crowdfunding campaign which successfully achieved its goal, so I decided to interview Dani Gagnon to gain some intelligence to share with you about their experience.
Sam: Why did you decide to do a crowdfunding campaign?
Dani: We won the Jack Daniels Supporting Act contest, receiving a grand prize of $7,000 from Jack Daniels to go towards recording our first E.P. Since we won, we decided to rather than produce an EP for $7,000 get some more money and use the additional funds to produce a high-quality EP. So, we decided to go down the crowdfunding route.
Sam: I see you chose to use PledgeMusic as your tool. What was the reasoning behind going with PledgeMusic over another platform?
Dani: We went with PledgeMusic because that is a platform that specializes in music, their commission is reasonable and without any hidden fees, they don’t accept just any artist or project, and they have a support team that assists you along the process. Also, one of the main reasons we went with PledgeMusic was because they allow you to extend your campaign once it reaches the goal you set out. In addition, they have many tools to allow you to market the campaign and have various options to sell. One of the key tools is it allows them to communicate with the pledgers on the results of the crowdfunding campaign.
Sam: How much work did you put into this project?
Dani: The time and effort that we put into the campaign was substantial. We put in close to 20-30 hours of set-up time and approximately 3.5 hours a day to promote and work on it. I worked social media every day to try and make sure that the word got out. One of the unique things that we did was sell tickets to a live event, which required plenty of planning and work as well.
Sam: What surprised you the most from your experience?
Dani: The thing that surprised me the most was we thought we were going to get the majority of our support from the people we knew, but many of them didn’t contribute. From the total pledgers, only 50% percent of the whole contributors were people we knew. The other 50 percent were complete strangers, including people from England who put in a significant amount of money into the campaign as well.
Sam: It seems that although you are raising money for your project, the majority of the money goes to production and cost of producing goods to sell. If you take into account the amount of hours that you put in, it might not be worth it. What are your thoughts on that?
Dani: Yes. For the most part that is true. Also, PledgeMusic will hold back a good portion of the funds until you deliver what was promised, but what is very important out of this process is that you create a connection with your pledgers. It is always nice that you have fans, but when you have fans who are also willing to help you financially, it gives you the confidence to pursue your music career.
Sam: Are there any recommendations you want to give artists who are thinking of going down this road?
Dani: Yes, I have a few. First of all, try to gain some media attention. We were able to get on CP24 and do a performance, and they allowed us to talk about the campaign. We were able to get on the show without the help of a publicist. Also, try not to have too many products as part of your campaign. If I had to do it all over again, I would reduce the amount of choices we provided. The most important things is to just do it, and you’ll be surprised at the amount of support you get.