Guest Article by Mary Ivanova of Show4me
It doesn’t matter what music genre you play in – you probably want to play shows as big as the Billboard 200 get. Or you just want to play more often than once or twice a year, which is a valid concern for many musicians who have reached a certain level of professional accomplishment, yet haven’t yet reached any kind of actual stardom where teams of people take care of the business side of things.
One way to take matters into your own hands is concert crowdfunding. It’s a simple concept that you might have heard before – you invite fans to pre-buy tickets to your show, essentially allowing them to pre-order concerts from you, just like they pre-order best-selling books or iPhones. This way, you get the money to finance your concert and don’t have to pawn your car to get the money for upfront payments like venue fee, tickets or equipment rent, before you even find out if your tickets will sell for that specific event.
Concert crowdfunding also beats trying to be featured as part of a local event already being put together by a label, agent or concert promoter. At the very least, it’s a great supplementary way to get more gigs and earn additional income – as well as practice putting on a live performance.
So how do you do it?
How to launch concert crowdfunding campaigns
First, plan out your event and, importantly, be realistic about how many attendees you can draw in to this particular show in your chosen location.
Once you have your approximate location, show theme, playlist and lineup, as well as some strategy on attracting your 20, 30, 50, 100, or however many guests to participate in your crowdfunding campaign, you need to proceed to the next preparation stage – budgeting.
This is a crucial step in the whole process since you need to calculate exactly how much money you need to raise with your crowdfunding campaign to cover the event costs and, hopefully, make a profit as well.
Consider these costs to include in your roster: equipment rent, transportation costs, travel and accommodation, venue cut, fees to any participating acts, as well as yourself and your team, promotional costs, like running ads, printing up posters, designing any marketing collateral. Additional costs to consider: stage decor, costumes, makeup, hair, event staff and technicians, ushers, merch, etc.
Now, time to get to setting up your crowdfunding campaign. With most platforms, it’s pretty easy to do – you just enter your desired amount, add an exciting description, images, examples of your music to give a feel of what the event will be like and set up ticket prices.
When it comes to the platforms where to crowdfund, you have several options that differ mostly by their tools as fees are comparable and usually success-based (meaning they only apply if the event meets its budget and you are able to use the crowdfunded funds, as opposed to being refunded to backers for the cases when the budget is not met).
Kickstarter and Indiegogo are famous general-purpose crowdfunding platforms where any project can try and get funded. It can be a novelty drone game or nanotech shoes for all seasons.
You can also use music industry specific crowdfunding toolkit designed for concerts specifically, available in Show4me. The principle is the same, the fee is success-based, the difference is – it a part of a larger ecosystem that enables musicians to run their full-cycle music business in a single place. And it’s free to join and run.
For a smooth concert crowdfunding experience, Show4me works really well – you can upload your music to your campaign, add videos of your live performances, all the fans you acquire throughout your promotional campaign can subscribe to your Artist club there (it has two types of membership: free or $1 a YEAR for premium). And one of the best parts is your tickets get generated and delivered to your concert supporters automatically!
The moment your campaign meets the budget you set for it, you are prompted to set the exact date of your concert (that you have just crowdfunded the money for via ticket pre-sales), and once you do that, everyone who has pre-bought your ticket gets it in their inbox! And there’s a free ticket scanner app you can use to scan the tickets at the door. That a) makes your concert look very professional, b) gives you some statistical insights on your audience, helping make future promotional campaigns more refined and specific.
Regardless of the service you use to crowdfund your concert, it’s vital to keep promoting the event throughout the duration of your crowdfunding campaign. Tell your friends, everyone in your social circle, email local press and message communities like themed social media groups or classes that might be interested in listing your event on their online resources. You can also add your upcoming event to online event aggregators for your area.
Involve anyone you can in the process of crowdfunding your show. Remember – the success of your campaign is contingent on your personal involvement and promotional efforts, regardless of where you’ve set up your campaign.
After you meet your crowdfunding budget, it’s time to arrange the exact date with a venue and your performing crew and announce it to your guests. Make sure to withdraw your crowdfunded funds to finance all the upfront show costs.
As you are getting ready to host your concert, remember to thank the fans for their support and participation, as well as provide sneak peeks into the preparations and behind-the-scenes – let your audience feel what goes into making a show and build up the excitement around your event. Additional bonus – you’ll peak the interest of those who did not join your show this time but might be interested to get their ticket for the next one!
Crowdfunding a concert is essentially the same elements of a concert preparation process, but in a different order. First, you secure the attendance and funds for the show, then you start putting your show together. This reduces your financial risks as the event budget is covered before you start producing the show. Moreover, there is no risk for your supporters, as all pre-bought tickets are fully refunded for shows that don’t get backed by enough supporters.
Crowdfunding your concert also allows you and your fans more freedom in coming up with creative/experimental show ideas (topic, themes, locations, lineups) and try and get them off the ground with the help of a tightly knit group of fans and music lovers.
Whether you want to hold a small or large show, crowdfunding can easily meet your needs and facilitate fan participation in your events.