From Kickstarter to PledgeMusic to IndieGoGo, today’s musicians have no shortage of platforms for hosting crowdfunding campaigns. But how can someone who’s more used to rocking out than raising funds be sure they’re getting the most out of their online campaign? That’s where Launch and Release comes into play.
Praised by PledgeMusic CEO Benji Rogers as “what the future of the business of making music looks like,” Launch and Release aims to lower the failure rate of music crowdfunding campaigns through their informative blog and crowdfunding training system, “The Music Crowdfunding Course for Intelligent Artists.”
This course, which teaches musicians how to best use crowdsourcing to fund albums and projects, is centered around six music crowdfunding blueprints:
- Your True Purpose: Ultimate Guide To Telling Your Story
- Maximize Backers: The Ultimate Maximum Backer Blueprint
- Fail-Proof Goal: Goal Checkpoint & Funding Estimator
- Magnetic Rewards: Rewards Builder & Strategy Guide
- Perfect Pitch Video: 3-Point Video Frame-Work & Video Guide
- The Perfect Storm: Launch Sequence & Campaign Blueprint
The system was developed after Launch and Release cofounders Levi James and Ian Anderson, co-authors of “100 Music Kickstarters to Learn From,” completed the research for their series. According to Anderson, “By the time we were done with that, we had learned that there are a ton of misconceptions out there that are costing real people by either holding them back from launching or by not having the right mechanics behind their crowdfunding campaign.”
Anderson went on to tell me that one of the most harmful misconceptions is the idea that reaching new people is essential to a successful campaign. “Easily and without a doubt, the biggest mistake musicians make is that they spend too much time and energy trying to reach new people,” he said.
Clearly Anderson and James know what they’re talking about as they’ve had much success funding projects for artists with modest-sized fan bases. “We raised over $50,000 with Jay Stolar last fall, and he only had an email list of about 2,500 people,” Anderson said. “He was a go-getter and was willing to do the necessary work and follow our system, which helped a ton.”
They were even able to help fund a campaign for Tony Polecastro, an artist with no mailing list and not even a Facebook page for promotion. “[Tony] had never been a front man, and nobody knew he was doing his own project, not even his family. He was hoping to raise $1,500, maybe $2,000 tops, but we managed to hit $9,446 with his project!”
When asked why he thought these particular campaigns were so successful, Anderson asserted that sincerity is key. “Both Jay and Tony are very authentic and transparent people. They didn’t try to snow people with how awesome and amazing everything was going to be, which is a common mistake.”
The two artists also followed the Launch and Release system’s recommendation that musicians approach online fundraising from a personal angle. “They worked to connect on an individual basis with people that they knew and trusted and who shared a common interest,” said Anderson. “This approach was far more effective than the standard plan to ‘reach new people’ and ‘get more exposure.’”
While Launch and Release is currently intended for use by independent musicians looking to fund projects online, they haven’t ruled out expanding the system in the future. “We may choose to dive into other crowdfunding genres, like film and books, or maybe even tech and design,” said Anderson. “Or we may move downstream in a musician’s life and work on further developing systems for them to improve their careers after crowdfunding.”
In 2013, crowdfunding websites were used to raise an estimated $5.1 billion worldwide, an 88% increase from the 2012 total, so clearly the approach is a viable one for any independent musician looking to fund a project. However, with nearly 45% of music crowdfunding projects failing (according to Kickstarter stats), musicians would be wise to “skip the guesswork and go straight to raising money” with help from the Launch and Release system.