Look... My story is I lost £30,000 to PledgeMusic - THE original and biggest crowd-funding site for musicians. So I'm going to warn you against crowd-funding right? Wrong. Here's why:
If you're not entirely sure what crowdfunding for musicians is then check out what the Musicians Union describe it:
Yes, PledgeMusic (who, when they went bust owing artists around the globe around $11Million in total, who turned out to be one of the most infamous disasters for independent musicians in recent history, who got infiltrated by gutless, merciless executive sharks who saw an took an opportunity to drain money from the poor to line their pockets. Who stayed within the law, they paid themselves millions, drained the company until it was an empty shell then announced "whoops guess we did a bad job it seems the company is broke". Who liquidated the company and sailed off in their luxury yachts for the seychelles.
How ever just because those spineless maggots exposed a weakness - it doesnt mean to that the idea of crowdfunding for musicians isn't one of a brave new world.
The idea that musicians and fans could come together, forming communities that make us strong enough to be truly independent from either record label monopoly or indeed from the scrap-heap itself, is revolutionary.
I'm still not ready for that dream to be over because of one set of bad apples. I refuse to believe there isn't a future in this in some form - here are a list of some of the main contenders that still provide a realistic and trustable way to not only raise crucial funds for projects in a win win scenario for fans and artists, but also help galvanise and evangelise fans.
Patreon allows fans an opportunity to support the ongoing creative career of a musician by pledging small amounts per month, or per creation, in exchange for fun rewards. Most game changing of all, artists are able build a steady, fan-funded income stream with monthly payouts. You need to be creating constant content and I guess be disciplined in delivering it to your fans as you're asking for a monthly subscription but if you can manage to make it worth while it is possible to create a consistent income purely from creating. It's an interesting reworking of the traditional model.
Kickstarter helps artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers, and other creators find the resources and support they need to make their ideas a reality. To date, tens of thousands of creative projects — big and small — have come to life with the support of the Kickstarter community. How ever like any crowd funder this is not free money, and it's not begging. You will only get out of it what you put in. You need to create a mutually beneficial relationship between you and your fans. Here's an article which explains some of the Do's and Don'ts
This is more geared around entrepreneurs than specifically musicians. It does seem to me to be based around a similar model to PledgeMusic which worries me. For x ammount of time the faceless company of IndieGoGo hold on to your fans money until you are eligable for a pay out. Have you had experience with them? Is this how it works? Comment below and help us build up a clearer picture of our options.
Know any more? I will say over and over... I am no expert, though i have had my fair share of experience, we need to build communities and pool our knowledge and experience. I would love to hear your experiences good and bad with different crowd funding opportunities. Comment and share your ideas with us...