There's an obvious reason for picking Kickstarter, Indiegogo, PledgeMusic, or any other crowdfunding platform to raise funds. They handle the all the details and financial aspects, but they also take a sizable cut for the privilege and make you play by their rules. Which is why LA-based indie folk band A House for Lions decided to build their own crowdfunding platform, and determine their own parameters with their own fans. That includes the ability to use the money even if you don't reach a self-created goal.
The roll-your-own campaign used an already-created software package, is currently in motion and going pretty well. And it didn't take months - or even weeks - to set up. Here's a decription from the group's manager, Allie Shaw.
Even after jumping on the phone with people from PledgeMusic and Indiegogo, we still weren't convinced. Just look at the numbers - these are the percentages each takes from the campaign:
(updated: this does not include a 3-4% Amazon processing fee.)
Indiegogo: keeps 4% (or, if you don't make goal you keep the money and give 9%)
Rockethub: between 4% and 12%
A House for Lions also wanted to give 10 percent to charity (MusiCares), so add that to the percentage and it becomes a serious chunk. Granted, there's the chance that you will get more eyes on your project on one of the bigger platforms, but that can be a crapshoot.
We also did some predictive analysis, and found that reaching goals can be difficult - and perhaps more difficult on an established platform. Less than 50 percent of projects meet their goals, and other than Kickstarter I had a hard time finding stats. It didn't look good.
So everyone got together, and the decision was made: we had to roll our own.
Once we made that decision, things started falling into place. Mike the guitar player and graphic designer went on a whim and Googled "crowdfunding wordpress plugin," (!!) and he stumbled across a small number of possibilities. Ultimately, Ignitiondeck was definitely the most robust, easy to use, and well designed.
We were convinced we had to do this on our own, but getting attention was going to be difficult. This was a real problem for us: A House for Lions only has 1,100 friends on Facebook and realized that they would be relying heavily on friends and family.
We had to brainstorm. One idea was to make an engaging pitch video that could perhaps go viral and offer great rewards, then they would get the outside eyes on their own.
We're feeling happy with our decision, largely because we're playing on our turf. Because without the all or nothing model, we still get to make the album no matter what. Yes, there are models like Indiegogo that allow you to keep the funds that you raise without hitting your goal, but if you choose to go that route they take 9% (!!) of what you raise.
So it was on to creating the perks for the campaign.
Ahead of the campaign, A House For Lions released a free download cover of Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It" a couple weeks before the campaign to start some buzz and raise awareness.
And of course the guys are being as creative as possible with the rewards. Many of the lower rewards include t-shirts and posters designed by the guitarist Mike. Oh, and what's a pledge drive without totebags? ;)
The response to the video and campaign has been pretty good! A lot of people have been sharing/Facebook'ing/tweeting it around the web. As of today (Friday), we've reached 63% of our goal with 77 backers and 7 days to go. I feel this gives hope to baby bands all over that this can be done with a little research, creativity and motivation.
And here's the link where you can find and help donate to the campaign. We kept it simple: ahouseforlions.com/debut/
Thanks for reading!
Me Friday, September 14, 2012
"Less than 50 percent of projects don't make their goals..." Is that correct?
ahouseforlions Saturday, September 15, 2012
We researched all those sites, Kickstarter posts the stats on their site, we did not find other stats on their actual sites, bus as you can see out of 100 % projects launched, less that 47 percent reach the goal. There are charts other people publish that do show all platforms and their success and fail rate, everyone of them showed less then 50 percent reach their goal.
Nick P Saturday, September 15, 2012
So it's actually "More than 50% of projects don't make their goals".
paul Sunday, September 16, 2012
I'll go with, "Less than 50 percent of projects meet their goals..."
Nick Strongbow Monday, September 17, 2012
Over 80% of Pledge Music campaigns are successful.
Roger Friday, September 14, 2012
Thanks for sharing.
Although confusing -- you say Indiegogo take 4% (9% if you don't reach you goal) - but then you say it takes 16%??
In looking at their site -- I think you meant the 4% (9%)... ?
Ahouseforlions Saturday, September 15, 2012
That was a typo by us, our bad, Indiegogo takes 4% if you make goal, if you opt not to take money nothing exchanges hands and if you opp to keep whatever you earned even if you didn't make goal they keep 9%.
Roger Monday, September 17, 2012
oh, cool thanks for clarfiying
@JaUnique Monday, September 17, 2012
Smart and innovative alternative to Kickstarter.
Caroline at Radar Monday, September 17, 2012
Excellent fundraising video there
Nick Stronbow Monday, September 17, 2012
Pledge Music has success of over 80% of campaigns launched.
indie-ish Monday, September 17, 2012
yeah but can't pledgemusic users bring down their goal (in percentage) manually at the end so that they are deemed "successful"? seems a bit dodgy.
Don Monday, September 17, 2012
Also, I have spoken with tons of people who have used Pledgemusic, if they are not close to goal in end, they lower it and also put in their own money to make it seem as if they made their goal, they are actually advised to do it so Pledgemusic can show a higher success rate. Because people hate the way it looks if they do not meet goal they put in the rest, if they have it, and it's not just on Pledgemusic, Kickstarter and others as well.
Nick Strongbow Tuesday, September 18, 2012
I think success should be defined as making and releasing the album, getting the music to the fans, if that means lowering the campaign target or topping up with your own money so be it, although I think you will find many many more campaigns exceed target than just reach 100%.
Pledge is a very differant beast to a Crowd Funding site. They call it D2F and specialising in pre-release campaigns that give more back to the fans than a normal pre-order of the album.
Whatever the model all these sites, Kickstarter, Pledge and this DIY example show that there is alternative and complimentary ways of releasing music.
Long may it last.
allie Shaw Monday, September 17, 2012
One thing I did leave out by accident is the extra fees over at Kickstarter. Kickstarter itself only takes 5% if goal is reached but Amazon whom they work with takes another 3 to 4% for processing fees on successful projects. So that could be 9% on Kickstarter total.
pinkygonzales Monday, September 17, 2012
I think this is one of the most under-rated posts in recent memory. I think this band deserves some applause for taking such an innovative approach, and I can only imagine that they also deserve the credit for reaching out to DMN to get a little extra exposure for their project.
With that said, I think the cost of taking credit cards should be noted here. Even a direct-to-Paypal model can exceed 3.5% - 4%. Kickstarter and similar services are probably making ~1% for their services, which is more than reasonable for the value and infrastructure they provide.
On the up-side, doing it yourself gives you control over whether or not you will issue refunds if you fail to raise enough money to begin work on a project. Conversely, potential backers may balk if they don't feel they have the same protections through an artist website as they would through a well-known service like Kickstarter.
Regardless, we have obviously entered a new era of artist support, and I look forward to more commentary on the crowd-funding front.
Benji Rogers Monday, September 17, 2012
Re Pledge - just to clarify - we are not a crowd or fan funding site. We are often compared to them but our targets and goal setting works differently. We also count towards our success albums released and fulfilled. Funding is not the main aim of the site. It's direct-to-fan engagement.
Artists use us as a fan funding platform which they certainly can do, but this only utilizes about 30% of what the site is capable of.
Crowd Funding is asking fans for money. Whilst there is nothing wrong with that it's just not at the core of what we do.
No matter how many times I write this the message still gets lost...
The words "Fan" or "Crowd" Funding only apear on one page on our site, the artists signup page. The context there should explain it all.
We count success as getting music to the fans who have pledged to be a part of it. That's what we do. It's not as easy as it looks, but it's worth the work to get it right.
P.S. We are 15% and this includes the credit card processing fee. Also this includes us working on the writing of campaigns with you, including pricepoint help, shipping regions, region blocking adding of new exclusives, a campaign manager and includes email service + social network posting tools, data capture widgets, customer service and mailing lables.)
WILL Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Only having 1000 fans is enough if they're genuine fans. Something tells me this group's 1000 are.
Dacesita Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Ha, all the way! Need to start something like this in future as well. Seth Godin comes to mind with the idea of doing something "outrageous" to get noticed.