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Experts Weigh Future Of Music Crowdfunding In The Post-PledgeMusic World

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(Hypebot) — Has crowdfunding for musicians become too risky? Is it dead altogether? These kinds of questions are being asked by tens of thousands of artists who had counted on PledgeMusic and fan funding to finance their next project. Hypebot asked four music marketing experts with experience in crowdfunding to share what they are telling their clients about the future of music crowdfunding.
Ariel Hyatt, Cyber PR
It is horrible what happened and I am devastated to see so many artists who worked so hard and got screwed. However, I still deeply believe in Crowdfunding.
Because Crowdfunding equals us at our highest, taking a risk, sharing ourselves, receiving, and being given the opportunity to express gratitude towards others. The magic lies in the reward from your community that you reap, which is not simply the financial gain — there will also be a deep sense of connectedness that you will feel from getting the support that your crowdfunding campaign creates. The ripple effect is profound, and it will resound into your future. Crowdfunding represents a little piece of your dream, and it will make you realize you’re not alone. It will spark creativity, and bring you closer to your tribe. Even if you only get partial funding, it will be worth it for the transformation you’ll undergo.
[Watch for more from Ariel on crowdfunding in the coming days.]
PledgeMusic was not the only crowdfunding tool. There are many ways to crowdfund. Having executed a few dozen projects on Pledge over the last several years -right up until their demise, I do think that they had a very strong tool. I will miss the power it gave my artists and the pleasure it gave our superfans. 
But fear not! I am still a big proponent of crowdfunding! I am currently using IndieGoGo and some other website efforts that I am finding just as effective. But it is very important to understand that I look at crowdfunding not as just a “funding” effort but as a direct-to-fan effort. Therefore, my tactics and strategic efforts are built around serving the fans (from casual to superfans). These efforts take a lot of pre-planning and strategy before, during and after the project. Music Geek Services was founded on an ideology to “sueprserve the superfans” and we will continue to do so. In all of my work, the fans support/invest in artists they love and want to see create new music or reissue special projects. My projects are real community building efforts.

I must also point out that one thing crowdfunding can not do is earn you a fan base. That is a fallacy that was pushed early on by PledgeMusic (saying their network would expose you to new fans) but I just do not think that is wise thinking and not something to count on from any platform.

Jay Gilbert. Label Logic

Pledgemusic became more than a crowdfunding service. It became an exciting music community where fans could go explore the virtual end-caps and find treasures from their favorite artists while discovering new ones. I still believe in the model and I hope someone resurrects it.

There are services that do some of the things that Pledgemusic did but they’re not necessarily as music-centric; IndieGoGo, Kickstarter etc. But in a post-Pledgemusic world, for me, Patreon is the most interesting choice for music.
I look at it as subscribing to the the creativity of my favorite artists. The monthly subscription fee varies depending on your level of fandom and the benefits you choose to receive.
The only concern I express to my clients is that you must be engaged, create a solid plan and execute it monthly. You’ve got to strive to underpromise and overdeliver. If you’re not prepared to do that, don’t create a Patreon campaign.
If you want to see an artist that is doing it right, maximizing the platform, take a look at the indie band The Accidentals. Regular engagement and compelling content.
Dave Cool, Director of Artist & Industry Outreach, Bandzoogle
Despite the demise of PledgeMusic, I believe crowdfunding remains a relevant strategy for musicians. It’s still one of the best ways for artists to engage on a deeper level with their fans, and gives fans the opportunity to support an artist beyond streaming.

So we’ll continue to recommend crowdfunding, which Bandzoogle members can do directly through their websites. With album pre-orders, SoundScan reporting, merch store, blog and a mailing list already built in, they can use these tools for crowdfunding. Plus we don’t take a cut of sales or even touch the transaction, so musicians can be assured that the money their fans pledge to their campaigns is reaching them directly, and immediately.

But with any crowdfunding campaign, it’s really all about the connection and engagement with your fans. So musicians should always focus on offering unique rewards, and communicating and engaging with their fans, then the money will follow.

[Bandzoogle just launched a no-fee crowdfunding and pre-buy option with the funds paid directly to artists] 

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