Yep. I did it. I launched my crowd-funding campaign on my birthday April 11, 2014 at midnight. Maybe it doesn’t sound weird to you, but from the gal who has not publicity celebrated her birthday since she was 18, it was a big deal.
If you don’t know what crowd-funding is, in brief there’s usually some kind of portal (in my case, I used Kickstarter this time), and you create a “project” which basically describes in detail what you’re trying to fund and why you need the money. I’m working on a budget to record and release my next CD and I’ll admit, it feels daunting.
In 2012 I ran a crowd-funding campaign on a different portal and decided to switch this time for several reasons. First of all, the other portal charged 50% more in their commission, which I didn’t find out until afterwards. I was pretty upset when I realized I sacrificed a lot more money that I really needed than I had to. Also, I found out after the fact that they had charged “pledgers” (AKA the folks who participate and contribute to your project) a fee that was not disclosed to me OR them prior to their contribution. No one wanted me to feel bad, so I didn’t even hear about it until way after the fact. From the research that I did, Kickstarter has no hidden fees-perk #1.
Now mind you, even though I successfully funded my last project, it was one of the most stressful experiences that I have had connected to my music. Last time I chose my portal based on several musician friends recommendations. This time I did a lot of online research. I looked to see who statistically had the highest success rates for funding, whose portals were easiest to use, and what percentage were music-related projects.
Kickstarter definitely ranked the highest in all areas I explored. Their success rate was significantly higher than the other competitors, but interestingly enough, much lower than I expected (around 43% across all categories). I do believe that the reason their projects fare better is because they use an “All or nothing” model. Basically, if you don’t reach your goal by the end date of your project, you lose all the money you raised-even if you’re $1 short. Other portals allow you to keep what you’ve raised but take a larger commission. I personally think that there is a psychology to the “All or nothing” model.” It creates more urgency. Then again, knowing you can keep what you raise also has it’s appeal. Even though I have part of the budget I need already saved, I won’t be able complete my recording project if I don’t raise all the funds from my Kickstarter campaign. I’m really going all-in.
So I launched on my birthday. I did and we raised 25% over the first three days, and then hit 34% on day six. It’s been exhilarating and nail-biting. A big part of me wishes it would fund before the end date so I can stop not only obsessing about it, but also stop having to constantly post about it. I was one of those artists who always swore that if I couldn’t afford to fund my own projects, well then it was time to let the music become a hobby and move on. That’s what I thought I would do. Only, there are these songs, and this intense desire to share them, and it has become more expensive to get the music out there. I also went back to being a solo artist in the last few years and have had to rebrand myself which has felt a lot like starting over. Regardless, I knew I wasn’t stopping. There I was the week before my birthday; video taping, writing scripts, writing press releases, plotting new and creative ways to get the word out, and driving my poor husband nuts once again.
I don’t know how this will turn out. I would say 99.98% of me believes fully that I will raise my goal and fund my project. There is also that .02% that tortures me late at night when I should be sleeping and distracts me during the day when I was supposed to have turned on that street I just drove by. That’s crowd-funding, at least for me it is. I really wish I was one of those people who could launch it and then let it do its thing. I’m not one of those people. There is a rush of excitement every time I get a notification on my iPhone letting me know there’s a new backer. There is a fall of heart every morning I wake and there have been no new backers. Thrill junky? Perhaps. Mostly, I am a passion seeker. My music is one of my biggest passions and I’ll be damned if I don’t see this through. It is like the project is titled, A Leap of Faith.
Check out my project: