You can't really communicate the power of the artistic experience in four or five minutes…talk about the project and YOUR JOURNEY and aspirations. Let the art be the art.
Five Eight is a rock band from Athens, GA. We've been together since way back in the early '90s and recently finished our seventh record. We've had record deals, big and small, and we've been through all of that. Now we're just four friends who get together and play music, make records, play shows. IndieGoGo allowed us to pull the money together to promote our new record. We were able to self-fund the recording of it, but paying a publicist to promote was beyond our means. IndieGoGo fixed that.
Q2. What's your funding campaign all about? Who should care and why?
Five Eight has a deep well of fans from our 20 years of playing and touring. We reached out to them and offered them some incentives to donate to our campaign- signed CDs, short-pressings of vinyl, unreleased demos, copies of stuff that was out of print. We hadn't put out an album in six or seven years. There was some pent-up demand for our stuff, though honestly we had no idea going in if our campaign was going to succeed or fail spectacularly.
We had a fan email list that we've been careful not to abuse through the years. We also had a facebook band page, a somewhat neglected website, a network of old friends and family and fans who we've stayed in touch with. We reached out to them as much as we could without crossing the line into being tedious. In the past, I've been showered with pleas for attention, money and whatever from bands to the point where I just tuned them out. We didn't want to be lumped in with that pack of weasels. That's the balance you have to strike as a performer- you have to do more attraction than promotion.
a. Your video needs to be concise and hit all the high points in as little time as possible. People probably already want to give you money or they wouldn't have clicked through to your IndieGoGo campaign at all. Don't be boring and give them a reason not to contribute.
b. Speaking of wanting to give you money, a lot of the giving is about people's relationships with you, the artist, than their relationship with your art. A lot of the time, you're forced to promote art that no one has seen yet. You can't really communicate the power of the artistic experience in four or five minutes- so talk about the project and YOUR JOURNEY and aspirations. Let the art be the art.
c. We also gave a bunch of stuff away and put the links in the description under our video. We'd then announce on Twitter or our Facebook that we had, for example, an entire acoustic show all zipped up and ready to download for free- "Just go HERE," which was a link to our IndieGoGo Campaign. For the duration of our campaign we've used the IndieGoGo page essentially as the front page of our website. People didn't have to donate to get free downloads, but they had to look at our poor, starving faces to get to the link.
Q5. Any surprises or especially fun moments during your campaign that you'd like to share?
Well, the avalanche of money was pretty effin' awesome. Hard to complain about that. But, you know, there was this ONE guy- Let me give you some context: Like most music scenes, in this town where we're from it's considered kind of coarse to deal with money matters openly. Most bands maintain this polite fiction that they're above working for money. I don't know why. I blame the Beatles, but that's another discussion. Anyway, at least one of my longtime peers was actually fairly overt in his criticism when he received an email directly from me asking him to go have a look at our IndieGoGo page. That was early in the campaign where we'd only made about $350, and who knew if we were gonna make it? I was a little taken aback, but I took it in stride. I'm not going to stand around with my mouth hanging open waiting for a roast pigeon to fly in.
Well, we made it. Here we are, several thousand dollars over our goal, and last night I went to this fella's house and started helping him with his IndieGoGo presentation. My grandmother used to say "Hunger is the best sauce." Crowdsourcing is the way, now. Folks just need to see it in action to get used to the idea.
b. Speaking of which, remember that as a self-promoting artist, you're sorta dancing on a knife's edge- you're probably better off making one good, solid pitch (and later, a thoughtful follow up), than alienating your friends, family and fans with repeated emails and Facebook updates and tweets, etc. Don't annoy the people closest to you in the vain hope that you'll pick up the one or two people you haven't reached yet. Make a measured and careful use of each of the mediums available to you. Your fans and friends were probably waiting for a reason to throw you some money to support your dream, anyway. You're not going to open anyone's wallet by shouting in their ear. Find the balance that feels best to you and hold it there.
c. Finally, ask yourself if it's time to do this. How many people are already familiar with your work? How READY is the work itself? How deep and wide are the relationships you've built with your audience? This would have been a lot harder if we hadn't already had six records out. This goes back to what I said earlier- set reasonable goals. Build relationships going forward as well as leveraging the ones you already have.
Oh, and most important: write Thank You notes. Show folks you got good home training. It matters.
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