Kickstarter is well known at this point as kind of the go-to tool for anyone looking to get just about any kind of arts-related project funded. We all love it for this reason, no? Taking to the internet with a creative pitch is, after all, a little more efficient than just opening up a guitar case on the sidewalk, or even hosting a one-off fundraising event, no matter how well put together.
That said, people won't necessarily throw money at you for just anything! For better or worse, we don't live in that kind of artistic utopia quite yet. As I write this, there are exactly 636 projects in the "music" category alone competing for attention (and money), so, it seems, it'll still take some work to stand out in the fray. For advice, we went straight to the source — Kickstarter's Editorial Director, Mike McGregor. Having seen countless bands' Kickstarters come and go, McGregor imparted a little wisdom on what will — and won't — get your new album funded. Listen closely.
"You'll also want to include something in the project unique to the project," McGregor explains. "Something they can't find anywhere else. Think of this as you would if you were going to create some special tour only merch. Tapes with handmade art, glow-in-the-dark masks (which Black Moth Super Rainbow made for backers) or even some of your famous homemade blueberry jam — rewards with a personal touch can go a long way!" Reluctantly, we will leave the "jam band" puns to you.
"Don't offer fans something they already have (copies of prior work)," McGregor warned. "Rather than relying on past, live in the moment and give backers an opportunity to join you. Share demos, don't be afraid of letting people into your process."
"Another helpful tip: be courteous," says McGregor. "Think about nights spent at the merch table waiting for fans to come by and chat. You should think about your backers the same way. They want to talk to you, and if you talk right back to them, they'll like that even more. That's how relationships develop, and that's exactly what happens when you run a good Kickstarter project."
And anyway, you like your fans, don't you? Good. Now you're about to get more of them.
Follow Virginia K. Smith on Twitter @vksmith.