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Berlin Music Week 2012: Lessons in Music Crowdfunding from noisy Musicworld

This article has originally been published on Crowdfunding for Musicians on September 13 2012. Thanks Clyde (@crowdfundingm) for the collab. 

  by Mario

Last Friday at noisy Musicworld a group of crowdfunding experts met in two panels to discuss the role of crowdfunding in disrupting today's music business and the chances for musicians. The first panel was about introducing two international (SellaBand and PledgeMusic) and two national crowdfunding platforms (VisionBakery and INKUBATO). In the second panel we saw six experts among them Dirk Wilberg, promoter of Amanda Palmer, and Robert Drakogiannakis, singer of Angelika Express (the first band ever to use the crowdfunding approach in Germany) discussing the marketing of successful crowdfunding projects.

In the afternoon my colleague Simone Janson and I gave musicians advice about how to use social media and PR to promote their crowdfunding projects.

But what are the lessons we've learned from this workshop?

Crowdfunding can trouble today's music industry

… but won't destroy established structures and conventions. In the future musicians who crowdfund their music will still use music industry's infrastructure, e.g. for promotion or distribution, maybe they are even reliant on doing so.

Many artists don't know about the chances and benefits of crowdfunding

There are loads of chances especially for unsigned musicians if they decide to crowdfund their music. It's not only the financial aspect but also the chance to build up a true fan base and spread the word about their music. On the other hand many musicians are afraid to ask their fans for money and don't know how to explain to them why they use crowdfunding. So still a lot of explanatory work to do. By all means musicians have to develop an individual marketing, PR and social media strategy before they start their project. Also the communicational efforts are often underestimated.

With uncommon and unconventional messages musicians attract attention

… especially when they start a crowdfunding project and want to motivate fans to give money for an unconventional way to produce or promote music. But that includes the risk of not delivering what was promised: so, for example, if you say "Ciao!" to your label or other radical things like "This is the future of music" or "We are the media" in your pitch video you should mean it. Otherwise you might lose your fans' trust in what you're doing.

Crowdfunding projects can get hard to handle

...not only because there's a lot of communicational work necessary during a crowdfunding project, but also if you offer special rewards or even a financial participation. Robert Drakogiannakis reported about the Angelika-Aktie (share) issued in 2008 offering fans an 80% stake on the project's profit. The distribution of money was a big challenge, he related. So sharing and distributing the rewards should be planned well and deliberately as well as executed efficiently.

New forms of crowdfunding will develop

The panelists also talked about how crowdfunding could develop within the next years. There was a consensus about the fact that it will reach mainstream sooner or later and that there will be new forms of crowdfunding in the future, e.g. a patronage with regular (maybe monthly) payments to support artists in contrast to today's more project focused approach.

Special thanks to Ikosom and all2gethernow for hosting and organising this year's crowdfunding workshop. Hope to see you again next year.

Related Crowdfunding For Musicians Coverage:
all2gethernow Organizes Music Crowdfunding Workshop at noisy Musicworld During Berlin Music Week