How to Prefund a Record: 5 Ways To Fund Your Album
One of the most challenging aspects of being an independent artist is funding a record rollout. Thankfully, Web3 has made it easier than ever for musicians to fund their own projects and release campaigns.
This is easier said than done, but with the help of some of the resources listed below, you can certainly build your dream record through fan support. We’ll share what goes into funding a music project rollout below and dive into 5 ways you can support your vision without going broke.
Can You Launch A Successful Record Without A Label?
A few decades prior, launching a successful record without the help of a label would feel almost impossible. In today’s landscape, you can definitely fund a project (or your entire career) without having to sign a deal. That being said, successful indie artists have the following three factors in common:
A Strong Fanbase: Both indie and signed artists rely on the grace of their fanbases. Without a dedicated fanbase (not to be confused with a large fanbase), it can be incredibly difficult to incentivize others to fund your work. If you haven’t cultivated a community, you’ll need to focus on that first before attempting to fund a large body of work.
Time Investment: Most musicians don’t have a whole chunk of change laying around. However, successful artists are willing to put in the time and effort where funding is inaccessible. Crowd funding can help you create your vision to the fullest, but it’s not a substitute for the time and effort needed to create an immersive music project.
Consistent, Adaptive Engagement: Consistency is key. Musicians will need to adapt to the needs of their audience and consistently promote their crowd funding efforts to successfully craft a project.
You shouldn’t feel guilty about asking your fans for help with your project – true fans are happy to support their favorite creators, and prefunding a record gives your audience the opportunity to transform into true artistic collaborators.
What Goes Into Funding A Record?
When you fund your record, you’ll have to think about everything that goes into making a successful project, pre- and post-release. You can expect these four main buckets of funding:
The most obvious expense that comes to mind with musicians is well, making the music. This includes recording costs, session musicians, clearing samples, mixing, and mastering.
Pre-promotion expenses include costs like building or advertising a presave campaign, crafting assets for singles, and making the official cover art and video canvases for your songs.
3. Post Promotion
Post promotion costs include making music videos, visualizers, and customized fan experiences that enhance the listening experience of your music project. If you’re going on tour, you’ll also have to fundraise to hit the road.
Whether you’re a full-time musician or working it on the side, crafting a successful music campaign takes an incredible amount of time. Your fans can help support the hours of unfunded work that go into building your project.
5 Ways To Prefund Your Album Campaign
Without further ado, here are 5 different ways you can help fund your album, EP, or single campaign. Keep in mind that you don’t have to commit to just one strategy – these funding techniques can all be used in tandem to amplify your impact as an artist.
1. Crowdfund Campaign
It may not be the most groundbreaking, but a classic crowdfunding campaign can still work wonders for emerging artists. There are also several different models within this crowdfunding method so you can work with one that resonates with you the most: 1) Use a traditional crowdfunding site like Go Fund Me 2) Create a monthly subscription for patrons with sites like Patreon 3) Crowd fund via your link in bio with services like Koji.
2. Virtual Performances
Virtual concerts and experiences don’t require nearly as many resources as an in-person event and can allow you to interact with fans across the globe. You can use platforms like StageIt or Moment House to host monetizable virtual experiences to help fund your project.
Music NFTs aren’t for every artist, but they can be incredibly useful for artists who provide unique value through NFTs for their audience. As seen through Salem Ilese’s Crypto Boy, NFTs can be an amazing way to raise money for a cause you believe in or a future project.
4. Music DAOs
Music DAOs or decentralized autonomous organizations are positioned to change the way the music industry operates as a whole. These organizations each have their own funding models, but the central thread is that they can help artists fund and distribute art through a collective model. For instance, some DAOs aim to provide artists with universal basic income, while others can help artists secure independent loans in exchange for a future percentage of royalties.
Don’t forget to ask your fans for their support IRL! When playing a show or hosting a live event, share snippets of songs to help incentivize fans to support your future project. You can also take it straight to the streets and share your music via busking or small, local gigs to find funds for your next project.
Funding music projects is a challenge for artists, but we’re working to make that process easier. Hopefully, these strategies will help you raise money for your project all while building stronger ties to your community. Sign up for our newsletter to learn more about the future of music monetization.
At Controlla, we’re crafting music technology and interactive experiences to help you connect with your fans as a producer or music creator.
We're launching Season One, allowing artists to transform unreleased songs into interactive games catered to their audiences. They can give it away, sell it to create extra income, or include it as a value-add for top fans. It costs nothing, but space is limited, so act fast and apply for consideration in Season One!