Do you want to produce an album, go on tour, offer more merchandising, make a video clip?
The problem is probably that you lack the budget.
As we have seen so far, there are many ways to earn money as a musician.
However, the question of financing a musical career is much more complex.
Here we are not only talking about selling or monetizing punctually, we are talking about perpetuating our musical project for years and decades to come.
As this is a very important subject, it is normal not to know how to approach it when you start your career!
In this article, we will look at several methods to use to finance your music project without having to sell drugs or rob a bank.
1. Diversification of revenue sources
Why not develop your musical start-up as a real entrepreneur, before approaching potential investors?
Sell your music!
Whether it’s playing concerts or selling merchandising, the first source of funding that will allow you to perpetuate your career is up to you to create it.
It is up to you to create value and sell your products and services to your fans or professionals.
But we must also consider all the options and not put all the eggs in the same basket.
Monetize your music, multiply the sources of income and seize the opportunities that will allow you to earn sustainably, then reinvest.
Concerts, merch, sales, etc. It’s the heart of the professional musician’s job, so go for it!
Obviously, diversifying your income is a process that requires a lot of time and initial investments, so you will find below some other ideas to implement jointly.
2. Crowdfunding campaigns
As you probably know, participatory financing is a powerful method for financing your next product or project.
You define the amount you want to raise, by what date and what the different rewards are based on the contributions, and off you go!
The service that hosts your campaign will take its commission, but will provide you with everything you need to communicate and convince your fans.
With this method, instead of looking for a handful of investors who will invest large sums (grants, patrons, sponsors), we will instead ask a large number of people to contribute a little bit by offering them rewards based on their contribution.
This concept allows musicians to ask their fans to participate in the financing of major projects for their careers: EPs, albums, clips, tours, etc.
The advantage is that it allows the artist to offer high-end offers that he would not otherwise offer to his fans, giving them the opportunity to get even more involved.
In addition, it makes it easy to know if the project in question is of interest to the current fanbase, by setting up this pre-order system:
- If your campaign is a success, then you will have been paid before you have produced your album, merchandising or clip, which drastically reduces the risks
- If your campaign does not achieve its objective, then you will know that this is not the right time to release such a product or that the offer is to be reviewed and it will have saved you a failed launch
However, it must be understood that you will need to have a community that is already large enough before you can apply for this type of funding.
Among the most famous crowdfunding sites used by artists are Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Ulule, KisskissBankbank and PledgeMusic.
To know more about it:
3. Participatory financing based on the tip principle
In his famous article “1000 Real Fans”, Kevin Kelly reveals that if a musician makes 1000 of his fans give him $100 each year, then his annual turnover will be $100,000, which is very comfortable for a musician today.
The problem is that on a daily basis, the average musician or music group will have difficulty getting their fan to give them money for every musical product, merchandising product or concert.
Moreover, if he succeeds in convincing him one year, then the artist will have to offer new musical products, new merchandising pieces and new concerts in his region in the following years to hope to interest him again and make him spend his $100.
This is a problem.
One solution is to ask your fans to contribute financially to your music project over the long term.
Participatory sponsorship services were created a few years ago, like Patreon or Tipeee, so you can give your fans the opportunity to pay you the amount they want each time you release new content, for example a video or a song.
The good idea is that your fans can even decide on a maximum monthly amount in order to control their budget.
This business model is particularly suitable for artists who regularly publish content online, such as Youtube musicians.
In addition, to encourage fans, the service allows the musician, in the same way as crowdfunding campaigns, to offer sponsor fans exclusive content based on their contribution.
The great advantage of this funding source is that it is a continuous income, over time and easily complements your other activities, as long as you already have an active community and an appropriate content schedule.
4. Grants and subsidies
If you want to finance a project, but you do not want (or cannot) go through crowdfunding or sales, there are other options available to you.
Indeed, a large number of organizations can contribute financially to your production and development in the form of grants and subsidies.
Of course, you have to meet sometimes difficult conditions to obtain, go through a lot of paperwork, but it is always worthwhile to get as much information as possible so as not to miss out on help.
The other advantage of this type of financing is that it can increase your visibility, develop your network and give you a new powerful argument to communicate with professionals.
The concern is that it may take some time to complete, in parallel with the funded project itself, without you being sure that it will work.
Find out more, because there are many more supports than you think and not always offered by the same organizations!
5. Patrons and investors
It sometimes happens that (fairly wealthy) individuals invest in musical projects that seem promising or innovative to them.
This is often a very good option since, in addition to financing, you will multiply your network tenfold and you will be supported to a certain extent in your development, depending on the nature of the patron.
But it should be kept in mind that investors generally demand an extremely high return on investment.
To convince them and collaborate with them, you have to work hard, especially since it is not easy to get in touch with them.
So let’s get something straight:
It is immensely complicated to find an investor or patron for your music if you start from scratch.
But finding someone who can invest in your project both financially and humanely can radically boost your career.
However, be careful to keep your independence and only commit to what you currently want to invest in.
Contrary to what one might think, sponsorship is not only reserved for the most famous artists.
Indeed, as long as your audience, your universe or your skills interest a business, it will be able to detect a certain economic potential, for example if you contact brands whose typical customer corresponds exactly to your fanbase.
The key is to offer, in exchange for financial compensation, an interesting counterpart for the business.
However, keep in mind that sponsors can help you with something other than financing: fan contests, cross-promotion, discounts, networking, advertising, free products or services, etc.
Be creative and don’t hesitate to ask!
In return, you can promote this company’s products in many ways: on your site, on social networks, in your videos, at your events, on your posters, on the cover of your album, via product placements in your clip or even on stage, etc.
To convince the business of your dreams, you will need to share accurate information about your audience and your marketing approach.
How many fans do you have? Great fans? Subscribers to your email list? People at your concerts? Any views on Youtube? Subscribers on social networks? What do you know about your fans?
Food job, bank loan, asking relatives or family, etc.
Outside the world of music, there are still a plethora of ways to finance your musical creation and projects.
But you will gain much more by focusing on the options available to musicians and artists.
The challenge is to start this “fundraising”. In daring to ask.
But once you start receiving funding, you can reinvest it in your future projects, get the machine going and make your career sustainable.