File Under: Raising Money & Crowdfunding, Making Money With Music
Money. It was one of the biggest themes of SxSW 2015. Nearly every panel talked in some way about making money -- some new, some old -- and getting funded.
As most of our readers know, we’re big fans of taking advantage of the low and no cost options out there. But not everyone can fund their music project on $0. Some projects are just too large or require personnel or equipment such as tours, videos, or albums.
Fortunately, there are many methods to get funding. Some take more time or work than others, but all are ones you can take advantage of right now.
We broke down six methods to get that initial funding that were covered in presentations at SxSW.
1. Friends and Family.
Of course, the time-honored way to get started is to turn to people that you already know to get that initial stake. Considering the low-cost options we discussed in our article, you might need less than you think, and a few hundred dollars might be enough to get you going.
2. Day Job.
Let's face it: Shows are usually played at night, and you can record music anytime. There's your "nightgig" and then there's your "daygig" and they can live together in harmony. We are fans of taking advantage of the steady income and benefits of a day job until your music business "tells you" it’s time to quit by giving you enough income to live on.
As we covered in our presentation The Art of Crowdfunding for the National Recording Academy's Music Business Night School at GrammyPro a few weeks ago, platforms like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and more allow musicians to go get funding directly from fans and the general public. If you would like to get started doing this see our Electronic Musician crowdfunding series: Money Masterclass: How To Fund Your Music Project, Sequencing Crowdfunding to Get More Funding, and Setting Crowdfunding Goals as well as blog articles on these topics. This is also a major topic in our Making Money With Music online course.
4. Brand Patronage.
Brands love independent musicians. They love associating their product with cool music. Companies like Adias, Taco Bell, Hype Hotel, RedBull, Southwest Airlines, and more all work with musicians to capture the right vibe for their message. Besides contacting brands directly, you can see which brands are looking for artists on SonicBids.com.
5. Fan Patronage.
Sites like Patreon and PledgeMusic allow fans to fund musicians on a monthly or per-release basis. Musicians that use this platform can pull a steady income from their fans, which gives you a much more solid basis to plan out your finances for your business.
Banks? Yes, banks. Some SxSW panelists were business bankers who specialized in investing in music projects. Although this requires you to have a more formal business plan and do bookkeeping, banks can and do directly invest in musicians.
Not only are there more options to get money than it may seem, the best part is that you don’t have to give up the rights of your music to get the money from these sources. One panelist, Tim Quirk, of the band Too Much Joy, talked about how his band worked with a major beer company and although he was concerned about working with the sponsorship originally, he realized that his label deal was much worse than the deal the beer company was offering. The label forced them to basically pay back the money that they used to fund the album in the fractions of the sales that their royalties generated, and the label owned the masters. The beer company on the other hand just “basked in the glow” for a while, and didn’t ask for anything else.
As long as you take advantage of all of the other sources of income (such as the ones we talk about in our 15 hour Making Money With Music online course) once you get your business started, you can directly benefit from owning the rights to all of your music, and use that to continue to make your music.
- SXSW 2015: What's On The Mind of The Music Industry?
- The Art of Crowdfunding
- The Indie Band Survival Guide (Remixed & Remastered: Second Edition)
- Making Money With Music (15-hour Online Course)
Photo credit: Pictures of Money