Crowdfunding is becoming more and more the norm with independent artist trying to fund their upcoming releases. For years there has only been one Danish site for crowdfunding, while the worldwide phenomenon has been trying to gain ground in a community where private funding is still new and somewhat of a social taboo. Now the world’s largest crowdfunding site – Kickstarter – is launching in Denmark.
I have been a fan of crowdfunding for a long time – both as a pledger and as a consultant for several projects. I backed my first project on Kickstarter back in 2010 and have since received everything from a cardboard boom box to a light bulb with Wi-Fi to T-shirts, prints, DVD’s and of course vinyls and downloads of music. So far my only experience with creating crowdfunding campaigns is on the Danish site Booomerang.dk. This, however, will surely change with Kickstarter’s entrance into the Danish market.
Crowdfunding from the start has been a fantastic pairing with music. The production costs are low, the incentives can be very personal and fans can be very loyal. Although Marillion raised 60,000 USD for their US tour back in 1997, Radiohead where the first to really show the potential, when they released their album In Rainbows in 2007 as a pay-what-you-want release. 3 million people paid for the album, including 1,75 million CD-version and 100,000 box sets. This really proved the loyalty of the fans and their willingness to pay extra for the right incentives or just to support their favorite band. In fact Radiohead made more money from giving away their free album than from all their other traditional releases together.
This success quickly turned into three tools for musicians, most notably personified by the regular reward-based crowdfunding in Kickstarter, PledgeMusic where you support indie-bands financially and the pay-what-you-want model in Bandcamp. While Bandcamp itself is not crowdfunding, it is sometimes used as part of a campaign, e.g. when the Danish rapper Supardejen decided to release a pay-what-you-want album and at the same time make a crowdfunding campaign to release it on vinyl and cassette tape (LINK 1 + LINK 2) . This resulted in the music itself promoting the crowdfunding while fans could support financially through both mediums raising over 18,500 DKR on a 15,000 DKR budget and still getting a couple of thousand through the download of the album.
Several larger Danish names have also used PledgeMusic as a medium for gaining extra revenue such as Tina Dickow and The Blue Van actually funding and selling releases though the site while Broadway Killers raised 4,700 EURO through Sellaband.
In Denmark there have been several successful crowdfunding projects throughout the years, mostly on Booomerang, with most of them being EP’s or albums – often vinyl. 38 % percent of the projects on Booomerang are music.
Soffie Viemose and Øst, Myggen & Liljeroth have had successful Kickstarter campaign and Mercenary, Ester Maria and Go Go Berlin have raised money for music video, an album and a U.S. showcase through IndieGoGo.
The most successful ones are, however, on Booomerang where the Danish band Sømændene raised over 175,000 DKR – 116 % of their goal – while going viral with their video and having great success with their incentives. Nelson Can, who have had some international recognition still crowdfunded through Booomerang – twice – funding both a 7” single and their new album. Mathilde Falch managed to raise 20,000 DKK for her album but only managed to raise 20 DKR (yes TWENTY Danish kroner) for another crowdfunding for the same release.
On thing in common for most of these campaigns is that they usually end up around the goal with a ratio close to 1. So far almost 52 percent of all music projects on Boomerang is successful with a surprising large amount also receiving zero (!) percent funding. These numbers are actually very close to Kickstarter’s where 55 percent – as of late last year – were successful while 10 percent never received a single pledge (SEE BELOW). This is compared to around 43 percent in average for all projects on Kickstarter and 24 % on Booomerang. All in all music seems to be doing very good on Kickstarter, being the third highest grossing and third most successful category behind only film and games. So there is no doubt that Kickstarter is a good tool for funding releases while serving as a promotional tool for the project, showed by the number of campaigns shared through social media. Fans are even starting to create crowdfunding campaign to get their favorite bands to play at their school or to make your favorite artist redo an album with only cat sounds (See for yourself here).
But have another platform in Denmark is not everything. It is not some magical tool. You need much more that just Kickstarter to be successful.
Earlier this year we asked Jesper Mardahl, the manager of Promus (Production center for rhythmical music in Aarhus) about crowdfunding and when it does make sense – Read more here. “Crowdfunding can be necessary if you do not have other investors. In this financial downturn we find ourselves in now, record companies are less willing to invest in any band. This is why this type of DIY-culture is seen all over the place. Objectively, crowdfunding can be used for anything, but it really depends on who is doing it. It is definitely not for everyone. It requires that you are highly practical, alert at all times, and that you keenly connect with whom you need to connect with.”
Crowdfunding is mostly about your own network kick starting the project. If a campaign reached 20 percent funding the chance of it succeeding is 81 percent. And in average only 1 in 42 of your fans will support you. Social Media is key and so is making a good video as campaigns with video receive 112 percent more funding than those without. More than 42 percent of the traffic to crowdfunding campaigns comes directly from Facebook – Read more here. Crowdfunding is becoming increasingly common with the amount of projects increasing every year and another platform is always good, especially for artist aiming for both the Danish and international audience. The days of artist being accused of begging seems to be over and Michael Eis, the creator of Booomerang has praised the idea and also feels that it will “help push crowdfunding in the right direction in Denmark”. So for musicians Kickstarter starting up in Denmark has to be considered very good news.
If you want to be among the first to create a Danish campaign on Kickstarter you can do so HERE!