How To Achieve Crowdfunding Success as an Indie Musician

The Nearly Deads photo by Jon King

Learn How To Ensure Crowdfunding Success as an Indie Musician And How to Sustain Your Career Without a Label

The Internet is the single greatest thing to ever happen to the music industry – but also the worst. On one hand, we are able to connect with people all over the world. On the other, it has created an overly saturated marketplace in which it has become practically impossible for a band to stand out. Without aging myself too much, I’m going to tell you that I remember a time in which the Internet did not exist. The only music you were exposed to was what was on the radio. Being in a band wasn’t something everyone could do.

RELATED: 5 Reasons Why You Didn’t Reach Your Crowdfunding Goal

Enter Pro Tools, Auto-Tune, and the basic crumbling of the record industry as we knew it.

But I’m writing about our experiences with crowd-funding. I would love to tell you that it’s easy, but sometimes it’s like pulling teeth to ask for money. You have to MARKET YOURSELF. Yuck. It seems so self-involved, so selfish, and at times can feel desperate. What if you don’t make your goal and feel like a huge failure? Believe me, I struggle with all of these thoughts. However, there’s a solid reason that my band The Nearly Deads, and most bands these days, need to crowd-fund, and that reason is the ever-evolving music industry. In the ’90s and early 2000s, Alternative Rock dominated the radio and there were plenty of labels lapping up young rock acts.

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Today? Not so much.

Fast forward to our first nationwide tour, which started soon after our zombie-themed video for “Never Look Back” went viral. It had swelled over 3 million views and to date has close to 8 million. We had poured our hearts, souls, and personal money into the creation of our debut EP, and even bought an RV for the tour. So here we are on the road…not realizing how much it actually costs to fill the gas tank on an RV…and we needed money. Fast.

RELATED: The Musician’s Guide to Crowdfunding: How to Get Money for Your Next Music Project

We were hesitant. Crowd-funding wasn’t as commonplace as it is now (in fact the term crowd-funding hadn’t even been coined yet) and we had no idea if anyone would even give us any money! We reminded ourselves of all the fans we had online, tweeting us from Russia, the UK, Australia, and all the millions who had seen our video and were keeping up with us on Facebook.

We weighed our options and choose Indiegogo. It was incredibly easy to set up and we had it up and running that evening. We doubled our goal, proving that there were people out there who cared, and wanted to support us! That campaign led to true friendships with our fans, business relationships, and showed us that it was possible to sustain ourselves through this new thing called crowd-funding. We could connect with more fans, and make more money – without a label.

We knew our fans wanted a full-length record, and we funded it using Kickstarter, due to the publicity it was currently receiving. We were successful once again, raising over $10,000. I never thought that someone halfway across the world would listen to my music, let alone donate money so I could keep making it. It was, and is, incredibly humbling.

Now, we were on the map and getting better opportunities. However, the market was (and is) still incredibly competitive, and we were still finding ourselves passed up. So we said: let’s stop trying to impress the industry.

Let’s outdo ourselves. Let’s impress our FANS.

If we’ve learned anything by being DIY it’s that we may not have a major label budget, or major label connections, but we do have a great team, and more importantly – we have FANS who believe in us and want us to succeed. Yay Internet!

We turned to them again, and this time we choose PledgeMusic because they specifically work with musicians and bands. They give you tools to succeed and don’t just provide the crowd- funding platform, they help you make the most out of it. We’re able to give the fans real-time exclusives, and keep them updated as we create the record that they are funding.

The success of a campaign isn’t reliant on what platform you use at all, it’s reliant on the dedication of your fans. There are so many great sites to choose from, and it’s all about finding the right fit for your needs at the right stage of your career.

Many bands miss that main point. We have maintained our career because we have literally spent years building our own ‘crowd’ of incredible zombies! When we kicked off our current campaign, the same few super-fans who donated to that first Indiegogo were some of the FIRST people to contribute. They are the key to our continued success, and I can’t wait to see how we keep growing together!


Theresa Jeane is the lead vocalist for Alternative Rock Band, The Nearly Deads






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