guest post – Meet George Brown on crowdfunding her e.p. on indigogo

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How Meet George Brown Researched Perks and Pricing for her Indiegogo Campaign

George was telling me about some of the quite scientific approach she had applied to research her crowdfunding campaign. i asked if she would share some of the information with you..
very generously she wrote a very detailed article below.
as of this morning George has reached 100% of her target -she has 14 hours left to go - if you find this article useful i would suggest you visit and contribute to her campaign here
over to George..


 

I am currently recording my five-track debut EP and I am crowdfunding it on Indiegogo. It has been running for three weeks; it started on 14th December 2015 and will end on 13th January 2016. I am the only one running the campaign but others involved in the project are Felix Macintosh who is the producer and sound engineer of the EP; Craig Coggle who plays drums and bass on the EP, and who does the video and sound editing for any social media uploads; and Susan Tegala who is the photographer for the campaign. And my children are also involved!

I had initially wanted to crowdfund the project through Kickstarter only because it was the only crowdfunding platform that I had heard of, and the process of my (ultimately) deciding to crowdfund the project and launching the campaign was only a matter of days. On Kickstarter you have to raise your target amount in order to receive any of the funds pledged whereas Indiegogo offers Flexible Funding where you can receive everything that has been pledged to you even if you don’t reach your target.

I didn’t know where to start in terms of what perks to offer let alone their pricing. After a very quick scan of some of the campaigns on Kickstarter, I came up with the following:

£1 Personalised thank you note
£5 Digital download and thank you note
£10 CD copy of EP
£15 CD copy of EP plus being a named sponsor on the website
£25 Signed copy of CD
£50 Signed copy of CD with special thank you on CD wallet / acknowledgement of support with a credit on the CD

I thought that it was okay (read bland) but it was all to do with the CD itself and had nothing to do with anything else. There was no diversification. Nothing exciting, nothing different.

So I decided to research other music campaigns on Indiegogo and Kickstarter. First of all, I looked at the most funded Kickstarter music campaigns. These are not necessarily current projects but the top funded of all time. The first one is Amanda Palmer who is famous for doing exactly this (crowdfunding and asking people for money), has written several books, and has a very large and very loyal fanbase (she had over 24,000 backers). She had raised over US$1.1m. The second most funded was De La Soul, as in ‘3 is the Magic Number’. They are very, very big. The problem for me with looking with a view to emulating Amanda Palmer’s perks was that unlike her, I don’t have a large, loyal fanbase who has an unwavering interest in whatever I am doing and wants to immediately buy whatever I am putting out. Similarly with De La Soul, I found that their perks were fantastic, very expensive, and also very unique to them. So for US$2,000 you could go sneaker shopping with one of them in New York and get a signed pair from his personal collection. But this is De La Soul and this is clearly a member of De La Soul who is renowned for his sneakers or sneaker-wearing. So I couldn’t base any perks or any pricing for that matter on either Amanda Palmer or De La Soul. So I went to look on Indiegogo for a change of scene.

I started by looking at the top seven funded music campaigns on Indiegogo. The criterion for each of these projects was that it had to be an album or EP; it couldn’t be community music or getting a concert hosted. I went through each of the seven and made a list of all the perks being offered. There were the usual, non-surprising ones (the name in the liner notes, the thank yous, the CD, the signed CD, the T-shirt, the house gig) and there were also some really interesting ones. The criteria for me was that it had to do with music, and it had to be fun - not just for me to do or to participate in but fun for the backers as well. One that I really liked, which I am offering in my campaign and is one of my favourite perks, is the Gang Vocals. Those who sign up for this perk come into the studio and they sing on one of the tracks. Another interesting perk I came across was writing a song for the backer and recording it. I’ve included that perk in my campaign but I have tweaked it so that the backer writes the lyrics and I will write the music (and any royalties due shall be shared!) and record it. For an upgraded version of this perk, the backer will come into the studio with me and we record the song together, either with the backer playing/singing on the recording with me or being in the studio while it is being recorded. Handwritten lyrics on a sheet was another interesting perk that I often came across. I then came up with the idea of doing a scrapbook of lyrics. I’m really into scrapbooking and this is something that I would really like doing. However it is very time-consuming and although fun for me, I’m not sure about anyone else wanting a scrapbook made by me, of my lyrics. Maybe if I were Amanda Palmer or De La Soul, maybe. But I’m not yet. So that one came out of the running. Wanting to check for consistency, I carried out the same process for the top six funded Kickstarter music campaigns starting from after Amanda Palmer and De La Soul, and then I did the same for the top six ‘Trending Now’ Indiegogo music campaigns.

As I made a list of all the perks being offered, I also wrote down what each of the seven campaigns was charging for each perk. The campaigns were mostly in US dollars but some were in pound sterling. So I colour-coded everything, particularly relevant and essential for the pricing of the CD. Black was for an album in US dollars, blue for an EP in US dollars, orange for an album in pound sterling, brown for a double album in pound sterling, pink for an EP in pound sterling. I divided the price of a CD by two if it were an album and by four if it were a double album, the logic here being that an album is double the length of an EP. So if the CD perk for an album was priced at US$10, I would have calculated that as US$5 for an EP. Since the majority of the campaigns were funded in US dollars, I converted the pound sterling prices into US dollars. For the EP being funded in pound sterling I simply converted it into US dollars, and I left the US dollar EP prices.

I then calculated the average price for each of the perks. I would then look at this price and decide whether or not it sounded fair value or not. It was more a case of the sounding and feeling of prices. For example, the price of the CD came out to an average £7 and that felt right although since then I’ve tweaked it to £5. However when the price didn’t sound or feel right, I then took the highest and the lowest prices for that perk and I calculated the midpoint between those two prices. If this still didn’t feel or sound right, and I then calculated the median for that perk.

So I had three pricings: the average, the midpoint between the highest and the lowest prices, and the median. Ultimately it was a matter of which of the three pricing calculations sounded and felt right. And if none of them did, I made a price up myself. As a side note, I decided that all the perks for my campaign was going to be limited edition. I felt that by doing this, if the CD, poster or T-shirt felt a bit expensive, it could be justified by being limited edition.

Before I launched my campaign, I thought that whether people would contribute or not would be based heavily, if not solely, on the pricing of the perks. What I have seen so far during the campaign is that people contribute because they want to contribute. In my campaign some friends and family have contributed the equivalent amount to a perk or even beyond the price of some of the perks and they haven’t gone for any of the perks. They have just contributed the money. For example in my campaign, the CD costs £5, and for a poster to be included it costs £15. What I’ve found is that quite a few people have contributed £20 without wanting either of these two perks. So I don’t think the perk or the pricing are the sole factors for the amount that people contribute or if they contribute at all. In other words, I think it makes for interesting reading the different perks that are being offered but in terms of what you are offering and the pricing, I don’t think they are the only reasons why people may or may not contribute. In the case of my campaign, I have backers who have chosen to contribute between £5 and £200 with or without actually choosing a perk.

At the three-quarter mark of my campaign run, if I could give one tip to anyone who is thinking of launching a crowdfunding music campaign, I would say: make it fun. Because when you have fun with it, it excites you; and when it excites you, the outcome doesn’t matter. If you reach your target amount, great. If you don’t reach your target amount, it’s also great. If people contribute, great. And if people don’t contribute, it’s also great. Because it’s fun. So do it because it’s fun. Just play with it. Because it has to be fun. That’s why you do it. Meet George Brown

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