A few months ago, I sent an email to my subscriber list and I asked them,
“What questions do you have with regards to crowdfunding?”
One of the questions I received was,
“Can you tell me more about the expenses that we can expect after recording. Expenses related to the release, distribution, and promotion of the record?”
The artist that asked me this question crowdfunded his last record. He reached his goal and made his record. But when it was time to promote it…
…there was no more money left!
He ended up having to pay out of pocket for things, and it put him in a tough place financially. Understandably, it bummed him out.
I know exactly how he feels because I felt the exact same way when I made a five-song solo EP in my early 20s. I scraped together money, did a lot of things myself, and I just put it out there. It flopped. I got no traction at all because I didn’t have any money to promote it.
Lucky for you, I’m going to list all the potential costs that can pop up when you release your record.
It’s very important that you factor these into your budget. Otherwise, you’re going to make a great record that no one ever hears.
With each of these, you’re going to have to weigh:
“Do I want to do it myself? Do I have this skill set? Or do I need to find an expert?”
Maybe you’re a great photographer, or you know how to build a website, but you don’t know how to do some of the other things. I want to encourage you: if you don’t know how to do something, don’t waste time trying to learn how to do it.
Your job is to build a fan base, not become a web developer or an expert photographer. Find the people or services that know what they’re doing.
Be okay not D.I.Y.ing everything. It’s only going to slow your career growth down.
The first things you’re going to need are great press photos and great album artwork. For the photos, hire someone that takes really great ones if you can’t do it yourself.
For the album artwork, the same thing. You might want to give it a shot developing your own. You can use Canva, it’s a free service. Your other option is using a freelancing website such as Fiverr, Upwork, or 99Designs.
Once you’ve got all the visual design aspects taken care of, you can start using those to design great merch. So factor in the cost of creating the merch.
Side Note: I recommend that any time it’s possible to do print-to-order, do it. Don’t end up with boxes of merch that no one wants in your garage.
Double Side Note: Test merch designs before you print anything! If you’ve got a small list of followers or subscribers, ask them, “Which of these three T-shirts do you like?” The one that wins, that’s the one you print. Don’t go print three and then find out later that no one wants two of them.
Next up, if you’re printing physical copies, factor in your duplication costs.
You’re probably going to distribute through streaming services, so factor that in. It’s usually about $50.00 per album, per year, and you can do this through TuneCore or CD Baby.
Next up is promo videos. There are a lot of people that listen and discover music on YouTube, so if you can have a video for every song, that’s great. Again, if you don’t know how to do this, find a freelancer that knows how to do it.
You can get lyric videos done super-cheap through Fiverr. Of course, a proper music video is going to cost you a little more. Factor that in too. Find your videographer, get a quote, and put it in your crowdfunding budget.
Last but not least, is your advertising budget. You’re going to want to use, at the very least, Facebook ads.
Your advertising costs should be at least $10 a day.
I’ll add a quick note on this. (This is something I’m going to have to get into in a longer blog post.) You want to be able to track the ROI of your ads. You need to know: if you spend a dollar on advertising, does it bring back more than a dollar? If it does, then you need to pump as much money as possible into that ad campaign until it stops working!
For now, know that if you’re not getting money back from the ads, it is an expense. You want to turn it into an asset, where you put a dollar in and you get two back. When that’s the case, you can do that all day long.
It’s like a vending machine that prints cash!
This is how successful businesses grow, and how you should think about growing yours.
At this point you should have:
- Clarified your next release’s expenses.
- Started thinking, “Who do I need to hire? Who do I need to get quotes from? What can I do myself?”
- Learned the basics of what a successful ad campaign is.
Thanks so much for reading. Until next time,