You have a range of choices when it comes to crowdfunding your next project and building a strong, supportive community of fans.

Yes there are the traditional crowdfunding platforms and we’ll talk about those—but there are also other platforms that can help you raise money, connect with fans, and grow your career. Take a look.

The Big Two

I’m going to start with two crowdfunding platforms you already know. They are tried and true in crowdfunding for a reason, but, they are also not specifically tailored to musicians. Hang tight, we’ll get to those.

Kickstarter logo

Platform #1: Kickstarter Crowdfunding

This is arguably the most recognized platform in the crowdfunding space. Kickstarter is open to art, design, fashion, film, tech, music projects, and more. Kickstarter is known for quite a few record-breaking campaigns, including the Pebble Watch, The Coolest Cooler, and Amanda Palmer’s album-focused campaign that raised over 1M.

Kickstarter takes 5% of all the money raised in a successful campaign, plus 3% and $0.20 per pledge for payment processing. For pledges under $10, there is a discounted rate of 5% plus $0.05 per pledge.

PROS: It’s the biggest platform with a wide variety of projects and campaigns.

CONS: If a campaign is not successful (i.e., it doesn’t reach its fundraising goal), the money is never collected from your donors. If you miss your goal by just $1, you get nothing.

Click here to learn more about Kickstarter for musicians.

Indiegogo Logo

Platform #2: Indiegogo Crowdfunding

Projects on Indiegogo range from education to technology to arts to community. With Indiegogo, if you want to raise money for charity, you can register your campaign as a nonprofit.

PROS: You can try a crowdfunding campaign and keep what was raised, regardless of whether you hit the goal or not. If your campaign is raising funds for a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, there is a 25% reduction in Indiegogo’s fees, and your funders may be eligible for a tax write-off.

CONS: Indiegogo collects 9% plus processing fees on all contributions. If your campaign reaches its goal, it refunds 5%, for a processing charge of 4% (plus the 3 to 5% charged by the credit card companies). It holds 5% of your funds until you reach your goal.

Click here to learn more about Indiegogo

Music-Specific Platforms

Platform #3: Fan Club

When it comes to giving back to your fanbase, Volume has found an easy way for musicians to create a community for their fans, and allow fans to give back monetarily and also show their support through connecting via livestreams.

All you have to do is sign up for a Volume account and from there you can set up a Fan Club account and start earning money through that and your live streams!

David Cook Crowdfunding

PROS: I love this platform because they are exclusively dedicated to musicians and music and their staff is kind and approachable.  So if you want help or tips you will be able to get direct support from them.

CONS: is a livestreaming platform so unless livestreaming is part of your strategy this won’t be a love match.

David Cook who launched into stardom following his American Idol Season Seven win has a very active fanclub on Volume and you can see how he built it here. 

Single Crowdfunding logo

Platform #4: Single

This article on Hypebot By CEO Tommy Stalknecht and the team at Single grabbed my attention when it came out years ago and I have since connected with Tommy, who was generous enough to walk me and my whole team through two separate demos of how Single works.It’s another great option, made even better by them not taking as high a percentage as other platforms!

PROS: They take a flat fee vs. a percentage, so you stand to keep a lot more of your hard-earned crowdfunding cash.

CONS: The one caveat is that you need to master Shopify and install it on your site. If this is daunting, you can hire someone on Fiverr to assist you – there are dozens of vetted VAs on Fivrr to help you. You will need to create and build a lot yourself, and thread many levels for your campaign together.

To re-create the “mockups” like Pledge (remember them?) or other platforms used to have, you will need to get them from a third party.

I recommend Envato and Placeit.

Note: there are dozens of designs to choose from for almost anything you want to offer – here is a T-shirt and a tote example:

Here is an excerpt from the article that gets to the heart of Single:

How would I build my own “direct-to-fan” campaign?

People build and maintain e-commerce storefronts using Shopify. The owner chooses a starting “theme”, then customizes that theme to build out a store. Shopify has excellent articles about how to do all of that. Today we’re focused on the Jumpstart theme – a free template to create a crowdfunding campaign using Shopify.

Shopify is amazing for generalized selling, but artists running their own campaigns will need music-specific features. Single Music powers pre-orders, bundles, digital downloads and SoundScan reporting. Create a digital release in Single and have it automatically sent to Shopify as a product. Add the release to any physical product in your Shopify store to create a bundle.

What about other crowdfunding features? Well… these are easy to replicate too. In fact, there are a handful of 3rd party Shopify apps that add functionality to your DIY crowdfunding campaign. Using CrowdFunder you can create multiple simultaneous campaigns, complete transactions regardless of your campaign meeting its goal, and create product pages that look nearly identical to those on traditional crowdfunding platforms.

Why is this solution better than Bandcamp? Whether you offer a digital standalone album or a digital album as part of a bundle, Single Music only charges you for album delivery, which is 15 cents / track (capped at $2 / album). This pricing is comparable to a service like Bandcamp (and half the price of iTunes). Except, Bandcamp takes 10% from your physical merch sales. Single does not.

Here’s an ongoing pre-order campaign for Todd Snider (these are great b/c they contribute to your day 1 sales where you can make an impact on the charts.

Take a look at Avril Lavigne as well.

Click here to learn more about Single.

Bandzoogle logo

Platform #5: Bandzoogle

With their crowdfunding template, you can take album pre-orders, bundle digital music with CDs or vinyl, and create custom merch bundles and experiences for your fans. Like Single, these will be recorded with SoundScan. To do presales, you will have to become a Bandzoogle Pro plan member.

This video walks you through the options:

PROS: Pledges from your fans are commission-free, and we don’t touch the financial transaction. Funds are processed through Stripe or PayPal and go directly into your account, without delay. (In other words, you get the money immediately!)

CONS: If you don’t already use Bandzoogle, you will have to learn how and create a second site for your crowdfunding campaign. (It’s not much more work than it would be to set up a Kickstarter or Indiegogo Page, PLUS it is designed with musician crowdfunding campaigns in mind.)

There is an easy-to-use blog feature to post campaign updates right to your crowdfunding page to keep your funders updated with the latest news and progress of the campaign. Plus, you can create a FAQ page and use Bandzoogle’s built-in mailing list tool to stay in touch along your journey (a must if you want to succeed).

With the Store feature, you can offer unique items like signed lyric sheets, songbooks, exclusive merch, and even instruments or gear that was used during the recording.

Bandzoogle’s full announcement and details are on their blog here.

I hope this helps and I would love to hear about anyone’s experience with any of these platforms – especially  Single & Volume (as they are newer) from you indies out there on ease of setup and release. It is especially enticing because you can set up presale and Billboard / Soundscan charting.

Note: Some of this is excerpted from my book CROWDSTART The Ultimate Guide to a Powerful and Profitable Crowdfunding Campaign

crowdstart crowdfunding book

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