Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sampling of's Crowdfunding Manifesto

Welcome to The Crowdfunding Manifesto. The purpose of this guide is to educate and inspire you on the strategy of crowdfunding a creative project. We define creativity broadly - to include traditional categories such as music, film, photography, writing, etc - and also fields such as entrepreneurship, some forms of philanthropy, computer programming, sports, etc. First off, what is crowdfunding? In a nutshell, it is leveraging your network and audience for funds, awareness, and feedback. Crowdfunding is based on the belief that the power of many small contributions in aggregate can become significant. There are a few different variances of crowdfunding - some are purely donation based, others are rewards based. We believe that for the modern Creative - the rewards-based model offers the most sustainable path to funding projects. Why are we seeing this phenomenon now? For starters, Creatives are more connected to their audience and network than ever before. Modern social networking makes reaching out simple and virtually free, while the costs of creative production and distribution have gone down. Meanwhile, the old-guard institutions of music labels, publishing companies, film studios, etc. are collapsing. A new revolution is emerging on the grassroots level of creativity. Crowdfunding is the foundation of this New Creative Economy. What does this mean for you as a Creative? The tools for funding and publicizing your projects are available right now - supported by multiple platforms. This manifesto is here to help you succeed, regardless of what platform you choose. The Crowdfunding Manifesto consists of the three pillars of success:
  1. The Project
  2. The Network
  3. The Rewards
Each is equally yet uniquely important. When each pillar is strong, the probability for success grows.

For more information please check out the full manifesto here.

B. J. Jansen on How Artists Can Succeed in The Changing Music Industry — We All Make Music

B. J. Jansen on How Artists Can Succeed in The Changing Music Industry — We All Make Music

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Future of the Music Industry - Is Crowdfunding the Answer?

Post by Resident Expert, Vladimir Vukicevic, from

Last week, I moderated a panel on The Future of the Music Industry. The panel discussion was hosted by the New York Law School and covered such topics as the evolving role of the big record labels, digital distribution, the growing influence of social networking, the future of copyright laws, piracy, and new business models in music (e.g. crowdfunding). The group was made up of prominent entertainment attorneys, key figures in music creation/distribution, and us - a new player in this fast-changing ecosystem.

The main conclusions painted a pretty complex and potentially bleak picture - including the continuation of penny-pinching and Return-On-Investment based major record labels, distribution of music that is financed by fractions of pennies per song, and the fact that most musicians will increasingly have to fend for themselves for most or all of their careers. I was left with a seemingly troubling conclusion: even those most heavily involved with the inner-workings of the current music machine have little idea what the future will bring...

But I also left feeling extremely empowered. When Derek Sivers faced a similarly uncertain music marketplace, he created the powerful grassroots tool that is CDBaby. When Steve Jobs sensed a strong shift to digital music, he created the new-model that is iTunes - a flawed yet Earth-shattering platform for distribution. With the powerful realization that we don't need to download our music anymore in order to enjoy it, companies such as Pandora and freed our hard drives. Those are the types of important changes that RocketHub has learned from and is built upon.

As a team of singers and songwriters, we believe that crowdfunding represents the new path for funding the creation, distribution, and promotion of music. Four distinct and equally important facts make crowdfunding an important piece of the puzzle:

  1. It costs less to make good music. A musician or band of musicians can now record an album for a budget of around $3,000 to $10,000 - including a high production value and overall quality.
  2. The average crowdfunding contribution is not limited. CDs used to be the primary method for musicians to make money - at an average price of around $10 a pop. Now musicians can offer products (CDs, T-Shirts, etc.), services (lessons, etc.), and experiences (lunches, live shows, etc.) - at RocketHub the average contribution is around $50. That means that a new album can be funded by only 50 to 200 fans.
  3. Social networking makes reaching friends, fans, and family easy. It used to take days and a lot of money (in postage fees) to reach thousands of fans. Now it takes minutes and it is virtually free.
  4. Online payments remove friction. Cash is clunky. Checks are slow. Credit cards require infrastructure. Online payments are easy and can be virtually instantaneous (thank you PayPal).

We hope to continue to build a community that leverages these major trends and that is true to the ethos of music - including openness, education, and support. Crowdfunding is an important and vital part of the answer for the future of the music industry. We are honored to be a part of this grassroots movement.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Three Simple Rules for doing 21st Century Business on the Web

By B.J. Jansen ~ Co-Founder of Pitch Artist Services

1. Information is FREE – Internet and technology have created an environment where there are no secrets anymore. Further there are no logical ways to block or censor information anymore. Many pay-sites are still trying to monetize information, as if they are selling a hard-copy newspaper or magazine online, at the cost of their own success. People will negotiate around barriers to find the information they need. China is a wonderful example; the people of China are constantly finding ways to circumvent the government’s obsessive attempts to censor the internet. On the net, if there is a will there always is a way. Information is Free and should be treated as such, then, if the information is high quality, watch the traffic on your site explode.

2. Content is FREE – Content goes hand and hand with information and should be treated accordingly. Many companies complain or sue their customer base, as with the case of the RIAA, to attempt futilely to stop the piracy of content online. The simple fact is that Torrent download sites continue to thrive unabated. The web is nebulous and exists everywhere, even well beyond the long arms of international law. If people want your content for free, they will find a way to pirate it. Instead of wasting time dwelling on that, spend time moving forward. Give away free downloads, as research is showing that musicians who give away free downloads actually show increased sales of paid downloads.

3. Monetize the ANALOG – Everything boils down to Analog. Developing meaningful interactive, “touch,” relationships with your customers is the key to success moving forward into the 21st century and beyond. Consumers more often than not buy based on feelings. These feelings are derived from your brand. If you find creative ways to monetize the Analog relationship that you have with your customers, you can’t help but become successful. It involves careful long-term cultivation of your brand. It also includes the clever use of Social Media to develop meaningful interaction with your customer base. That interaction is Analog and will allow you to develop long-term and meaningful relationships. Those Analog relationships then turn into profits. Remember that your Analog brand relationship cannot be pirated, duplicated or stolen as your brand is unique to you.