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A Musician’s Guide To Crowdfunding: Budgets, Pledge Amounts, and Rewards

One of the most important elements of creating a successful crowdfunding project is determining pledge amounts and their accompanying rewards. This can prove tricky because you want to attract potential contributors with reasonable pledge levels while making sure you don’t lowball yourself. Essentially, you want to maximize the amount of money you can raise.

Consider the following when attaching rewards to pledge amounts:

How Much Do You Need?

What are you raising money for, what do you need to accomplish, and how much will you need to do it? Kickstarter is all-or-nothing, so you want to create an attainable goal. Make sure to budget everything out, and add about 10% to the final cost for Kickstarter and Amazon Payments fees (they take their money out before you get your share).

What’s The Reward Worth?

Try to pair rewards with comparable pledge values.  For instance, the typical music single download costs $0.99. If you offer a $1 pledge level, offer an exclusive music single download.

Would YOU Want It?

Create rewards that your fans actually want.  Put yourself in their shoes: What kind of rewards would you want from your favorite band? Some suggestions:

  • Early access to the album
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • An autographed copy of the album
  • Credit as a producer
  • Attendance at a recording session
  • Personalized messages and/or recognition on a song, video, or website

Who’s Going To Be Contributing?

Your fanbase, family, and friends will most likely be your most enthusiastic contributors (at least initially).  Knowing this helps you determine:

  • How many people you’ll be able to solicit pledges from, and
  • What type of budget your potential contributors are working with.

When determining pledge amounts, knowing your fanbase’s budget is crucial to your success.  If you’re catering to a bunch of college students, it’s going to be pretty hard to get them to pay $50 for a Limited Edition CD/Video combo.  A $20 autographed  Limited Edition might work great, though. On the flip side, if you’re a jazz artists with a huge fan base of working professionals, the $50 set might be worth your while.


A reward might sell better if there is a limited supply. If a fan knows he’s going to get 1 of 50 autographed CDs available, he’ll likely jump at the chance.  Our limited edition CD was our most popular reward, most likely due to the price point ($20), and the fact that we only offered 75 of them.

If you missed the first part of our Musician’s Guide to Using Kickstarter, you can check it out here. Make sure come back for the third part of our series, which covers promoting your campaign. And don’t forget to contact us if you have questions about setting your campaign up!

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  • robertDouglass

    In looking at this question I ended up doing an analysis of the last 60 successful music projects on Kickstarter and seeing what patterns turn up in terms of pledge levels: http://www.opengoldbergvariations.org/getting-most-out-kickstartercom-pledge-levels
    The conclusions are pretty interesting, including the effectiveness of $1,000+ pledge levels.

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