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Fan-Funding & Donation Sites: 9 Ways to Raise Money for Your Next Music Project

Are you ready to record a new album, produce a video, or take on an ambitious new music project? But you don’t have the cash on hand to make it happen now?

Do what a growing number of smart artists have done in recent years: ask your fans to contribute!

The band Marillion reportedly raised $725,000 by pre-selling its Anoraknophobia double-CD album before it was ever recorded. Jill Sobule raised more than $80,000 from about 500 fans to record her California Years album, due out in 2009.

But even lesser known artists have had success with this fan-funded business model. Take a look at what these indie acts have done to involve their fans in music fundraising:

Mia Kim

Christine Kane

Scott Andrew

Kristin Hersh

Great, your sold on the concept. Now how do you set up a system to collect funds from your fans?

Well, a number of new sites have sprung up to provide this service to musicians. The most prominent ones are:




CASH Music


Each of the sites above have different structures and fees, so look over the details closely before committing to using any of them.

But you don’t have to use a music-specific site to do this. Here are four more easy ways to ask your fans to support you financially:


PayPal Buttons for donations

Amazon Simple Pay Donations


You don’t have to wait until you have a big music project to ask your fans for help. Just put a donation or “tip jar” button or widget on a page where you offer free downloads.

For instance, here’s the request on Kristin Hersh’s download page:

“The music here is yours to download. Please consider making a one-time contribution using the form below (not tax deductable).”

Bottom line: Don’t become a “I don’t have the money now” victim. Ask the people who can really help you the most: your fans!


Reader Comments (12)

I wouldn't put Kristin Hersh in the "lesser known" category! She's pretty famous on the indie pop scene, both as part of the Throwing Muses and solo...

March 25 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie


Another small relevant success story of mine.

A few weeks back, my laptop, which I use for my performances, died. I put a fundraiser up online asking for help from fans, promising their name embedded on the back of the new Macbook permanently in a tag cloud fashion, with the larger contributors getting a large font in a tag cloud fashion.

I was overwhelmed that within 24 hours I had not only raised enough for a new computer, but one with the highest specs possible.

I saw a few major factors in this, the main being my free philosophy, everything I do and produce is free, including my tutorial videos and project files... so this was a chance for people to give something back.

I documented it and left the splash page live, it can be viewed at



March 26 | Unregistered CommenterTom Cosm

Emily Arin ( I think) is doing another song-a-month subscriptoin series to allow her fans/patrons help her next album along...

March 27 | Unregistered CommenterDano

My band Sinch is taking this same approach. We used to be on Roadrunner Records, then released an album with a smaller label after RR dropped us. This time we're releasing it ourselves and the whole thing will be fan (and band) funded.

April 8 | Unregistered CommenterDan

hi bob. we totally support this approach. in fact, we’ve been working on the concept since december 2008 and just last week, launched our artist fund raising website called, its a free web tool to assist artists looking to strike out on their own. in under 5 minutes an artist can be set up with an online fund raising camapaign. check out one of our first artists’ that are using it,

There are a number of sites specifically designed for artists as you've said...but you left a good one out thats going to release soon.... this
indie music promotion site will actually monitor the money instead of handing it to the artists and letting them do god knows what with it.

January 20 | Unregistered CommenterJeremy

young trying to be an entrepreneur i have a team of people we do music and acting and shoot videos I'm currently looking donations to help us make more jobs and be more successful in keeping young adults out the streets and in the books and into bringing positive aura to our communities. If you would like to donate the paypal email is: you could send any amount of money we would gladly appreciate it.

I would really like to know where there are people that we need
pay for the kind of help that we need at the moment .. would be grateful if we sent someone over to ..

January 16 | Unregistered Commentermimaca

Thanks for Goodwill. I run a number of live saving projects - Iam fundraising threshold funds($4000) for the Malaria prevention appeal by August 31st 2011 to get long term support from globalgiving - please support me, NIRP and give hope to a needy child & help share with friends – Please support me online here: Remember a change in one life is a change in the whole world.

August 10 | Unregistered CommenterMuhwezi Henry

I am taking this same approach via Indiegogo, to fund my Nashville Debut album. Please check it out and support the making of my album.

August 26 | Unregistered CommenterJKD

I'm trying to do the same thing for HalfSteps Music Foundation. So far, it is very slow :)

It isn't a music venture, but an organziation the reconidtions musical instruments and gets them back in to the hands of people wanting to promoteperforming arts programs.

Check it out:

October 31 | Unregistered CommenterMAtt

I'm in the Austin, TX., area. What the best way to generate a fan base and buzz on line? What is best way to generate a fan base and buzz your area? Thank you for time, Michele

July 10 | Unregistered CommenterMichele G

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