So as some of you who regularly read the blog know, I’m working up to doing some more stuff for fan funding projects. I used Kickstarter last time & though my project was successful, I’m not sure that half the projects of my friends have been. So I was looking around at Indiegogo, which seems like the biggest competitor with Kickstarter for running fan funded projects. So I wanted to let some people who might find it of interest know some of the reasons a person might want to use one over the other.
Now the numbers I’m going to throw around are subject to change & my Kickstarter number is based on my experience & those of some friends & the IndieGoGo is from their FAQ page. So I’m going to start off with the assumption you have a project set with reasonable goals that you are able to get funding for. When I got funding from Kickstarter the total fees were 12% (that includes the fees from credit cards, Amazon processing, & Kickstarter itself) & according to Indiegogo they charge you 7% (but it is worth noting Kickstarter says on their FAQ that they charge 8-10% even though mine ended up with 12% (I think because of the amount of international orders & that the processing fee for those credit cards is higher) so I’m not sure that the 7% is a true number, but I haven’t got a way to check it out). More importantly while Kickstarter only gives you money if you meet your goal, Indiegogo gives you the option to get money even if you don’t meet your goal & they then take 12% - which is great if you have a project that you are going to do no matter what, but are hoping to not go in debt for. So it would seem like IndieGoGo is the one to go with, but I think in general if you are not going to make your funding & most of the money is coming to you through an established fanbase (or just friends & family) you would be better off just doing pre-sales & what not on your website through Paypal. But here’s the thing, Kickstarter has a brand recognition that is very important to people & people are excited about it. If you are only going to get help from your current fans & that is your goal, then pre-sales through your website (why drive people to another site) & maybe something on Indiegogo is the path for you (especially if you don’t think you can meet your funding goals, but do plan on making the project no matter what). But if you want to do something where you get your fans to tell their friends about it & try & generate new interest in your work & your project is interesting & innovative & exciting enough for strangers stumbling upon it to fund it, I think Kickstarter is still the best shot because I think there is every chance you would get enough more money to make up for the increased fees.
Whichever way you want to go, fan funding is hot right now & I’m not convinced it will be big in a year’s time so I say do it now & set a goal that is honestly obtainable (which I would say is probably half the sales amount of the last project you did - so if you sold 100 CDs @ $10 a pop, your fan funding goal should be no more than $500 - but that’s just my personal theory & whole other post anyway).
Brian John Mitchell has run Silber Records since 1996 & the zine gone webzine QRD since 1994. He is perhaps best known for his music in the band Remora. He runs a daily blog about running a label where this article originally appeared.