#098: Brian Meece – The Crowdfunding Manifesto

Brian Meece is one of the co-founders of the crowd funding (aka. fan funding) site called RocketHub.  RocketHub allows artists to promote projects and accept fan contributions to support and fund their efforts.  Fan funding has become a buzz term in the music industry over the past year, but it’s not something an artist should rush into without careful planning and consideration.  In this episode Brian lays out his Crowdfunding Manifesto. It’s full of advice and tips on how to create and execute a successful crowd funding campaign.  Have you tried a crowd funded project?  Let us know how it went in the comment section below.

You can find RocketHub on the web HERE.

  • My thoughts on crowd-funding sites are effectively summed up at http://bit.ly/goodbyesellaband

    Granted, all of that was a reaction to the demise of Sellaband, but the weaknesses are inherent in any crowd-funding system. I trusted Sellaband, my fans trusted me, and then Sellaband made me look bad when they shat on all of us.

    My audio comment is a bit more eloquent, but for those visual learners, I strongly encourage checking the link I just provided.

    Awesome episode, and keep up the great show!

  • Great show Kevin!

    Part of me is very saddened to see the death of the old music industry, but the other half loves the creativity that’s coming out of the Crowdfunding movement.

    My friend Brian did a very unique spin on the Crowdfunding idea. He created custom mix downs of his album (“Individual Edition”) giving each fan a special shout-out and an audio snowflake for $99 each. They used to say you needed 1,000 diehard fans to succeed but Color Theory has proven you just need a bakers dozen.

    He explains the process in the short and to the point blog here:



  • Good podcast guys! Do you know if anyone has done research about how the general populous feels about this. Of course family and close intimates would help, and this seems a good path to get the word of the project out, but I am curious about how this strikes the “John Doe” fan. Have any of you done this and had feedback?

  • A simple test.

    Do you want to listen to your music? If not, no-one else will either.

    That, is the answer, not this fan financed b.s. All of these sites, sooner or later, end up in bankrupcy. You might finance one album but, you WILL NOT finance another if the first wasn’t already great. And frankly, if it was that good, why are you paying someone else 8 percent to record the damned thing.

  • Really enjoyed this episode. Always nice to hear a pragmatic discussion about an interesting topic. I thought Brian did a great job outlining the possible rewards and possible pitfalls of this approach. There are a lot of attractive elements to this method of fundraising. I agree that “all or nothing” is fair, but my fear would be almost making it to my goal then running out of time and losing all my donations – d’oh!!! Can I please apply for an extension, your honor?!?!?

  • It’s inviting you to think about marketing products other than simply your music, and see your “brand” as something wider than just the core content.

    It could be a huge headache for those people who are already struggling to write their songs and develop their craft, though, because it’s a business management process. I think using it as a funding model is of limited use, but as a marketing gimmick it is an excellent in-road. Hugely embarrassing if you don’t hit your targets, and one thing not covered by the interview was the success/failure rate of people who use it.

  • Rockethub should make it easier to pay. Signing up to Rockethub is required before you get to a payment screen, which is bad e-commerce. Even if people have to enter their details, it should be in order to receive the product (i.e. an inevitable reward- ebay style), not in order to pay (i.e. an inevitable cost). Do you see the difference? Make it harder for them to pay (by asking for their details first) then they are less inclined to sign up, especially for something which is so fanciful. Flighty, fast-food media junkies like me can’t see past immediate appetites.

    Make it amazingly easy for them to pay, then ask them for details SO THAT they can receive what they’ve just paid for, that makes a bit more sense.

    (this is bearing in mind that many people have paypal or similar payment details already stored, and can pay quickly)

    I considered funding Hello Morning’s attempt ( http://www.rockethub.com/projects/224-it-takes-a-village-to-make-an-album) but I stumbled at not knowing whether I could easily make payments in GBP as opposed to $.

    If the site is international, there should be an automatic currency translator, otherwise you’re not harnessing the wider market.

    ten or twenty dollars is not going to be missed by me, but time and effort are hard currency, so make it easier, Rockethub!

    Great show guys. Keep up the great work.

  • I like the Idea,
    I have been through the 36 music projects on the site and have seen striking diffences between those getting funded and those falling flat.I think that communication is key. It’s as much about a conversation as it is about raising the money.
    We all are fans Of Kevin here and by extension friends of Hello Morning. So why not go over and fuel them and get your CD through that channel. Hell you’re going to buy it anyway.

  • You could make your own fan funding thing using paypal or bandcamp pre orders. Easy! Then its just you and the fans with no outside organisations to go bust 🙂

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  • George

    Great interview with Brian. I love what crowdfunding and RocketHub stand for. Could this be the revolutionary CDBaby-model of this decade?

  • Great podcast, especially since I have been toying with the funding idea for several months.

    So, I’m a harpist and a soloist, not a band. I ran a test with my friends and their response was that they were concerned that it looked too much like a beg-a-thon. I’ve worked hard to establish an image that I hope says that my performances and image are classy. So my friends thought this idea could tarnish my reputation with my fans, many of whom know me because they are previous corporate and private event clients.

    Next, I turned to my friend and entertainment attorney to see what kinds of items I could offer at different levels. We examined the food idea, but as far as mailing brownies and the like, some states have laws about packaging and that it has to be produced in a licensed commercial kitchen, one that has been inspected. Anything non-food that is a consumable, say a personal perfume or bath products, must have ingredients listed, even if it is homemade. It just get complicated.

    We also talked about the idea of a private performance or meeting the fan(s) for dinner. We’re concerned about the weirdo factor, even if my husband were to join us (and he really doesn’t want to be part of this). If you’re a band, then comfort comes in numbers.

    It would be really good to understand how to do this in a classy way for a female soloist and not be concerned with legalities or the weirdo factor.

    I visited some incredibly tacky websites where the musicians assumed that their fans just fawned over them, and it made me feel like I would never want to even sample their music. Cheesiness can do more to drive away a fan base than to attract them, and this might cause fans to refuse to donate to any other artist. So, I hope people take the time to think about how their fans would greet a donation request from them before taking this step. I just don’t know that this donation model works for all musicians across all genres.

    I’m still considering it….

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  • Apologies if I’m being dense (and granted, I’m unable to load the entire podcast here @ work), but I’m not sure I understand the need for any sort of middleman operation here. I thought the whole point of the independent-artist-revolution-via-internet was, well, the “independent” and “internet” parts – i.e., just solicit donations yourself, in a manner with which you’re comfortable.
    I see no problem with simply putting a Paypal instruction on your website, probably somewhere on the merch page, saying “feel free to donate if you like us”.
    I have a feeling I missed something here, because it appears to have been made a much bigger deal than it really is (like everything else in life, ha!)….

  • I am promoting my new rap / hip hop album called THE MASTER PIECE by me RIO. It is one of a kind you can check it out at — http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/rio6

  • Congratulations for this good interview.
    We had a first successful campaign with RocketHub in July 2010. We used this success and
    let the media know about it by sending them a press release and invite
    them to the launch. We got 4 radio interviews and an article in the
    newspaper. Having people from different part of the world crowdfunding
    your album or a part of it give an exciting story to tell in interviews
    and give your band a lot of energy and credibility.

    You can see the engaging level of your fans and we got new fans by this

    We were scared to asked to our fans for funds because we did’nt want
    them to see us failed or insult them. So instead of asking for money
    for all the album we asked for the recording only. The goal appeared
    more attainable and we feel confortable with it.

    We hit our target in 14 days, people who weren’t comfortable
    with internet send us check by mail or gave us directly the money! I
    was shocked.

    Fans told us they love it and found it original.

    We will fund our next album with RocketHub and instead of having a 30
    days goal we will have 5 months goal.

    You could see the Guajira campaign here

    Thanks to CDBaby and RockHub!

    Luc Cloutier

  • I can’t say ive ever been responsible for a crowd funded event sounds like a lot of work I could be wrong.

    But the model given in the podcast really makes sense.

    In addition to a funding event I like putting a donate button on the site like terry said.

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  • Rob

    Hey Luc – enjoyed the track!

    Thanks, Brian and CD Baby for an informative podcast. It took the sting out of a 56 car journey and seems to be a popular and interesting subject!


  • Brian Meece put $5 in my crowdfunding fuel. I mean 5 litres of rocket fuel. Nice touch. Rockethub has been really helpful. My Happy Holidays CD project runs Nov 1 – Dec 1. It’s Nov 2 and there’s $285 toward a $2,500 goal. Please stop by and “like” my page on the facebook button.

    Happy upcoming Holidays,
    Martin Blasick

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