IHM News

IHM Road Tips Vol. 7: Using Kickstarter to Fund Your Tour

Posted By : IHM, Posted On : August 9, 2013

The following blog post assumes you have great music and a solid live show before hitting the road. Not sure? Contact Bram, head of IHM Artist Relations & Support about a show evaluation,, on twitter @bram_rocks or call 877.994.6446 xt. 2.


90-95% of most indie and DIY artists revenues come from what happens on stage.* To say performance fees and profits from selling merch and music from live shows is critical to an indie or DIY artist’s success is an understatement. But touring can be costly as we pointed out in #roadtips 2 and 4. What if there was a way to have someone else pay for it and you keep your show profits? The next few volumes of Road Tips will cover all aspects of tour support from traditional to the cutting edge and revenue models you’ve never thought of. In fact, seeking alternative ways to fund your tour is advantageous in two key ways:

  1. You get all of, or a portion of your touring costs paid for.

  2. It frees up funds to build market and industry awareness through publicity, industry service providers and other means.  

There are many ways to acquire these funds. Let’s start with the obvious tech solution. Crowdsourcing through a platform like Kickstarter can be highly effective and ramps up publicity while building an audience for your shows. The best Kickstarter campaigns engage your fan base long before you set foot in their city.

Kickstarter – an instant audience

Over 108,000 kickstarter projects have been funded with $730 million pledged, and with the right campaign, you can get a portion of that pie. But don’t think it’s easy – with 46% of Kickstarter projects succeeding and 54% failing, the odds are less than 50/50 for your campaign to succeed. Developing a successful KS campaign starts with a well thought out approach, and there are several steps to increase the likelihood of your project’s success. The goal is to create a kickass kickstarter project, one that stands out from the rest… something that makes fans say “I need this band to come to my city!”

Creating a successful campaign to fund your tour is one part science and one part art, with the following ingredients:

Build momentum before your project goes live  – the average successful KS campaign takes two weeks of tweaks before going live, but your campaign, through live shows and music releases, should be months, even years in the making. In #roadtips 2, we stated that a key to your first tour was building relationships. Building a KS campaign is the time to tap into your networks by having friends, fans, bands, promoters – anyone you met on previous tours – get out the message of your campaign through email, twitter, Facebook, etc..

The 20/25/30 platform – Keep those three numbers in mind. They mean the following: while 54% of campaigns fail, the failure rate drops to 11% if you reach 20% of your campaign goal!

The $25 Donation
: The most popular donation is $25, yet it’s recommended to have at least one donation under that amount. Successful tour campaigns, like Alexz Johnson, set smaller donations at $1, $5, $10, then $25.

A 30 Day Campaign Beats a 60 Day Campaign –
30 day campaigns were more successful than 60 day campaigns, as a shorter campaign creates more urgency for backers to donate.

Offer unique rewards – Kickstarter divides rewards into four categories: copies of the thing, collaboration, experiences, and memories. The most obvious rewards for a tour would be tickets, albums, t-shirts, and posters. But think outside the box for rewards – this can be a defining feature of your campaign AND your tour. Think of experiences that can’t be replicated. You could meet backers before the show, for example.

Videos are important – KS videos for your campaign come in three forms – a video explaining your campaign’s purpose, music videos, and videos of your live performances. Live performance videos are a chance to let your backers imagine themselves at your show.

Understand why Kickstarter projects fail, and don’t do what they did – most projects fail due to a vague purpose, too high a project price, or imperfect reward levels. Even if you are a great live band, your project could fail because you didn’t understand how to create a successful Kickstarter project.      

Amanda Palmer raised $1.2 million through 24,883 backers for a tour, book, and album. Portland band Typhoon raised over $60,000 in one month through 996 backers, with funds largely going into buying a new tour van. Efforts of all sizes are rewarded on Kickstarter. A successful campaign is about playing the odds, tapping into your networks, and putting together a complete, well thought out package.

Crowdsourcing Alternatives to Kickstarter

Kickstarter isn’t the only game in town.  Check out a few of the alternatives online:



Next Road Tips: Traditional and unexpected tour support resources

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Have a question, comment or feedback? Tweet us @indiehitmaker #RoadTips or contact us online.


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*Source: Tom Jackson Live Music Method, Buy the book

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