Aug 10, 2014

Fund your way: Calling All Cars

It’s a long way to the top – why not try a direct-to-fan funding platform?
By Angela Allan.

Melbourne three-piece Calling All Cars wanted to relocate to Europe but they didn't want to be indebted to a record label, so they turned to a fan-funding platform. Here, bassist and vocalist Adam Montgomery shares the band's experience.


Why did you choose to use PledgeMusic for your relocation to Europe?

We didn’t want to rely on a record company to fund us relocating. We felt like we would always be indebted to them in some way or another if we did that, so we chose to do it through the Pledge platform.


What was the experience like using a direct-to-fan platform, like PledgeMusic?

It was mostly positive for us. We had a target that we wanted to reach that would allow us to relocate with some of our gear here. We reached it and we were stoked. The people that supported our band in this were really amazing and made it all happen.


Would you recommend other artists use a direct to fan or crowdfunding platform for their next release?

Yeah, I definitely would. The only thing I would suggest is to make sure you really understand who likes your band. If you don’t have a very large fanbase or are just starting out, it may not be the best approach. If that’s the case and you still want to do it, make sure you have a realistic target.


What are the steps involved in the process?

I guess it’s different for every situation, but for us it was pretty simple. We had a meeting with the PledgeMusic team and we decided we wanted to do it, picked a list of things that we would offer and then just did it. The thing that takes the most time is fulfilling all the pledges. I should add that our management were really awesome in getting this happening for us so there is probably a whole bunch of things that we didn’t see that were a massive hassle.


Where did you go to seek advice? Are there any direct to fan or crowdfunding projects that inspired you?

We looked at the way Kate Miller-Heidke did crowdfunding and basically took inspiration from that.


How did you decide on the rewards for those who helped fund?

We just had a meeting with our management and went for it. We tried really hard to think of things ‘our’ fans would dig. So we tried not to copy any other campaigns on the actual pledges themselves. For instance, we had our tour van on offer because we hadn’t seen anyone do that before and somebody pledged for it which blew us away.


Based on your experience, what are your top do’s and don’ts for other indie acts considering using a direct-to fan platform or crowdfunding their album?

1. Think about if your fans actually want the things you are offering.
2. Update fans on what’s happening all the time.
3. Fulfil all the pledges/rewards, no matter how few there are.

1. Don't take things too expansive and unrealistic.
2. Don't do it just to make money, give people a reason to get behind it.
3. Don't do it if your band is really successful - you look like assholes.



Photo credit: Kane Hibberd.