To Crowd or Not to Crowd Fund



So, for those of you who are new to “Crowdfunding” or have actually never heard of it before, here’s a little brief description of what it entails…enjoy!

Crowdfunding is a donation based type of fundraising for a business or a creative project typically via an online platform. In the music world, this refers to “fans” giving their money to artists to help them fund an album or tour etc. but in return for a gift. This gift could be anything, more than likely it is given in the form of band merch, creative work (SONGS) or personalised incentives.


  • Indiegogo
  • Kickstarter
  • Pledge Music
  • Sellaband

The 2 main companies that are seriously competing for album-specific crowdfunding are Pledge Music and Sellaband. But, which should I choose you say? I’m gonna give you the low down on the 2 and you can pick for yourself…



  • International business.
  • Specifically geared towards musicians.
  • Pledges receive exclusive content for giving money.
  • The site is run by music industry moguls.
  • Has an 82% success rate.


  • The funding transactions occur only if the goal is achieved. Goal is not achieved then no money for you my friend  *weep*
  • They charge a 15% flat fee for usage!



  • Good for album and concert based funding.
  • It has been featured on main stream television programmes including BBC news, Forbes, CNN.


  • Maximum funding rate is £250,000. This automatically puts a limit on your funding goals. If more money than this is needed then basically you’re screwed unless you find some other way of funding.
  • The minimum incentive you have to give out is a download. This may be something that you don’t want to give out to fans yet.



Here we go, time for me to put my say in 🙂

Crowdfunding is something that I believe in. A lot of people disagree with this venture as they believe it to be taking money from people, but in my opinion if someone wants to help you out, why stop them? They know the reason for the funding an if they want to help you succeed, then that’s down to them.

All I would say is that if you are a new band, I would maybe wait until you have built up a fanbase first before you go ahead to create a profile on one of these sites. To be able to receive money, you need to have people that will actually pledge their money to you because they want you to create the album or play the tour that you are promising to do with their money.  Always make sure that the rewards in which you are giving out are exclusive content that they cannon find elsewhere. This will further your chances of your fans pledging. Another reason to why fans will do this for you, it makes it personal to them. It’s their money that is taking you forward, therefore making them a part of your success and to fans there is nothing more important that being personally attached.






So, Janet Jackson is the person we have to thanks for the video streaming website we all know as YouTube. Her “NipSlip” back at the 2004 Superbowl was what triggered Jawed Karim, a former employee of PayPal, to create the video sharing site for us all to see the slight wardrobe malfunction over and over again.

Only being 10 years old, YouTube has already become the largest music streaming website in the world, ahead of Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer. However, YouTube differs to it’s competitors by being completely free to the public, earning all it’s income through advertisement. We are usually able to skip the True View in-stream ads we currently see on YouTube before and during the videos after 4 seconds, using the psychological factor that people make up their mind on whether they want to watch something or not in the space of 4 seconds. If this time period was any longer then people would leave straight away as we are an impatient generation that are used to getting what we want on demand. The “Skip” button is placed on the advertisement so it is visible to us consumers, making us think “Oh, I can skip. I’ll wait.” This sometimes ends up in us wanting to watch the whole of the advert as we’ve actually given out our time to it. We’ve all endured in the tortured impatience of having to watch a 30 second Advert before a video and this is a major part of the new service YouTube has introduced to us, called YouTube Red.

So what is YouTube Red?

  • NO ADVERTS – Yes, YouTube Red takes away the adverts from the videos! The adverts annoy some people that much that they are willing to pay a fee of $9.99 a month.
  • FREE GOOGLE MUSIC SUBSCRIPTION – A free subscription to Google Music which is also advert free and would usually set you back £9.99 a month.
  • OFFLINE VIEWING – Allows you to download videos and watch them offline for up to 30 days. It also allows you to watch videos with the screen turned off, meaning you can finally lock your phone and not lose the video/audio!
  • EXCLUSIVE CONTENT – There will be exclusive video content for YouTube Red subscribers and maybe in the future the main content creators may even create new channels just for subscription viewers.


YouTube Red is only available in the U.S at the minute as they are still sorting out licences with the PRS to be available in Europe. However, if and when the licences do become available and you decide you do not want to pay for this premium service, then you don’t need to panic. YouTube will stay exactly the same for non-paying consumers, you will just have to deal with the ads.

In my personal opinion, as a student, YouTube Red wouldn’t be something that I would sign up to. Yes, streaming is something that I do pay a subscription for, but I pay on Spotify for the student discounted price of £4.99 a month. I suppose it’s completely down to each individual, but personally I can put up with the adverts on YouTube and pay for my music via Spotify rather than paying monthly fee’s to both companies.

Digital Decisions

Whatever your opinion on Digital Distribution is, whether you love it or loath it, you can’t deny the massive impact it has had in changing the industry how we see and use it today. Since 2009 we have seen the figures in physical CD sales rapidly decrease as the digital age has slowly eaten its way up the pecking order. It seems these days that more and more people prefer to buy their music digitally as it gives them the “freedom” to listen to whatever and whenever they want, no record or CD player needed. This has been the case for a while now and that is why whether you are a new, old or present artist in this industry, releasing your music digitally is the way forward to drive your sales.

So, what is there available?

This solely depends on what category you would put yourself into as an artist. Are you within the 7% of people who sell more then 100 units on iTunes? Or are you in the 93% that just don’t quite manage that? Distribution companies will take this into mind when deciding on whether to distribute your music or not, it all depends on what they are going for.

Ditto Distribution

So, Ditto Distribution works with over 85,000 artists whether they are independent or signed with a label. This straight away becomes appealing to unsigned acts as offering a full distribution service just like ‘Absolute’ but for all acts, rather than just ones that have a HUGE budget. Being created  by Matt and Lee Parsons, 2 unsigned brothers, they say that they know how difficult it can be without a label to distribute and they understand how important it is to unsigned artists to get their music heard.


  • Single = £6
  • Album =£20
  • Plus (Unlimited Releases) = £49


  • Keep 100% of all rights and royalties.
  • Sell music worldwide in leading digital distribution stores, more than 200.
  • Always getting new opportunities to showcase your music around the world.
  • 24 hour customer care.
  • Work with all genres as well as signed and unsigned artists.
  • Offer a promotional service.


  • Pay an upfront fee for every single or album your ever create and the ‘Plus’ choice is renewed each year.
  • If you want to keep your music out there in the big wide world you have to continue paying each year, it kind of reminds me of a gym membership in a way. Everyone starts out and then they never end up going but refuse to stop the payment just in case they decided to start going back again. This situation is exactly the same, people don’t want to admit defeat and will carry on paying in the hope that someday the ‘right’ person comes along and sees it.

Artists Worked With

  • Sam Smith
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Lady Leshurr
  • James Arthur
  • Deaf Havana
  • Catfish and The Bottlemen
  • You Me At Six

AWAL Distribution

AWAL, only being founded in 1997 has already become one of the World’s leading digital distribution companies.


  • Worldwide delivery to more than 200 digital stores and services.
  • No fees for encoding, uploading or delivering your music.
  • Fast turnaround from content upload to being delivered to the stores.
  • Detailed and transparent monthly sales report that clearly shows all accounting, downloads and streams.
  • Client support team.
  • May receive advice from KOBALT on label services as they own AWAL.


  • They take a 15% commission off of all sales.
  • Do not offer a full service of promotion for the music they release digitally.

Artists Worked With

  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Radiohead
  • Gabrielle Aplin

So, who do you chose as an unsigned artist?

If I was an independent artist, I would be persuaded to use AWAL as my company of digital distribution. They may not offer the full service that Ditto offer in terms of promotions for my music but promotions are something that I could always do myself. Promotion comes at a cost and if you haven’t got the budget to provide a company with to do their job properly, they are not going to take you on board. I would also rather pay 15% of all my sales than risk having to put money upfront for something that may not sell, I know this isn’t everyone’s opinion but in mine it would be more beneficial. Both AWAL and Ditto claim to help everyone from independent artists to signed artists but I personally just get more of an indie feel from AWAL. After all, they’re called AWAL for a reason…


Hello and Welcome!

Black and White gig picture


So, this is my very first blogpost on here as ‘NorthernYellowCoat’ and all this is going to include is a brief little description of who I am and what I am going to be blogging to you about 🙂

My name is Amy Wildsmith and I have recently just moved to Brighton to start my first year on the BA Music Business Degree here at BIMM. I am by no means an expert in anything to do with the music industry and everything I write on this blog will be my opinion, not necessarily facts.

The name of the blog, you may ask what inspired me to be called ‘Northern Yellow Coat’? 

Basically, I am from the city of Sheffield and to the people of Brighton, i’m classed as northern. As for the ‘Yellow Coat,’ that is primarily because I always wear this bright yellow rain mac, and it’s just an easy way to remember who I am when meeting new people.

But anyway, this blog is going to be used as part of my Introduction To Online Music module and I will be making weekly posts discussing what I think of the Music industry in this day and age.

Please feel free to join in the discussion, you’re opinions are highly valued to me!


Amy 🙂