Funding Basics: The Gist Of it
What is MusicMerchNow?
MusicMerchNow! is a funding platform for creative campaigns for the Music Industry. Everything from CD releases, tours, video production, merch design, to raising emergency funds for your tour bus that just broke down on the side of the highway. MusicMerchNow! is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative campaigns that are brought to life through the direct support of others.
How does MusicMerchNow work?
Thousands of creative campaigns may be funding on MusicMerchNow! at any given moment. Each campaign is independently created and crafted by the person behind it. The musicians, and industry people you see on MusicMerchNow! have complete control and responsibility over their campaigns. They spend weeks building their campaign pages, shooting their videos, and brainstorming what rewards to offer backers. When they're ready, creators launch their campaign and share it with their community. Every campaign creator sets their campaign's funding goal and deadline. If people like the campaign, they can pledge money to make it happen. All backer's credit cards are charged at the time of donation. If the campaign is a success, all associated donation levels are achieved. If not successful, consolation rewards are given.
Can MusicMerchNow be used to fund anything?
We allow creative campaigns within the world of music ONLY. We aren't like other fundraising sites that span from funding gadgets, to children's books, to kitchen accessories and then add in a side of music. We completely specialize in JUST music. Everything on MusicMerchNow! must be a campaign. A campaign has a clear goal, like making an album, a video, or a work of art. A campaign will eventually be completed, and something will be produced by it. MusicMerchNow! does not allow "fund my life" campaigns. Check out our campaign guidelines for details.
Does MusicMerchNow screen campaigns before they launch?
Yes, however we rely on "fan-policing" through our reporting button located at the bottom right of each campaign. We do a quick review to make sure they meet our campaign guidelines. MusicMerchNow! does not investigate a creator's ability to complete their campaign. Backers ultimately decide the validity and worthiness of a campaign by whether they decide to fund it.
Why do people back projects?
A lot of backers are rallying around their friends' campaigns. Some are supporting people they've long admired. Many are just inspired by a new idea. Others are inspired by a campaign's rewards — a copy of what's being made, a limited edition, or a custom experience related to the campaign. Backing a campaign is more than just giving someone money, it's supporting their dream to create something that they want to see exist in the world.
Where do backers come from?
In most cases, the majority of funding initially comes from the fans and friends of each campaign. If they like it, they'll spread the word to their friends, and so on. Press, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and MusicMerchNow! itself are also big sources of traffic and pledges. Altogether, millions of people visit MusicMerchNow! every week.
Do backers get ownership or equity in the campaigns they fund?
No. Campaign creators keep 100% ownership of their work. MusicMerchNow! cannot be used to offer financial returns or equity, or to solicit loans. Some campaigns that are funded on MusicMerchNow! may go on to make money, but backers are supporting campaigns to help them come to life, not financially profit.
What are the fees?
When a campaign is completed, MusicMerchNow! applies a 10% fee to the funds collected plus associated credit card fees.
Funding Basics: Accountability
Who is responsible for completing a campaign as promised?
It's the campaign creator's responsibility to complete their campaign. MusicMerchNow! is not involved in the development of the campaign themselves. MusicMerchNow! does not guarantee campaigns or investigate a creator's ability to complete their campaign. On MusicMerchNow!, backers (you!) ultimately decide the validity and worthiness of a campaign by whether they decide to fund it.
How do backers know if a campaign will follow through?
Launching with MusicMerchNow! is a very public act, and creators put their reputations at risk when they do. Backers should look for creators who share a clear plan for how their campaign will be completed and who have a history of doing so. Creators are encouraged to share links and as much background information as possible so backers can make informed decisions about the campaign they support. If a creator has no demonstrable experience in doing something like their campaign or doesn't share key information, backers should take that into consideration. Does the creator include links to any websites that show work related to the campaign, or past campaigns? Does the creator appear in the video? Have they connected via Facebook? Don't hesitate to request information from a creator. You can always reach out before pledging via the "Comments" section on the campaign page.
How do I know a campaign creator is who they claim they are?
Perhaps you know the campaign creator, or you heard about the campaign from a trusted source. Maybe they have a first-person video. That would be hard to fake. "Is it really U2?!" Well, it is if Bono's talking about the campaign. Still not sure? Are they Facebook Connected? Do they provide links for further verification? The web is an invaluable resource for learning more about a person. At the end of the day, use your internet street smarts.
What should creators do if they're having problems completing their campaign?
If problems come up, creators are expected to post a campaign update (which is emailed to all backers) explaining the situation. Sharing the story, speed bumps and all, is crucial. Most backers support campaigns because they want to see something happen and they'd like to be a part of it. Creators who are honest and transparent will usually find backers to be understanding. It's not uncommon for things to take longer than expected. Sometimes the execution of the campaign proves more difficult than the creator had anticipated. If a creator is making a good faith effort to complete their campaign and is transparent about it, backers should do their best to be patient and understanding while demanding continued accountability from the creator. If the problems are severe enough that the creator can't fulfill their campaign, creators need to find a resolution. Steps could include offering refunds, detailing exactly how funds were used, and other actions to satisfy backers.
Is a creator legally obligated to fulfill the promises of their campaign?
Can MusicMerchNow refund the money if a campaign is unable to fulfill?
No. MusicMerchNow! doesn't issue refunds as transactions are between backers and creators, and creators receive all funds (after fees) soon after their campaign ends. Creators have the ability to refund backers.
Why can't MusicMerchNow guarantee campaigns?
We started MusicMerchNow! as a new way for creators and audiences to work together. The traditional funding systems are risk-averse and profit-focused, and tons of great ideas never get a chance. We thought MusicMerchNow! could open the door to a much wider variety of ideas and allow everyone to decide what they wanted to see exist in the world. MusicMerchNow! is full of ambitious, innovative, and imaginative ideas. Many of the campaigns you see on MusicMerchNow! are in earlier stages of development and are looking for a community to bring them to life. The fact that MusicMerchNow! allows creators to take risks and attempt to create something new is a feature, not a bug.