The Creepy Side of Indie Music Venture Capital

David’s getting bizarre e-mail. Thing is, he and I (and other folks who pop our heads out on the independent music prairie) get stuff like this all the time from folks that think they can’t do any of this on their own.

As David says, any “angel investor” in your project has to see that you’re investing your own time, sweat, and money into your project. Otherwise, an investment in your music simply won’t pay off.

When asking folks for seed money, get clear on a few things:

  • What, specifically do you intend to use the money for? Print up a budget for your project.
  • Show that your spending pattern is in line with reality. Don’t expect folks to fund a $50,000 afternoon at Sony Studios in NYC when $250 in Athens, GA would do just fine. (I’m not even exaggerating.)
  • Show them an exit strategy. Unless they’re patrons of the arts, investors want to see how they’ll make their money back. What percentage of your business do they own in exchange for their investment? How can they “flip” their ownership? Will you buy it back? Will they get dividends?
  • Show them your product will sell. Invest time in building your list of folks who will line up to buy your record. If you don’t have enough people on the list, stick with making EPs or simple demos for now.

Finding money for your recording project doesn’t have to be a huge hassle. I love to see that folks are using Fundable and other systems to pre-fund album projects before recording a note. It’s so easy to make good, inexpensive recordings these days, so turning to fans for help can really work.

P.S.: If I meet another group of people who got ripped off by scam artists at their church, I’m gonna scream.