Every band needs an album. Otherwise, you’re going to end up wasting a lot of time and money trying to promote yourself without any results–if people can’t hear you after they leave your concert, you really can’t expect to build up a fan base.
In the Internet Age, there are thousands of good studios all over the country with massive digital workstations and years of experience waiting to help your band make an album. There’s only one problem: they cost money. A lot of money. Specifically, something like $40 an hour, and that’s on the low end.
Here are a few ways that your band can gather the money to make a professional, high-quality album.
1. Setting aside money from each gig. The easiest way to get money for your band’s album is to start thinking about funding early, and make a plan to start setting money aside from each gig for the eventual purpose of the recording. This requires some careful planning, however. You’ll have to think about how much money you actually need for recording, which means that you’ll have to find a studio early and talk to them to figure out pricing for a good number of songs. There’s nothing worse than starting a recording only to have to quit due to budget problems, so don’t skip this step.
You’ll also have to figure out how much money to set aside. If every member of your band has a job, you can probably just put all of the money that you make for a month’s worth of shows towards your album recording, but if you’re making the majority of your money from the band, this isn’t going to be possible. Try to make it as painless as possible for the band members.
2. Raising money from friends and family members. Another way to raise money is to ask your friends and family for donations. Many bands don’t like this, but it’s a good way to quickly gain a lot of cash. You’ve got to offer your friends and family something for their early money, though.
Some bands do this by offering early advance copies of their completed CDs to anyone who can donate, or special shirts or other merchandise. You could also offer an “executive producer” credit to big contributors. Get creative with it, and make sure that you’re offering people something for their time and money. Taking donations can be tricky, but if you do it right, you can generate a lot of buzz for your band’s album.
3. Loans. If you’re thinking about just putting the album onto a credit card, don’t do that. Get a bank loan-if you haven’t already declared your band as a small business, now’s a good time to start, and a small loan from a bank can be a great way to cover the costs of a major recording studio.
Don’t take out more money than you need, and talk to a few banks before signing any contracts. Talk to your band, and have a plan in place for paying back the loan, regardless of whether your album sells well or not. Always think about the unexpected, and you should be able to easily cover the costs of your album recording.
Do you know of any other ways to raise money for band recording time? Post in our comments section below.