Nonprofit Fund Raising Ideas: Pay For Play Cd Compilation

A nonprofit fund raising idea for Pay for Play CD compilations and a description of how to organize one yourself.

If you want to put out a CD but you don't have enough cash, consider organizing a Pay for Play compilation. The idea behind Pay for Play is that each band puts in money to have their song on the CD. With enough bands, the per band cost is very low. It's a good way to get your music out there without having to pay too much money.

Organizing a Pay for Play compilation can be a lot of work but it is also a great chance to networking and get your band known. Completing a project like this lets people know that you are serious about music and music business, which is not something that can be said about every band.

The first step in organizing a compilation is to make a plan of how the compilation will work. It is best to write everything out and have it clear from the beginning. At the same time, the more organized you are the more likely other bands will see your compilation as a good opportunity for them. In order to make a sound plan you need to know how much money it will cost to make the CD.

There are a lot of CD duplication places out there and they range widely in price. The Internet is a great tool for finding CD duplicating services. Also look in any regional music newspapers for ads. Make a list of all the different price quotes you get. The most important thing in comparing CD manufacturers is that you are comparing prices for the same services. The prices may be organized in different ways. Be sure that the price includes duplicating the CD, printing a tray card, an insert and printing the label on the CD itself. Make a note of whether the printing is black and white, two color or four color.

There are lots of extras that you can get when making a CD like more fold out panels and more colors. But if you want to keep the price down it's best to go with the basic four panel fold out where the outside is 4 color, the inside is black and white, and the CD label is two color.

Now that you know how much actually making the CD will cost, you've got to figure out what you need to provide them with in order to make it. As far as the music is concerned, you will need to have all of your tracks on one master, usually in the form of a DAT tape or a CD. Make sure you know the specifications required by the place you choose to use. You will also need to provide the CD artwork. Most places will accept the artwork on a disk but some may require that you get the artwork output to film. Either way, they usually have very specific guidelines for the layout. Both getting the final master of the CD and getting artwork have to be added into the price of the CD. However, if you get enough people involved in the CD you are bound to find someone who can do computer graphics and you're also likely to find someone who has the equipment to make a master. You may be able to get people to volunteer their services for free, for a reduced rate, or in exchange for a track on the compilation. The important thing is to always keep your eye out for these resources.

Once you have a good idea of how much the CD is going to cost you can begin to lay out your plan. First you need to decide how much money you need from each band. Take the amount that it will cost to make the CD and divide it by the number of bands that you think will be on the CD. A compilation usually has between 10 and 15 bands on it. Let's say making the CD was going to cost $2000. If you divide that between 10 bands each band would pay $200. You can't know for sure how many bands you will be able to get so keep your estimated number on the lower side. You want to get the price down low enough that any starving musician can afford it. At the same time, you have to be sure that you will have enough money to complete the project. Remember that there are only 74 minutes of time on a CD so that limits the amount of songs you can have and therefore the amount of bands that can be involved. Now that you know how much each band needs to pay you should write up a short description of your project.

Most Pay for Play compilations give a certain amount of copies of the CD to each band to sell. Decide how many copies will go to each band. This can be an even division of all the copies or you may need to keep a number of them for promotional purposes. Either way it must be clear to the band how many copies they will receive. Along with the price and the number of copies include a limit on the length of the song to make sure that you stay within the 74 minutes available on the CD. Also work out a deadline for submissions, as well as what form the song must be submitted in. Write down all of this information so that you can hand it out to interested bands.

Once you've done all the planning, the final step is to actually get other bands involved. Although you are offering some great promotion for a very small price it still may be hard to get enough bands. It is a good idea to come up with a theme for the compilation. Maybe you will have bands that all play the same type of music or maybe all the bands come from the same area. Having a theme increases the marketability of the compilation and makes bands more likely to participate. At the same time be sure not to make the theme so specific that there aren't enough bands to support it. With a theme and a plan you can begin to contact other musicians. Start with the people you know best. Explain the project to them and see if they are interested. Make sure to ask them if they know anyone else who might want to be involved. You will have to contact a lot of people. Don't expect people to come to you.

The internet and e-mail are great ways to stir up interest and a simple web page with all the details is an excellent idea. Remember that you have to convince the band that their money will be well spent so always approach them in a professional manner. If they see that you have put a lot of planning and effort into the project, that you've thought of everything, they will probably be happy to reap the benefits by joining in. If you are planning on doing any promotional work with the CDs such as sending them to radio stations or having a CD release party make sure to let all the potential bands know. You may have to contact interested bands many times in order to convince them and some people will not be interested but if you stick to it you'll usually find enough people to support the project.

Organizing a Pay for Play compilation is excellent practice for whenever you get to make your own full length release. It requires relatively little money but you still wind up with a professional product. At the same time, every band that you've contacted is a good resource for future promotions. In this way, organizing a compilation helps spread your band's name before people even hear the CD.

© High Speed Ventures 2011