Kickstarter got picked up by the New York Times! If you’re unfamiliar with Kickstarter, it’s a “funding platform for artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians, journalists, inventors, explorers…” where the average Joe can make pledges to artists who need a little help getting started. The Kickstarter website explains that “money is collected only if a project reaches or exceeds its funding goal before time expires. If a project’s funding goal is $5,000 and only $4,999 is pledged when time expires, no money is collected. Zip, zero. Also, no rewards will be delivered. No funding, no rewards. Everyone walks away as if nothing happened.” Why did they decide to run the system like this? They provide three reasons:
- It’s less risk for everyone this way. If you need $5,000, it can suck to have $2,000 and a bunch of people who expect you to be able to complete a $5,000 project.
- It allows people to test concepts (or conditionally sell stuff) without risk. If you don’t receive the support you want, you’re not compelled to follow through.
- It motivates. If you want to see a project come to life, it helps to spread the word.
A really interesting concept, and one that seems to be picking up some speed. One donor described it as “micropatronage,” which enables him to contribute to intriguing projects no matter what his budget is.
It’s not an investment, lending or a charity,” said Perry Chen, a co-founder of Kickstarter and a friend of Mr. Scioneaux. “It’s something else in the middle: a sustainable marketplace where people exchange goods for services or some other benefit and receive some value.
Mr. Scioneaux, who ultimately raised $4,100, offered a range of rewards to his supporters: for a $15 payment, patrons received an advance copy of the album; for $30, they got a personal music lesson as well. A payment of $50 or more got both of those, and a seat at Mr. Scioneaux’s dinner table for a bowl of his homemade gumbo and a chance to listen to some of his studio recordings. “I didn’t expect people to be all over that one,” he said, “but it sold out almost immediately.”