Friday, January 7, 2011

Kickstarter: The New Patronage Model

A few weeks ago the manager of my office building asked if I could please leave work early one evening because a production company would be filming on my floor. I was happy to have an excuse to leave early, so I readily obliged.

The next day I was pleasantly surprised to see Steve Taylor filming with a crew on my floor. I don’t know Steve all that well, but I know of him as a sort of renaissance guy: musician (he was an amazing front-man in the band Chagall Guevera), writer, record company exec, producer, video director, and now apparently filmmaker.

I later learned that the film Steve was making is an adaptation of Donald Miller’s book Blue Like Jazz. I just read an article in the Nashville Scene about the financing of the film.

And here is where it gets interesting. Apparently the original funding for the film fell through and the producers turned to the online service Kickstarter to raise money for the production. According to the article, they raised $345,992 in one month making it “the largest crowd funded creative project in American history,” according to the Scene.

I have heard of other amazing stories about Kickstarter. Coincidentally, I have a client who raised $14,000 to record an album in one month through approximately 155 donors (that averages around $121 each). Kickstarter keeps 10% of the money raised (5% for itself and 5% for Amazon for handling the transaction).

I have always been wary of most patronage type arrangements but this seems to be emerging as a significant new model. Any artist with a devoted fan base can look to their fans for actual support. This is a very direct way for an artist to connect with their audience and is yet another way that technology is supporting the independent artist.

1 comment:

Trip Aldredge said...

As an update to this post, I heard a story on WPLN last week that claimed that over 50 artists in Nashville had successfully used Kickstarter to fund independent releases. I am not sure where the statistic came from, but it's fascinating.