Kickstarter Will Not Save Artists From the Entertainment Industry’s Shackles

Evengy Morozov writes about a study that shows crowd funding only benefits a certain kind of movie.

To see how the highly decentralized world of social media could disrupt the hegemony of established taste-makers in music, design, or fashion, look no further than Kickstarter. Just like Wikipedia redefined the process of creating an encyclopedia, this poster child of thecrowdfunding revolution could redefine how dreamers raise funds for their next gadget or film—and perhaps even beget a cultural renaissance. 

All of this sounds beautiful in theory. Have a great idea for a new project? Simply sign up for Kickstarter and post a description (don’t forget to make a glitzy video in support), set your fundraising target and the deadline, create a panoply of rewards tied to various contributions (for instance, $5 might get you the new CD, but $5,000 would also get you a dinner with the musician), and spread the word about the campaign. If you meet the fundraising target, Kickstarter takes a 5 percent cut and the project goes ahead—if you don’t, no money changes hands. The platform is enjoying tremendous success: Earlier this year, one of its foundersproclaimed—to some controversy—that in 2012 Kickstarter might distribute more money ($150 million) than the National Endowment for the Arts (its budget for the year is $146 million). 

Such phenomenal success has attracted its fair share of criticisms. Some, like NPR, have bashed Kickstarter for being rather opaque about how it deals with projects that, once funded, provide few (or questionable) updates on their progress, face significant delays, or never deliver at all. Those aren’t few: A recent study from the University of Pennsylvania looked at 47,000 Kickstarter projects and found that more than 75 percent deliver with delays. It’s hard to say how many projects never deliver, as for Kickstarter “never” is a rather flexible term: Instead of acknowledging failure, many doomed projects simply drag on indefinitely, providing no updates and constantly postponing the launch date.

Slate.com | Read the Full Article

The study can be found here.