The Case for Crowdfunding
Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter allow an incredibly diverse group of people the opportunity to build a (digital) community around an artist or idea that inspires them. When I first heard about Kickstarter, I was in awe of the simplicity and power of the platform. It’s changing the whole game.
Then, Amanda Fucking Palmer blew my brains out completely with her (always) unique implementation during her latest Kickstarter project for the upcoming album. She broke $1 million in support of a piece of art she hasn’t even made yet. She hits the nail on the proverbial head in a quote from the NYTimes article covering the project:
Fuck yes, I’m on Team Amanda! The idea that I can personally contribute to an album that I already know will bring me endless and repeated joy is, simply, breathtaking. We are, indeed, the media. Take back the media from the powerful few who give us bits of culture like we’re starving dogs begging for scraps! Crowdfunding empowers the consumer; it does not exploit the consumer.
Kickstarter and platforms like it disseminate the power of the news editor/film production house/record label/’insert controlling entity here’ and brings the creation of art (in this specific case, music) back to its rightful owner - the community that identifies with said creation. A musical artist is nothing without his/her fans. The fans and public opinion at large control when and how an artist will evolve in said public light. Of course, the artist being a badass mother fucking ninja doesn’t hurt anything.
And, I get it, not all artists are going to be able to pull off what AFP has. The record labels and production houses and so on will continue to operate in the giant machine that is popular culture. But, it’s a fucking breath of fresh air when I can remove myself as a cog in that machine to support something real.