Fan funding platform Kickstarter is on track to distribute more than $150 million to creative projects in 2012. That's more than this year's $146 million budget for The National Endowment of the Arts (NEA), the primary source of government arts funding in the U.S. Kickstarter's lifetime funding now stands at $150 million, but is accelrating rapidly with $99 million pledged last year alone.
Kickstarter vs. The National Endowment
TPM. It means that a lot more money is going to the arts. “But maybe it shouldn’t be that way,” admits Strickler. “Maybe there’s a reason for the state to strongly support the arts.”
Of course, Kickstarter's definition of "creative projects" extends well beyond the NEA's mandate to add design and technology like iPod Nano watches and iPhone docs. Kickstarter also does not offer the level of post-funding support of projects that the NEA does. “Successfully funded projects are the independent creations of these people,” according to Strickler, “We provide help when asked. We know success rates for various product categories, we have a sense of what will make a project more or less likely to succeed. But we don’t get too granular with it, it’s not like, ‘oh if only Johnny had sent a message on this day his project would have been different.’ We’d love to have the time to do that some day.”
Pitchfork & Family Records Curate Kickstarter Communities
But communities are forming within Kickstarter that do offer promotion and support for some projects, including music. Influential site Pitchfork curates a list of music and music related film projects; but independent label Family Records takes an even broader approach. "It's important to us to be involved in new ways to encourage creativity across different fields," says Lauren Glucksman, Family's Director of Artist Relations. "We are not only a music company just as you are not only a music fan. These will not be official Family Records projects, just projects we come across that we believe in".