Crowdfunding platforms are at the core of a growing ecosystem of services to support crowdfunding at every stage. One of the more interesting and potentially lucrative developments are online stores created to sell successfully crowdfunded products. Such stores tend to feature gadgets and other physical items that sometimes include DVDs and could certainly include CDs and vinyl but, once one considers the possibilities, it's surprising that an online store for digital goods such as music has yet to be unveiled.
Once a crowdfunding campaign is complete and pledge rewards are distributed, there are often additional products left over that are intentionally created as inventory. Sometimes crowdfunding campaigns are used to create a product that then forms the basis of a business.
In addition to options such as selling things directly to consumers or finding already established retail outlets, there are now an increasing number of online stores specializing in crowdfunded products.
"Crowdfunded Products Sold Here"
Though some of these include online stores as part of a larger effort, most are focused on tech and gadgets, areas where crowdfunding has tapped into powerful demand for creative and/or useful products.
Some of the stores include other items and clearly they could sell any item, physical or digital, since most are not providing fulfillment services. From what I can tell via site FAQs and info sections, the dominant model is to provide a browsable store that aggregates lots of different physical products, handles sales and passes on information to the creator who then ships the product.
Crowdfunded Digital Products [Not] Sold Here
Surprisingly none of these feature digital offerings perhaps because the trend focuses on gadgets and related physical items such as iPhone cases and because digital items are easy to sell directly by creators.
In fact, online web store provider Shopify, whose services include file storage and direct digital sales, even offers a single-item template for successfully funded Kickstarter products called Kickstand.
Beyond that, options for digital sales are numerous and an increasing number of services charge little or no fees beyond the cut taken by PayPal and credit card companies.
Obstacles Are Many Yet The Potential Is Powerful
So the obstacles to an online store representing successfully funded digital albums are many. Yet a well-run outlet for such items that could bring together a wide range of musicians, especially the first to establish themselves, would have the opportunity for a lot of publicity and general goodwill.
If such an online store could weather the initial challenges, it could then become a community of its own for music sharing and discovery.
One ensuing challenge would be that copycats would explode given the focus on digital sales and investors' tendency to fund copycats in the startup space as proven concepts.
Another would be that, as crowdfunding platforms mature, adding retail elements would be a no-brainer, especially for digital products. In fact, that's what ClickStartMe seems to be attempting as a differentiator though they're off to a slow start.
Kickstarter Is Not A Store [At This Point In Time]
And even though "Kickstarter Is Not a Store," that doesn't mean they can't change their minds at a later date.
Nevertheless, a store for successfully crowdfunded digital music or a broader offering of creative digital goods certainly has interesting potential especially given that crowdfunding still has room to grow.
[Thumbnail image via TinyLightbulbs.]
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at All World Dance: Videos and maintains Music Biz Blogs. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.