2013.02.13-blog

björk’s cancelled kickstarter

so, björk launched a kickstarter and cancelled it.

long story short (and you can read the details in the actual news, here), she released her album “biophilia” via a series of iOS apps a while ago, and she wanted to port it to android/windows 8 devices.

the cover:

and that port was going to be EXPENSIVE. the kickstarter project’s kind of hidden now (especially under the traffic the press ABOUT it is getting) but in summary: she was looking for £375,000 (about $600,000), the video wasn’t very clear (i had a hard time understanding what exactly the money was needed for, though i did get the gist that it was being used as a cool, non-profit-y educational tool)….and the rewards weren’t all that hot. it was also a lot of money to raise for something so specific and technical (i think if björk had been trying to fund an ALBUM, the interest would have been ginormous).

she only got about $20k in backing in the first few days and the project was pulled before it could truly crash and burn, which we can assume it would have.

i wouldn’t have written about it (it was just a failed kickstarter, and there are many of those, for many reasons) if i didn’t see something else going on. for the record: i think björk is awesome, and i think she could have put together a better campaign.

but…i saw things being written in the blog comments of the guardian article i posted above that really floored me, and i need to share. here’s a typical one:

axelprod
08 February 2013 10:19am
“As has been said above, Kickstarter should be for those who have no access to money to get a good idea off the ground, not rich, self-indulgent musicians looking to ‘de-risk’ their latest vanity project by offloading the costs onto others.”

..and a lot of the other comments echo a similar mentality.
this drives me FUCKING NUTS.

crowdfunding should, by its very nature, be available to EVERYBODY.

….or no?

if her kickstarter had been a raging success, would these people be bitching?

here’s what i think: THE MARKET IS EFFICIENT.

if ANYBODY wants to give a go at having the community help them with a project, that’s the ARTISTS prerogative. if it fails, then the interest wasn’t there.

it should’t matter if it’s justin bieber, obama, the new kids of the block reunion project, lance armstrong, oprah, or the friendless 18-year old down the street who’s been hiding in his bedroom making EDM music.
ANYBODY CAN ASK. that’s democracy.

and since crowdfunding is – by definition – in the hands of the community: THE COMMUNITY WILL DETERMINE WHETHER A PROJECT IS SUCCESSFUL.
end of story.

….or no?

people posting björk’s net worth and posting “wtf?? she could pay for this shit herself” are missing a massive point.
and the people defending her on the blog comments who are saying “no, no! she’s not actually that rich, you have your numbers wrong!!!” are ALSO missing the point.

it doesn’t – shouldn’t – matter if she’s got a hundred gazillion icelandic rune-coins squirreled away in the bank or not a rune-coin to her name: she should – ANY artist should – be allowed to take advantage of the direct-to-audience tools that are available to us.

i think this is sad: in a weird new twists of fate, the old guard of “celebrity” artists like her are now being attacked for using a platform that…what…should be reserved for starving musicians only?

i don’t think so.

if lady gaga wants to turn to crowdfunding to get $100,000,000 of development cash to build the world’s first pair of musical six-mile-high electromagnetic-bedazzled stiletto heels – let her. if her fans back her, LET THEM. why the fuck not? because SHE should pay for if SHE wants it because SHE’S RICH?? because it’s a stupid idea? a waste of everybody’s time and money? (i can’t believe the blog comments on the guardian devolved to the “why would ANYBODy spend money on THIS APP PORT when there are starving children in….etc etc”). should we judge? or let the artist (and the fans) have their fun?

good sidenote: it’s also kickstarter’s prerogative (and i’m talking about THE COMPANY, not the phenomenon of crowdfunding) to turn down projects they think will dilute the site, which is highly curated – and that’s part of kickstarter’s success. they don’t want to clutter the airwaves with a bunch of time-wasters. but the tools will proliferate and exist far beyond kickstarter – and we’re talking here about a larger concept.

crowdfunding is a TOOL, a beautiful one, but it’s just a TOOL.

for ALL OF us to be truly independent, we must look at all artists equally.
the tools can be used by anyone.
as somebody else in the blog comments pointed out:

aphexbr
08 February 2013 3:42pm
“@F101Voodoo – Most people use other people’s money for their projects. Do you think Steve Jobs personally invested everything he made? Of course not, he went to banks, venture capitalists and other investors for funding, not his own bank account. Why should Bjork be any different?
All she’s done here is instead of asking one of those people for money (usually given in exchange for giving up creative control, copyrights, etc. as well as money), she was asking the general public to invest (in return for other benefits).
I have no idea why some people are so against this, other than a misunderstand of how and why crowdsourced funding works.”

this is pretty timely…i asked on twitter the other day : “should anyone be able to crowdfund (ie lady gaga, justin bieber?)” i was shocked at the number (not the majority, but a big handful) of people who said “no fucking way!!! they’re rich!!! they should pay for their own music-making!!”

think about it, carefully: what is fair?

when – in your opinion – are you no longer allowed to go straight to your fanbase, to your crowd, for funding?

at what point?

i’d love to see where this discussion goes.

hit the comments and discuss.

xxx
AFP

p.s. if you’re not familiar with björk’s music….goddamn you’re in for a treat. i suggest starting HERE. one of my favorite björk recordings of all time, the brodsky quartet’s string arrangement of the song “hyperballad”….if it doesn’t move your head to new places, let me know. we have even more important things to talk about.

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  • http://twitter.com/lovefortified Riley Johnson

    I tend to agree with the aspect of anybody can crowdfund. Sure, there will be benefits and drawbacks and risks (like Bjork’s!) but in a sense, this is one of the very few kinds of free market behavior that I can get behind. I believe folks should crowdfund if they want and people can back or not back if they want. And who knows? Maybe if a more mainstream, famous artist were to crowdfund something, it might mean they could spur their art in a different way than a typical label would allow or it might mean they then get more creative on their future label-funded efforts. More creativity and free flowing art is a good thing, I’d say.

    • http://twitter.com/lovefortified Riley Johnson

      Also: The only aspect of Kickstarter I don’t like necessarily is that if you don’t meet your goal, you get nothing. It might help people make smaller, attainable goals but I also wonder if it stifles people’s dreaming big.

      • http://www.facebook.com/mariah.maccarthy Mariah MacCarthy

        Indiegogo, son!

      • Nicole

        Other platforms (such as Indiegogo) allow projects to keep the money when partly funded. Kickstarter is not the only crowdfunding out there, just the best-known. :)

      • Nicole

        Other crowdfunding platforms (such as Indiegogo) allow projects to keep whatever they earn, even if they are not fully funded. Kickstarter is just the best-known option out there, but hardly the only one available. :)

      • http://twitter.com/HMSoboe Hannah Schuetz

        Personally that’s one aspect that I very much respect. People should dream big, but if they don’t have the support yet, then if nothing else they should consider revising their marketing plan. If I was trying to fund a book lets say, and couldn’t get enough people to essentially pre-order by backing me, I’d be seriously concerned about if I’d find myself out the money for printing and stuck with copies that won’t sell. I think the fact that you need to meet the goal is a really good way of bringing the community together, and it also helps eliminate the risk for the backers.

  • http://twitter.com/carolinedoree caroline doree

    I love Bjork, she is one of the proper artist musicians with integrity. (and yes Amanda, you are in this category too) One of the joys of kickstarter is that we get to make the choices, I have taken part in a number of projects from graphic novels, fantasy TV series, artist visits to Iceland and musical projects. I get to choose, people can be famous or unknown, as far as I’m concerned if I care about their work and they have artistic integrity, then it’s my decision and mine alone. I want everyone to have the option.

  • Zabé

    What it really comes down to is jealousy from the common people that someone who has “made it” (whatever that means) is asking the common people for their “hard earned” money. What I don’t understand is why people get in such a tiff over it. If you have a favorite artist, be it Bieber or Bjork or an unknown, wouldn’t you much rather have funded their creativity yourself rather than putting them in a position of giving up rights to their work by seeking venture or investor funding? I would much rather go for the former.

    In essence, I agree with everything aphexbr wrote.

  • Lisa

    I think you’re dead on: the community will decide whether a project will be supported. I don’t really care who originates something, or what their financial situation is—if it’s a good idea, and I want to participate, I’ll kick in whatever dollars I have, or at least help spread the word about it.

  • Véronique

    I totally agree with you. Why should *anyone* not be allowed to ask? People vote with their money, freely given — or not. We all have a choice. If someone doesn’t want to give money, no one is forcing them. Why bitch about someone asking?

    Also a very good point in the comment about investment money. There are all kinds of ways to raise capital for a project, and this is another one.

  • dootsiebug

    The democracy of crowd funding is why I support the idea 100%. If something is truly useless, stupid and a poor use of money, it won’t get any money. We, the ones who don’t have the platform to spend a large sum of money, get to decide who someone who does gets to spend it. Why WOULDN’T you support that notion?
    I especially love how the rewards system works. You’re not getting NOTHING for your contribution; in fact, you’re often better rewarded with the money it might cost to, say, purchase an album.
    I have two amazing, full-of-love-for-everyone friends (a couple) who are in a financial spot due to paying for her cancer treatments. He started a Indiegogo fundraiser, drawing sketches for cash. Then the Newtown shooting happened. He felt bad about collecting money when there were others who needed it–he wanted to donate the money. But I contributed to both and more importantly, I wanted to help THEM, my friends, the people I loved, in order to do more amazing things in the world. If they really, really wanted to do amazing things in the world by donating the money, OKAY! But it was my choice to spend my money to help them hack away at their debt so that they can have a future full of sharing their love with the world.

  • Dean

    On the one hand, I think the original comment has a point – for really small acts and creators, Kickstarter and the like are often the only way for them to get the money they need for a project. Whereas wealthier people have a lot more options. But the argument hinges on the idea that big Kickstarters take money away from smaller ones. Which seems flawed. Sure, we all have only so much cash in a given month to spend, and spending on one artist may mean I can’t afford to spend on another. But what’s the difference between me backing an album 6 months before it comes out, or spending the same amount on the album once it’s published 6 months later? Either way, that’s money I can’t spend elsewhere.

    And of course, it’s probably worth a quick poll here. Hands up if Theatre is Evil was the first Kickstarter you backed. Keep them up if you’ve backed other Kickstarters since, after a ‘bigger’ artist introduced you to the idea. Well look at that.

    [Final note: Bjork is rich because she spends her money sensibly. She doesn’t waste it on failed projects. She probably figured there was no market for this app conversion, so decided not to do it. But enough people asked so she started a KS to see if it could break even. Turns out she was right. Yes, KS is a way for creators to shift the risk from themselves to the crowd, but in many cases that’s because said creator has decided the risk isn’t worth taking, and setting up a KS is saying “I don’t think there’s an audience but why not check?”]

    • http://twitter.com/lovefortified Riley Johnson

      I’m not sure if you meant my comment or not, but if it was mine, I think you’ve missed me. I don’t think we’re in a kickstarter starvation economy at all. I think crowdfunding can and should happen across many types of artists (big and small). What I was more saying is that perhaps crowdfunding could shift the art of mainstream or big time artists in ways that could be innovative.

      • Dean

        I meant the one from the Guardian Amanda referenced sorry x

    • http://www.concertmanic.com/ Sarah V.

      I think your raise-hands poll makes a good point. Kickstarter has grown exponentially the last few years, in large part because big projects attract lots of new backers, and those backers tend to stick around after they discover how much fun it can be to fund art projects they like.

      I am probably the exception to the rule in that I joined KS back in 2011 to back a tiny band who struggled to meet a $4,000 goal. I’ve backed another 14 projects since then.

      • http://twitter.com/FelixMarques Félix Marqués

        This actually is an extremely good argument. I entered Kickstarter to fund the Tristan Allen album, originally.

        Ever since, musicians I also followed (Sxip Shirey, Kim Boekbinder, Tristan’s Nue Nue project) and other Internet artists I followed (such as webcomic authors Katie Tiedrich, Ryan North or Andrew Hussie) started Kickstarters, which I supported gladly and am very happy about. I’ve also let friends of mine without credit cards fund Kickstarter projects through my account, it makes me really happy to see.

        A few days ago, I was reading a project update on Kickstarter and on the main page there was this featured project that seemed very nice—a marine-abyss themed atmospheric surreal sci-fi comic called “Book of Da”, and I pledged for it. It was the first time I supported an artist I didn’t even know.

        Kickstarter is now a part of my life.

    • http://aaronjshay.net/ Aaron J. Shay

      I was brought aboard KS by one of Zoe Boekbinder’s projects and have backed 47 more projects since then, mostly for small packages. I’m not rich but I support my friends as much as they support me.

  • Tess

    I really don’t understand why people have a problem with Kickstarter etc. They don’t have to give money if they don’t want to, but It doesn’t affect them if fans or people who are interested in a project do. The Artists are not stealing, people are CHOOSING to help them, because they want to see the result.

  • Sara Crawford

    The great thing about crowdfunding is that it takes away the need for a huge label and gives the artist more creative control. I’d much rather be focused on making art that my audience is going to enjoy than some executives who are more concerned about what’s marketable than what’s going to move people or inspire people or any of the other things that I think art is supposed to do. When you buy an album, you’re paying for all of these costs anyway. What’s the difference if you pay upfront or after the fact?

    Even when broke artists like me do kickstarters (I did one once raising $1,000 to go on a brief two-week LOW BUDGET tour–which was succesful) there will still be people who complain. “When I want to take a vacation, I have to save my money!” someone actually said to me. (Let’s not even go into the difference between laying on the beach, sipping on a margarita, reading 50 Shades of Grey or whatever and driving around to different cities playing in indie music venues to people who may or may not care about your music because you’re not playing Jimmy Buffet covers.)

    I don’t think there is a negative aspect to crowdfunding, and I think anyone should be able to do it, regardless of how much money you have. It’s a really great tool that artists can use–broke “nobody” bands and rich musicians alike.

  • brian

    to me its about being part of a movement you truly support. why not lay your dollar down and stand behind an artist you support. it gives you, the real reason, the ability to say. i did that. i helped make this happen.

    • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

      big fat YEs to this comment. crowdfunding isn’t just about the money. it’s about the together.

      • http://www.facebook.com/mariah.maccarthy Mariah MacCarthy

        and if you don’t believe that, ask the artist whose face lights up when someone pledges a dollar. a dollar means “I’m poor but I believe in you and I want you to succeed.” some people feel awkward about pledging small amounts of money and I tell them, “WHY DO YOU THINK WE HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT? do you think anyone ever says ‘HOW DARE YOU NOT GIVE ME MORE MONEY’?” every little bit counts, but not just for the $$–for the faith in an artist.

        • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

          YES YES YES YES YES.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1837913694 Dan Pritchett

          If it wasn’t about the money, you could just post something on a message board. I agree, partially, with what you are attempting to say, but noone pays for project with *only* the goodwill of fans.

          • zorya

            Yes, BUT, I am one of those “poor” pledgelings. I LOVE AFP and I only bought the -what?- $5 digital download of the album. I wanted to contribute and I DID contribute. Not much, granted, but I get the same special “backer” emails as someone who pledged $1000. It IS about coming together & it IS about every little contribution counting!!! (fyi – I am a divorced (from a crazy non-child support paying WASband). I have 2 kids to support & I go to school full-time trying to become an RN to be able to support us! So, you see, to me, that $5 said I WANT THIS to happen!)

      • http://www.thecodecrimson.com/ The Code Crimson

        For me, part of what I loved best about backing Kickstarter projects is having the curtains pulled so you can see what’s going on backstage. The most exciting projects are the ones with the most frequent updates, that let you see the artist/writer/inventor actually making things happen, letting you into the special little corners of their mind. You don’t just feel like their project belongs to you, you feel like you’ve been let in on the secrets of the creative process in a way that buying an album off iTunes never will.

        • Beeteezee

          AGREED!!! Also – a lot of the projects let you get involved with shaping the project or seeking your input for the project. That’s really fun and engaging too. I would totally rather ride the fun, fun roller coaster of a Kickstarter project than just idly sit around waiting for an album to come out and then going to Best Buy or something and shelling out the money for said album like some kind of commerce robot.

    • j.

      And from the artist’s point of view – at least if you take your supporters, which means, the together-ness seriously – i guess you are a lot more concerned to do a good job on the outcome, because you don’t want to disappoint your supporters with something they helped to create.

    • http://twitter.com/Pelliflex MissPelling

      I do agree with that. the sad thing is how the crowdfunding is seen here in Italy: some people just criticize, they say that these artists kind of ask for charity, as it was a bad thing to do. charity! wtf, they don’t really see the real point. they just judge more-and-less famous musicians: if you’r e famous, it means you’re rich so you can pay for that project for yourself. if you’re not famous, well, who cares about you? this makes me really sad. Like you said, it’s not about the money, it’s about the sense of community, and being part of it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stephanie.paes.7 Stéphanie Paes

      And, as a fan, I’m allowed to say: we LIKE to feel part of our idols accomplishments. That’s the same feeling that moves a lot of people to stay hours in front of the computer voting in their idols so they can win an award.

      And I don’t know where it really started, but I got to know about cases here in Brazil in which fansjoined and, with the help of some sponsors, got to finance and organize everything to bring their idols to play here. Each of the fan-investidors, obviously, had the right of getting a ticket and they could also sell many others and give other fans the oportunity of going to the concert. I mean, they didn’t need help from any producer to make their dreams come true and give the artists the oportunity to play here.

  • http://twitter.com/distortedabso Emily

    For me, there is no consideration of relative wealth when it comes to paying to receive something I want to someone I admire to help them do something they think is worthwhile. For me it is just a standard transaction except a little less soulless. You get a connection directly with the person you are backing, you are both getting some benefit. It’s a choice thing anyway…there is no harm in asking and nothing wrong with not wanting to contribute.

  • Ben Lewis

    Crowdfunding should absolutely be available to anyone. It creates a sense of community ownership of a project and also gets an instant measure of the probable popularity of a project—both things which are crucial to the success of any big commercial (or artistic) venture today (excluding patronage works, which are usually not meant for broad consumption in any event.) Instead of fans just feeling a connection to a work after the fact, instead they can feel like a part of its creation, and that is definitely worth the effort.

  • http://twitter.com/lmmcmusic Laurence Made Me Cry

    I’ve been a regular follower of Bjork and love her outlook on life and not giving a shit about what anyone thinks. This particular project was let down by it’s distinct lack of clearness. Visiting the educational website I was greeted with something so un-readable that I couldn’t be bothered researching more about the project because it was making my eyes bleed. It looked slap-dash and not very well thought out. This didn’t give me the confidence to invest my money into the project. I wanted to see a bigger plan – how does it all work? What does it teach the children? What about schools that cannot afford touch screen products? Where is this going to happen? Why is the developing costing so much? …and the selfish thing: what am I going to get out of it?

    I discussed this with my best friend who is a huge Bjork fan and we agreed that presenting the kickstarter project as a charity might have gone down better. That and a better more in depth video too. I wonder sometimes that when you reach that level of fame as Bjork has that she has maybe lost that human connection with fans and can’t quite talk on their level anymore. I realise that there are good reasons to distance oneself from fans especially in her case when they try to blow you up. It’s a fine fine line but with regard to the kickstarter I think the angle just wasn’t quite right.

    I agree with you that kickstarter-like projects should be open to everyone. That’s the whole point but you’ve got to be clear with the people you’re hoping to fund your idea. If we’re not convinced it’s just not going to work.

    Are there any examples of artists at her level successfully running a kickstarter? I’m curious.

  • FuzzyBlackDog

    Jesus, if you don’t wanna support the project don’t fuckin’ support it. But don’t rain on the parade. Everybody should be allowed to use kickstarter or whatever other crowdsourcing vehicle available.

    • Tess

      Exactly

    • Finkdoobiest

      “… or whatever other crowdsourcing vehicle available”

      The crowd sourcing paradigm is young, yet Kickstarter leads the way by a rather large margin. It is set to dominate just as Google dominates the search engine, Skype dominates VoIP, Amazon dominates e-commerce, Facebook dominates social networking, etc, etc…

      These behemoths didn’t come to dominate the internet through the sheer indisputable quality of their platforms, but through the network effect – Above a critical mass of participants the value of these platforms is defined by social momentum, rather than the quality of their architecture. It creates a positive feedback loop ensuring that these networks remain the most valuable.

      This effect also extends to Kickstarter campaigns. The act of backing a campaign creates a cognitive bias regarding the campaign’s value (after all, you backed it and you can’t be wrong), which will likely turn in to a desire to spread the word for this particular campaign to affirm your decision.

      Once that critical mass is reached you are likely to exceed your funding goal. Amanda, for example, with her carefully nurtured, networked community saw her campaign close at 1000% of the goal, whereas the loosely-coupled Bjork community didn’t come close to the required critical mass to create a positive feedback loop…or “buzz”.

      It is also worth considering that it is in Kickstarter’s best interest to promote established names, as affiliation with large names garners more press coverage for Kickstarter, and in aligning themselves with that artist, they borrow some of the artists credibility in the eyes of the fans (potential customers).

      Established artists begin with a legion of fans, ready, and possibly even eager, to support a project through both donations and word of mouth, putting new artists at a major disadvantage. You may argue that this is the way the music industry has always worked, but not exactly…Prior to the internet new bands were only in competition with their geographic peers, creating “scenes” with their own internal dynamics. In the age of Kickstarter it directly pits unestablished artists against some of the worlds biggest names.

      Economics and social dynamics are not as simple as the democratic narrative you imply.

  • Nicole

    The last comment you quoted is spot on: the people who complain know nothing about crowdfunding. It is not (and shouldn’t be) about the person(s) behind the project, however much they are worth, but about the project itself and what it offers to potential backers. If I am willing to part with my cash because I am genuinely interested in a pen, an art project or a cat café, who are these anonymous strangers on the internet to judge the worth of the individual who set up the project?

  • Valarie Moriarty

    I think if you want good results for a crowd-funding endeavour as a musician, you need to be pretty well known anyway. I’m an independent artist who’s totally broke and in need of money to buy the equipment I need to record my album, and even though people have suggested Kickstarter to me, I wouldn’t dream of it because I don’t have any following or friends who would fund it.

    People saying famous artists shouldn’t be able to crowdfund is silly, because unknown artists are rarely backed on things like this.

    • Nicole

      Plenty of unknown artists have succeeded with crowdfunding – the key is to make sure your project page is amazing, full of content and great ideas, and that you offer attractive rewards to attract backers at different tier levels. Support your great page with getting the word out through social media and you’re on your way!

    • http://www.facebook.com/mariah.maccarthy Mariah MacCarthy

      My brother doesn’t really have a “fanbase,” but he created a Kickstarter that made nearly three times its goal. That happened, in part, because he made a really smart, charming, beautifully-shot video and had an intriguing concept (a fantasy novel with a companion album). When he wasn’t picking up enough steam, he started tweeting sorta-famous people with his campaign and asking if they’d RT it. One of those sorta-famous people was Kyle Cassidy. (If you don’t know who he is, quickly Google.) Kyle Cassidy liked it. He shared it. The campaign met its goal a few hours later.

      Aggressively asking people with big followings to RT you isn’t generally an amazing PR strategy. But if you’ve created a good product, and you spread the word, lots of times people DO notice. People who don’t necessarily know you personally/well but who like supporting good work. One of my brother’s biggest donors was someone he hadn’t spoken to since high school. I’ve always been amazed at the people who come out of the woodwork to support me when I’ve got a campaign going. It’s never the people you expect.

      You’ll never know if you don’t try, darling!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mariah.maccarthy Mariah MacCarthy

    I remember when you were offering fancypants merch bundles for Ukulelehead, and one of those bundles was entitled “take the iPhone, leave the canoli.” It was a high-priced bundle in which you could own an iPhone previously owned by a member of team AFP. And some blogger reposted it and was all, “This bitch wants me to shell out $1,000 for a USED IPHONE???” And some rant about taking advantage of brainwashed fans or something. And I’m like, yo, if people wanna pay that much and it’s worth it to them, why not? Why not give people some credit that they’re adults who can make financial decisions for themselves, not having their arms twisted behind their backs by a celebrity? Last I checked there was no drugged Kool-Aid at AFP shows, no hypnosis. I can decide how to spend my own damn money, thankyouverymuch. (It’s also my experience that most of the people who bemoan “but that money can be used for chaaaarrrriiiiiitttttyyyy” don’t actually give to charity and always have some excuse about how poor they are and why they can’t afford to give to charity, and that is some bullshit.)

    There’s an incorrect perception that famous=rich and rich=unlimited dollars. But even if you ARE famous with near-unlimited dollars, does that mean you have to start offering all your music for free now because “you can afford it”? I downloaded your album for a goddamn dollar via Kickstarter. For an extra dollar I also got a PDF full of pimp-ass shit. If you’d had those available simply on your merch site, no one would’ve batted an eyelash, but because it’s on Kickstarter, people feel like they can tell you to go fuck yourself. Why? Should, say, subway busking only be limited to artists who REALLY NEED THE CASH? If Lady Gaga wants to play keyboard and sing in the Canal Street station, is she morally obligated NOT to leave out a hat for tips?

    tl;dr fuck haters and raise money however you damn please. The end.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mariah.maccarthy Mariah MacCarthy

      (Also: I am aware that “not crowdfunding” and “offering your music for free” are not the same thing. But then, where is the line between “too rich to crowdfund” and “too rich to ask people to pay for your music”? After all, Lady Gaga is so fucking rich, right? Why does SHE need MY $9.99 for her album on iTunes?)

      • Morticia

        Well, this brings two things to my mind:

        first is that many people don’t really appreciate the work of an musician/ artist or if someone has handicrafted/ designed something. They just don’t see how much (material) you put in it and how much time you spent for it. So some are not willing to pay the price it actually costs and copy things ignoring the fact that the artist or designer has to pay his/ her bills, too.

        the second thing is if I’m a frequent customer of Aldi (supermarket in Germany) and knowing that the Aldi brothers got millionaires with their supermarkets shouldn’t they give me the food, etc. now for free?

        • Jacci

          You have a good point. By voluntarily exchanging your money with cheap Aldi food, both parties are mutually benefiting. Aldi does society a service by providing low-cost products worthy of your purchase and by providing a social good that benefits society. This is capitalism at its finest.

    • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

      “Why? Should, say, subway busking only be limited to artists who REALLY NEED THE CASH? If Lady Gaga wants to play keyboard and sing in the Canal Street station, is she morally obligated NOT to leave out a hat for tips?”

      YES YES YES YES

      • Katalyze

        She isn’t morally obligated NOT to, but I do believe that all people have a moral obligation to give something to others and not ask anything in return. In that situation, I would not feel ethically ok asking for money.

        • http://www.facebook.com/hayley.gore Hayley Gore

          All street performers are giving to others and they don’t ask anything in return. If anything, giving money to street performers makes you feel amazing, you get a connection with a perfect stranger for what? anything from a penny to the contents of your wallet! But you don’t HAVE to give anything and you still get to listen to or watch ART… for free. But if we get to throw a little money in a hat to make ourselves feel good then hell… it’s a moral obligation TO put that hat out there. Artists like AFP give us an opportunity to connect on an amazing level with them and their art through crowdsourcing. Some people might never get to see their favourite artists live for whatever reason but to be able to say hey, this very song I’m listening to… I helped make that. Thank you for letting us in!

          • Jacci

            It’s great people are agreeing that one should not dictate
            how one spends their money. Let’s extend this philosophy a little bit more. How
            many of you actually believe that one should be forced to pay a little bit more
            (i.e. taxes) simply because one makes more money or one must be forced to give
            money to charity (i.e. welfare)? Why is this example of coercion more
            acceptable than the former? People should be permitted to spend or donate
            his/her earnings however he/she wants and not be forced to give up part of their
            earnings.

        • MusicPapa

          But why? What could be more fair and moral than giving a performance and letting the viewer/customer decide what it’s worth? Who the performer is does not matter at all. And that’s the whole point of this issue.

          • http://twitter.com/LittleJanelleS Janelle Sheetz

            This. When you get into issues of money, morality, and art, we could easily start arguing that the real immoral act is Gaga charging $200 for a concert ticket when she could perform for free on the street.

      • Leila Marchi

        Amanda, this actually happened. Not with Lady Gaga, but with Joshua Bell. Joshua Goddamn Bell stood outside a metro stop and busked to see what would happen – and nobody recognized him. The Washington Post has more here. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html

    • http://twitter.com/LittleJanelleS Janelle Sheetz

      Also worth noting that everyone has a favorite artist they’d shell out major cash for, especially if that meant getting something with a more personal tie to the artist. Do you know what my teenage cousin would do for a pre-owned Bieber iPhone, or what my adult cousins would do for pre-owned Lana Del Rey or Gaga iPhones? It’s only stupid & a waste of money when you don’t like the artist. Otherwise, it’s priceless memorabilia.

  • James Watkins

    There seems to be this assumption that people who pledge to things on Kickstarter are giving up their money for nothing, as opposed to pledging it in return for something. When Mindless Self Indulgence put their last album on Kickstarter, I remember similar complaints – that MSI is some huge mega band that is taking advantage of their fans by forcing them to fund the album beforehand.

    However, rewards started at $1, and anyone who pledged this much got a download of the album when it gets released, meaning that people who pledged to the Kickstarter could get a digital copy of the new album for one dollar. Those fans are going to get their album for much cheaper than they would otherwise, MSI get to release their album, and everybody wins!

    • http://twitter.com/lovefortified Riley Johnson

      Exactly. Victimless crime! *shock* *awe*

    • http://twitter.com/HMSoboe Hannah Schuetz

      Exactly! Pledging on kickstarter isn’t a donation, it isn’t charity, it’s an investment! If the funding isn’t raised, you don’t lose any money, and the rewards are pre-determined. This is a LOT more secure than what most investment companies can promise. I think this is a fantastic way for artists to get a sense of what interest level they have, making them more able to efficiently go ahead with projects rather than other sources of funding that may be a shot in the dark.

    • Cohaay

      I pledged a dollar to MSI and I’m getting a digital download of the new album. So stoked.

  • katalyze

    I think that Kickstarter should be an option for anyone. Of course everyone should have the right to ask anyone to back a project – you can’t really take away the right to ask. What I think some people object to, and where it is interesting to me, is the ethics of asking when you have sufficient funds to back it yourself.

    Ethically, I don’t think I could ask if I was super rich and could easily fund the project myself. And that is talking personally. If I want to create something which is within my means, then I would not feel ok asking others to fund it for me – even if they did get a reward of some type. When I backed TiE on Kickstarter, I viewed it more as pre-ordering a special edition of something. And personally I would feel ok if, as an artist, I put up a Kickstarter that had that kind of feel to it.

    Where I think some arguments are flawed is using business models (such as Steve Jobs/Apple). 1. There is a long argument you could have about technology being different to art – but basically, Apple produce things to make money as a company. Cool things, but still – it is primarily a business. 2. Investors in that, I assume, did not just get a computer as a thanks for putting money in to it, but got/get a return on profits etc. That is not how Kickstarter works (or that I’ve seen so far), you are not an investor in that sense. I didn’t see the details of Bjork’s project, so maybe that is not true in her case?

    Not that there is anything wrong with making money from art – because how else do artists survive, but I like to believe that art is art first, business second. So comparisons to Apple etc. don’t work (in my opinion). There was once a platform online (and I forget the name of it) that worked more in an investor sense I think, that you actually invested in the artist and made return on any profits made as a result of the project. That’s a whole other thing though.

    But yeah, anyone should be able to ask, but whether you are personally ok with it is another matter. Oh, and Valerie Moriarty is right I think – it works best for known artists

  • http://www.concertmanic.com/ Sarah V.

    A few points… I think absolutely anyone should be able to ask for funding. Whether it’s on Kickstarter, or the NEA, or from corporations, or whatever. Your art shouldn’t HAVE to be limited by your own funds – limited by the amount of money you have, or limited psychologically. Offloading the funding to someone else allows you to be creative without constantly thinking “oh god oh god oh god I have to make this marketable so I’ll make my money back and be able to afford food and health insurance.” ART SHOULDN’T HAVE TO BE PROFITABLE! That’s why it’s called ART and not RETAIL. This is why I donate to places like the Stone in NYC. Art, especially avant-garde/outsider art, shouldn’t have to be profitable and marketable, that’s not what it’s for. We should support it because we need it as a society. Talk to some avant jazz artists about where their money comes from. They get it all from touring in Europe because European governments fund art in a way that we don’t. (Which seems really lousy of us – why do other countries have to support our artists as well as their own?)

    Second: The big projects are what keep sites like Kickstarter in business. They take a percentage of the money to run their site, pay their employees, and to fund innovations on their side that will help future artists. If we limited it to small, unknown artists doing $10,000 projects, Kickstarter would be a very different site. Amanda’s last Kickstarter probably paid them as much as 100+ small-time artists would have.

    Third: Björk is awesome. That is all.

    • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

      second point….very very true, and important.

  • http://twitter.com/lovefortified Riley Johnson

    An interesting but related diversion might be Threadhead Records’ business model: http://www.threadheadrecords.com/how-it-works/

  • http://twitter.com/gannabel St. Stephen

    People who assume Bjork’s kickstarter = her asking for handouts don’t understanding crowdfunding. She’s offering a product, which will only be produced if there is adequate demand. The consumer pays upfront. When she has the money, Bjork (the producer) makes the product and the consumer receives what they’ve already paid for.

    As you’ve said, many people receive the money they need to make their product from corporations. Then the corporation has some sway over what the product will be like. When it is finished the spent money is regained by selling it to consumers.

    With a kickstarter, the only people who have sway over what the product will be like are the artist and the consumers, who show their interest in the product by means of the amount they are willing to spend.

    With either model, the consumer is paying for the product. With the kickstarter, the consumer is simply paying for something that doesn’t exist yet. There is some risk on the part of the consumer because while the product might be described, they can’t be sure what it’ll be like. A celebrity might be more successful than an average joe because Bjork fans, for example, are willing to bet they will be satisfied with her product. However, in cases such as this one, it becomes clear that even a celebrity may not do a great job marketing their vision. Luckily, due to the nature of the Kickstarter platform, consumer risk is reduced in that an unpopular product won’t get made and the consumer gets their money back.

    With the traditional model, on the other hand, the risk is on the part of the producer because if there isn’t high demand for their product, well… they already spent the money to have it produced.

    In theory, Bjork could’ve made the product first with her own money and then asked for payment. If the product was successful, where is the difference between this model and the kickstarter? Either way the consumer pays. If unsuccessful, Bjork loses a ton of money (as opposed to the product just not happening and no one losing money). Seems smart/efficient.

    As said, a less-well-known artist may have a harder time convincing the consumer the proposed product is desirable. But that’s characteristic of the free market in general. It may be worth thinking of more ways to find and promote promising artists who don’t have the brand name behind them. But this is no basis to assert that well known artists have a moral obligation not to use a model that’s efficient and only takes into account the wishes of the producer and consumer, instead of some third party. Yes, there’s greater consumer risk, but the consumer is willing to take that risk.

    If Bjork did something morally wrong, than asking for money in exchange for a product is wrong.

  • Celine Lux

    I’m Laurence Made Me Cry’s friend, I was very baffled when alerted to the Björk’s kickstarter. The issue shouldn’t be that Björk or other well-established artists (in music or other medium) have the funds already available to them that they needn’t turn to crowdfunding, it is that for this particular project to have been poorly presented to the public.

    Several simple questions were not answered and those that were weren’t answered in depth. Who? What? Where? When? How? From the project presentation I had very little idea as to the reach, the timeline, the purpose of the outcome. It’s meant to be an educational tool – how? – available to kids – where? when? how? in schools? if so is it US only? – so that they can learn – what?

    If it is indeed a community project, it needs to be fully transparent and thoroughly presented. The video was sketchy and the website unprofessional looking. It didn’t convince me of the actual purpose behind the app and its purpose, nor the benefit I, as a potential backer, would reap from participating.

    I still have a lot of respect for Björk, hopefully this hiccup will provide her and her team some thoughts on what is needed to see this project to its successful completion.

    • http://twitter.com/HMSoboe Hannah Schuetz

      Exactly! My mother’s story about jury duty comes to mind. The issue was nursing home abuse. And it was clear that the defendant was guilty. But because the prosecution only gave minimal evidence, thinking their case was obvious, the defense was able prove enough doubt that the abuser went free. Everyone on the jury could tell that the victim had done it, but legally they didn’t have any basis to convict. Communication is key!

    • http://twitter.com/AdamHoldsTheWay Adam Holdway

      Yeah that was the main problem, well to me it looks like it was, that they assumed people already would know about Biophillia and it’s apps and the music-science-educational based background.

  • http://twitter.com/MeiLinMiranda MeiLin Miranda

    This drives me fucking nuts. And the interesting thing? I only get that shit from other writers. Readers are all YAY I GET TO BUY YOUR BOOK BEFORE ANYONE ELSE! LET ME PAY YOU TO PROOFREAD YOUR ARC! LET ME GIVE YOU MONEY TO NAME A CHARACTER AFTER ME! Other writers: you obviously aren’t successful if you can’t fund production yourself, loser. I consistently go at least 250% over my goal. I have a fan base, and they want what I’ve got. So I give it to them. I agree, bjork, bless her heart, didn’t put this together right. If she had, she would’ve made your Kickstarter look minor. :D love you.

    • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

      we should start a kickstarter support group. kickstarters anonymous.
      kickstarter help-line. the home for little kickstarter wanderers. the make-a-wish-kickstarter foundation. whatever.

      • http://twitter.com/MeiLinMiranda MeiLin Miranda

        Name the time and the virtual place, girl, I am THERE.

        • Beeteezee

          #posttraumatickickstartersyndrome

        • Beeteezee

          #PTKS

  • lustig

    I partially agree. A tool should be open to everyone .. unless the use by some folks who wouldn’t need it because they could easily access other options changes the tool in a way so it becomes less useable for those who depend on it

    • Beeteezee

      Kickstarter isn’t the only option, and other less known artists can ALSO use other tools. If Kickstarter becomes primarily a tool for the big names, other niche crowdfunding businesses would pop up for people who weren’t or didn’t want to support just the big names. Nothing about this is monolithic and it is constantly evolving.

  • kmwilliams

    iBacked Björk! x

    She can do whatever the fuck she wants. She is Björk. The Kickstarter could’ve been cooler, that (in my opinion) was the only thing wrong with it. I hope she learns from it and tries again. Kickstarter for everyone. Fuck the Guardian commentators. Vive le Björk.

  • Dave

    The only thing disappointing about Bjork’s kickstarter were the rewards. I’d have loved to have bought that expensive but only limited to 10 copies thing, but it sold out before I even found out about it.

    The app is amazing. The album is amazing, the tour behind it is amazing and it really DOES have a lot of educational aspects. It’s a shame she couldn’t have found a way to tie it into a special EP of reworked versions of some songs, put out some really cool limited edition things and then just put $600k worth of the funding towards the App and the rest towards an EP or something slightly more creative and interesting.

    • lustig

      There is no reason that they don’t start a new, better designed campaign on kickstarter or one of the other cf platforms.

  • http://twitter.com/lyingrain Coraline

    In a way, people ARE crowdfunding Bieber and Gaga and Björk and others. When you buy one of their album (physical or digital, not the question), when you buy a ticket for their shows, when you talk about them to a friend for him to go listen to, etc. you prove to Bieber’s music company that they were right to invest on him, and a part of your money is used to invest in Bieber’s next album. Difference is when artists are crowdfunding ALL the money goes to them. And for the fan, the difference is, you know where the money goes, hos it’s used, and you get what you paid for. And if you don’t to pay on something that does not interest not, you simply don’t. I mean, I love Björk’s music and if she’d ask to crowdfund her next album, certainly i’ll give some money (if i can afford it…), BUT I have no interest in an app around Biophilia. My cellphone is prehistoric, and… well, i’m not interested, it’s all. So i wouldn’t give money, other will because they want it / think it’s a great idea. Neither me or them is wrong. If bieber asks for money, i won’t give ’cause i don’t like his work, but i find it cool that his fans can do it. In the same way, maybe his fans hate Palmer’s music so they didn’t give money, but i did.
    My point is… whoever asks for money, it’s not how much money they possess themselves, but what project do they want to do, and who is ready to pay.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stephanie.paes.7 Stéphanie Paes

      Exactly what I said!

  • Sofia Ortiz

    I think that you’re right that crowdfunding can and should be determined/judged by the crowd, not the artist/creator/etc. But I think your shock at these comments is kind of confusing. I think these feelings are one of the REASONS people wouldn’t want to back her project – the Kickstarter was framed in a way that maybe didn’t convince people that she needed help with it, or tha tthey’d get anything interesting out of it. They wouldn’t be helping her make MUSIC, and not only that, but they wouldn’t be getting really interesting stuff out of it.
    Contrast that with you – say YOU were to become super-rich, maybe win the lottery or something? Or get paid a ridiculous amount to perform at a Superbowl? That doesn’t mean that automatically any crowdfunding you tried to do would fail. If you were to run the same kind of Kickstarter again, it would probably do just as well – because we’d be funding a product we identified with, that there were good reasons (not wanting to go with a record label) for you to ask for funding from US for. There’s a sense in which if you WERE rich, you could just dole out the money yourself and then still ask people to swing around and buy a copy – but if getting a copy is built into giving you money to produce it, the thinking is very very very different.
    So what I’m saying is not that people like Bjork shouldn’t be “allowed” to crowdfund, just that people’s sentiment that she shouldn’t be “allowed” to crowdfund (for something like this) will ultimately doom her project before it starts. Crowdfunding isn’t supposed to be about giving you more of our money because we like you, no strings attached. It’s supposed to be about giving you more of our money because we want something you make, and maybe want a part in helping you make it. I think maybe big artists just don’t have easy ways of convincing the crowds they’re ‘needed’ for the creative output to happen…

  • http://twitter.com/Sangrebloom Sangrebloom

    I feel, as someone that funded a kickstarter, that it’s giving that artist a massive high five. Validation saying “YES! I believe in this project!”, that has to mean something to the artist.

    From Biebelivers to people that want to see someone new make an debut, we make it possible.

  • http://twitter.com/Esmertina Esmertina Bicklesnit

    Here’s my thinks —

    In my personal experience with web development, any proposal for a new product has to include the funding mechanism. If I’m proposing the company invest its own capital, I have to show exactly what the expenses will be and exactly what the projected revenue is, and the break-even point and the future profit potential. Companies differ on their tolerance for risk, but most companies will only invest their own money if they are convinced there will be a fast turnaround on profitability. Otherwise, you have to show other sources of funding — advertisers or sponsors that have signed on to the project, angel investors, content partners who are assuming the risk.

    I don’t understand why music as a business would be any different. As art, sure … there is value just in creating art for its own sake, and the cost/benefit analysis doesn’t have to add up to justify creating art. But when art is your business and your livelihood and your brand, then why should you apply different standards for what makes it good business?

    No artist, no matter how rich, who takes the business of their art seriously should throw down their own money on a project if there is any way to avoid the risk. For Gaga-level artists, investors are probably tripping over themselves to thrown money at her because they think they will profit from her genius. Do you really think she says, “no thanks, I got this?”

    And if she said “you know what? my FANS got this, so thanks but no thanks, I don’t need anyone else to get rich off of me,” and Kickstarted her next tour? Anyone who criticized her would be completely missing what a wonderfully subversive move that would be. Then can you imagine if among her rewards were some actual investor packages, with the potential for paid dividends? Holy crap I want someone big to do that!

    So yeah … I am a staunch believer, you’re never too big to allow your fans the chance to be your investors and stakeholders. There’s nothing “greedy” about it. It’s just good business — and good 99%-empowering business at that.

    • Beeteezee

      THIS! FOR GOD’S SAKE…THIS!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mariah.maccarthy Mariah MacCarthy

    Did anyone else see this? Cartoonist Ryan North ran a $20,000 Kickstarter to raise money for his upcoming book, and ended up raising $580,000. He’d promised that when he got to $500,000, “I will literally explode (literally)”

    So he made a plastic replica of his head and blew it up, which you can watch here: http://www.wired.com/design/2013/02/ryan-north-kickstarted-head-pop/

    But someone was apparently not satisfied with this and commented on the article, “The term “literally explode” refers to one-self, in person reaching above sound-barrier speed in many pieces. If he wished to chew off his leg and have it explode sure thatll work, but as [other commenter] said he lied.

    And seeing as peoples money was involved it should all be returned, for failing.

    Failing is failing and someone at kickstarter MUST stand up for this, or else youll get other useless kickstarter responses. Either you do as you say or you do not, there is no try.”

    I mean granted, this person was probably joking, but judging by some of the anti-Kickstarter vitriol I’ve seen I wouldn’t be surprised if they were serious.

  • http://twitter.com/TeaGrenadier Tea

    I feel somehow detached. Kickstarter is for me for things I am already interested in and so I don’t care for everything else. I don’t roam around there looking to throw my money at someone. If I hear something interesting about a Kickstarter from Twitter or wherever, I’ll go look at it. So I don’t really care who is using it. I heard about Peter Molyneux, the game developer going at it and succeeding in another god game, where many people complained about that same thing too. What I can’t understand is, why the people bitching about rich people using Kickstarter even care in the first place. They don’t take anything from you, if you don’t decide to give it. They don’t force you to pledge. It’s your own fucking decision.
    If you don’t like it, go away. It seems that many people are getting butthurt because they take the space off the poorer Kickstarter thingys or something.
    And maybe somethings wrong with me right now, but that song from Björk did nothing to me.

  • http://twitter.com/Ellelarondelle Cinnamon Digory

    I endorse ANYONE being able to use kickstarter

  • http://matthewebel.com/ Matthew Ebel

    Isn’t the point of crowdfunding to democratize the process of bringing an idea to market? I.E., if you can’t get enough people to fund it in the first place, maybe the idea ain’t worth doing? Who cares if a mega star does it or some jackhole playing piano in a basement in New Hampshire… the point is to see if the IDEA has support.

    For the record, I’m not a fan of Björk’s music, but I do support any artist who reaches out directly to their customers (i.e. FANS) instead of having to raise money through onerous, oppressive business partners (i.e. labels and venture cap).

    • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

      yes. it’s so werid to see people saying “she’s björk, why can’t she get a venture capital company to fund this” – maybe they don’t realize how shitty those deals can wind up being for the project (the VC takes 50% of the profit!) or how irritating it can be to all of a sudden have a rich boardroom of bosses.

      • http://matthewebel.com/ Matthew Ebel

        Here’s a thought… anyone who raises a half million or more on Kickstarter has to post a photo of themselves doing something totally elitist and bullshit-rich-bastard-esque. Like sipping Courvoisier on top of a mountain… just to piss all the trolls off.

  • Phil Jones

    Crowdfunding should be for everyone regardless of personal wealth.
    Aside from the very important money crowdfunding connects the artist and funder like no other way I’ve seen.
    I certainly feel far more connected to you, Ginger Wildheart, and all the others I’ve helped fund than to any other artist I support through Amazon etc.
    Money anyone earns is there’s and should be used as you wish. Why should a rich artist be denied the chance to connect with fans any more than a poor one?
    This is the future and watch it grow.

  • dinalli

    Kickstarter by its nature is for everyone with a good idea, but without a VC putting $$$$$$ into it. Its a chance for people with great ideas and good ideas that evolve into great ideas to have a chance. As for the Bjork App, as an App Dev, porting apps can be costly, esp something like this as it would all have to be built natively. Not cheap. biophilia for me was one of the most innovative apps of last year. I would like to see innovation like this continue. However its becoming more and more costly to do.

  • http://twitter.com/roncanepa Ronald

    The issue can be generalized: armchair observers telling consenting parties that they can’t do something together (a something that harms no one else) or should be doing it differently. Whether it’s sex or art, people need to MYOB.

  • http://twitter.com/BohemianRambles John Francis

    Everyone can use crowd-funding. However, I think that choice of venue is important and I think Kickstarter was not the right venue for this particular project. Had Bjork picked a charity crowd-funding venue (if one exists) or even launched it herself I think she could have done better or at least not been so publicly chastised. I think Bjork’s project was too metaphysical for a crowd-funding venue so focused on the physical. To me it seemed like she was fundraising for a charitable cause and many users probably get confused about what they’re actually funding. I think with a little adjusting this project could get fully funded, I donated to Oxfam America to get the Joanna Newsom cover album, so why not re-brand or even separate the projects. Could Bjork have succeeded if it was a lower price purely for the development of Biophilia for Android/Windows 8? I think $25k might have gone a long way to cover those costs.

    I think crowd-funding is appropriate to anyone that has a product to sell, but needs to cover production and distribution. It certainly has benefited music so far and the rewards are addicting. The only difference between Mornin’ Old Sport, Amanda Palmer, Bjork, and Lady Gaga is the budget costs needed to reach their fanbase. On the whole, I think the decision to not fund Bjork’s project on the grounds of her apparent access to money is silly, but is legitimated by the very existence of the view because the crowd is what decides what gets funded and what does not.

  • http://www.roadsideattraction.com Phil Johnson

    The problem is in the perception of crowd funding. At it’s inception it was designed as a starving artist vehicle to gather funding for projects. So that’s the rep that hangs around it. Even you Amanda. You don’t have the “rich rock star” reputation (regardless of what your actual financial situation might be), so you fit well into the model.

    Aside from that, you have people getting burned by contributing to projects that never get finished. And there’s also scammers starting use the term for nefarious means. Money magazine this month specifically advises to stay away from *anything* using the term “crowdfunding”. So there are growing pains happening.

    Bringing up Bieber and Gaga is interesting. I think they’d do very well on Kickstarter if it was a remotely well designed campaign. When you’ve got a fanbase that’s that huge, and frankly a bit young and naive, they’ll be more than happy to bug mom and dad for some money to contribute to a new album to get a trinket. There’d be plenty of backlash from non-fans, but it would still work.

    Bjork has a different demographic and sits in a weird place in the industry. She’s got a long career which makes people think of her as “rich rock star”. But she doesn’t have mindless mass appeal. You have to have a brain to listen to her stuff. So her audience will combine that rep with “I’ve got my own bills to pay” and disaster strikes.

    Of course it also wasn’t designed well, and that was probably a bigger cause than anything.

    I think to turn the rep of crowdfunding around it will take a mega-artist to do one really well. Something that would be undeniably cool to contribute to, have a real reason behind it, and humanize the artist. Let’s say the Rolling Stones funding a charity album that would be released independently to build schools in Africa.

    Oh, I’m sorry… Did I say The Stones? I meant U2.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gabriel.girard3 Gabriel Girard

    See I think this is exactly the sort of project Kickstarter is for. Creative, communal and hard to finance the ”regular” way. Any attempt to bypass the corporate machine and have ”normal” people invest gets a vote from me.

    I remember recently reading an article about Steven Soderbergh having a hard time getting financing for his Liberace biopic because it was ”too gay”… Maybe he should haave turned to Kickstarter too. :-)

  • kraken green moustache

    bjork all the way!!!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/saraivettepr Sara Ivette

    I’ve actually had this same discussion with friends regarding the Amanda Kickstarter and the crowd sourcing of musicians “controversy”. Some of my friends were all up in arms about Amanda doing the Kickstarter while being not only a well-known artist but also married to an incredible successful author. Their argument could be summarized in: “she could pay this for herself. Why is she asking for money?” The same with the local musician crowd-sourcing: “how dare she? After raising so much money?”

    My answer was the same for both arguments: NOBODY IS MAKING US CONTRIBUTE. The artist is asking us for help in delivering a product free from the usual constraints found with big companies, and it is up to us whether we want to help or not. It is a COLLABORATION in the best of ways; not only are we helping but we are getting something back, whether is the rewards from the kickstarter or merely the satisfaction that we are contributing to something worthwhile. This is the same whether the artist is an unknown voice or a well-known individual; we are part of the effort.

    When the whole crowd source musician thing exploded on the interwebs, a friend of mine approached me, knowing I am both a musician and a huge fan of Amanda, to ask what I thought of it. My answer was this: nobody is making those musicians sign up to play with Amanda. They do it for the experience of a lifetime, and that is a great reward in and of itself. And if I could have done it, I would have joined the effort in a heartbeat.

    It is the very meaning of the phrase “we are the media”; we choose what we want to back, and we joined in the rewards when it delivers.

  • HerGrace

    How many artists out there, rich/poor/inthemiddle, actually produce their art without any financial support from anyone at all? Hardly any–nor should they.

    I love everything about the idea of giving the artist creative control, and I love the idea of forming a community with like-minded fans, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE feeling empowered by empowering artists I believe in. “Theatre is Evil” feels /special/ to me, in a way that no album ever has, because I helped make it happen. There’s a little teeny tiny part of me in there. It’s a beautiful thing.

  • http://twitter.com/Cara_1969 Cara

    If crowdfunding is for everybody, then it shouldn’t matter who you are, what you are, or how much money you have in your bank account. Since it is up to everyone to decide for themselves whether or not to help fund the kickstarter projects, I find the whole discussion somewhat surrealistic. It makes as much sense as some people saying that religion is for everybody, then decide that gays are not and thus can’t marry. Mindblowing logic…

  • http://twitter.com/revsean revsean

    Two rather tangential thoughts: (because I totally agree with you that crowdfunding should be open to any one and every one.)

    First, all these conversations (here, the interviews you’ve been giving, etc…) make me realize that there is great merit in having already planned, written, produced, (or whatever verb works) a majority of any project before launching the crowdfunding. I think part of what is putting people off is that the story getting told is about “failed” projects (like Bjork’s) or the ones that didn’t fulfill their promises.

    You made the point in an interview that often it’s a failure of communication and that the fans would be less upset if the artist shared *as it was happening* what was going on. If a project’s scope or scale or the assumptions under it turn out to be off, the fans just need to know. That’s true, but part of what made the ToE project so successful is that you’d already written the songs, you knew you had kickass material and you shared it as the project went along. It was “Trout Heart Replica” in an update that made me go back and increase my contribution. I wanted more of *that.* (The artwork, the story, something to hold in my hands…)

    Second, (this may be relevant to almost no one. feel free to stop reading.) I’m still thinking about how being and artist and being a minister have a lot in common. I am completely dependent on my congregation to fund my work. If they don’t give, I can’t sustain my ministry/life. If I inspire them to give generously, I can do more. More what? More things that benefit the people–more classes, more staff for support, more projects that give people a chance to make the world better, more people empowered to create a caring community, more people finding their own gifts…etc. Ideally, it’s a symbiotic relationship.

    Now I know there are a bunch of televangelists out there who get rich, but in my case, I’m talking about a local congregation. I’m not gonna get rich, though if things go well I might end up with a salary that is sufficient to qualify as middle class. If the people of the church agree, I will be compensated for the increasing complexity and stress of managing a larger organization. (in my tradition the board and congregation set my salary.)

    To get to my point: the ONLY way for this system to work is if everyone is generous. If I get selfish, it will fall apart. If the congregation gets stingy, it will fall apart. My job is to continually provide a vision of what is possible and a mission–a plan to make it happen. That vision would be absolutely impossible for me to do by myself. But if I inspire my community to invest in it (time, money, energy…) it can happen. I’m a professional catalyst. If I think for a minute that I should receive people’s money without communicating the vision AND being held accountable to it, I’m deluding myself.

    It worked perfectly with Bjork’s Kickstarter. She didn’t accomplish her part of the partnership and she got exactly the response that the project deserved. People didn’t trust it, didn’t “feel” it, didn’t understand it and so they didn’t fund it. Simple as that. What needs to emerge is a way to hold accountable those artists who are great with vision and suck at follow-through. In my congregation, that would eventually become obvious because we are engaged in face-to-face community building day after day. With crowdfunding, the giver doesn’t have as much or as immediate power if the artist doesn’t follow through, so accountability is diffuse and the contributor has little recourse. It’s not enough to say, “Well, the artist will get a bad reputation and won’t get funded next time.” Because if they took a contributor’s last twenty bucks and absconded, that matters.

  • lentower

    you’re right on.

    i hope lot’s of people hope over to the Guardian article,
    and make these kinds of comments.

    • http://amandapalmer.net/ Amanda Palmer

      i just made a goddam login account so i could post the blog over there. META BLOG COMMENTS UNITE!

  • http://twitter.com/kolby386 Kolby Manning

    If there’s a point in an artist’s career where they don’t need your money anymore, then why would you buy their music? They’re rich, right? Why should you have to spend money just because you like something? It’s not because you like it though(!), it’s because they had the nerve to ask you for money for something you like (yeah!). Because they don’t need money. Because they’re rich. Making music costs no money. And if it does, it can’t cost that much. I want the artists I love to just give me everything for free because they can afford it, and because music should be about the music, not the money! What’s distribution? What’s a marketing? I thought bands MADE money on all their tours. How to venture capital? This is garbage.

  • http://twitter.com/HMSoboe Hannah Schuetz

    A big issue, aside from the misunderstanding crowd-funding is the idea that there’s a point where you’re poor enough to deserve money, and there’s a point where your rich enough no one should give you money. If that’s true, why aren’t they enraged with capitalism in general? Corporations are LEGALLY OBLIGATED to make a profit, even if they hide it behind nice ads suggesting that they have your interests at heart (health insurance companies don’t do things that pay your doctor well or help your health, they do what MAKES MONEY). Money’s going to be made no matter what. So getting out of that sector, and asking your market directly what they’ll support, and being able to do exactly what you want is I think the most respectable thing any individual can do, regardless of what their personal income is.

  • http://twitter.com/ClaireShrugged Claire Targaryen

    When I first saw that Bjork had a kickstarter, I was excited. Then I watched the video, took a look at the rewards, and wasn’t that excited. The fact is that I’m not the kind of person who could or would spend £10 on an app, no matter how cool or educational it may be.

    The reason I didn’t back Bjork’s project isn’t because I think she or other artists of a certain degree of fame should not be crowdfunding. I didn’t back Bjork’s project because, frankly, it looked dull. I love Bjork’s music, so it was surprising how little connection I felt with her project. Also, it could have been marketed better. Bjork is a creative force of nature: I can’t think of a reason as to why the video wasn’t better. I applied exactly the same criteria to her kickstarter as I did to any other project, and it wasn’t for me.

    There’s no reason why crowdfunding shouldn’t be open to anyone. Fans are not obliged or coerced into parting from their cash. They do it willingly, and often appreciate the opportunity to connect with the artist involved. And crowdfunding isn’t charity: it benefits both parties. The rewards are often very tempting, and available for a reasonable sum of money.

    And then there’s the emotional aspect of crowdfunding. The albums I have received for backing a project are especially dear to me. I can listen to them and think that, on a practical level, I helped with the creation of this art. Why should the fans of more famous artists be deprived of that opportunity if the artist wants to crowdfund?

    If Lady GaGa crowdfunded ARTPOP, I would be one of the first to back it (unless, and this is extremely unlikely, she fails to share her vision/message with me). Crowdfunding is changing the way that art is financed, and at this early stage it’s impossible to say how it’ll end up. If people are willing to back a project, and an artist wants to pursue this new route to funding then more power to them.

  • Inversly_Proporsional

    I always liked the Sugarcubes.

  • Annie Leonard

    I agree with you, Amanda. A tool is a tool, and can be used however the user wishes to use it, whether they are misappropriating it (according to whoever disagrees) or not. It’s like the debate over social media being used for terror or crime prevention. Or how Ariel from the Little Mermaid uses a fork to comb her hair. People are so judgmental, but who are they to judge?

  • http://www.authenticexperience.org/ nikkiana

    I’m with you about the crowdsourcing. I think what we’re going to see into the future is that more and more artists are going to use that route to fund their projects, and that includes people who are already have established careers…. and part of that is likely going to involve critics who speculate that this or that artist doesn’t really need the money.

    Herein lies the rub, though… One of the ways that crowdsourcing is different than obtaining funding through more traditional means is your investor and your consumer are the same people…. which means your decision making process is important, and if you’re made a bad decision for the consumer, it’s going to reflect in the funding.

    For example… As I read about this project and thought through the process of “Would I have funded this?” I came to the conclusion of no… and here’s why. One, totally emotional consumer repsonse… You tell me that there’s an existing iOS app and I’m an Android user. My immediate reaction is “Fuck you for caring about them more than you care about me.” Two, I’m techie… Apps aren’t my business, but I know enough to know that if you’d done your research and chosen your technology wisely at the beginning of the project, you wouldn’t be looking at a $400,000 price tag to fix your mistake. Plus, I don’t care how awesome your album app is, it’s a gimmicky product to begin with… all your doing is the enhanced CD of the 21st century.

    In short? Bad investment. No, thanks. I’ll pass.

  • http://twitter.com/NoraBettyJ Elizabeth Jackson

    Sidenote, asdfghjkl; that song gave me eargasms it was just *wildly gestures*

  • lisaradgirl

    I adore kickstarter and the whole idea of it. How awesome it is that we fans can be involved in making something great happen like albums or art or whatever of someone you like and enjoy? If I had heard about the bjork project I probably would have kicked in. I freakin love her.

  • http://www.facebook.com/notprolificnotprofound Rachel Stewart

    It’s a well-known fact that Gaga went broke on her first tour because she wanted to make the experience so great. I feel like things like kickstarter and bandcamp allow me to give resources directly to the artist. I don’t see a problem with bjork reaching out in this manner. if people want it, it will happen. if not, back to the drawing board.

  • sasquatch_with_a_swatch_watch

    I want you to put an original song on my mix CD will you, Amanda? I had dinner with Neil once in San Francisco, he may remember me.

    A big fan- Jesse Mills

    http://rrecords.bandcamp.com/

    • sasquatch_with_a_swatch_watch

      I am only about Bjork, I am all about Bjork, why would you bother being influenced by anyone else?? I could sit on the floor and listen to fucking BOB DYLAN, but Homogenic, on Acid, will split you open like like a melon sitting on a hot boom box

  • http://twitter.com/LindenAsh Linden W.

    I get the “They’re rich, they can pay for it themselves!!” sentiment. That was my first reaction. Upon thinking a bit, I agree with you. Why not let an artist’s fanbase support their projects if they want. No one is making them pledge money. Personally, I like knowing that I’m a part of my favorite artist’s project. It gives a nice community type of feeling.

  • Bonnie May

    I personally wouldn’t donate to the project of a super-rich star, even if I’m a fan, because I would rather focus my contributions on the projects where the people don’t have as much access to resources. But that is my choice. If other people want to back Lady Gaga’s super-mega fancy high heel shoes, go for it. It should be the decision of the people if they want to back the project or not.

  • http://twitter.com/NancyBoi NancyBoi

    Thanks for raising this Amanda. I should start by saying that I’m a huge Bjork fan and a huge fan of the Biophilia project. It constitutes a highly coherent work of art based around music, performance and software made available through smart phones and tablets. It is packed full of little hidden secrets which confound and delight in just the same way Bjork’s music does. I have used the apps to show adults and children how to start to go about making music. It allows the listener/viewer/user to start with Bjork’s work and bend or twist it to their own will or to start with a blank slate making something entirely new.

    As best as I understand it, the original iOS apps have been made with the cooperation and dedication of many collaborators who haven’t been paid the full commercial value for the gazillions of hours of development, testing, revising and packaging that goes into such an ambitious project. Sounding familiar? Crowd sourced software development? Further Bjork has been building classroom music teaching and learning kits based on the project and Apple tablets and sending these out into schools with trained facilitators. Again, this is being done with the support and assistance of lots of sponsors, supporters and volunteers.

    OK the kickstarter… I must admit that I took one look and thought, oh dear, you really haven’t quite got the idea here Bjork. At the same time I fully understand just what a huge and expensive undertaking, porting this project to android and windows would be. It’s clear that the apps bent and sometimes broke iOS and the nature of the cobbling together process would inevitably make it really hard to migrate. I also admit that I pledged to back the project, but I’m a tragic. I’ve probably already spent $60 (Aus) on Biophilia, buying the apps, the album, the 37,000 remix downloads,but I feel I’ve gotten my money worth to see such an ambitious and engaging work come together.

    Contributing to this Kickstarter wasn’t at all a “what do I get” decision, but one to be involved in the creation of important art, and a thankyou for the joy I’ve already gotten from Biophilia and Bjork’s other works. In the same way, I contributed an extra hundred to your own Kickstarter above the rewards I got. This was a thankyou for the joy that Theatre Is Evil had already brought to me through seeing you around my home town (Melbourne) working stuff out with the band in a series of ridiculously cheap concerts (shhh, don’t tell everyone else), through collaborations with local musicians, artists, designers and nutcases.

    In short crowd funding is, as you say a democracy. I think Bjork stuffed it up pretty badly and the crowd didn’t come. I’m sure she will figure it out as will Gaga, Bieber and others. When they do, they will make the art they really want to in collaboration with the people who want that art to be. What could be better than that???

    xxxxxxxxxxxx

  • Sunami

    I believe that most people don’t realise that the majority of artists are *not* wealthy especially since so many folks think downloading [read stealing] is a victimless crime. And anyone who thinks getting a loan right now is similarly deluded.

  • http://twitter.com/RebeccaAmyTodd Rebecca Amy Todd

    Exactly this! This was the same issue I had with the Albini bullshit on your tour- if people WANT to volunteer their time or give their money to a cause, who is anyone else to say they can’t? That Jobs analogy is brilliant.

  • Tichi

    You simply can’t replace a pledge with a purchase because a purchse lacks all the excitement, faith, participation and epic meaning that comes with a pledge. Who really wants to take that away from a rich artists fan?

  • Karen

    I’m part of a startup that recently had a successful Kickstarter campaign (hooray Budding Biologist!), and what I love about the site is that every individual GETS TO DECIDE if a campaign is worth it. You don’t want to fund someone’s trip to India to document life as a yogi, you don’t have to donate. You’re really into folk music and want to fund a banjo trio’s reunion album? Totally up to you. I love that anyone can try, and Kickstarter has a number of checks in place to make sure contributors aren’t getting scammed. They also give you some tips on how to set a reasonable and realistic goal. Bjork isn’t my cup of tea so I wouldn’t donate, but why shouldn’t she get to try just like everyone else? I’m guessing she felt the need to cancel because her presentation wasn’t well made and her goal wasn’t realistic, but not because she has TOO MUCH MONEY to need a Kickstarter. Not a great argument.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=574573993 Ron Wild

    I remember reading criticism of you for not paying your source based musicians for your last album and thinking,’Wow!I wish I could play an instrument, I’d play for the fun, the kudos, the joy of getting a project to work and working with a favourite musician.’ The thought of money never entered my head, nor should it, if we all helped, then the grabbing venture capitalists wouldn’t be earning multi millions a year, off the sweat of of others. Keep on posting, or I’d never know of such things. xxx

  • Monica

    The other issue is some of these artists don’t follow through with perks. They use their names to get money and then their done. Total bullshit, and kickstarter doesn’t care because they got their money, too.

  • http://twitter.com/TimSYoung Timothy Young

    I’ve done 2 Kickstarters so far, my first was during your hughly successful Kickstarter and I felt that all of the attention it brought to the site helped everyone. Since then, other big names, like Bjork, have jumped in and I say the more the merrier. I’m sorry hers didn’t work but it just shows that you have to sell your project properly. The more press crowd-funding gets, the more people will check it out. My latest project is only a small-budget one to raise some funds to promote my new book, “I Hate Picture Books!” and it’s almost fully funded. Kickstarter is free-enterprise at it’s best.

  • SpamEggandSpam

    I can understand where those naysayers are coming from – I am a single parent, living well below the poverty line, and making the kind of art I would like to usually seems like an unattainable luxury. It’s easy to have envy-originating anger as a knee-jerk reaction to the supposedly well-off being able to harness resources some of us can only wistfully covet. That, however, doesn’t make it the right reaction – as much as there is a “right” reaction to anything.

    It is honest, but ultimately futile to rail against those I see as having it easier than I do. And for me, struggling to survive must be mitigated by having something worth striving for – something beyond managing the bills and trying to stay above water. My son is one of those things, but he will grow up and move out one day, and in the mean time I have to remember that I am more than a mother – I am an individual human being, and my basic needs include beauty and hope, things not as easy to find in the quest for the x,y intersection of cost and nutritional value of different brands of boxed mac and cheese.

    But why should I project my limitations onto others?
    I have envy. It is real. I have frustration and the sense of being trapped. Those are real. But the perseverance of artists conjuring beauty in a fractured world is also real, and even when I am not in a position to support that financially I can support art ideologically. After all, it benefits me, and benefits all of us to explore the permutations of what it is to be alive and human. Music, and interacting with music, does that for me.

    • SpamEggandSpam

      To be clearer, I understand those angry people, but I definitely disagree with their argument.

  • http://www.facebook.com/leonrawr Léon Ru

    Just wanted to say that the song by Björk you posted is awesome indeed. Thanks for that. I knew it was worth coming here.

    As for the actual article: The most intriguing question is, why do people care? Money is a dreadful thing, which is just proven by the kind of comments Björk’s action received. The moment it becomes personal (i.e. is adjusted to a person, either one self or someone else), it becomes powerful. Both for the persons that have it and for the ones that don’t. (The former gain control and the latter are controlled, if only through wrong perceptions of the world.) The way kickstarter deals with this is way better: it applies money to projects, not necessarily persons; and if persons are involved, they are anonymous. Therefore, the “social energy” it has is purely productive, which is wonderful: like a devastating and terrible picture that is broken into pieces which form a new beautiful image.

  • Leila Marchi

    I love kickstarter for a bunch of reasons.

    (1) I feel good about helping people be creative. Because that’s really what most of the kickstarter projects I’ve seen are about.

    (2) I feel ESPECIALLY good that I can be nearly personally involved in the creative process of someone I admire.

    (3) I can send my hard-earned money DIRECTLY to the project of someone I support.

    (4) As if the warm fuzzies of nurturing the creativity of an artist/designer/whatever that I support wasn’t enough, I also get stuff, usually cool stuff. From Amanda, pretty epic stuff.

    (5) It feels like a family, especially when you get kickstarter updates. You’re involved in something special, exclusive to you and the other backers and nobody else. It’s like a club. Of awesome.

    (6) On the day the project hits its mark and your money goes WHOOSH – you realize you’re getting an extra Christmas this year, i.e., the day your stuff arrives. And you get all the electric anticipation that goes with it.

    Honestly, I don’t understand all the hullabaloo over “rich people” using Kickstarter. Why shouldn’t the fans of someone like Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber or anyone else get to have the same involvement? Just because I don’t care for an artist’s work doesn’t mean the people who DO should be shut off from supporting what they want to. How would I feel if I was cut off from supporting the people I wanted to? Shitty. Golden rule, people. Golden rule. If a rich/famous person goes on kickstarter and starts a kickin project, it’s not hurting you unless the project goes live after you or someone who hates you signs you up to pledge an obscene amount of money against your will. Odds of that happening? Yeah. Thought so.

    I think if I was a rich or famous (or both) artist, I’d see kickstarter and go, holy crap! You mean I can be personally involved with my fans and have them personally pledge to support me? Not just by buying my shiny album which the record company squeezed out of me and put on the shelves at WalMart, but that they actually want to support because I presented the concept, they loved it, and we’re all working together toward a better artistic tomorrow? I’d throw a fit. I’d throw glitter. I’d throw a party. I’d throw a kickstarter.

    The important thing is that kickstarter IS a community. It’s not just “I shall put this project out and they will love me and they will hand me their money and thank me for the opportunity, and I will go my merry way.” Record companies are take. Kickstarter is give-and-take. So folks who pitch projects there are generally the people who are offering cool stuff in return for your support. For example: I’m getting an open-source gaming console in a couple of weeks. I gave them 99 bucks and they’re sending me an open-source console that any developer can create games for, and all games must be free to play. Dude.

    If they’d pitched the project and said, “send us your money to fund this project, and then we will let you know when the units are made and you can give us more money to buy one,” that would have been shady. I think that as long as the artists pitching their projects on KS understand the community aspect, and what crowdfunding is really all about, then it’s a great platform for anyone to use, whether they’re a household name or not. And even if someone rich and/or famous DOES exploit the system, I go back to an earlier point. Whether I like their practices or not, it’s not up to me to deny a person the chance to support a person/project they believe in. I’d just choose not to support a crappy greedy kickstarter.

  • kali_licious

    Don’t people realize that this is how you break music away from corporate control? If the “biggies” start interacting with the fanbase directly, it opens the way for MORE involvement and LESS “need” for intercessors like the “music” industry. This also empowers the consumer because the money is going to the ARTIST and no longer paying for focus groups and middle managers. I see this as a win-win.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kokostar Ko-Shin Musica

      I completely agree with you.

  • Austin

    People get all twisted up over Kickstarter and I cannot figure out why. Here’s how I look at it: We’re in an era where the “label” is exactly who it should’ve been all along- the fans. The fans dictate how big your “deal” is, i.e. how much cash you get up front for the project. One major difference is, though, that you get as much money for your project as people who like your past work deem you worthy of receiving. It’s a novel concept. Your “deal” isn’t bigger for record #2 because you went triple platinum and sold more tapes than Hootie & The Blowfish. Your “deal” is bigger because your first record was awesome, and your fans want an even more awesome record the second time. They don’t expect much- maybe a copy of the record, or a poster, or a shirt, or some other proportional demonstration of the return on the fan’s investment. This is not a new concept at all. I’m not sure why people act like X or Y big time artist asking for / getting $500k+ is a big deal when there have been artists for the past hundred years getting, adjusted for dollar value and inflation, million+ dollar deals every year. But here’s the difference: instead of that money being traded for artistic control, or copyrights, or royalties, or spent on sushi for some exec who shows up in a limo he rented on YOUR budget that YOU earned by writing great songs and working your ass off, the money goes straight to the artist, straight to the project, and then straight back to the fans.

    Why is eliminating the middle man such a horrible thing? Would Lady Gaga’s recording budgets be offensive to people if her fans gave her a dollar a piece instead of some number crunching suit signing a check with an asterisk at the end, leading to “And you are obligated to tour x amount of days and you will make x% of the money gathered by selling YOUR songs to YOUR fans,” or maybe people just haven’t stopped to think about this for more than fifteen seconds before they go blowing chunks all over the internet? There’s an absolute gap of reasoning here, and it seems to come from people who are not themselves musicians or artists or “makers” who have ever tried to do something ambitious that required financial backing of some kind, that cannot be bridged until people understand that $1,000,000 for a record is $1,000,000 for a record regardless of source. BUT. There is a significant benefit not only to the artist, but to the fans themselves, if that million dollars doesn’t come from an office full of risk analysts who are trying to figure out if the demo for the newest single is going to make them enough money, and instead comes right from the people who want to hear the songs. The singles, the 8 minute tracks, the interludes, all of it.

    Everybody wants new music and they want it all the damn time. Nobody wants to pay for it. Nobody thinks anybody remotely successful “deserves” crowd funds. The message is clear: people want music and they want it for absolute 0. They don’t want to fund an artist directly, nor do they want to fund the artist via purchasing records. They want music, and they want us (the musicians) to pay for it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/BikerAndy2112 Andy Ellison

    At first I would’ve said that Kickstarter should be used by the butting artist, programmer, or entrepreneur trying to gain a foothold in an incredibly competitive market. However you make a good point that at the end of the day it shouldn’t matter what medium you use, whether it be kickstarter, your website, or even going door to door. If you have an idea, and there are people willing to back it, why should your previous accomplishments (or even failures) stop you?

    When I think about it, I know that even if Ze Frank was a multi-millionaire, or if Amanda Palmer was sitting in a golden throne telling us about her leap into the Independent music industry, I would’ve still backed them because I believed in the project. And that’s all that should matter.

  • Ukulele Kris

    Is it bad, that I don’t really care for Bjork’s music?

    Though, I did like that thing she did with the Tesla coil, because TESLA FUCKING COILS.

    Also, I think you’re right, if she wants to use Kickstarter, let her go for it. If it fails, that shows it’s not a great idea, and there’s not enough interest in it. If people are willing to pay for it, let them. It’s their money.

  • Bloodgear

    My problem with it is that it dominates. Kickstarter was for the smaller person trying to get the funds together for their project for incentives or for the ones that just couldn’t afford what they were trying to accomplish.

    When someone ‘famous’ decides to go down that route, it becomes news. It dominates. It takes over the coverage and the lesser little shining star slowly goes a bit darker, gradually until it burns out and doesn’t get funded.

    • http://aaronjshay.net/ Aaron J. Shay

      Each group or artist must rely on their community for the success of their campaign, big names and small names alike. For a big name to overshadow a smaller name, their communities have to be the same, because that’s where all of the support comes from. This probably doesn’t happen often because two crowd-funding groups rarely have an entire community in common.

  • http://twitter.com/raq_hell Rachel

    Fans will pay for Justin Bieber’s music, they will pay for Gagas, Afp’s, Jay-Z, Black Keys etc. The point that these commenters are missing is that by funding a project via Kickstarter, all the money goes DIRECTLY to the project. No one taking a cut before the artist gets a look in (except kickstarter?)

    Going by these commenters logic, we should give up paying for music altogether because if the artists are already rich, they don’t need to pay for rent, food, tour, promotion etc. How about we don’t pay the CEO of Google, since they’re already loaded?

    Crowdfunding brings the artist and the crowd together. I love that. Artists are people too. Let’s all remember that

  • Matt Peters

    I look at it this way: I’m a huge food nerd. There’s a restaurant, a small burger joint, right down from my office that I love. When I’m there, and if I have the spare cash, I give a twenty to the manager and ask him to use it to pay for the next first-timer who sits at the bar, or the next person to sits where I sat, just to make someone’s visit more awesome. I’ve been invited to be in crowd scenes when the place has been shown on TV, get to be part of a few special events and so on, because I take an active role in doing small things to keep the place going. So by now, it’s not just “my fave place” – it is a place I am a part of, or it’s a part of me.

    In the same vein, if any musician or artist, big name or small, said, “Hey, let’s do this together” and I got to feel like I had a hand in something I believed in? Shit yes, I’ll lay my money down. And since, IIRC, you tend to get bennies from Kickstarter campaigns, it isn’t like someone’s just asking for handouts without so much as a thank you.

    I can think of few things that feel as good as being able to stand back and look at something great and say, “I played a part in that”. Especially when so many other people can get enjoyment from the product.

    So, basically, AFP, I agree 100 percent.

    • http://aaronjshay.net/ Aaron J. Shay

      The hungry burger lovers of the world thank you for your service.

  • Drew Brigner

    Oh, Amanda, don’t let internet trolls get you down. Axelprod is incorrect, kickstarter is not solely for those who can’t afford the funding, and why shouldn’t people use it to de-risk a project. Between exisiting in a digital age and innovations like crowdsourcing and manufacturing, consumerism of the extremely near future is going to change drastically. That is to say it is changing, always changing, and kickstarter is just the next part.

    Folks can look down their nose at popular artists looking for support, but for an artist to go to their fans and say “Hey everyone, if I do another album, would you be up for it?”, is a great way to turn a fan base into a much stronger community, especially when your fans say “Hell yes, I’ll pay for that shit up front”.

    TL:DR Crowdsourcing isn’t just for the disenfranchised, it’s only another wave of the future, and like same-sex marriage, in a few years folks will look back and laugh and say “remember when people thought this was only for certain people in certain circumstances, man I’m glad we let that shit go.”

  • drobin

    From what I understand, Kickstart is a great idea or tool. It should be available to any (in this case) artist. At least in my case if I was doing a kick start project it would make the end product better; as I’d be creating it for my supporters, people who want me to create something for them, and believe in me enough to invest. If they wanted to invest 1K and get my composition notebook in the end, they were going to invest that much to begin with. Come to thing about it, this system almost creates an inverted (or equalized) system of the old royalty or wealth patrons supporting artists. As an artist who would you want as your investors? The very people who are supporting you or some corporate entity simple looking at a bottom line? So yes. if Justin Bieber wants to do a Kickstarter for his album of Gesualdo motets and there is enough people willing to support him in that endeavor why not? The people will have spoken. Thanks for letting me ramble.

    • drobin

      Madrigals, not Motets

  • Anaïs

    hyperballad (Brodsky quartet) and unravel are the most moving songs i’ve ever heard ! I’m glad you like Björk….I should be proud to participate to someone’s project, especially if this project means something to me ! I wouldnt care about the fact that he/she has enough money to make it himself…as Brian said, it’s about participate to something you like and want to support !
    ps: excuse my english, I’m french

  • http://www.facebook.com/danieliw Dan Wilson-Stone

    lady gaga example not so good
    steve jobs one much better

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.kirshenblatt Matthew Kirshenblatt

    I’m not very experienced with Kickstarter from a creator’s perspective and there are details that I’m sure I’m going to miss, but here is my opinion on this in any case.

    To me, Kickstarter is a medium. It is a form of “personal marketing.” It is a method of appealing to your fans in a slightly different way: in making it very clear and obvious that they are just as much part of the process as you are. The perks and incentives in doing so are just added bonuses to that fact. Bjork, or whoever may or may not represent her, seemed to attempt to tap into this relatively new medium of patronage and didn’t quite grasp the details. That doesn’t mean she shouldn’t have done it.

    The fact of the matter is that say she, or someone else used their money to advertise or make a campaign. It may or may not be as effective, but it would be different from a Kickstarter campaign. Appealing to your fans as personally as is possible considering how many there may be, how many resources you have, and how much time and energy you have is more important for Kickstarting than just throwing money out there. Again, I’m not speaking from experience or knowledge, but I do think that Kickstarter is different. It encourages a certain form of interaction and at least the idea of being more personable.

    I think that anyone should be able to use it, and also have the right to support or not support it. But the possibility should definitely still be out there.

  • Megan

    How is a successful musician using crowdfunding any different from a successful musician using the money their fans spent on buying their music? Fans of the musician or the project will spend their money where they want to. It’s all the same money. Where do you think Bjork got her wealth in the first place? It’s up to the people who want to donate which projects they donate to, and yes, crowdfunding should be available for everyone. It’s not just about the artist or the project, you know. Coming from the point of view of a consumer of the arts, I personally like to feel like I contributed to something I found worthwhile. People like to feel like they had a part in something, no matter whether the artist involved absolutely NEEDED their money or not. And again, I reiterate… if you’re going to say that wealthy, successful artists don’t need crowdfunding, be sure you don’t buy any wealthy, successful artist’s work. Because it’s the same thing.

  • Julia

    artists/people can ask for money/ funding as long as they want but that does not mean their fans and followers are forced /should give them the money. after all it’s your money you don’t have to give it away.

  • Caralynne

    It’s really the funder who decides what isn’t worth the money – if someone asks for $50 for nothing and people give it to them, or $50 for a well-produced 12-track album and people give it to them, it’s the funder’s decisions and money. Depending on the benefits, I don’t see a difference in funding, in return for an album, as opposed to buying the same album in a shop, produced with a record company’s money. It’s a way of getting money that circumnavigates institutions that may not be willing to invest in a project, where as a couple of thousand interested civilians could contribute enough for the project to fly. If artists should fund their own livelihood, why are massive artists still being signed up and funded? It’s prestigious to get a big record label asking for the privilege to distribute and produce your talent, but to ask people who like your music to fund you is unprofessional or dishonourable? There’s no difference to me at all. You’re getting something great back in return no matter whether you pay for it (oh shocker to pay for it!) or whether someone else pays for it…and then you pay them for it. You pay, you get something back. If it sucks…don’t pay. Just like anything else.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pelle.kuipers Pelle Kuipers

    I think it’s great Björk her Kickstarter project failed. It shows that you have to have a good idea and you can’t rely solely on your fanbase. Which actually provides the answer to this debate.

    If people want something, it will be there. People want to pay millions for a posh car. The result: Lamborghini Ferrari, Porche, etc. It’s the same with every product: supply and demand.

    This is the reason why Kickstarter is awesome: it provides people with ideas a tool with which they can reach almost every single person who might be interested.

    I always remind myself of the point and click adventure which was funded via Kickstarter. In the end it got 1.5 million dollars or something. It was ridiculous! And that game would have never been made by a big game company, because a point and click adventure is deemed to old-fashioned. But it WAS made because there ARE people who are interested in old-fashioned retro game stuff :-)

  • Sarah Emily

    I personally think that the opportunity to fund an artist on kickstarter, as a fan, is a beautiful thing. You are essentially taking part in something that you would love to happen, you are directly supporting artists to make music, FOR YOU. Not only does artists do what they do for themselves, but they do it for their audience. WHY NOT ask the audience to get involved? It’s just one more way to break down the barrier between artist and audience, and that barrier has never been more prominent before. An artist who wishes to break down and say “fuck you” to that barrier is one that is worth funding, no matter how much money they have made from their success, is an artist worth funding.

  • Craig Richmond

    Maybe Amanda can confirm, but I was under the impression that when I buy a big budget album from a major label Amanda would see $1-2 of the sale price. The rest goes to the machine (lawyers, production, distribution, retail margins, etc). I backed AFP kick starter because The Machine keep pissing me off by doing such things as cancelling my favourite TV shows and I felt the rewards offered were worth it to me. London Art Show was a memorable evening in my life. Book and album are great.

    Would I fund U2, The Spice Girls, Hannah Montana, Portishead or Joss Whedon if the were proposing a project I wanted to see delivered with rewards that I felt warranted the investment? Hell yes. Would I support a small independent band who looked like they were asking for money from crowd funding with no track record because it looked like an easier path than actually getting good and then asking their hard earned fans to support them in exchange for unique experiences and trinkets? Probably not.

    You almost need some amount of fame for kickstarter to work for you.

  • Shai

    I see what you are saying but I would like to make a comment. it’s true that anyone should get the chance to crowdsurf, and I think it’s great. But I don’t think there should be no criticism. asking money from your fans is cool and it shows the mutual relationship between an artist and her fans, but I think that getting too rich from art is also not good. I think that artists shouldn’t be taking too much advantage of their fans willingness to give them money. it should all be with moderation. because in the end, they have a gift, they are able to connect with people and give them something that is priceless – music, unlike some other jobs in which you provide a service and get paid a fixed ammount for it. I can relate to this post and I know it’s mostly about how kickstarter is a tool for everyone, whether rich or poor, but it also gives the sense that we cannot criticize an artist for making too much for a living, and I don’t agree with that, I think that especially because they provide their ‘customers’ such a priceless thing, they should not use it (only in my opinion of course) as a tool to get rich. I know they work hard for it, but so does a doctor or a street cleaner, but they can’t profit that much from their work. So I think it’s also the responsability of the artist to be humble and transparent. I love being a fan and I love supporting my favourite artists, but some artists are fucking good and they have tons of fans, that are willing to give money, a lot more money than they actually need or should have.does it make it right? so, do I think kickstarter is for everyone? yes. but I think artist should also be careful with how much profit they gain, like any other person should and not say: if the fans gave it to me because they wanted do, then it’s fine. of course I’d love to hear other opinions.

    • http://twitter.com/Esmertina Esmertina Bicklesnit

      I have a hard time with the concept that artistic talent should not be used as a tool to get rich, but I’m glad to see some differing views here.
      Maybe your point is that it is exploitative for an artist to take a lot of money from a few fans who are willing to give it because they feel a close personal connection … you think perhaps that the artist is manipulating his or her fanbase. I have heard some people referring to Amanda’s “cult-like” following. Maybe it’s a valid, well-intentioned concern. I wouldn’t want a charismatic artist to be the equivalent of a faith healer who bilks his congregation out of millions. I don’t believe that’s the case with Amanda, though, at all.
      Let me ask you this — is it OK for an artist who has mass appeal to become rich, because they are getting a little bit of money from a whole lot of people? Is it more moral for Beyonce to be rich? Or do you really believe that having artistic talent, unlike any other talents a person may have, is not an appropriate way to become wealthy?

      • shai

        I didn’t talk about Amanda specifically. personally, I think that getting too rich is bad in any case, the only reason people can get extremely rich is because there is an exploitive system that allows it.
        I love the idea of crowdsurfing and I think it’s great, but I don’t see the point of considering it completely ok for artists to accumulate as much money as they want just because they can, as well as any other person – if they’re business men or football players.. I don’t think it’s more moral for beyonce to be rich, and I would criticise her for that, and still really love and enjoy her music. I don’t think Amanda or Bjork are exploiting their audience.

        I just wanted this discussion to gain more proportion. everyone is so supportive of the idea that artists should ask their fans for money and fans should give if they want to, and I am too, but not to an endless extant. people are mad because politicians get too much money, what makes an artist that makes about the same money different?

    • http://twitter.com/FelixMarques Félix Marqués

      I think you’re not going deep enough. The main thing here is, why do they want to be very rich as opposed to just affluent.

      I want to be a famous artist, I want to be a millionaire. I want to be able to fund my own projects and pay other artists to work for me on them, and I want to be so filthy rich, in fact, I can afford to give several millions in aid every year to all the proverbial starving orphans and help redistribute wealth. I’d be a pretty great rich guy (at least that’s what I think right now). I only want a house and a studio space, and money to make art—everything else I’d just give away. Why do I want it? To spend it in countless worthless signs of power and status? To make sure that the swimming pool on my backyard is gold-tiled? Fuck it!

      The main issue here in the end is morality. Like technology, or power, or anything else, money isn’t evil in its own. It’s us and what we do with it when we happen to have a lot of it in our hands.

      I also think that many people do priceless work for humanity and they deserve much better, but if I have the oportunity to earn huge amounts of money (without compromising my ideals and values in the process) I’m not going to turn it down just becasue I’d feel I was “unfairly” getting what other worthy people didn’t get. Just as there is always someone better, or worse off than you, there is always someone “worthier”. But it’s what you do with what you’re thrown that ultimately makes you worthy of having gotten it to begin with.

      I don’t think it’s bad for people to be able to get rich. I think it’s bad if they misuse that wealth afterwards, and that’s a different (and much more complex) problem.

      (Though perhaps the world would benefit from some tax that prevented anyone from personally making more than a few million dollars a year? I have no idea what effects this really would have, anyone here who is more informed please tell me.)

  • http://twitter.com/Staryx Steve

    I recently read a blog post by Ethan Nicolle, who does the webcomic Axe Cop. The post is titled “The Fame Threshold”, and I think it somewhat dovetails nicely in with your post here.

    http://axecopwedding.com/the-fame-threshold/

  • briskate

    To me, crowdfunding an album isn’t just about the recording costs, it’s about having a distribution network. Even if an artist can independently fund the recording itself, they still have to have a distribution network (or at least they do in Australia) and they have to demonstrate that people want to hear the songs. Having a broad base for your funding demonstrates interest in your project, and surely this is even more important when you’re doing something a bit different like björk’s proposal?

  • http://www.facebook.com/afardo Angela Fardo

    I saw the project a while back and decided to not back the project but not because of Bjork finances. The issue was poor marketing, unclear objectives, and a lackluster return on my personal investment. I love Bjork but the explanation of the necessary development dollars bored me and I’m a multimedia developer. I wanted to hear about her dream and why the project was a labor of love for her and everyone involved. Kickstarter should be, in my humble opinion, a way for artists to make their artistic visions that corporate suits would laugh out of a board room into reality. It’s the love of art not the measure of need. If you pour your heart into it, they will come but that has to be clearly expressed to create interest.

  • Finkdoobiest

    “Human nature is not a machine to be built after a model, and set to do exactly the work prescribed for it, but a tree, which requires to grow and develop itself on all sides, according to the tendency of the inward forces which make it a living thing.”

    “Such are the differences among human beings in their sources of pleasure, their susceptibilities of pain, and the operation on them of different physical and moral agencies, that unless there is a corresponding diversity in their modes of life, they neither obtain their fair share of happiness, nor grow up to the mental, moral, and aesthetic stature of which their nature is capable.”

    ~John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859)

    I can see the logic behind the complaints. Kickstarter relies on the wisdom of crowds. The concept of “price” also relies on the wisdom of crowds – That a free market will define the value of a good more accurately than a single individual – This is essentially Friedman Lassiez-Faire economics, which proposes that a free market, left to it’s own devices, will distribute wealth evenly. This works in on paper, but demonstrably does not in practice because it omits one vital ingredient – Time.

    Over time Laissez-Faire economics leads to something akin to Pareto’s distribution – Also known as the 80/20 rule. An individual with more money has more opportunity to make money, as money can also buy opportunity. Economies of scale takes over…

    How does this fit with Kickstarter? Well, Kickstarter has a limited number of users, with a limited amount of disposable income. Money is scarce. A person with more money to market their project will have greater reach than someone starting off. Reputation is also a factor – If an individual has a proven track record of quality and reliability (through Kickstarter or other means) they are more likely to attract investment, and vice versa. Success begets success….leading to the 80/20 rule.

    In Kickstarter’s economy of scarcity a person who could pay for a project themselves is taking not just indirectly taking money from someone less fortunate (for whatever reason), but the opportunity create a credible reputation for themselves (We’re all connected). This is why it causes such vitriolic comments.

    The argument is essentially Libertarianism vs Socialism.

    • http://twitter.com/HMSoboe Hannah Schuetz

      Hmm. You do get to some of the heart of it. But all the same we see that everywhere economics is imperfect. If the whole world used crowdfunding, eventually it would be corrupt as any other system.

      What I disagree with is the idea that Kickstarter is so limited. While some users stay, many more come and go, just joining the projects that they’ve heard from outside the site. (like I did for Theater is Evil) Consumers will not endlessly buy everything and anything. There has to be discretion. I’m not going to back a project I have no interest in. And I’m probably not going to look into an artist just because they’re on kickstarter.

      Obviously those who have had success in other areas, understand what they need to create a product and have a base of backers to draw from will be more successful than those who do not. Crowdfunding can’t guarantee success any more than any other system. But I think it is at least a vehical to directly interact with the market.

      • Finkdoobiest

        Oh I completely agree. Most people don’t consider whether a proven system will scale. Examples are that most corporations function perfectly well as a hierarchical dictatorship, but we all know what happens when that is scaled to nation state level. Or indeed that capitalism works on the scale of a nation state, but out of globalization emerges sweat shops.

        To me the question is – Is it appropriate for Kickstarter to scale to a level that allows established artists to kick-start their projects?

        It reminds me of a recent story regarding a change in child benefit caps in the UK – A journalist named Angela Epstein very vocally complained that her child benefit would be taken away under the new rules, despite her and her husband having a combined annual income of circa £100K. Her defense was that the new cap discriminated against her children.

        Looked at in isolation this rings true but, I believe she’s missing the point of the system – To give money and, consequently, opportunity to children who wouldn’t otherwise have it.

  • Gileh

    I backed Bjork’s Kickstarter, mostly because I wanted the app on Android. The Biophilia app always sounded interesting to me, but I’m not on iOS and will never be on iOS, so this seemed like a good chance to get the app. There’s also the whole “it’s Bjork” factor. I like her music and I believed in the project, so I wouldn’t mind paying ten pounds, even if that is expensive for the mobile marketplace. I’m not sure how much the “it’s *insert artist*” factor is worth to everyone else, but it was easily worth ten pounds to me. I suppose that’s part of the beauty of crowdsourcing: it allows us to put a monetary value on that, as well as get something in exchange for it.

    I hope this is not the end of the line for this project on the Android and Windows 8 platforms. I feel that using technology to supplement more traditional learning methods is the way of the future (hell, it seems to be the way of the present), and I’m happy that Bjork realized this and hopped on the wagon with the Biophilia app.

    As far as crowdsourcing goes, I’m sure this point has been raised multiple times already, but all it does is changes who’s funding the project. Instead of the investors being a bunch of suits who want to see a return on their investment, it’s now people who are personally involved with the project and couldn’t care less about profit margins or anything along those lines. Obviously I’ve bought products that were funded both ways, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel more of a connection to Theatre Is Evil (admittedly, my first KS), Bjork’s project, or Protest the Hero’s new album over on Indiegogo, even if I didn’t donate oodles of money for higher-level perks. My small amount of money won’t make or break the projects, but it doesn’t change the fact that I did contribute and help make it possible.

    Anyone can use crowdsourcing. Hell, anyone can put out any product their little heart desires. The marketplace (aka “us”) will decide if your product is good enough to come to fruition, or if it already has, if it’s good enough to succeed and possibly warrant future iterations. Isn’t that how this whole capitalism thing was supposed to work? Isn’t that the reason this project failed? Sure, perhaps Bjork could have done things better, but at the end of the day there simply wasn’t the demand for this product. It happens.

    Either way Bjork chose to make it happen, I was going to pay for that app. I don’t see any reason why it’s so much worse for her to ask for the money now and use that money to develop the app and everything else that might go along with it, as opposed to asking for that money later and pocketing some of it as profit. Hell, I think I’d prefer my money to be used for developing a product that everyone else can enjoy, as opposed to keeping whatever is leftover. I understand that she has to eat and pay bills and all of that good stuff too, but I’m pretty sure that her music is also her job, and I’ll gladly support her by buying her music.

  • ArtistJen

    I don’t get it. Why would anyone who doesn’t like Bjork or have any interest in Bjork care? This is another example of intolerant people trying to whittle things down to only what they like and to take shots at crowd funding. I think the music industry and corporations have worms out there posting crap against crowd funding as well. They know if the people ever really understand that they have the power to choose what they want that they will lose all control. I don’t care who or what you are, you should have every option available to you. If your fans want to throw money at you then let them. If they don’t…well, fine. You might be offering something they aren’t interested in. Why tell certain groups or individuals they aren’t allowed to give it a go? It’s intolerance and discrimination. Plain and simple. The media as well as corporations want people to think crowd funding doesn’t work. It does. It works and it’s uses are limitless.

  • Diacritic

    Folks have this weird idea that Kickstarter is a charity or something close to, like a Kiva. I think it’s partly the marketing that the KS folks do that creates this impression, in fairness. KS is a way to say to the world “I will sell you X for Y dollars” in such a way that X only happens if Y dollars are put up. That’s fantastic.

    I also see a lot of artists/creators misusing KS, in that they should be trying to pre-sell the product, not give away lots of stickers and plaudits and such. “If I can sell 1000 units of my new album at $10 a pop, I will have enough to go for it. Anyone with $10 want to put it down for me?” If you’re trying to give away mostly stuff that isn’t the creation or something directly related, you’re sort of not getting it. If you want to sell other stuff in order to fund your album-or-whatever, just sell that stuff in one of the many places you could just sell it already. Kickstarter is for selling something all at once to enough people to guarantee that it’s profitable or at least close enough to justify. To, you know, Kickstart something.

    There’s no reason Björk (alt-148! I remembered it!) shouldn’t be allowed to use this process, obviously. I didn’t see the original project, but it looks fine to me. It’s a shame it didn’t sell, but that’s the point of Kickstarter too, good projects will out and projects that not enough people want will fail to meet their funding goals, which is fine and good. Given that it was Björk, I’m sure it wasn’t a lack of publicity.

    Anyway, this is to say that I agree, but that part of the problem is that KS sort of positions themselves as champions of the indie, so that’s the impression people have. Also, internet, so trolls.

  • http://twitter.com/LittleJanelleS Janelle Sheetz

    I kind of see their argument, but I see yours better. I think maybe the issue is that people incorrectly feel like things like Kickstarter are very similar to charities–many seem like they’d rather be investing in a struggling artist who needs help as opposed to someone who could do it all on their own. There’s probably some inherent dislike of success/money or even jealousy buried deep down there somewhere.

    I think they miss two very big points.

    1) Backers are still getting some kind of perks out of this. This isn’t a rich person asking for money–this is artists and other innovators asking for an investment, and in the end, the backer gets some sort of recognition for it or product out of it. I put money into your Kickstarter, I got a fucking gorgeous album, and lamented being broke and unable to get ALL THE THINGS.

    2) It puts control back in the hands of the artists and allows for community and maybe even collaboration with fans. There’s actually something commendable in musician forgoing labels and going straight to fans for the money to put out what they want the way they want. It allows for lots of freedom, expression, and support. People using Kickstarter generally wouldn’t use their own money on a project anyway, be it an album, a book, etc. Lady Gaga may be filthy rich, but she’s not the one paying to produce her album or put together her beastly tours, so why should it be any different should she turn to Kickstarter? This kind of leads back to point #1. Maybe that artist-direct-to-fan deal ends up being a problem for rich artists (or artists perceived as rich) because they see a rich person asking their fans for money and don’t see the bigger picture or consider the end product.

    • http://twitter.com/FelixMarques Félix Marqués

      I would outright phrase “Backers get some kind of perks out of this” as “Kickstarter is a backing-through-preorders service”, outright.

      All your points are legitimate and valid and I agree so much.

      • http://twitter.com/LittleJanelleS Janelle Sheetz

        I did very nearly just call it “shopping.”

  • Captain Cadaver

    I love crowdfunding and I think it is truly a democratic way to fund artists and their projects. I think if more established artists used crowdfunding instead of relying on the big record companies they could make the art that THEY and their fans want, not just what the record company CEOs want. Otep Shamaya recently announced that her most recent album will be her last because piracy is hurting their sales too much but I believe that if more people did what MSI and AFP did and give donors incentives to help pay for recording an album it will make fans feel truly involved and they will WANT to give your money for your music.

  • Matt

    This whole situation is weird. I saw the app release a couple of months ago and I didn’t understand it then. Now with your explanation I still don’t understand what Bjork was trying to get at. Yes, it is a cool idea to try and release an album through a new medium (we did it with eight tracks, then with cassettes, then with cds…) but it just seems like this idea was a few years too early.

    You asked “when are you no longer allowed to go straight to your fanbase, to your crowd, for funding?” Amanda, before you, I had never even heard of the idea of “crowd-funding”. Seriously. Busking, I’ve heard of. Going directly to the fans to help a project get off the ground? This is still really fresh territory.

    I think what’s being missed is the fact that there is a certain stigma attached to being in the line of work that you are in. People think, “Oh, She’s a rockstar. She ought to be doing well financially” or “Oh, you write music for a living, you must bring in a pretty penny”. So when the general public sees people like Bjork try a kickstarter, or when the idea of a mega-celebrity (like Bieber or Gaga) trying a Kickstarter is posed, knickers get twisted and panties are bunched. Kind of sad to think of it in terms like that, but it’s the truth. People may lighten the fuck up once Kickstarter becomes a more common territory for getting creative ideas in play but that is going to take some time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/zachary.kaczmarek.3 Zachary Kaczmarek

    I’m sorry did I miss something? Last time I checked fans on Kickstarter willingly fund these projects because they appreciate the artist and want to help create something that all can enjoy. Anyone who tries to limit this relationship between fans and the artist, under the guise of “well they’re rich and im not”, or any other reason is killing off the art itself. This is a mutual relationship on both sides and the fan who is investing isn’t doing it for greed or monetary reward. The end result is reward enough. Anyone who doesn’t understand that needs to have their head examined, or has no soul.

  • http://www.facebook.com/charles.henahan Charles Padraic Henahan

    I’m actually glad that Björk resorted to Kickstarter. I feel that since the company has been attracting more attention, it has kind of been labeled as a fundraising tool for young upstart artists or for hip grassroots campaigns headed by people seen as “too brilliant to be poor”. Even if Björk’s Kickstarter didn’t stay afloat, the important matter is that she attempted to give her fans the ability to decide what they wanted from her and what kind of financial stake they were willing to make on her behalf. It’s far better than charging every music consumer $10.99+ for an album that has gone through countless middlemen, has jumped through arbitrary hoops and might not even be an album the creator(s) stand behind 100%.

    Another important distinction to make (which you made very well) is that Björk’s project wasn’t for the body of creative work itself, but for increased accessibility thereof. The most common argument against “famous kickstarting” seems to be that artists with the means to create self-determined (often replaced with “self-indulgent”) artworks should use it, and that shouldering those costs on one’s fans is a manifestation of greed or arrogance. The argument totally does not fit with Björk, though, because the project in question had so little to do with her or her own artistic vision: it was all about the fans and their ability to access her work and use it in the optimal fashion.

    Back on “famous kickstarting”, though, why SHOULDN’T famous people get their fans involved? When I was in middle school and a hardcore Avril Lavigne fan, I jumped ship after “The Best Damn Thing” came out 1) because I had slowly been growing to dislike more and more songs on her first two albums, but mainly 2) because I felt she had taken a turn away from some kind emotional earnestness in favor of profit—or, perhaps, she had been edged into this turn by her record company. I felt she wasn’t making a kind of music I could identify with as a fan. Of course it’s very natural for artists to change direction, and for fans to change direction, but I can’t help but wonder how the world might be if some of the very talented, very marketable superstars of my lifetime (Lady GaGa, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, to name a few) had been allowed more creative freedom, even encouraged to do something spontaneous instead of playing into financial expectations; getting the fans involved would do wonders for proving the worth (besides dollars and cents) of such projects, because feedback from the fans themselves may inform the creative direction of the resulting work. I secretly long that Beyoncé or Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber will do something completely out of left field—make an album that’s in many ways like nothing they’ve ever created, make an album they had complete creative control over, make an album like “The Dreaming” that dares to be experimental, that dares to follow the artist’s own self-affirmed direction. Maybe doing so would reveal an artist’s struggles as a writer, or prove them a better interpreter than creator, or maybe it would reveal a previously-unseen all-around “talent” as an artist.

    But what should it fucking matter? The fact is that when most of these musicians “use their own money” to fund a new project, their representing companies still often control release, licensing and distribution. The musicians will make a profit if this new project sells well, but if it does not, then not only will the artist have lost a chuck of their own change in production, but the record company will often take this as reason to see their signed musicians as “liabilities” to be assessed and ranked—the more “risky” acts will be the ones given less creative control, and generally held the most rigorously within the lines of their recording contracts. So yes, Kickstarter is a place for taking risks—but sometimes artists just need to take risks. With Kickstarter, the individual fan-vestors are the only ones the artists needs to respond to. If the project doesn’t meet its goal, they get refunded. If it’s a good Kickstarter project and meets its goal, the fans will get what they paid for. More importantly, even if the artist ultimately doesn’t walk away with a dime in profit, the project will still be successful so long as the fans feel they have received something worth their financial stake.

    So no, it is not greedy or selfish of well-established artists to crowdfund. If anything, it is smarter and more honest. Too many musical projects are invested in, planned, recorded, mastered and marketed on the principle that its sales will determine the creators’ worth in the music-consuming world. A poorly executed marketing plan for an album may result in financial losses for the artist and their representing company, disappointment among fans who feel they haven’t gotten what they paid for/something as good as the artist could have produced, and poor public appreciation of the artist’s body of work. A poorly executed Kickstarter campaign results in only two things: refunds and some disappointment—usually more for the people involved in the project directly than for contributors. But from then it is back to square one. The difference between crowdfunding and going through record companies is that, in the “industry” part of the music industry, it is exponentially harder to recover from a fall. The people who make that industry run don’t always want you to recover; your true fans always do.

  • http://twitter.com/remyangel remy angel

    I think crowdfunding isn’t beginning with a product, but with an idea you have to enrich the world with. True democracy begins with the idea floating in space trying to be materialised – sorry for the science fiction-terminoligy. Idea’s have to have a voice or a platform to begin materialisation. Crowdfunding is the mere platform for that voice to be possibly recognised by other people (didn’t Crowdfunding itself come from an idea of someone?). No-one owns an idea, therefor it is for everyone to try it out on the real world. Those who are in favour of ‘closed’ or ‘gated’ crowdfund-community are mere idea-racists

  • http://twitter.com/xTheOtherGirl ♪ Ashley W. ♫

    I just don’t understand the difference between crowd sourcing and BUYING your favorite artist’s music. Either way, you’re supporting someone you’re a fan of. I honestly see no difference.

  • http://twitter.com/HMSoboe Hannah Schuetz

    Has anyone ever read the books Uglies, Pretties, Specials, or Extras by Scott Westerfeld?
    The economy in Extras is a little like a huge cross between twitter and something a little like crowdfunding. There are those who do labor jobs and get paid by the hour. But those with entertainment jobs get paid based on how often their names or projects are being mentioned.

    It wasn’t crowd funding, because it wasn’t investment/return, it just reminds me of some of the lines of this conversation. It was really interesting, and showed how imperfect that system would be. Haven’t read those books in years, but they had some really fascinating social commentary.

  • Jones

    David Beckham recently stated he would donate his wages for playing football with PSG Patis St Germain entirely to charity. Dude is loaded & footballers’ salaries are criminally high – it could be argued. Still, he’s the first to do it and the public are loving it.

    I think the problem is that the general public lump all entertainment into one category; including sports entertainment and such spectacles as the superbowl. They dont want to concern themselves with the real makings of the product – they just want it instantly ans on demand. If you reas through the commentary you’ll find a majority of the negative criticisms come from an audience of whom would very rarely donate to a crowd source fund. Its perplexing & disturbing equally whilst pulling us all back through musical history 60 years or so ago.

    Plus, people who are happy tend to be less vocal than those who are miserable. And misery loves the company of a kickstarter party it wasn’t invited to.

  • http://twitter.com/FelixMarques Félix Marqués

    Pretty amazing how between these two systems…

    • fans preorder art with money -> artist is able to make the art
    • label funds artistic project -> artist does it -> it comes out -> fans buy it (or not) -> the label profits (or loses) -> the artist might profit (or be bankrupt forever)

    … for some reason tons of people find the second one more respectable, reasonable or just easy to wrap their head around.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stephanie.paes.7 Stéphanie Paes

    Just a couple of questions: what’s the big difference between investing in this type of fund, buying a record or song or paying to go to a concert? By the point of view people showed, wouldn’t it all be ways of taking advantage of people to finance your plans and paying your bills? At last ut ebds up being all paid by fans and admires…

  • http://twitter.com/FelixMarques Félix Marqués

    “the people defending her on the blog comments who are saying “no, no!
    she’s not actually that rich, you have your numbers wrong!!!” are ALSO
    missing the point.”

    I posted some of those comments myself in an article or other, because it seemed to me like it was a first step: making people understand the music business isn’t all about “I’m famous, ergo I can swim in cash on demand”. Then once those people hopefully are out of the “musician = rich and envy-deserving” perhaps you can talk about the rest. Also partly I’m just pissed off that so many people talk entirely on assumptions.

    (You know, like the whole “But Gaiman is a millionaire!!!” part of the criticism directed at your Kickstarter. -_-‘)

  • shasda

    I think the comments you quoted were made by people who didn’t get the whole purpose of crowdsurfing, but I think they came from a point of frustration from the fact that some artists don’t put a limit to the ammount of money they gain from their work and become crazy rich.

    • http://twitter.com/FelixMarques Félix Marqués

      Crowdsurfing? XD

  • http://twitter.com/FelixMarques Félix Marqués

    Also Björk and you, Amanda, are my favourite musicians ever (as artists and as people) and it’s just so heartwarming to read about you liking her music. Love everywhere.

  • Bruno

    It’s kind of mercenary ish, almost like a sect leadership, especially for established musicians.
    It begins with the perception of trust.
    Whether it begins with funding or with the audacity of the idea implementation.So kickstarter is for novel free stuff.

    It is not the money it is the trust. And the numbers are blurred.
    Because numbers display both.
    So you need a better filtering system, and for that you need to know the truth , honesty about yourself.
    And if you have that then you are resourceful.
    And if you are resourceful then you can administer other ways in which the fans can participate.
    Most blunt example is album cover designs.

    Are we communicating ?

  • Stephen Crocker

    I think the problem was she funded the Apple version herself. But everyone else had to fund their own.

    Also as a software engineer what she was releasing should not take 5 developers 6 months. The concepts and artwork already existed and seeing one of the apps they wernt complicated.

    There is a strong dislike of how the media treat non apple platforms as second class citizens and perceived waste in the music/film industry. This kick starter covered both.

    • http://twitter.com/FelixMarques Félix Marqués

      The problem, IMO, was the presentation. She and her team really, really could have done a better job. There is no difficulty in the world that you can’t properly explain and lay down for people to have a look. It requires a mix of transparency, clear ideas and goals, and ability to write and create good pitches.

      I backed it (with a small amount) mostly because I knew the project (because I have the Manual Edition of «Biophilia») and I’ve been following the educational side and find it really smart and nice and worth-sharing.

  • http://twitter.com/HugoFuentes Hugo Fuentes

    The thing that gives some “wtf!” with bjork (or any other big artist/ movie maker / whatever ) is that they have fans… they have reach … they have their own sites and payment systems to ask their fans whatever they want. Why use kickstarter? if you know and follow “your artist” is probably that you check his site, are in their email list, follow them in twitter, fb, etc. And it they ask me “hey… give me 100 bucks for my new album” i will (and i have, several times already).

  • Sarah Emily

    The opportunity to back a project that you as an a member of an artist’s audience want to happen is an amazing one. WHY NOT take part in it? An artist is making their music for the people who want to hear it just as much as they WANT the audience to hear it. It’s another step towards breaking down the barrier between musician and audience, and in this day and age, what an amazing gift that is. We should appreciate the musicians that go to their fans for the funding of a new project, because that just affirms that they are doing it FOR their fans. This criticism of bjork is undeserved, just like the criticism of any artist that chooses to use kickstarter is undeserved.

  • Aaron

    The notion that those who are established or wealthy shouldn’t use crowdfunding is…ludicrous. Heck, forget about crowdfunding for a minute, and think about normal funding for businesses. When a wealthy person starts a business, or a wealthy corporation starts a new venture, they don’t necessarily just drop all of the funding out of their own pockets. That’s because it’s not an efficient way to operate a business. It’s much better to be willing to lose some of the profits to investors by also spreading the risk to them. The entire stock market is really nothing but a public way for businesses to get “crowdfunding” for their next ventures. The only difference with Kickstarter is that rather than getting a product or a “thank you” in the liner notes or a character named after you, with the stock market you get partial “ownership” of the business in the form of voting rights associated with the stock, along with the possibility that you might get paid back cash (dividends) if the business is successful. Of course Bjork should use crowdfunding if she wants to. And if she doesn’t have a good pitch, or the underlying product isn’t good, then she won’t get “investors”. But that’s a marketing/R&D problem, not a problem with the concept of crowdfunding itself.

  • Morticia

    First of all: Bjork is an awesome musician/ artist and I’m sorry to hear that she was not successful with the kickstarter project.

    The next thing is that I don’t really understand why there are people spitting out so ugly things.

    No one is forced to give his/ her money for an artist’s project, for charity or for whatever, right? So, it is my personal decision if I want to give musician x whatever I like and support the making of a new project. Of course I can support my favourite musician/ band/ artist in other ways like trying to make as much promotion as I can/ spreading the word.

    But obviously and very sad, too, there are people who always find something to criticise. If you tell you are spending for animals charity they will tell you that to spent money on charity for people is more important. If you say you give money for African children or whatever they say why you do such useless things as the people there should learn to help themselve and you only support their overpopulation or other evil things.
    So even if you give your money for charity things there are people who try to make something look bad what is actually a good thing.

    The other sad thing is that too many people believe that musicians are all rich. Of course Bjork is a well-known musician but she is not a chart runner. She is still more in the independent scene and this means in general that you, although well-known or quite famous, can be happy if you don’t need to have another job to make your living but can only do your music. And even if you’re a chart runner then there is the question what contract have you signed before and how many people have how much share in your income? There are still so many musicians who were so desperately hoping for a bit more recognition/ fame and having the chance to make their living with their music that they sign contracts without reading or checking.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Drackar Joseph Adair

    I think it’s a much more complex issue than “wealthy people should/should not use crowd funding”, combined with “artists used to have to go to labels and money lenders and banks and X to get funding, and now they can go to kickstarter type projects”.

    Crowd funding and traditional funding are completely different concepts, and there’s not actually that much similarity between the two. With a bank loan or other form of prepublishing capital, it’s a monitary arangement. A loan of x dollars to be repaid out of the profit of the work. With crowd funding, however, it’s not that way at all. It’s a exchange of goods. The artist agrees to provide X service, wither it is the finished product they aim to create, t-shirts, posters, or other merchandise, in exchange for enough money to complete a given project. I’ve yet to see a crowd funding situation where a bunch of fans can actually invest in a real way in any project. They get the intellectual stimulation and the joy of something they love being produced, but they don’t get any financial returns on their investment.

    With an investor, the project, itself, needs to be financially viable. It needs to be something that will produce monetary returns enough for the investor, and the artist/artists. With crowdfunding, that often is not the case. Quite a few people go to kickstarter WANTING to produce a long running chain/product/business. But crowd funding, in and of itself, is a market place. It is a place where money is exchanged for goods and services, directly. A successful kickstarter project often is the only true monetary income a project will receive.

    So we aren’t asking “is it right to allow the already successful to go to crowd funding to create new projects”. We are asking “Is it alright for successful artists to sell their products, goods, and services on the booming marketplace that is crowd funding”.

    It’s a big issue. Should kickstarter and other services of it’s kind be a bounding board to throw people out into the world of “success” only once or twice, or do we embrace the concept of a new, global, emerging market place for everything from ideas to products?

    However it works out, the systems need work. I’ve read complaints in this thread that kickstarter only funds successful projects, and mentions of other platforms, such as indiegogo that provide funding no matter how much is brought in…And frankly, I think the latter is a massive mistake, for one simple reason. People fund projects, the project fails, the person doesn’t have enough money to finish the product, and they never ship. I’ve had this happen to me, and I no longer use Indiegogo for this reason.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1051593577 Georgianna Delorne Newburg

    I have been involved with several kickstarter projects — and this is the way I see it. Whoever, whatever you’re doing, whatever you’re giving — I am taking my hand out to them, and I am shaking it. In doing so I share some money, and they get to share the fruit of their labors with the whole freaking world, and I get a little bonus — whether it’s whole album for a buck, original sketches of artwork for the project, or a name in the program — I don’t do it for the bonuses, but they are really cool.

    I do it because I want to connect with someone who is creating, who is making, who is doing, and help, be a part of it. That’s what crowdfunding is to me. You choose who and what you want to fund — I chose. I make a choice. I pay. I am part of something I would have never been a part of otherwise… and yeah yeah, one could say well you buy that singer’s perfume, or you buy a licensed t-shirt and their songs off of itunes — you are giving them $$ to do these things. Umn no. I’m giving a record company money. I’m giving other companies money, and a % to the artist.

    Sure big names can drive big stuff — but I don’t look at crowdfunding as — oh yeah, just because so and so is doing this, I have to help. I look at the project, and that project is that artist’s or inventors own baby. This baby, this idea, this thing that they will matriculate out of think fucking air with their creativity, connections, and know-how.

    That’s what I fund.

    Freakin’ Bjork is just — completely awesome. I can see her doing this. I can see her going for this, and it’s a damn shame the critics pile on when, the campaign didn’t work. An album — would have loved to see that.

    I don’t care how much money you have. This is your idea. This is my money. This is my energy. Let’s exchange, let’s make something happen. It’s the most natural progression of technology, social tools, fans, people, human beings, and creators.

    And I’ll keep involved, big and small. It’s here for ALL of us.

  • http://stuffalsothings.wordpress.com/ Morgaine Fey

    Anyone should be able to start a campaign on kickstarter. About artists using their own capital to fund new albums and whatnot instead of going to their fan base first misses the point HORRIBLY because it is, in essence, you buying your artist’s product BACKWARDS. It does not exist yet, but you think it will benefit you in some way (audibly, to go along with the musical artist idea), so you pay your 30 bones for the product you want! Also, artist are amazing and talented and we give them those 30 odd bones because they are doing something WE ARE NOT/CAN NOT/WILL NOT do for ourselves! Their products should never be considered our right! We are not owed an artist’s book or music or painting. They deserve to make money from these items. To make money you save money and go to investors. What better investor than the people who believe in, desire, and consume the product created?

    I am sure that this has been said by many below. Possibly better.

    ~Morgaine~

  • http://twitter.com/Albedo12 Alex

    I wrote a really long post, then deleted it, because all I have to say on the “millionaires asking for money” debate is:

    The “millionaires” are going to get my money for their art at some point, so why not hand it over now? If you don’t understand that, then I can only assume that you are someone unaccustomed to paying for things.

  • http://twitter.com/AdamHoldsTheWay Adam Holdway

    Firstly, I’m a huge fan of Björk’s work, and it’s interesting to see you write about her and a project she is/was doing. Secondly, as someone who generally has a good radar on Björk’s projects, I had NO IDEA that she had a kickstarter for this project, I know many times in the past she explained how she somehow wanted to convert the apps for other devices and also explained, at the time of their release, why she was releasing them on apple devices.

    More to the point, I think she should be able to crowd fund, (maybe not only this type of funding for such a large project,) because the money is not going to her own pocket, because she already funded the album and currently available apps herself, because she already has stated that she is in a lucky position to be able to have done that and I don’t see why she should HAVE to totally fund something like this herself. It’s an application that I’ve not been able to try myself for the very reason that she was trying to raise money for.

  • jojo

    People the music is in your hands. It’s just cutting out the middle man and giving you what you want. You don’t like then don’t find it. Simple!!!

  • Caroline

    I hope bjork reads this and considers redoing her kickstarter project. I saw the kickstarter video and even checked out the website, but it wasn’t compelling. I actually thought that the idea of revolutionizing music education, and educational in general, so that children can do an assignment according to their unique capabilities and methods of doing or learning is incredibly powerful, not to mention fascinating. And I even thought, what a shame I’m not giving to this.
    The question being asked though is “Is it ok for a famous, and maybe rich, artist to do a kickstarted project”, and the answer is fuck yes. And in this case, she wants to have an app programmed that will be used for educational purposes, in a really forward-thinking approach – and combined with the sciences in some way too! What an excellent project. I think her kickstarter suffered a huge amount because the depth / breadth / idealism / and nuts and bolts of the project were ambiguously represented, but they are so clearly part of it. Hell i was even looking forward to JUST the kickstarter video, because I thought I was going to be blown away with beauty and inspiration. I think that exists in the project, but was not detailed.

  • jojo

    *fund

  • http://twitter.com/Albedo12 Alex

    I feel really dumb right now. I’m a Björk fan, and I didn’t back the project.

    I
    admire what Björk does with music – I feel she’s constantly pushing at
    the boundaries, like this performance of Cocoon (one of my favourite
    Björk songs) where one of the musicians has a tiny mic attached to their
    hand and is stroking the head of another to produce a soft rushing
    sound:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Bu2UNhFdzus#t=90s.

    BUT I didn’t back the project, Last year I went Kickstarter
    crazy and pledged $800 on projects, so this year I decided to try really
    hard to find any excuse not to back something, no matter who or what it
    was. I already had the app on my iPod and didn’t like it. This meant
    that the rewards were never going to be much of an incentive, and I
    felt that the app wasn’t something worth supporting. Finally, and most
    importantly I didn’t watch the video. I thought the Kickstarter was JUST
    to port the app, and I completely missed the educational side. If the
    Kickstarter title had been “Björk’s Music Education Project Using
    Biophilia” it would have been a whole different story, and I’ve gotta
    think that I can’t be alone in making this error.

  • Elusive A

    Well put and well reasoned. Hell, if things are going to be capitalist and democratic, let’s do it properly. That’s what kickstarter is – the good capitalism, the kind that lets people pool their resources to get the world they want, if they want it.
    Yes, there are starving children in Africa. In fact, my beloved is out there right now, living in a refugee camp and speaking to me through a crackly skype connection (I love you sweetheart), and you know what? It’s taught us both to really value what we’ve got. Food, clean water – and art, music and comfort. Buying music, or asking others to pay for it, does not cause children in Africa to starve. And I, for one, would rather contribute my money to a project run directly by the artist, than spend it through a multinational company whose manipulation of the global economy actually really does contribute to poverty in some parts of the world.

  • jojo

    Plus what I love is knowing that what is being made,is what the people actually want and it’s not being dictated to us as the next big thing!

  • http://coffeeandfingernails.com Coffeeandfingernails

    I think the criticism is incredibly short-sighted. The success of high-profile campaigns like Bjork’s increases awareness of crowdfunding as a concept, meaning that the campaign of the kid up the street is more likely to be successful. I recently started an Indiegogo campaign, which was much easier to promote because people were already familiar (read: comfortable) with the concept.

  • Victor Lorandi

    There are too many things to think about this. I’m all for anyone can do it, no matter who you are or how much money you have.
    The thing is, with heavy players in the middle of Kickstarter, it is harder to fund lower level artists, who are just starting or have a very small fanbase. This, of course can be a simple matter of timing. It is an artists choice when to try Kickstarter.
    But the real problem is the freedom people take in insulting one another over things that are not really important or relevant. So what if she has money or not? Can’t she go directly to the fans looking for funding for a project? Also, if she can do it, anyone can and vice-versa.
    Now the fact that people get out of their way to insult people or even do it out of sheer pleasure is pathetic, really. Hey, if you don’t like it, don’t show up. Think of it as something real. Would you go to that musician’s concert? Would you buy that writer’s book? Would you buy a piece from that painter? No? Then, please, move along in silence.

  • http://twitter.com/CharlieSpats Charlie Spats

    In a time when nearly all content is available somewhere for free, the choice to pay for content is a statement. It gives you a voice. I see crowdfunding MORE as artists asking for my feedback/support than for my money, especially when I can offer that support with <$10.

    As an Amanda Palmer fan, I utilize my voice (and money) as a fan to offer feedback on which of AFP's projects are my favourite, and which ones I am not interested in. I have spent maybe $40 on albums that I was fully stoked on, and $0 on ones that didn't particularly appeal to me. I'd do the same for any artist, because I want them to be able to see what projects I will joyfully spend my money on and which ones I am feeling more "meh" about.

    Consider, also: if somebody rich n' famous had an idea for a project that was totally offensive in some way that they may not have noticed, seeing a bunch of people refusing to fund that project would draw their attention to it BEFORE releasing it, versus just having the funds to release offensive shit on their own and then seeing backlash after the fact. Even a failed Kickstarter is helpful for artists of all incomes, in that you can keep bringing a project back to the drawing board and re-pitching it until it sells, rather than gambling tons of money hoping to appeal to your audience.

  • Joannachronism

    ANYONE can make art and ask for funding help. Christ. I’d rather see big-name artists go through Kickstarter than the label companies. The connection to the fans without a middleman is hugely important and we need more of that when all we’re getting is crap that Big Media sells to us, right? Kickstarter is a great tool. It should be utilized by anyone who wants to put their projects out directly to the people supporting them.

    I think Bjork could do something really awesome if she tried again and made some revisions.

  • KirstyM

    I started this like five times because I don’t want to come across as an ass…but apart from the fact that I really don’t think solving all the world’s problems (famine, starvation, etc) is as simple as “hey, here’s money I could spend on an album/project/whatever but I’m going to donate it to charity”, the world can be a really shitty place sometimes and art in whatever form is necessary. Imagine waking up to the world we live in today and not having music, or literature.

    If the people commenting are really so passionate about the issues they’re talking about, maybe they should look to the people who are running countries/corporations into the ground and still making more in a year than most people could ever hope to, instead of someone who’s doing something they love for a million people who love it. Why should it be their responsibility, as opposed to the corporate bosses who still lie and try to cheat their way into more?

    That’s got nothing to do with Kickstarter, it’s just a personal bugbear. I know if I had something I desperately wanted to do and was asking for help from my audience and someone came up and hit me with a line like that I’d be asking them to seriously re-evaluate their standpoint.

  • Tess

    i can’t understand why people don’t want to help art to happen. Art is good for the world.

  • http://www.facebook.com/laurelpo Laurie Power

    I hadn’t heard about her Kickstarter – it’s too bad she took it down. As a pc user, I’m a little sad things didn’t work out with the app, and disappointed that people got so worked up about how she chose to fund it. Kickstarter is for everyone.

    Hyperballad is beautiful, but Bachelorette is my all time favorite Björk song – probably due to my daughters’ interpretive dances to it when they were wee toddlers. That, and the line:

    “If you forget my name

    You will go astray

    Like a killer whale

    Trapped in a bay.”

    … which I imagine was Keiko (the whale in Free Willy). Also, “fountain of blood in the shape of a girl,” is kind of powerful imagery. Keep doin’ what you do, AP – you’re an inspiration.

  • Beeteezee

    It’s funny – I’ve only seen people bashing björk over this, but I have yet to see anyone ask the question – If Kickstarter projects are so diligently curated, why did Kickstarter approve this in the first place when it is almost unanimously agreed that it wasn’t clear or well put together? Why is no one criticizing Kickstarter over this? Just a thought.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=6831891 Matthew Briggs

    A plug for free market capitalism from Amanda Palmer.

  • http://twitter.com/Fallen_Woman Fallen Woman

    Money always fucks everything up.

    We’ve associated giving it with the sense of entitlement and ownership. Giving that up is associated with charity (which has its own strict rules).

    Sure, purely egalitarian and rational application means any person – any artist, any institution – should be allowed to at least ask for funding, and any person – any patron, any fan – should be allowed to pick what to fund, when and for how much. But should there be limits? Should either side be colored by this transaction? Gah. Confusing. Because money fucks everything up.

  • Pansy.Nerd

    ive recently stared trying to constantly find projects on both kickstarter and pledge music (amanda’s broke my pledge hymen) not because of any other reason than to be part of someone elses journey and i never give thought to anyones networth!!

    • Pansy.Nerd

      i also like the idea of an artist/creationist seeing how many people also believe in their vision or even just support them.. i always feel an overwelming sense of happiness when my friends help me, why do people feel the need to rob and artist of that because they are famous or not?

  • http://www.facebook.com/kokostar Ko-Shin Musica

    I noticed Bjorks project when it was first listed, and raised my eyebrow really not at the amount she was raising but that she didnt really offer much for that HUGE number. like why not just put on a benefit concert – that would have raised it – I just thought her incentives weren’t great in comparison to her need. I read that as – I NEED this much, but I dont want to give very much back in return. There were some cool offers on the lower level, but I think it could have happened if she had really been willing to give more of herself- which is really in essence what MONEY is (My Own Natural Energy Yield)

  • http://www.facebook.com/david.faux.92 David Faux

    I do believe that tools like kickstarter should be available for anyone to use. Although the idea that more established entities getting more involved with kickstarter would take away from the more independent and less supported musicians/creators is an interesting point. I would hate to see mainstream and highly supported groups swarm into the kickstarter world if that attention made it more difficult for the unique and less supported ideas to get a chance. That being said, I just don’t understand why some people feel the need to violently ridicule things that they don’t like on the internet. If you don’t like it, don’t support it. Why is there this seemingly growing need to react viciously and explosively against anything outside your own limited tastes and ideas? I’m not suggesting that everyone need to agree, quite the contrary in fact. I think that the differences that make us all unique and individual should be cherished, but there seems to be this complete departure from agreeing to disagree. Why can’t we value the opinions of other people strictly because it is the proper thing to do? If there was only a revaluation of the adage disagree without being disagreeable it would really make things a lot less disheartening in this crazy internet existence. #long-winded 2 cents ^_^

    • jillian

      I wonder how many people helped fund Amanda that weren’t already fans.. it may not matter if uber celebs use kickstarter or not..

  • jillian

    People back politicians. Why not musicians. Its our business who we give our money to damn it. Lol

  • http://www.facebook.com/8.Xaoc Phil Denisenkov

    Well, sure it’s ok for anyone to “go straight to a fanbase”. If Lady Gaga wants to buy herself another villa – why not? If her fans are willing to donate money – why not? It’s their right to do whatever they want with their money and it’s the right of Lady Gaga to ask.

    The other question, whether fans of Justin Bieber possess enough mental capacity to realize what they are doing and why. I doubt that very much. I just HATE all commercial pop music like Ledy Gaga and Justin Bieber, I think they just brainwash their fans. I don’t even slightly consider their “music” worth anything. They are not really artists, they are the products of some wealthy businessmen, who decided to make money on them initially and they got good media attention at the right moment via the investment of some corporations.

    But, sure, nobody prevents Lady Gaga from getting money from her fans if they are willing to give.

  • http://twitter.com/exquisiteoath Crispen Smith

    Isn’t crowdfunding the oldest form of supporting musicians? Doesn’t Lady Gaga already turn to crowdfunding? Okay, maybe she doesn’t call it crowdfunding; she calls it retail and there’s a huge amount of entropy and ineffeciency attached to it. At the end of the day, in what way is it really different to offer an option to buy vs. an option to support?

  • http://twitter.com/J_D_Matthews Jack Armstrong

    I think that anyone should be allowed to use kickstarter, as it allows them to truly create art, free from financial pressures by record lables, or personal risks.
    People need to pipe down. Crowd sourcing brings art back to music

  • http://twitter.com/samedicorpse samedicorpse

    I’m really shocked, i’m a gigantic Björk fan and i never found out about this! i would have backed it in a second…

    If i tried to see all the reasons why this didn’t work i would probably fell short, as this could take quite a while…i would like to think it’s not about the money, but sadly it is in most part, and it isn’t.
    I mean your proyect was succesful and you still got shit about money from writers.
    Then again i must admit the promotion of Björks kickstarter was kind of flat, the video, the promotion, the pledges were all kind of lame

    Kickstarter looks to me like it’s still in it’s first baby steps, people don’t trust it much, and every media makes it look like everything that comes from it it’s based on ambitious, greedy, or eccentric wishes from the artists (and if you support it it’s because you fell on their trap). They really underestimate out the fact that we are allowed to fucking choose for ourselves.

    On other completly different point, the market it was aimed for wasn’t really the type that gets into kickstarter, i mean I’m from Argentina, she made one of this residencies here in Buenos Aires and it went really well, but iPads and iPhones are a luxury here, We still use Blackberrys like they are the coolest thing and people on the first world throw them to the garbage like they were useless.

    I went to good schools, private and public but we didn’t had computers in either of them, so i don’t see how it would reach THAT level of educational experience in places like Argentina or other south american countries or Africa for example.

    My point is that besides the rich or broke, the proyect should have been addressed differently, more promotion, in more languages so it would have reached the news here for example. Perhaps a new app or song to add interest.

    Kickstarter is barely breaking through in the world, artists that don’t have such a devote fan base like you need to still give it a “marketing” approach to make it work, they have to SELL the proyect and once people feel confortable with it, won’t hesitate to donate just for the sake of art.

    I mean, when I backed you for the CD, I still had my doubts…I KNEW i would love it but it felt unsafe, and here credit cards are as much as a luxury as iPads are, i had to borrow one from the mother of a friend. After the cd arrived and it was so awesome that I could almost smell the passion and hard work you put on it, i was like, god fucking dammit i should have given you all the money i had without even expecting something back. And so would i have done with Björk’s IF I HAD FOUND OUT.

    but what about people that never did and feel like i felt the first time I backed?

    and then you have the very very cute support from writers…

    Until the perception about kickstarter changes, many many proyects will fail or will be seen badly…and that is such a shame..

  • http://www.facebook.com/stevesmartpoetry Steve Smart

    Most artists have at some point had to fund their own projects first and worry about the rent later. I won’t say all, but most of us. Tours, albums, canvases, books, make-up and costumes, venue hire, instruments; when you start off and for years after, most of these things are coming out of your own pocket. Sucks, but there’s the reality. Then there is the incredible glow that comes with than having someone say they’ll pay for you to do what you have worked so hard to do, no strings attached, just come and share your work. Kickstarter and other crowd sourcing sites are the fans and the wider community’s way of being part of that warm glow, of saying ‘we believe in you enough to take that burden off your hands so you can concentrate on what you do best’. I’m horrified at the idea that reaching the peak of your artform means you suddenly have to go back to paying for everything yourself. It’s ridiculous. It’s sickening. I totally agree that you have to make it clear what it is that you are doing and clearly Bjork has not done that, but to say she should pay for her own projects because she has reached some percieved threshold of ‘success’… Oh hell no.

    Happy to see that most people here understand that crowd funding is based on the concept of paying upfront for what you ‘hopefully’ would have paid for after the project was completed anyway. Unfortunately I’m not convinced we speak for Joe/Joanne Arsehole on the street who looks at Bjork and sees some big rich rockstar who should just go fund herself.

    My point, in a line, is that artists pay for themselves all the time – hopefully having some success means you don’t have to.

  • http://twitter.com/dwyercd Christopher Dwyer

    Both times I’ve experienced art through Kickstarter have been nothing short of magical. The first time I gave gobs of money (well, gobs to me) to a contemporary classical music collective to put on a show. When the show happened, I had the real feeling that I had helped make something special happen; that I’d been a part of the show. Plus, I got to commission a piece of music, which is just 50 shades of awesome. Second time was an author who wrote a collection of connected short stories about growing up in North Jersey. The book was brilliant, and hey – someone wrote about North Jersey; how wonderful is that? And hey, from a third Kickstarter, I’ll be receiving a hand-autographed Richard Cheese Christmas CD. Richard Cheese!

    Kickstarter is an amazing way for folks who aren’t barons or investment bankers to have real part of making things happen, and gives us a connection to the product that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. And for an artist like Björk, who tries to remain very connected to her fans, it makes perfect sense. Yes, her Biophilia project may have been over-ambitious (and for an artist like Björk, who’s made a living re-writing the boundaries of popular music, that’s something), and it may have had lots of problems conceptually, but the crowdfunding was certainly not part of that.

  • Kevin

    My problem and hte reason i didn’t contribute to bjorks kickstarter is that she is always so disengaged with her fanbase. i mean, the woman is genius and will be studied in years to come due to her amazing musical structures and innovation. but when i met Amanda in Wellington she had a chat even though she was feeling shit after her show and reaches out to her fans and its always been an interactive experience. i will forever have her back for these behaviours and donated quite a bit to her project. and would probably buy her a pint too if i bumped into her. bjork needs her distance from her fans. she has been known to be rude and stand-off-ish. i know this came afte her fan suicides in 96 so i respect that. But she can’t just reach out when she wants our money

    • jillian

      Fan suicides?? why? That’s so sad

  • claire

    Hmm, interesting. I wonder if the issue is not so much how much money an artist has but the level of his or her fame. Does having famous people use Kickstarter make it less likely for lesser known or unknown people’s projects to succeed? I’m not sure, but name recognition is powerful so the famous could obliterate the competition. Or maybe they’d bring people to Kickstarter who wouldn’t visit otherwise who might see other projects worth supporting. I know I’m proud to have been part of AFP’s Kickstarter, but I was also really clear on her message, intent, and aims.

  • http://twitter.com/falsehorizons Aisha

    I’ll throw my two cents in here, as someone who came from a well-to-do family and experienced a fair amount of negativity despite usually doing my level best to hide that background and treat people well at all times (hey, I’m on the Amanda Palmer blog aren’t I :)

    Exactly WHY can a person not do a kickstarter, where they are offering others the opportunity to help them achieve a goal in return for perks? its a trade. People should have the freedom to ask, irrespective of what they have or don’t have, just as the public is free to decide whether to support or not. We all have the capability to research and judge, and we should all have the freedom to make a decision without being browbeaten about it. If someone wealthy has a perk I want, then I damn well want the chance to get it. Its a trade, we get something, so do they.

    I am honestly really tired of being told that having money disqualifies (or should disqualify) you from being a part of something. “Oh you don’t need to do that, because you have money. Or why are you in training for that job? Your family has money, you’d just be stealing work from people who need it”. Big surprise people, jobs aren’t always about money. Its about self-respect. Feeling like you’ve earned your way in life and weren’t just handed something. Not feeling like a leech. Being a part of a social group and feeling that sense of belonging. The more we alienate by class or income or bank account size, the worse our world gets. Same thing with kickstarters as with jobs -the more you take away from people, the less in common we have. The less able they are to interact with their fanbase, to find out what people need or want and give it to them. I think these projects are often wonderful and amazing things that bring me closer to people.

    In short, if you dislike a project, don’t back it. Criticise it if you absolutely must. But in the end, it should never be a question of whether someone should be allowed to do one.

  • Jez

    I think it’s all about whether the fans are willing to invest – if Lady Gaga puts up a kickstarter, the question isn’t ‘should she pay for it herself?’ ‘Is she taking advantage?’ ‘Is this wrong?’ It should be ‘are her fans willing to give her this money in return for exclusive rewards and the feeling that they’ve been a part of something?’ And I think the answer is always going to be a big fat YES no matter how rich or famous the person is. Fans love being involved, love that feeling that they’re making this happen. And the way I see it – from a totally ignorant outsider’s point of view – is that the fans are (hopefully/for the most part) going to pay for the music (or whatever else) anyway. If it’s through kickstarter or other crowdfunding, isn’t that just a fantastic way to get more for your buck and cut out a lot of costly middlemen? For the Theatre is Evil kickstarter the way I saw it was: ‘I’m going to get the album before everyone else, in a special edition, knowing that I helped it to be made, for roughly the same cost as if I were to buy it at JB Hi-FI a few months later’. Why would anyone want to deny the artist’s right to offer that, and the right of the fans to give to receive it?

  • Tali

    Hmm this one is hard. I can’t say I agree that people with Millions of Dollars should ask people for help paying for things. I have supported AFP because I knew she was not a millionaire. I also supported smaller bands that actually was annoyed they didn’t get more. I know I may get many a hate words but I just can’t do it when I make only 1000 a month on disability and someone who lives the ultimate in high life can afford to self finance. I had a friend who was published posthumously by the hard work of his Mother who had to at first self finance the first batch until we hope a larger publisher would pick up his very amazing book. I Have many friends with much less money have to go that route. As much as I love Bijork I won’t do it nor should I be shamed. I think those with Millions should just spend their money on their art instead of houses ,fashion and cars. Those who have the means ought to help themselves. Maybe I missed your point AFP but I don’t have to agree with everything you say because I love your music (we also worked together on tours)-

    • http://twitter.com/FelixMarques Félix Marqués

      I understand your point of view (I have been in a terible financial situation for a couple years now and pledged to Amanda’s Kickstarter after I borrowed 80€ from a friend, which I gave back over the next weeks—I mostly did this so I wouldn’t be completely out of cash if something bad/unexpected happened or something suddenly needed to be paid for), but I think the point here is:

      If a known/popular/well-connected artist is going to get money anyway, and they’re going to get it FROM YOU (the fans/buyers) ANYWAY, then… Why not ask directly? Instead of raising cash from a label, in order to make the art, in order to publish it and have you pay for it anyway, in order to share the profit with the person who funded them?

      And if the wealthy artist actually CAN pay for it themselves… Then why not do it anyway? You see, you can pay for the book/CD/whatever before hand and fund it, or pay for it AFTERWARDS, sort of retroactively funding it—and it really is the same thing, except through crowdfunding the artist at least has a bunch of assured sellers and they know it’s not going to end up being a huge flop ONCE they’ve invested in it.

      This is how I see it, at least.

  • http://twitter.com/mirandabashore Miranda Bashore

    Using a platform like Kickstarter is a good way for fans to get involved with whatever a person creates, be it a well-known artist or something trying to get something off the ground. When people get engaged with a project and have some sort of say, even if it’s a monetary say, it creates a sort of community. The great thing is people have a say in what they want to support and they don’t have to if they don’t want to. But even if it’s a project that isn’t funding impoverished villages in Africa, it could be one worth time and money and that is up to you.

  • Birdmadgirl

    The difference between Steve Jobs’ investors and the general public that give $5 is the return on that investment. If you’re 100% capable of raising cash on your own, but choose to crowd source because it means you don’t have to share the profit with anyone, I think people feel like it violates the “grass roots” spirit of crowd sourcing.
    That said, the way you did your kick starter, it was sort of just an album pre-sale. And I think most people have no issue with an artist at any income-level doing that. So really maybe it just comes down to your approach.

    • http://twitter.com/FelixMarques Félix Marqués

      This might be just me being dull, but how does it violate the “grass roots” spirit of crowdsourcing? If having to share your earn with someone is not going to do you any particular good, why should you do it?

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.polk.98 James Polk

    I agree with you Amanda. The issue for me is the product not the artist. I had no problem backing Paula Cole’s successful kickstarter for an album.. I dunno if I would have backed Paula Cole’s app, though. Just not something I’m into. I’m into albums, books, art books, etc. And Paula is by no means “a new kid on the block.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/mitchell.cross.5201 Mitchell Cross

    I pledged quite a bit of money to Bjork’s kickstarter because i liked the idea, i liked the educational programme and the idea of the apps being available on non-apple devices (i went out and bought an ipod touch purely so i could get the Biophilia apps). I was disappointed when it was cancelled as i was quite looking forward to the rewards (signed copy of the Biophilia Manual alone would have been worth it to me, not to mention the other stuff thrown in!) and because i was excited about the idea of being “part” of the project, even if just by contributing some money. I had no idea there was any furore until i read Amanda’s blog. Bjork does an amazing job of treading the fine line between avant garde composer and pop musician who can actually make a connection with people, this project was seemingly a further attempt at making that connection (like similar things she has done in the past with the fan produced videos) that has not worked, for now. To start claiming that musicians of her calibre are only permitted to embark on self-funded projects is patently ridiculous. The people who come out with shit like that clearly had no interest in Bjork or her work to begin with and would not have been involved in the project anyway, and are merely looking for something to bemoan, anonymously, on the bloody internet. People like Bjork and Amanda use such tools to create a conversation, a project, a sense of community in the online world, only for anonymous idiots to try and shit all over it, don’t let them.

  • insignifikunt

    I think ANYONE should be allowed to crowdfund regardless of their personal wealth. It is a brilliant way to become your own label, publisher, film company etc. That said, I don’t think that someone who was well off should ask for “donations”, I would only support someone who is well off if they are offering incentive and if I were to receive something in return, like with your kickstarter.

    Crowdfunding and donating are two very different things and I think those who hold the opinion that “rich” people shouldn’t crowdfund don’t actually realise that. That is what angered me whenever I read an article on your kickstarter claiming we donated, I didn’t donate, I pre-ordered something.

    CROWDFUNDING DOES NOT EQUAL DONATING

    I would happily donate to an artist who is struggling if I believed in them and their art, and I do! But if someone is better off than I am financially, which to be honest is most people, then I can’t just give money away for no reason, unless I REALLY REALLY believe in that artist and I think what little I can give will actually help them in some way.

  • Siren5864

    What you’re essentially asking is, “Why shouldn’t Bjork or Lady Gaga eat at a soup kitchen?” Well, why not? It’s free. It’s there for anyone that’s hungry. But the difference is, some people NEED it and they do not. Some people are trying to survive off it; they’re not. And that causes anger, and I completely understand that. Those artists already have myriads of chances and venues to be seen and heard, many ways to earn money, be supported, have their art celebrated, whereas not everyone else does. I see the points the commenters are making (I see your point too!), but I’d like to defend them. I think the perceived problem is well-known artists will detract attention and possibly funding from lesser known, struggling artists. I think this is in a sense true; if Kickstarter were only filled with indie band’s I’d never heard of, I’d probably give some of them a listen and put my money down on a chance. If instead, it had my favorite artist on the front page, I’d say, “Well, I already know I love ____” and I’d forego the long search and the iffy exchange of my money.

    • http://twitter.com/FelixMarques Félix Marqués

      I see you’ve thought through this, but I don’t quite think they are taking other people’s resources away. As some others have sugested here, big names would show many people (who have never participated in crowdfunding) what the thing is like, and a chunk of them will fund other things. I suspect this would happen very, very often.

      This was certainly my case: an artist I trusted (Amanda, with Tristan’s EP) got me into funding projects—and, after funding about eight more Kickstarter projects ever since, I recently funded one by artists I didn’t know at all (the comic “Book of Da”), and I might do it more often in the future.

      If Kickstarter was only full of indie bands I’d never heard of, they’d probably never see any money from me.

      (“Huh? Gaga directed me here… What is this page about? I’m gonna read the explanation… Oh, look at this, they have a Featured Project of the Day. Oh, and those in the background are also projects? This one has a great image, let’s see what it is…”)

  • AC

    Maybe someone mentioned this point already but the only thing that bugs me a bit with artists that already have popular international success and made much money with it, is that most of them are already backed by big record companies. Is Kickstarter truely transparent? It would maybe be unfair if the record company or the producer or team behind Lady Gaga, Bieber or U2 decided to take the kickstarter route to fund some of their projects, they already have many other tools to do it … Is this possible? Is Kickstarter really transparent ? It’s not the wealth of the artist that is the problem for me but who controls that money, pretty hard to draw the line here i agree … I love that more and more creative people AT LAST get to have financial control for their talent ! More power to that and i can’t wait to see where it will go in the future, you are a great example Amanda, bravo for your courage and perseverance. Kickstart yourself over to Montreal Québec with a french album next ! ( hope this makes sense, english not my first language)

  • Kizzle

    Amanda’s kickstarter became huge because she connects so closely wit her fans, individually at times, and almost always puts us first. For artists like Gaga and Beebz, they probably don’t give a flying f*** if a few fans don’t agree with them and turn against them. Its not as personal of a connection for them. They get the big paychecks and at the end of the day thats all that matters.

  • Xavo_T

    beyond the whole crowdfunding business/what’s fair/economics/all that jazz, Björk was mainly asking for money so more people could have access to her app, specifically for open-source, educational purposes. not for her own direct sake. ugh.

  • http://twitter.com/FractalGeekUK Mike S

    As far as I am concerned, KS and the like are fine-tuned advance purchase. It’s especially good when it contains special deals – eg access or backer-only rewards; it’s bad when compound badly. I enjoy the feeling of participation. I sometimes back something that is cool or worthy, without reward, just to take part in the happening. But the prices should reflect the perceived value of what’s on offer.

    WE ARE THE MEDIA. WE ARE THE CONSUMERS. WE ARE THE ENABLERS.

  • http://gabrielgrub.blogspot.com/ June_Miller

    Really, people are getting their panties in a bunch for no reason. It’s exactly what the first comment said: If you don’t wanna contribute, then…don’t. Do your thing. No need to bust out a soap box and give a sermon about third world crises and how completely narcissistic the Icelandic pixie bad-ass (seriously, she is) is, or how she’s seemingly abusing her fanbase.

    Dude.

    Kickstarter’s better than joining some band’s fan club (trust me, I’ve joined a couple in my day). It is the ‘tip hat’ of our time, but also something more: you contributing even a dollar to whatever goal this artist’s trying to reach helps create a project FOR YOU. YOU ARE PART OF THIS PERSON’S CREATIVE EFFORTS. KIND OF A BIG DEAL. The fact that there’s barely a middle-man between you and the contribution is phenomenal. The PROJECT’S getting the money, not the label. The project being: the director, the editors, the writers, whatever funding for whatever equipment you need, whatever doo-dads you need for the tour, THE FUCKING GAS FOR THE TOUR, MOST LIKELY…oi vey.

    And if you don’t contribute then the sun still sets in the west and brie goes great with wine and NOTHING FUCKING CHANGES. The sky isn’t falling, Chicken Little.

    So should it only be limited to up-and-coming to mid-level artists? Fuck no. If Kickstarter were around when Madonna was wanting to make the “Vogue” video and she wanted her friends and fans to contribute so she can look fucking ridiculously hot and glamorous, I would’ve chucked a buck that way and still have been floored by how awesome it came out. AND be completely proud to have backed such an effort.

    If my very prolific musician friend wanted to Kickstart a project for his/his wife’s band, I would back it the fuck up however I could not only because I know he’d make something brilliant, but because this guy pushes me artistically and wants me to succeed–and I, him.

    So it can be sentimental on many levels.

    (Actually, I need to double-check, he may have one going on. My brain is fuzzy.)

    .

    Lots of caps, in this response.

    Denotes passion.

    CAPS DENOTE PASSION.

  • http://www.facebook.com/skippyz13 Dresden Doll

    I really think anybody should be able to use crowdsourcing. To me as a fan I really appreciate being a part of what that artist is creating. If you like it, back it, if not, don’t. Personally I feel a little closeness with the artist I backed because we are sharing a common goal: Creating something fucking awesome! By backing someone I like, I helped in some way to get it created. It’s not about money. Rich or poor, grammy or no grammy, the artist should have the right to share something with their fans, and for their fans to share as well.
    P.S. Thank you Amanda, that link literally turned my shit day around. I’ve never heard it like that before. Loved it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1270108208 Shannon Gausten

    This might be mildly off topic, and sort of ranting, so I apologize, but:

    What I tire of more than anything, it people who produce NOTHING, complaining about those who DO.

    So yes, people would be bitching, no matter how successful she was.
    And the loudest complainers would be those who have no idea what it is like to cut an album, edit the novel they have been writing for five years, finish the painting that has been staring at them all week, or turn a lump of clay into a sculpture. The second loudest would be the hacks who’s close friends and family, and a few half-assed lulu publications have convinced them that they DO create something.

    This is why certain people see it as such a big deal when those who have already made a name and some money off of their talent, are taking up “space” in a world that in the minds of some should belong ONLY to the “starving Artist”. Those who create nothing or create sub-par, see themselves on the same level as the “starving Artist” and are smugly against the ones who have “made it”.

    What they are missing, is that yes…. this forum should be open to all… because in the end, yes “THE MARKET IS EFFICIENT.”

    In other words, if what you are trying to do, regardless of wether or not you are famous already or not… if what you are trying to do is WORTHY, the crowd will deem it so, and the goal will be met.

    OR:
    It’s not the producer, it’s the impact of the product that matters, and no one should lose sight of that.

  • SamanthaShulamithDekle

    I think any way of getting your music made is a positive one. If someone who is making music that I love and that is having an impact on me and there is any way that I can help out…yes! Yes I will donate, yes i will buy merch, yes I will pay to come to your shows. I don’t care how much money you have. If it’s music that is really close to my heart then not only will I give you money to make it…I’ll come and hold the fucking mic for you. <3 Artist make art not only for themselves…but for fans. This is how you make a living as an artist. Who is to say how they should be allowed to do that?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=693747076 Donald Hallene III

    Shortly after I became a fan of Amanda’s music, I got in a huge argument with people who thought her kickstarter was a huge farce. They were mad about the whole paid musicians thing, and one even suggested that if she wanted money she should just go to Neil Gaiman for it. Absolutly infuriating. I want to do a Kickstarter for a film project, and I know I’d get lots of support, but just because someone like Amanda has a name and has had a record deal in the past, they get bitched at? It’s a huge double standard that isn’t fair.

  • Kevin Gibbons

    I agree, Amanda, that the very nature of Crowdfunding demands that the crowd decide what is worthy to fund and what isn’t. Are you going to address this issue in your TED presentation?

  • http://www.facebook.com/etheralchaos Thomas Proctor

    People don’t truly understand that money is a problem that we all deal with. Rewards shouldn’t be something that make you pay more or less to someone’s cause. We all struggle we all fall but we all hope that someone shall help us back up again. People should help out one another. Every where we look there are people crying out. Yes some people seem to be more successful than others with campaigns on kickstarter. All that says is they have fallen down a tad harder than others or they are more well known. Most people once they fall they get bruised and after they get back up they quit. Then we as people all over the world might have missed out on amazing music. Just imagine if Amanda Palmer stopped after Dresden dolls we would have missed out royally on her new music. If you truly believe in other people you should provide to them even if you don’t think the rewards are great because those people you support they will remember you maybe not by specific name but I know for certain they will remember you for helping them. Once they have accomplished their dreams they thank you all of you for the support. If you don’t believe me ask some musicians and Actors who have gotten to become well known through any of the social entities we have know adays such as twitter, facebook, and youtube. The media themselves advertise for people if it catches their attention just look at Psy a south korean singer who most of you wouldn’t have even heard of if it wasn’t for youtube and the news.I conclude my tangent with a little nugget of advice. If you have ever had a dream of doing something even if it is completly insane don’t stop yourself most people hold themselves back because it is not in their comfort zone.

  • DefaultAllyson

    It has been YEARS since i heard the song hyperballad – fuck it’s amazing! i need to find my Bjork cd and rip it to the computer!

  • http://veraglosova.com Vera

    I read carefully through all the blog and gave it a thought. As you were asking of opinions I hope I am not too late with one. Here are lots of them already.
    If we talk about who should have this magic “right” to crowd-fund, it is clear for me that everybody should be given that right. I love the idea that we have such a powerful tool in our hand. After your success with “theater is evil” I got so much inspired that one day I will ask people to fund the idea of the documentary I have in mind. And bjork (whom I love) should ask, and you, and me and many other people who do art.
    However, what made this blog even more interesting for me is people’s reaction, as if this judging is making them important. I think people would bitch anyway – for fail or win, as if this would make them happier. As if it will prove that they are not so miserably lost (even if those people have money-jobs-families-etc). I think this reaction refers to your bully posts. They feel protected this way. They judge and protect themselves.

  • http://www.crysthewolf.com Crystal Wolf

    I won’t say there isn’t a part of me, as a starving artist, that twinges when someone with lots of money and success already uses kickstarter to fund their project. It twists a little. It says, “Hey, that tool is for people like *me*, not for people like *you*.” It’s an irrational little self that is afraid that if the big names get on there and people fund them, someone like me will be overlooked. That said:

    It’s irrational. The fact of the matter is, I had a very successful, very small kickstarter, and I am broke and no one knows my name. And I did that when there were other folks with lots of cash and popularity who were funding kickstarters as well. The fact is, we’re artists, and if we ask for money there is always going to be someone bitching, because “You’re just doing art. That isn’t real work.” Wouldn’t it be lovely if we could all live in an idyllic world where all art was free and those of us who made it had unlimited amounts of time to create it for the sheer enjoyment of ourselves and those who consume it? And while we’re at it, wouldn’t it be fantastic of starving children in Africa had the same opportunities? Oh how shiny that would be.

    We don’t live there. And me, starving African children, and Lady Gaga’s stilettos, all deserve the same opportunities, whether we’ve had the good fortune to be successful or not. You are completely right — Kickstarter is for everyone. If people don’t want to support a project because they feel the person who started it doesn’t need them to? That’s their right. It’s also someone else’s right to support the same project for *their own* reasons. Kickstarter will still be available to those of us who “need” it… but think about it, this is how the economy works. Kickstarter is able to help those of us who don’t have any other resources, in part, BECAUSE of those ginormous projects that pull in tons of cash. Because they pull in tons of cash for Kickstarter as well, which funds their needs, which keeps them going for the little people like me.

    So I can’t be mad at stuff like this, at the end of it all. Not only *should* everyone have the right to crowdsource via something like Kickstarter, but if something like Kickstarter is going to be available, they *must* have that right.

    And further, every artist should have the right to reach out to their audience themselves, grassroots, and say, “Hey, I want you to be part of this.” It cuts out the middlemen who don’t have any fucking clue what they’re doing anyway, and it leaves us face to face with one another as human beings. It connects the art to the art-appreciators, where we can join hands and say, “Hey, you’re doing a cool thing. I would like to be part of your cool thing. Let’s do this shit.”

    It’s called Community. We can’t start cutting people out of it just because they’ve got something that we don’t.

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  • adamrafferty

    I was very fortunate as a not-so-well known dude, to aquire 12 million youtube hits and get a touring career going.

    The knife should and does cut both ways. If unknown people can utilize these tools to build something great, so should well known people.

    And bravissima to Amanda. She cut the labels loose and is calling her own career shots thanks to these tools – that we are all free to use.

    I don’t like when a KS campaign looks like begging – which some musicians do. However, if it’s about doing your research and seeing what people are willing to “get behind” – that’s way cool.

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