- In: Exclusives
- Published on 17 April 2012
- By Matt
Hello, (insert name here)
We have been good friends for a while OR we sort of know each other OR we’ve never actually met but somehow I have your email and/or Facebook account.
Anyhow, I am making this great video OR album OR sculpture OR anything that require funds that I do not currently have and I would like to know if you could find it in your heart to contribute money
(insert name here) in association with Kickstarter.
If you are trying to raise money for a creative project, Kickstarter is a great tool. It offers the subscriber access to a money pool that they could not have reached on their own. It is, in a way, a revolution for raising money.
Before I go all Andy Rooney on Kickstarter, let me start off by saying that I support every movie, album, record or whatever creative vehicle that a person chooses to develop. If I could, I would contribute to every project that comes along.
What Kickstarter has done is actually pretty amazing. They have not only branded asking for money, they made it seem fashionable. As a society we like to see goals met. We not only want to see the over-sized thermometer made of construction paper, we want to watch as strips of red paper are added to indicate we a closer to reaching our goal. Kickstarter provides that.
My problem with Kickstarter is that it provides that in mass. It seems like every day I get a new request for funding. Anyone who wants to raise money for a creative project can sign up on Kickstarter and then inundate me with emails asking for money. There is no personality to it. There is only an end goal and a piece of red construction paper that I can add to the thermometer.
Kickstarter is basically a panhandler with your email address. I remember the first time a homeless person asked me for money. I gave them five dollars. A few years and thousands of homeless people later, it would take a lot to squeeze a dollar out of my pocket. When people ask you for money every day it gets old. After a while, the man down on his luck trying to get money to feed his family might as well be an executive from Goldman Sachs looking for more bailout money.
It’s not that Kickstarter is evil, because it’s not. It’s that Kickstarter has taken all the character out of raising money and then stuffed it down our throats. Like Dan Smith guitar lessons or those people with clipboards who stop you on the streets. At first it’s clever, then you’re over it and after that it just gets annoying.
My grade school music teacher was Mr. Rob. No last name was necessary because that is what the other, boring teachers went by. Not Mr. Rob. He was one of us. He was cool. He was in a band and we did fun activities like bring in empty egg cartons so he could sound proof his basement. He would not only bring in copies of his own music for us kids to buy, he would bring in his buddies from other bands and we could buy their albums as well. Mr. Rob also taught us how to play guitar, if we paid him for lessons outside of class.
Looking back at my 8 years of grade school I’m not sure I learned a whole lot about music. I learned how to type in computer class. I learned how to draw in art class. But my fondest memories of music class were begging my parents not to throw away empty egg cartons and buying a ten-dollar acid jazz album from a grown man with a ponytail who didn’t use a last name.
Mr. Rob fleeced us. I don’t blame him, nor am I angry with him for it. While he seemed cool at the time, looking back, it was more likely that he saw an easy way to make a couple extra dollars and took advantage of it.
Kickstarter is not fleecing us, nor is it taking advantage of anybody. It is, however, an easy market where a person can spam every person they ever came in contact with.
Asking for money is a tricky situation. Every day I am asked for money whether it is by Time Warner, Con Edison, Kickstarter or the homeless guy outside my apartment. How can I justify giving someone I barely know ten dollars to create a music album after denying a homeless man a dollar to get something to eat? Especially when I feel equally removed from both of them.
While every project is important to the person who creates it, when raising money goes through Kickstarter and ends up in my email inbox or Facebook page it loses its value. It borders on junk mail. It is just another project in a sea of creative efforts.
I have no problem with Kickstarter, or them charging their five percent commission. I have no problem with getting daily emails about projects that need funding. I have no problem with any of it. I just feel like this method of collecting money seems watered down. It seems tired. I’d much rather prefer a personal email or phone call than being lumped in some mass message. After all, aren’t we supposed to be friends?
*This has been a guest post by Mr. Tim Brady*