Here and there in recent months, there have been grumblings about Kickstarter burnout. There have also been Kickstarter indecision crises — how do you know when to pledge, and how much? — and Kickstarter skepticism. But to all the naysayers, nonbelievers, and doubters, Kickstarter might now present this: stats from 2012, which show that the crowd-funding platform raised an impressive $274.4 million last year. And that’s just the money collected — some $319.8 million was pledged, which I feel compelled to point out is more than double the fiscal year 2012 budget of the National Endowment of the Arts ($146 million).
That money came from 2.2 million people around the globe (there were backers in 90% of the world’s countries) and successfully funded 18,109 projects. Amazingly, Kickstarter estimates that backers pledged roughly $600 per minute over the course of the year. Per minute! If I had $600 to spend per minute … well, anyway.
As with the last time we checked in on Kickstarter stats, art was the fourth most popular category, with nearly 3,783 projects launched and just under half of them funded. The three categories ahead of it were publishing, music, and film & video, although Kickstarter separates photography from art and comics from publishing, so the distinctions seem a bit arbitrary. Some $10.5 million was pledged to art projects over the year, but frustratingly (and self-servingly), Kickstarter doesn’t say how much of that actually went through. It is interesting to note that the category with the most promised money was games, with a whopping $83 million, even though games falls below art in terms of the number of projects launched. I guess that means games are, on average, more expensive.
Overall, the stats aren’t as in-depth or revealing as we’d like them to be — as mentioned above, there are no category breakdowns of actual money raised, and there’s no information about success versus failure rates or any clues as to what makes for a successful project. But the numbers are definitely interesting and at times staggering: consider that the amount of money pledged rose 221% from 2011, and money collected rose 238%.
The takeaway? Some of us may be experiencing Kickstarter burnout, but we should probably deal with it, because crowd-sourced funding is quite obviously here to stay.