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LOS ANGELES — For Co.Design recently, Bruce Nussbaum reflected on the idea of “indie capitalism,” a form of small scale, independent capitalism focused more on makers and communities:
“It’s socially focused, not technology focused, more designer/artist-centric than engineering-centric. I especially like ‘indie’ because the indie music scene reflects many of the distributive and social structures of this emergent form of capitalism. It’s no accident that Portland and New York have vibrant indie music scenes and are the centers of a rising new indie capitalism.”
In a post-2008 world, all the artists I know have had to take a ruthlessly entrepreneurial mindset to both promoting their work and sustaining their creative practice. A recent post in GigaOM makes the case that the internet has been a boon for artists willing to navigate the plethora of tools for promoting their work and raising much-needed funds:
“Everywhere you look, artists are taking more control over their own economic well being, in large part because the internet has enabled them to do so. You see it in all forms of content, from books, to video to music.”
Consider, too, the 2011 stats released by Kickstarter, which helped creatives collectively raise almost $100 million this past year.
“More than one million rewards were selected, nearly quadruple the year before. Approximately 1,000 projects were successfully funded each month. In fact, more projects succeeded in 2011 than launched in 2010.”
Art projects received nearly $6 million in pledges. For perspective, that’s double the reported operating budget of Creative Time. And with a total 78,588 backers for 1,172 projects this year, that averages out to about $75 per donor and $5,000 per project (enough for Queens-based artist Jason Eppink to fund his friends’ projects).
Of course, shooting past traditional art world gatekeepers and straight to one’s audience is fraught with its own challenges. Instead of individual investors, artists have to manage their own financials and marketing and deal with thousands of backers scattered around the world, not to mention shipping or promised rewards and correspondence. But it’s refreshing to see that alternatives to the traditional system are becoming more and more viable.
Btw, did you know Hyperallergic has a curated page on Kickstarter? Now you do.
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