June 6, 2013
By Michael Giblin
Ok, it’s raining, I’m slightly hung-over, and I’ve been listening to punk rock all morning, so that can only mean one thing – here comes an unsolicited rant…
Friends, fellow artists and musicians…enough with the Kickstarter already! It’s played out, done, pointless, and probably doing you more harm than good. Sure, on paper it is a great idea; a remarkably liberating and democratizing vehicle for artists and their art. In practice, however, it is annoying as hell, and causing me to ignore you. Why? Because it’s not special anymore. At all. And because you’re using it, you aren’t either.
Despite what your flowery project mission statement says, and despite what your 15 minute intro video shows me, your project is NO DIFFERENT from the thousands of others on there, and NO DIFFERENT from the 15 others I saw in my news feed in the last hour. Just call it what it is: “Please give me money to record a CD because I’m not clever or motivated enough to go find it myself”. Everyone is whining about Zach Braff using it to raise $1M to make a Garden State sequel, but Kickstarter officially jumped the shark when Amanda Palmer used it to raise the equivalent of a Guns n’ Roses recording budget. That brought everyone flocking to the great artistic casino, to spin the wheel and see if they can hit pay dirt too. Now it’s just like a real casino, filled with desperate, compromised people trying to bottle lightning.
I’m not kidding…there were no less than 15 Kickstarter pitches in my news feed recently, which, from where I sit, makes you all the artistic equivalent of a street full of homeless people, all sticking out your hands and tugging at my coat as I walk by. Is that sad? Yes. Is that unjust? Probably. But the cumulative effect is the same. I can’t save you all, so I will save none of you. There’s your great democratization of the playing field: you’re all equally irrelevant.
At the risk of sounding crankier and more elitist than usual, if your project was truly going to change the face of popular music, or film, or art (thanks intro video for cluing me in to THAT), then someone who is a lot smarter than you at making money would have seen that ALREADY. Both the music business and the art and film worlds are filled with people who are great at sniffing out lucrative opportunities and exploiting them.
I have self-funded every one of my own projects, and while I AM fortunate that I have made a good enough living to enable me to do that, I also made a LOT of important life choices to facilitate that. And I also worked my ass off. For YEARS. To use a very over wrought cliché, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Not if you want to be respected, at least, because the sad reality of crowd sourcing is that you’re just another beggar in an increasingly noisy sea of them.
So, in closing, dear friends, have a little artistic dignity. Get off the metaphorical couch, find a metaphorical job, and get off welfare.