Culture is future » Financing and economic models

07.25.2012

Article - The crowdfunding or the advent of the “leisure-investor”

At a time where culture is looking for financing, the crowd-funding seems to be an interesting private alternative. The possibility to contribute with small amounts of money to the financing of a cultural project creates a new profile of investor.


Cinema, comics, photojournalism, art works, … the crowd-funding now affects all the dimensions of creation. The leading platform of the US market, Kickstarter, with fund raisings of more than a million dollars enabled Eric Migicorsky, inventor of a watch connected to smartphones (Pebble Watch) tp raise $10 million thanks to 85 000 donors. In Europe, after a timid start with mymajorcompany, Ulule experiences a fast development of 25% per month and has today 56 000 members, €2.6 million financing from internet users and 1000 projects financed in 18 months, that is 47% of the projects.

The private financing of start-ups that needs to be supervised and promoted

Despite the success, there are some drawbacks on the nature of the investment : its low return, the opacity of its governance, or the investors’ lack of expertise. Others accuse it of impoverishing culture by favoring a commercial creation for general public, dedicated not only to spectators but also to investors. Why already stigmatizing a starting phenomenon ? Affirming that little investors would be less legitimate or less professional ?

Europe, and particularly France have to supervise and promote it better, by reducing the heavy constraints of the public call for savings… The USA, a breeding ground, took the initiative with the Jobs Act (“Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act”), passed in April 2012 and Europe could follow its example ; the start-ups can raise up to $50 million with 1000 investors (before the inscription to SEC) and the individual can invest up to $10 000 up to the limit of 10% of his annual income. An asset to launch projects and stimulate the emergence of innovative creators and of jobs, not only in the ICC sector !

A new philosophy of the cultural investment : from amateurs to amateurs

 Beyond the impact of the investment, the results of the exponential growth of crowd funding platforms are as follows : the emergence of the new type of support to creation, in accordance with the contemporary expectations. The crowd funding  fulfils a wish : make a dream come true, while keeping the stability of a professional life. It mostly concerns amateurs who want to actively help other amateurs create. The platforms are mostly aimed at the “leisure – inventors and creators” and attract new investors, more motivated by enthusiasm and passion than by a potential return.

This streak of passion and artistic affective, criticized by many people, did not escape such a big institution as the Louvre museum, as the success of the website tousmecenes.com shows. Created in 2010 to support targeted projects, it enabled the Louvre to buy the Trois Grâces of Lucas Cranach and to raise more than 400 000 Euros for the renovation of two works form the Islamic Arts Department. When we will see a French law on the creative crowd funding ?

 

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