Culture is future »

09.08.2015

Op-ed: "The new wave of crowdfunding, career financing" by Laure Kaltenbach and Olivier Le Guay

While the crowdfunding phenomenon is growing year to year and is reaching all sectors of the economy, start-ups in big companies, platforms are now consider it more than a way to simply finance a project or a news coverage : as a way to finance an entire artistic career.

Article previously published in french in the Huffingtonpost.fr

The infatuation for participative financing, or crowdfunding stems from the need to hybridize sources of financing needed for any cultural project. France, with 152 million euros collected in 2014 thanks to 1.3 million funders, roughly the double of the sum in 2013 has become the second European market but far behind the United Kingdom (2.34 billion euros in 2014). In a global level, the same trend: 16.2 billions of dollars collected in 2014 showing a growth rate of 167% compared to the previous year! And the dynamic is far from slowing down, since the consultancy Massolution, foresees a collected sum of 34.4 billion dollars in 2015. Adrien Aumont, co-founder of the platforms KissKissBankBank, HelloMerci and Ledopolis insists on the lasting character of these financing methods that are both collaborative and participative. KissKissBankBank for example has allowed not only funding of the fil « Demain » (produced by the Colibri movement) at an amount of 500 000 euros but also to guarantee the spread by word of mouth, each donor being also a future spectator. By accompanying its creators, the site is more and more in measure to predict their success thanks to metrics ever more sophisticated. Marketing via crowdfunding is being considered with keen interest by big companies such as Orange who launched in June a campaign to finance the production of their new non-mobile phone NeoRetro with an objective set to 500 presales… attained in just a few hours.

« Culture must retrieve its ability to be a step ahead that allows it to disrupt society »: Adrien Aumont calls to cultural actors who need to recover their sense of responsibility in brining social innovation… A few of likeminded actors like Patreon or Tipeee have already heard the call: to go back to the originating concept of patronage to finance not only intermittent projects but also an entire creative career, aiming thus to assure the revenues from an artist’s current artwork… and for those to come. Each time for example the American singer Amanda Palmer publishes a new song, video or score, she receives more than a total of 13 000 dollars from her ‘patrons’, her community of funders on Patreon, making her one of the most popular creators on the site.

« A recurring support for artists and creators » the promise of Patreon. Based on the observation that creation, in today’s digital age, was no longer as cyclical as it has been in the analogue ages: video production, songs, albums, drawings come succeed with no discontinuity on the Internet, Patreon or Tipeee have refreshed the idea of ‘tipping’ allowing their ‘patrons’ to financially support their artists in a regular and unlimited-in-time way. « Tipping is, according to the CEO Michael Goldman of Tipee (the co-founder of My Major Company) a tool truly adapted to the philosophy of the Internet because the content must remain free but creators must also be able to survive off it. When an artist fills a stadium in France, we consider them an international start while on the Internet some creators are virtually filling out a few stadiums which each released content but not earning a dime on it. » The aim of Tipeee, like its American model Patreon, is to clearly offer the possibility to « content creators » (musicians, filmmakers, writers, illustrators, YouTubers,…) to professionalize thanks to their community ! The rule to compensate funders remains nevertheless.

How does it work? « When a creator creates a Tipeee page, as we can read on its site, he/she constructs a list of exclusive and original compensations for ‘tipeurs’ that sustain him/her. It can range from a simple named thank you to a house concert or a dedicated artistic content. The aim is, here, to federate and thank their community for their support. »

« Patrons » that are very active and solidary towards their artists. Patreon declared in November 2014 that it was paying 1 million dollars each month to its network of creators thanks to more than 125 000 ‘patrons’ that were recruited during their 18 months of existence. Tipeee created in 2013, claims on the August 31st, 2015: 11 456 ‘tipeurs’ (of which 65% show recurrent activity) who have paid around 430 000 euros to 801 « content creators ». Like ‘per project financing’, the ‘per tip’ financing is proving its added value to creative economic models. 61% of ‘tipeurs’ on Tipeee take compensations amounting on average to 11 euros. A evolution to explore and follow at an age where creators, and other cultural entrepreneurs, seek to pick more and more of the financing sources and revenues.

This article was written with the help of Camille Gauthier, Project manager at the Forum d’Avignon.