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Tue May 17, 2016, 12:35 PM

Against Crowdfunding

TBF note: like many of you I have donated to these "kickstarter" and "go fund me" requests, in hopes of pitching in with others to make someone's life just a little easier. But overall as a society is this the best way to handle inequality? And do we all suffer as a result of art being reduced to simply content?

Perhaps it’s fitting then that Patreon describes its affiliates as “creators” making “content,” rather than “artists” making “art.”

Art and content are not the same. Content is produced with a specific, marketable goal in mind. Patreon turns artists into content-makers whose creativity is moderated by their patrons. Patrons with more money have more clout, and the ability to withhold funding shapes what creators make.

In this sense, Patreon reproduces key elements of the old patronage model, in which the power to commission and influence artists rests in the hands of those who can pay.


Against the Crowdfunding Economy
by Keith A. Spencer 5/17/16

In the art world, as elsewhere, success is often tightly correlated with pedigree and acceptance into elite institutions. Simpsons writers are likely to be Harvard grads; musician and writer Leonard Cohen purchased his Greek artist’s retreat with his trust fund; Lena Dunham’s debt-free college education gave her the financial freedom to make her first film.

Of course most artists aren’t so lucky. And amid the increasing consumption of digital media, the conditions for success have become ever more fraught. Instant access to media — and the massive amount of free content online — makes many feel they should be able to watch, listen, or read whatever they want, whenever they want, at no cost to them.

Tech companies, in turn, rely on free content to get eyeballs on their advertisements, and make a tidy profit in the process. Hence, while Silicon Valley profits from our collective free labor, many once-remunerated artists are now paid in exposure.

<snip>

The concept of crowdfunding began with platforms like Kickstarter (the inaugural crowdsourced fundraising platform) and IndieGogo, both of which allow entrepreneurs, start-ups, and nonprofits to solicit fundraising through small online donations ...

Much more here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/05/crowdfunding-kickstarter-gofundme-charity-taxes/

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