Saturday, March 28, 2015

Starving artists no more? Meet the Kickstarter for music, arts

by Trent Gillies CNBC

Want to support your favorite starving artist? A new
payments website—one born out of frustration—
can help you help them.
"Patreon" Co-founder Jack Conte is half of the
musical group Pomplamoose, who started the site
two years ago. The group had been putting their
musiconline, and getting some payment via a YouTube
Yet with so much free online content available, many
musicians, writers and other creators are struggling to
get paid for their efforts. Conte wants to alter that
In an interview with CNBC's On The Money, Conte
explains, "I spent three months working on a music
videos, working eighteen-hour days, put it out, got
half-a-million views… and got a check in the mail
for a couple hundred bucks."
Conte added: "I thought, nope, that is not going to
be how this works."
The musician decided to launch his own start-up
with former Stanford roommate Sam Yam. Their
idea was to create a digital fan club, to harness the
power of fans. Thus was Patreon born, as a way for
artists to make money from the songs, art and
content they create.
"Artists get ongoing funding from their fans."
Yam told CNBC.
Artist dabbing paint brush in palette
Guido Mieth | Taxi | Getty Images
Patreon says 250 thousand patrons are donating
small amounts of money to 14 thousand active
creators. According to the website, it is sending
$2 million dollars a month to artists, and the
average payment creators are receiving is
$9 a month.
So why would fans pay for something they're
getting online now for free?
"The idea is patrons are donating out of goodwill,
but in terms of what they get back, its mostly
about intimacy and interaction with artists,"
Yam explained.
Kickstarter is the largest crowdfunding platform.
Since its 2009 launch, Kickstarter has funded
more than 81,000 projects, with 8.3 million people
pledging more than $1.6 billion in funds.
However, Yam explains instead of Kickstarter's
model of providing funding for particular projects,
Patreon is different. The site offers sustainable,
continued funding for artists, he says.
"It's more about supporting artists in an ongoing
way," Yam says. "The artists don't have to go
through building up a whole new project just
for their funding to create a whole new movie,
or anything else."
Patreon itself has received more than
17 million dollars in venture capital funding from
investors including Sam Altman (president of Y
Combinator), Stanford University, Alexis Ohanian
(co-founder of Redditt), David Marcus (former
PayPal President), and Stanford University.
Conte says Patreon is growing because more
content creators are going out to their fans and
telling their story, as he did.
"Guys, I'm making stuff. I know you like it,"
he said. "I know you're watching it or listening
to it or reading it. And I'd like to get paid to
continue." Conte says fans then flock to the
site, and are responding with their financial support.
"It's a natural instinct that humans have," he
said. Music and art lovers spot material that
they love, "is beautiful and is worth our attention
and our focus and we want to support it," Conte
added. "We want more of it."

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