Crowdsourcing has become one of the main ways for independent artists to fund projects they can’t quite afford on their own. From musicians to clothing designers, and filmmakers to fine artists, sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have allowed thousands to raise the money they’ve needed to complete projects.
Here at CLUTCH we’ve highlighted several projects in need of a little support. Issa Rae’s Awkward Black Girl and Miss Gee’s Miss Zee coloring book are a few efforts we’ve supported in the past. Both successfully met their goals because they reached out to fans and filled a need that was sorely lacking. But with so many finding success using crowdsourcing to fund projects, a new breed of investment seekers has emerged: celebrities.
Jezebel recently wondered why former reality-star-turned-designer Whitney Port was asking for donations to fund her upcoming fashion line, set to debut at New York Fashion Week. Port, who comes from a well-to-do family is estimated to be worth $3.5 million, and could easily afford the $50,000 she is attempting to raise for “hair and makeup, the space, the models, and so much more.”
Putting on a fashion show is a standard business expense for a designer fashion brand. Why isn’t Port doing what other young designers do to grow their companies — get a bank loan, a financial backer, borrow money from family and friends, apply for industry awards and grants for emerging talent, or dig into her own pockets?
This question came up when Whooi Goldberg put out a call to raise $65,000 to fund her documentary about legendary comedian Moms Mabley. Goldberg, clearly has the money to support her own project so why turn to soliciting donations?
For many, using crowdsourcing not only raises funds, but also helps to gage interest in a project. Powerhouse author and blogger Seth Godin used Kickstarter to raise nearly $300,000 for his upcoming book (he was attempting to raise $40,000), The Icarus Deception.
For Godin, raising money for the book, which is being offered by a major publishing house, will “send a powerful signal.” Godin told Forbes, that while “Kickstarter isn’t a profit center, it’s an organizer and an instigator” that helps to promote a project.
But the question remains, should celebrities use crowdsourcing considering they have large platforms to both publicize and raise money for projects on their own? Will the influx of celeb-backed projects make it harder for independent artists to secure the funding they so desperately need?
I guess we’ll have to wait and see, but what’s clear is that as technology changes, so will the ways in which we engage with our favorite artists and support their work.