How effective crowd sourcing?

You selling out to Facebook is a disgrace. It damages not only your reputation, but the whole of crowdfunding. I cannot put into words how betrayed I feel by this. — Oculus crowd funder backer Sergey Chubukov

A chapter in The Zero Marginal Cost Society looks at crowd sourcing, but is light on facts and figures.

What are the determining factors? The crowd sourcing site, the project, number of fans and followers?

Crowd sourcing sites handle the mechanics of raising the money, but what do they do to raise awareness?

Amanda Palmer, Dark Mountain, Steph Bradley have had very mixed results on using crowd sourcing.

Amanda Palmer is net savvy, has large number of fans and followers. Crowd sourcing for a new album was massively oversubscribed.

Imogen Heap, net savvy, a large number of fans, is using crowd sourcing to raise £200,000 for her Mi.Mu Glove for Music. With a little over £64,000 raised and 21 days to go, she has some way to go to meet her target of £200,000 for the project to go ahead.

Imogen Heap has used crowd funding to fund her latest album Sparks. A limited edition deluxe box set, the first one hundred were invited to a party at her house to collect, went within hours.

The Dark Mountain Project were able to successfully use crowd sourcing to fund Dark Mountain, their annual anthology of poetry, prose, essays and art, but less successful at funding their album From the Mourning of the World.

Steph Bradley only managed to raise a third of the money, nearly half if we add in those who financed her direct, for her book Flip Flop.

Farnham Local Food, has launched Grow-a-Grower crowd funding project. So far so good. But why launch through a crowd funding site, in this case, Crowdfunder? Even were the site to raise awareness, what interest is there going to be in a food growing project in Farnham? Zilch. The place to raise awareness is within Farnham and the surrounding area. What use is being made of garden share schemes?

How does crowd sourcing compare with alternative sources of financing, bank loans, knocking on the door of venture capitalists, an advance from record company or publisher?

A record label or publisher may grant an advance, which then has to be paid for out of royalties, but if sales do not meet expectation, the writer or artist is left penniless or worse, in debt to the publisher or record label, and then becomes little more than indentured labour.

On bandcamp take in pre-orders, on leanpub can serialise a book, with readers getting regular updates until they receive the final book.

Flip Flop will be serialised on leanpub as an e-book, when the funds raised, published as a paperback.

If people help crowd source a project, they are participating in the Gift Economy, they may get something in return, an album, signed copy of a book, tickets to a concert.

Triptych I (Eight for a Wish), is the first of a trilogy.

The cover art for Triptych I (Eight for a Wish) is a painting created by San Francisco artist Eden Gallanter, inspired by the song Supernova, which she heard the first time Artemis performed it live, at DNA Lounge in December 2012. It is well worth exploring more of Eden’s deeply intuitive art and science through her new Cheimonette Tarot deck at kickstarter. The deck includes a compilation CD of music inspired by the cards and Eden’s readings — songs from Meredith Yayanos, Jill Tracy, Unwoman, Mark Growden, Star St. Germain, Myrrh Larsen and Artemis.

The Triptych trilogy was released as a series of limited edition albums. Triptych trilogy with three art prints is limited to five.

All these projects are community supported projects. The community should in some way benefit.

Those seeking the funding should be prepared to contribute to the Global Commons, else why should anyone fund them?

Imogen Heap has agreed to make her music glove project open source.

Oculus was funded through kickstarter. It was then sold to facebook for $2 billion. Venture capitalists who muscled in made a killing those who supported the project in its early stages got nothing.

Around 10,000 people gave Oculus $2.5m between them. Should each of them not have got a proportional share of that $2 billion sale? Should it have even been sold to facebook?

Many more scandals like Oculus, and crowd funding will acquire a dirty name and the funds will simply dry up.

This is the type of dirty behaviour we expect from the banks, the antithesis of a contribution to the Global Commons.

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