*English version of sample blog entry

Yesterday I gave two examples of crowd funding projects, which completely overturned our preconception that it is difficult for artist to succeed in collecting funds above their target amount.

*1: I introduced the two examples below in my previous entry.
–       CINEMETROPOLIS: BLUE SCHOLARS SIGNS TO THE PEOPLE
–       Naked Sea? Spencer Tunick Dead Sea Installation

Today, I’d like to introduce a third example which I did not have the chance to mention yesterday. After that, I’ll look into the differences between successful and unsuccessful projects, and will conclude by explaining the uniqueness of Kickstarter.

Attracting supporters with her distinctive character? / Project of “Anti-Art School” girl

The third example of a hugely successful artist project is by Molly Crabapple, who raised $25,805 total.

Molly Crabapple’s Week in Hell

Her initial goal was $4,500, so she managed to meet that by 573% which is incredible.
However, her case is a little different from the two examples from yesterday.

For this project, she rented a room for her own birthday and drew a painting on the wall for 5 days straight. This is the return she promised for each pledge.

  • $1 or more: Access to a private live stream of the drawing session. (131 backers)
  • $10 or more: Live stream & can suggest an animal you want to be included in the mural & will tweet you the image. (31 backers)
  • $20 or more: Live stream & 4×6 inch original cut from the final work. (369 backers)
  • $50 or more: Live stream & 8×11 inch original cut from the final work. (119 backers)
  • $100 or more: Live stream & 11×14 inch original cut from the final work & signed and dated pen used during the week. (71 backers)
  • $200 or more: Live stream & 11×14 inch original custom cut from the final work of your choosing & signed and dated pen used during the week. (Chosen works are available on first come, first serve basis) (17 backers)
  • $500 or more: Live stream & 18×24 inch original custom cut from the final work & signed and dated pen. (0 backers)
  • $750 or more: Live stream & 24×36 inch original custom cut from the final work of your choosing & signed and dated pen. (1 backer)
  • $1000 or more: Live stream & 24×36 inch original custom cut from the final work of your choosing (available on first come, first serve basis) & signed and dated pen & absinthe lunch with the artist. (0 backer)
  • $5000 or more: Live stream& 30×132 inch floor to ceiling full piece from the mural (first choice) & signed and dated pen & absinthe lunch with the artist. (0 backer)
  • $10,000 or more: Live stream & full wall of the mural (first choice) & signed and dated pen & absinthe lunch with the artist. (0 backer)

The major difference from the previous two projects is that there were no backers for high amounts (over $500). It seems like nobody was really interested in having Absinthe lunch with Molly by paying more than $1000. And her smaller works are more popular, which shows that they just want to acquire it for souvenir. I suppose that is natural reaction as she has almost no reputation as an artist yet.
I should probably point out that she is an art school dropout and is actively pushing forward an “anti-art school” standpoint. She has also founded “Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School”, a group of alternative drawing movement, and has branches in over 100 cities around the world. (There’s one in Tokyo too!) They sell original goods on the website. She is maintaining her originality no matter what.

So from this point of view, she is somewhat similar to Blue Scholars which I introduced in my previous entry. She must also have attracted the supporters with persuasiveness of her anti-authority activities and eccentricity of her character, which people will surely talk about.

The obvious difference between successful projects and unsuccessful projects

The important point I wanted to make is this.

As you can see in Molly’s project, the backers support her because they can purchase something they want. They’re not supporting her because they want to root for her.
In her case, what backers want the most is access to her private live stream, which you can get by pledging at least a dollar. They probably want to view it out of curiosity, since she appears in the media pretty often.

“I may not watch it, but a dollar won’t hurt”, “I’ll buy the right just in case”, “You never know what’s going to happen in the future, so why not buy a piece of her work?” – these are probably what’s going through their minds.

However she is asking for support by providing a return that has equivalent value to the pledge amount (even if it’s unconsciously), and she is not just saying “I want to draw, please support me.”

Why do I think so?

I’ve mentioned that the past two projects and Molly’s is very different, but there are similarities as well.
It is the high “purchase rate” within the final funding amount.

Purchase Rate is the ratio of pledged amount within the total funding amount of the project.
*With Kickstarter, you can either pledge the amount by receiving a return or plainly fund the project without the return. So to put it simply…
Total funding = (Pledge amounts x number of ppl) + Donations

And I realized that there is a huge difference in the purchase rate of successful project and unsuccessful projects.

Here is a data of projects which were in the “Recommended” corner of “Fine Arts “category in July 2011. I’ve followed each project for a month and divided them into successful project and unsuccessful projects.

– Successful Project data

– Unsuccessful Project data

Because I only followed one category for a month (and because it is the “Recommended” projects the number of unsuccessful projects are very low), it’s difficult to determine with just these data, but 21 percent difference in purchase rate is pretty big.

And let’s also look at two projects from yesterday and Molly’s project.

– Blue Scholar Project

– Ari Fruchter Project

– Molly Crabapple Project

As you can see, the purchase rate of three projects is incredibly high.

People who are funding these projects don’t only want to support the artist, but they want to receive something in return. It’s not something they want badly; it’s more like a souvenir, but people who can provide their supporters with these “souvenirs” are the ones who are most likely to succeed in Kickstarter.

One more data I want to point out is the rate of first timer. This is the rate of funders who supported the project with Kickstarter for the first time.
These are the people who have never heard of or didn’t have any interest in Kickstarter, but tried it for the first time. And naturally, friends, families, and relatives of the creators and artists will hold a large proportion of the group.
And as you can see, “repeaters” of successful projects (51%) is much higher than that of unsuccessful projects (38%).
I haven’t looked into the Blue Scholar’s or Ari’s project, but for Molly’s project, the percentage of repeaters was 79.6%!! Wow… An astonishing number.

So to conclude, it can be said that successful projects are the ones that are “purchased” by Kickstarter repeaters.

As I had written in my first Kickstarter entry, some people actually enjoy funding project of artists they’ve never met before. It’s as if they were shopping online, and as a result are supporting the project without even realizing it. Very interesting!

Okay, time is running out again…

What I wanted to say was Kickstarter and other crowd funding service is not “donation”, not asking for any return or 100 percent goodwill. Nor it is “investment” where return is a must. Those who backup the projects are people who have the desire to consume and are somehow drawn to the projects of creators and artists, and end up supporting them.
I am very much interested in the minds of the supporters though – those who are making the projects happen. Why are there so many people who want to give funds to an artist whom they’ve never met before, through a website? A theme I want to look into more through further research and interviews….