We Couldn’t Have Built it Without Kickstarter
(Originally published in the San Diego Reader December 12, 2012.)
In early June 2012, Chris Cruz, guitar and keyboard player for the San Diego band Through the Roots, locked himself in his room for a weekend to study up on Kickstarter, a crowd-funding site for creative projects. He’d heard of Kickstarter in passing but didn’t think much of it until a music-industry mentor told him it was gaining a lot of buzz in creative circles and might be worth looking into.
Cruz, 25, and his band of 20-somethings were on the brink of their fourth national tour, and their green bus (“Betsy”) needed work. They also needed studio time to put together their first full-length album. If they were going to do it all, they’d need more money than their various odd jobs (fast-food service, neighborhood handyman, screen-printing) could generate.
On its website, Kickstarter defines itself as “a funding platform for creative projects.” Users create fundraising campaigns for one-time projects in 13 categories: art, comics, dance, design, fashion, film and video, food, games, music, photography, publishing, technology, and theater. Kickstarter processes pledges through Amazon Payments, which holds the money until a campaign’s funding goal is reached. If the goal is not reached, all funds are returned to those who pledged.
For the uninitiated and others who aren’t familiar with crowdfunding, it’s not a hunt for investors; it’s more like a KPBS pledge drive. Project creators offer incentives for your pledge. These rewards can be anything from your name mentioned on Twitter to a private movie screening in your back yard.
“We realized Kickstarter was probably the best option to keep us on track for meeting all the goals we want to accomplish this year,” Cruz tells me over the phone from somewhere near Cedar City, Utah.
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