Shh, Don’t Tell Congress; Kickstarter May Outgrant NEA

In what can be seen as both a good and a bad sign, the U.S. based Kickstarter, a crowdsourcing hub for supporting projects in a variety of fields (including art, music, technology and publishing) announced some incredible numbers recently.

Per the TPM Idea Lab:

“One of the company’s three co-founders, Yancey Strickler, said that Kickstarter is on track to distribue over $150 million dollars to its users’ projects in 2012, or more than [the] entire fiscal year 2012 budget for the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA), which was $146 million.”

Kickstarter takes a five percent cut of successfully funded projects to finance its operations.  A comparable U.K. organization, Crowdfunder, may be familiar to readers as it hosted Baba Brinkman’s successful effort to augment the videos for his Rap Guide to Evolution.  I’ll likely post soon about Matter, a Kickstarter project on science journalism that has garnered over $63,000 in support in a touch over two days, which is 126 percent of the project goal.  With 28 days to go, who knows how high the total may get.

Back to the U.S. funding.  While I expect someone will make the claim that Kickstarter will make the NEA redundant (if they haven’t already), a casual survey of the websites of both organziations should indicated that they focus on different kinds of art.  While I won’t discount the possibility that a future Public Broadcasting System program might mention Kickstarter (or Crowdfunder, or any comparable entity) as an underwriter, I don’t expect it to happen soon.

However, if it might get rid of those pledge breaks, I’ll think seriously about sending some money to more crowdsourced projects.