Kickstarter has been all about inventive products and the stories behind them since day one. By now, we all know the basics of how the crowdfunding platform works—designer thinks of groundbreaking idea but needs funding, designer creates Kickstarter campaign to raise awareness and funding, designer either earns enough funding or doesn't, which is important due to Kickstarter's all-or-nothing funding policy. But what would this format look like if it were creator-focused instead of product-focused?
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Enter Kickstarter's new platform, Drip. Launched this morning, the subscription based website hopes to circle some attention back around to the creators working on exciting projects—instead of just the end results they produce.
How it started
Drip was initially created by record label Ghostly International back in 2012 as a way for people to support musicians through subscriptions. Kickstarter noticed Drip's potential early on and acquired the service around two years ago to keep it from shutting down.
Now, Kickstarter has built a new version of Drip from the ground up that both meshes with their own goal of helping creative projects come to life and keeps the legacy of the original Drip alive.
How it works
The new Drip platform is a place for people to fund and build communities around their creative practices as a whole. When we think about how subscription services are used in today's world, we think YouTube, music streaming services like Spotify and maybe even those monthly boxes of Japanese snacks you can get in the mail.
While all those are great (especially the snacks), none of those platforms are exactly conducive to designers and their practices—unless of course you make how-to or sketching YouTube videos like Michael DiTullo or Spencer Nugent.
While Kickstarter is for targeted, one-time funding of specific projects, Drip is for ongoing and committed support in the form of fans, friends and new audiences. Drip is less about end results and more about supporting people you believe in and want to see succeed.
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After creating a Drip profile, artists and designers are able to share information such as their process, notes and progress reports/updates. This information keeps their subscribers in-the-know and provides a behind-the-scenes look into their practice, which in turn will hopefully attract the attention of even more subscribers.
The equivalent to the Early Bird Backer on Drip is the Founding Member. During a period of the first 7 to 30 days of a Drip profile, people who subscribe to that Drip are automatically Founding Members. Creators are able to offer Founding Members special rewards—sometimes including physical product—to encourage people to back them early on. Instead of an all-or-nothing model like Kickstarter, Drip pages will continue no matter how many Founding Members subscribe.
Let's talk money
Creators are in control when it comes to subscription rates. They can choose whether to charge their subscribers every month or every time they release a new project. This is where subscribers need to be smart: If you're getting charged once per month to subscribe to someone's Drip, you better make sure they're putting out quality work on a semi-regular basis to make it worth your while.
Kickstarter will charge a 5% fee on subscription payments and then a credit card processing fee of around 3%, which is comparable to regular Kickstarter fees.
Right now, Drip is invite-only to allow Kickstarter some time to test out the service from both the creator and subscriber sides, but Kickstarter hopes to make the platform open to the public early next year.
Drip is just starting out today, but Kickstarter founder and chairman Perry Chen already has high hopes for the platform. He believes Kickstarter is already a place that directly helps bring creative projects to life but that it's time to open up their model to support creators through their practices as a whole because, "it's not all about the work".
What're your thoughts on Drip? Would you create a profile and/or put trust in the profiles of other creators through subscription?
Emily is a freelance writer based in NYC with an interest in all things design, specifically the design process. When she's not writing about design, Emily can either be found taking care of her 31 houseplants, going on "nature" walks in her neighborhood or studying Japanese. Before going freelance, Emily was an Editor at Core77.