$3 Billion Pledged to Independent Creators on Kickstarter

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Every five seconds someone backs a Kickstarter project. More than 12.7 million people around the world have taken a chance on new creative ideas here, pushing 123,587 of them one step closer to reality. All this just added up to an exciting milestone — as of last night, $3 billion has been pledged to independent creators on Kickstarter. It’s a big figure, but stepping back, what it represents is much bigger.

By design, Kickstarter offers creators the freedom to take risks and realize their creative vision. And it offers backers the chance to be part of a community that’s passionate about bringing new creative ideas to life. Together they’re pushing creative culture in new and ambitious directions. As we reflect on how artists, creators, and innovators have raised billions of dollars in support of creative ideas at the earliest stages of development, here are three trend lines that stand out and trace those shifts.

Creativity Without Borders

Kickstarter was born in New York City, but today it’s a global community of people from more than 220 countries and territories. Roughly 35% of successfully funded projects now come from outside the United States, as do 45% of backers. Together, these backers and creators use Kickstarter to reach across borders and shape culture into what they want it to be, rather than accepting it for what it is. And as ideas from different cultures collide with one another, they inspire new conversations, creative approaches, and cross-cultural connections.

Dresdner Sinfoniker's public art project, "Tear Down This Wall!"
Dresdner Sinfoniker's public art project, "Tear Down This Wall!"


A world-class symphony orchestra for contemporary music called Dresdner Sinfoniker is currently funding a project doing just that. They’re based in Germany, but their project, Tear Down This Wall!, aims to perform a live concert staged from both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border. It’s an idea that’s inspired hundreds of backers across 30 different countries, from Japan, El Salvador, and the Netherlands, to Kenya, Canada, and Guatemala.

Creative Sustainability

Leading a creative life is by no means easy. It’s not uncommon for artists and creators to make a living doing something peripheral to their creative vision. But we’re beginning to see creators use Kickstarter to sustain their creative pursuits across longer periods of time. Of the $3 billion pledged, more than $1 billion was pledged to creators who have run more than one Kickstarter project — over 36,000 of them. And while the life of an independent creator may never be easy, running a Kickstarter to help you on that path does appear to get easier — the success rate for creators who come back after a successfully funded project is more than double the site-wide average.

The Sleep of Reason: An Anthology of Horror published by Iron Circus Comics
The Sleep of Reason: An Anthology of Horror published by Iron Circus Comics


One outstanding example of an independent creator incorporating Kickstarter into her career is C. Spike Trotman. Spike is a talented cartoonist, author, and alternative comics publisher. Since 2009, she and thousands of supporters have brought 11 different Kickstarter projects to life, from a graphic novel about a shape-shifting teenage girl who fights crime called Shadoweyes, to the awesome alt-comic horror anthology Sleep of Reason. (Attention aspiring comics creators: Pick up a copy of her primer on crowdfunding, Let’s Kickstart a Comic.)

The Impact of Creative Independence

A recent study found that Kickstarter offered creators the creative independence they wouldn’t have earned from other funding avenues. When creators are able to create on their own terms they’re empowered to take important risks that lead to a more vibrant and resilient creative culture. This new way of bringing creative ideas to life is beginning to have a lasting cultural and economic impact:

  • Artists, authors, designers, filmmakers, musicians, and other creators reported that their project led to professional growth, greater earnings, and career advancement. 
  • Every dollar pledged to a successfully funded project resulted in $2.46 in additional revenue for the creator — an estimated $6.5 billion in long-term economic activity benefiting creators and their communities to date. 
  • And as of June 2016, independent creators have generated nearly 30,000 new full-time careers and 300,000 part-time jobs through their Kickstarter projects.

We recently published a series of stories that chronicle some of the impact those creators have had in this shift towards greater creative independence. Check it out here.

Thanks to all of the backers who took a chance on creative ideas more than 37 million times over the last eight years. Your spirit of generosity is deepening and diversifying the community of creators who get the chance to create. 

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