Kevin Kelly, the founder of Wired, wrote a post last year that we have turned to many times in our development of Kickstarter. There is one passage in particular that jumped out as definitely true, and definitely something that we intended to tap into with KSR:
Patronage — It is my belief that audiences WANT to pay creators. Fans like to reward artists, musicians, authors and the like with the tokens of their appreciation, because it allows them to connect. But they will only pay if it is very easy to do, a reasonable amount, and they feel certain the money will directly benefit the creators. Radiohead’s recent high-profile experiment in letting fans pay them whatever they wished for a free copy is an excellent illustration of the power of patronage. The elusive, intangible connection that flows between appreciative fans and the artist is worth something. In Radiohead’s case it was about $5 per download. There are many other examples of the audience paying simply because it feels good.
If all goes as planned, Kickstarter will be the best example yet of this model.