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Crowdfunding the Future

Media Industries, Ethics, and Digital Society


Lucy Bennett, Bertha Chin and Bethan Jones

The concept of crowdfunding, where grassroots creative projects are funded by the masses through websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, has been steadily gaining attention over the last few years. Crowdfunding the Future undertakes a dynamic interdisciplinary approach to the examination of the new, and growing, phenomenon of crowdfunding and its encompassment of digital society and media industries. The book offers a wide range of perspectives and empirical research, providing analyses of crowdfunded projects, the interaction between producers and audiences, and the role that websites such as Kickstarter play in discussions around fan agency and exploitation, as well as the ethics of crowdfunding. With a series of chapters covering a global range of disciplines and topics, this volume offers a comprehensive overview on crowdfunding, examining and unraveling the international debates around this increasingly popular practice. The book is suitable for courses covering media studies, fandom, digital media, sociology, film production, anthropology, audience, and cultural studies.
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Afterword: The Future of Crowdfunding




On 29 May 2014 my social mediasphere exploded with news that LeVar Burton’s Kickstarter campaign for a classroom app, based on his Reading Rainbow children’s television series, had made its one million dollar goal in less than 24 hours. Reading Rainbow had been a children’s public television series focusing on the importance of reading. The campaign, which aimed to bring an educational app based on the show into classrooms across the world, continued to generate momentum over the next month until it finally made over five million dollars by 2 July. In total over 105,000 people donated to the campaign (full disclosure, I am one of them), many of whom, I’m sure, were swayed to donate by their own special memories of watching Burton on Reading Rainbow or as Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation (full disclosure, I fall into both of those categories too). Those who donated to this Kickstarter campaign received special incentive awards, from a basic five dollar donation (“You’ll have LeVar’s gratitude AND make a difference!” which almost 20,000 people received) to the $10,000 donation (“the ULTIMATE STAR TREK ‘VISOR’ Package”). This single donor became the private guest of Burton and fellow Star Trek alum Brent Spiner (Data) at dinner in Los Angeles, got to wear the original VISOR that Burton wore as Geordi in Star Trek, and won free passes to a fan convention with autographed photos of Burton.

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