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Crowdfunding the Future

Media Industries, Ethics, and Digital Society

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Edited By 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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10. Public Service Announcements With Guitars: Rock ’n Roll as Crowdfunding Cause for Amanda Palmer and IAMX

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10. Public Service Announcements With Guitars: Rock ’n Roll as Crowdfunding Cause for Amanda Palmer and IAMX

LARISSA WODTKE

Introduction

Due to development in digital technology and its impact in the form of immaterial labour (Lazzarato, 1996), cognitive capitalism (Peters & Bulut, 2011), and “the commons” (Hardt & Negri, 2009), many musicians are turning to crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and PledgeMusic to support their artistic labour financially. Crowdfunding, a method of raising public funds from a large group of individuals via online third parties, is an “emerging and growing form of non-state funding for the arts” (Harvie, 2013: 168). These online platforms, which reflect the biopolitical power of what Hardt and Negri conceive of as the “multitude,” allow musicians to manufacture scarcity in a post-scarcity economy through “value-added” items and services beyond digital music itself, which by its very medium is no longer perceived as valuable in a postindustrial capitalist economy (Wodtke, 2014). In examining the successful crowdfunding campaigns, and more specifically the pitch videos, of Amanda Palmer and IAMX, run via Kickstarter and PledgeMusic, respectively, I argue these methods for raising capital utilise a rhetorical strategy similar to those of charities and fundraising drives for public service broadcasting. In doing so, they use emotional appeals and affective labour to persuade their fans to mobilise as activists for a moral cause, invoking language of temporality, including the “future of music” and “creating history together,” not unlike previous musician-endorsed ← 173 | 174 → causes...

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