I’m actually glad that almost anybody that has an opinion on the Emily White/David Lowery digital music controversy has already talked, because now I know there’s nothing left for me to say about it. So I’m gonna talk about video games some more.
Rock Paper Shotgun weighed in on the new Kickstarter Stats page to discuss why the Games category has only 33% success rate. This isn’t a shock to anyone, I think. Kickstarter isn’t magic. And if most games were successfully funded by the crowds, I think it’s safe to say that something about the balance of nature has gone terribly wrong.
On the heels of his own Kickstarter’s instant success, Seth Godin was quick to reinforce that his numerous calls for tribe building and permission are the only real magic part of a successful Kickstarter campaign. The ease of participating with the Kickstarter site is just one less thing for the ponderous tribe maker to worry about.
In light of the Games category and the permission of developers to market to their tribe, I think 33% is a pretty great success rate, really. Lots of game developers would love to have engaged their fans to the point that full 1 out of 3 of them would pro-actively pledge money to support their next project. I dare say that the big publishers wouldn’t bet on that community support to game concepts nearly as much as the target audience apparently will.
So, whither music? What music? Oh, you mean the category with the 54% success rate? The third highest success rate on the site? The one with the second highest total dollars overall?
There are an infinite number of ways to draw engagement from your audience, and it doesn’t have to be T-shirt (or even Kickstarter, or whatever comes next). But it also doesn’t have to be the old labels, or the old royalties, or the old copyrights.
In fact, arguing about where the old stuff is going just gets in the way of finding where the new stuff is taking us. The independent games developers have a lot more potentially-wasted resources on the line than an independent musician does (it’s a lot less feasible to do a game all by yourself), but somehow they are finding ways to weigh the risks (such as rampant piracy and short lifespans) versus the rewards (both monetary and intrinsic).
Game makers can teach music makers quite a lot, I think, because video games have been the canaries in the digital distribution coal mine. A lot of the thorny paths are forgotten and there are still some new experiments being learned from. But ease of access and ubiquitous availability seems to be an important part of their success so far. Nobody says it’s perfect or even fair, but building the tribe is enjoyable and profitable enough that even the moderately successful game devs are sticking with it.
And despite piracy concerns from the big boy publishers, DRM-free indie games seem to be paying their makers fairly well. So the long term benefactors are not Google and not the filesharing sites, it is the people on both ends of the transaction who voluntarily enter into the turbulent sea fully aware of the storminess of it… and they keep going forward.Source: