Uh-Oh: Kickstarter Could be Slowing Down…

Oh no: is crowdfunding already dying?  According to a just-released study from NexMarket Insights, the number of crowdfunded projects on Kickstarter is now starting to wane, with something called ‘crowdfunding fatigue’ potentially creeping into the picture.  “At first glance, it looks like new project launches are actually slowing,” the company assessed.

The research group analyzed Kickstarter activity between July, 2012, and February, 2013.  At first glance, the number of successfully-funded projects actually seems to be growing at a healthy pace…

Exhibit A: Total Kickstarter Projects Launched, Month End, June ’12 to Feb ’13

The only problem is that the number of newly-launched projects is starting to slow considerably on a percentage basis.  Here’s a look at the percentage increase in month-over-month project launches.

Exhibit B: Percentage Increase Month to Month in Projects Launched, July to February

It’s difficult to see the forest from the trees year, especially against such breakneck growth.  According to stats released by Kickstarter, more than 2 million backers came to the table in 2012, with a combined pledge amount of over $319 million.  That is more than three times the number of backers in 2011, with similar growth on the dollar front.

Which sounds smashingly great, except that hyper-growth can conceal all sorts of issues.  On the ‘fatigue’ front, backers are now getting used to long product delays, and in the case of Animal Collective, complete non-deliveries.  And for whatever reason, fewer projects are being conceptualized.

All of which raises the question of whether smashing, Amanda Palmer-style Kickstarter wins will ever become the norm.  Or, if the party is already calming down: in the gaming space, this is already a very real problem, especially with everyone now rushing in.  “Kickstarter is starting to wear itself out,” Dean Takahashi recently stated. “Now, it’s tough. It’s like going to Hollywood and saying I want to make films.”

“You have to compete with James Cameron.”

Image: ‘deflated,’ by kripptic.

12 Responses

  1. GGG

    Would be interesting to see how IndieGoGo is doing. They aren’t all or nothing, so a lot of people who may have or know people who may have failed via Kickstarter might be moving over to IGG.

  2. Jonathan Jaeger

    There are seasonal shifts — in December people work less and pay attention to traveling and seeing family, therefore they’re less likely to launch a project.

    You also have to factor in other factors — maybe Kickstarter tweaked their guidelines and were more selective in their project acceptance. I think there are more factors at play than a few months on a graph, but definitely something to watch over time.

  3. Nice Work Deleting That Image

    Cheers. The image you deleted from this article is still visible in the front page though. Might want to fix that too. Also I think if you are going to start deleting possibly copyright infringing images you might have a very long backlog to work with with all the past articles here.

    There are also some sites like Corbis and iStock that you can get royalty free images for like, ~$10 each. It’s really cheap, they have huge selections, and they actually ensure that the photographers get paid for their work.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Thanks for raising that: you’re right, I don’t think it was properly vetted so we’re replacing it.

      • moocher

        If you want images to go with posts, use commons.wikimedia.org and you can just search for images released into public domain. Great variety for stock images, but free.

  4. Pinky Gonzales

    Meanwhile, “Veronica Mars” raised 2 million dollars in 12 hours… yesterday.

    • GGG

      Yea, projects that people actually care about will continue to do fine. Band X’s request for $15,000 from their 400 facebook fans is the stuff that’s probably slowing down. Crowd funding fatigue because 75% of the people that donate do so out of basically guilt, not that they are diehard fans of their friends’ or cousin’s band.

  5. londonmusicmapp

    Perhaps the story the statistics are telling us is the following

    a. More successful campaigns are being launched.

    b. Less unsuccessfu ones are being launched

    b. As artists and Labels understand how crowdfunding and D2F campaigns work, they are being more selective about what they launch and when so ensuring success.

    c. Kickstarter has more and better competitors in the space some which specialise in Music who are taking business away from them.

    I don’t think you can jump from “Kickstarter slowing down” to “is crowdfunding already dying…” your usually high journalistic standards seem to be slipping.

    Crowdfunding and D2F campaigns on multiple platforms, launching music by new and established artists are here to stay.

  6. dhenn

    Yeah, because of asking people to fund projects we should be teaching them to pay for product ie music, movies, etc. I would never ask someone to fund my cd but I would like them to pay for the damn thing if they want it.

    • GGG

      If you plan your project well, funding and buying are the same thing. One you just get the money first.

  7. iradember

    The article’s interpretation of Kickstarter data may be flawed. As K’s scale increases, percentage growth naturally declines. (Exponential growth is unsustaintable.)

    The first chart (absolute numbers) appears to show a starting point of about 60,000 total project launches as of July 2012. The project total rises roughly in a straight line for the 8-month period thru Feb 2013 with aggregate 43% growth — thus ending up at roughly 86,000 total projects.

    Divide by 8 months and we get about 3,200 launches per month. Last summer, that increase (3,200/mo) translated to a blistering 5% monthly growth rate.

    Eight months later, now with about 86,000 total projects, that same rock-solid 3,200 increase amounts to “only” 3.7% monthly growth. Actual was a bit higher, per the second chart.

    Regardless: as scale increases, % growth declines for any given amount added. So, it looks to me like the monthly growth rate doesn’t raise a red flag.

    The article offers a couple of opinions and anecdotes about “backer fatigue”, but I don’t know whether (or to what extent) these bits were cherry-picked to support a particular view of the data.

    I myself had a very different experience with Kickstarter recently. My 14-year-old daughter launched a successful Kickstarter project in November 2012. Totally blew away our expectations — so much so, she started an Etsy store and developed follow-on products for a second Kickstarter launch, coming soon.