Artistic Discovery, Taste Emergence, & Engagement in the Creative Industries: Funder behaviour on Kick-Starter.

During a keynote presentation delivered as part of the 2013 ‘Future Everything’ conference in Manchester, a Kickstarter employee cited data that suggested that the backer community would fund an increasingly diverse array of artistic projects over time, positing that Kickstarter encouraged creative discovery and a broadening of artistic interests. The following offers a brief introduction to a potential future exploration and examination into the behaviours, tendencies and funding activity of Kickstarter backers, attempting to observe how the crowd-funding platform may be shaping and broadening the artistic interests and creative curiosities of its backer community.

It is difficult to find significant insight about the ways in which a persons interest in a certain creative form might launch off the back of a chance encounter, and how that interest might develop over time into explicit, quantifiable economic investment and or participation and engagement more broadly. Ones suspicion is that the reason for the scarcity of this kind of inquiry are mainly practical — it would be challenging to be with an individual at the point of discovery, and challenging too to keep tabs on their consumer or audience behaviour in the days, months or years that follow.

What Kickstarter potentially offers as a locus of inquiry is that very data. Thanks to an ever-increasing bank of backer data, we could potentially observe how someone who first only invested in technology projects in 2011 may now be routinely backing performing arts projects, for instance. We could observe the ways in which the Kickstarter platform and software encourages, allows for, or tailors online exploration, potentially allowing for the discovery of new creative forms, and in so doing initiating the emergence of new taste cultures, and offering creative companies and practitioners not only a means by which to secure investment in the short term, but also to develop audiences in the long term also.