Just this past week, Kickstarter made the announcement of their rebranded launch of Drip, a
music platform that utilises subscriptions to fuel the artists, rather than sales of individual products or pay-per-streams. Drip was originally pioneered by the record label Ghostly International to further the success of artists associated with their label. However, the service was poised to have to shut down in early 2016, and instead connected with Kickstarter to revamp the creative subscription platform. Now, over a year and a half later, Kickstarter is announcing its launch of their version, the new Drip.
While Kickstarter has been around for nearly a decade and has seen billions of dollars funnel
through it from supporters to creators, the format of the website has always been geared toward “projects,” or singular events, works, or sought-after accomplishments. While this is perfectly applicable if you’re Walter White, Jr. and you want to raise money to fight your dad’s cancer, it isn’t very compatible with those of us who create as a habit.
You might be saying, “Yeah, that’s why artists and musicians use sites like Patreon or Flattr,”
which is exactly what Kickstarter said in their press release. The company is happy to recognise the similarities between Drip and these other already existing services. They argue, simply, that there is no shortage of tools for creators to share their art and gain support from their audience.
The pitch of Kickstarter’s Drip versus these other platforms, to paraphrase the somewhat vague details of the press release, is that Drip is not an exclusive subscription service for creators. There are no binding terms in joining Drip that prevent artists from having other platforms on which they offer subscription-based content in addition to their page on Drip. Furthermore, Drip is meant to have a fluid relationship with Kickstarter’s primary service as well, allowing for crossover between Drip and Kickstarter for creators.
What is somewhat daunting about Drip is this: while reading through the release, I was waiting
and waiting for the implication of how Drip can be a tool for musicians, specifically. Drip, being originally pioneered by a record label, was made with the intention of promoting the visibility and support of the artists on that label, however in the direction Kickstart is taking it, only writers, photographers, and visual artists are used as primary examples. Looking deeper, or as deep as one can into a service that is currently in its invite-only beta stage, out of the 65 creators already on Drip only two claim their art medium is “music,” while at least a third creator is known for hybrid music/comedy/etcetera. This ratio is not entirely encouraging.
But don’t let me run away with that thought. In beta, everything must be taken with a grain of
salt. Drip under Kickstarter doesn’t even have a rough release date yet, so any number of things could change with the intended audience, base of users, and mechanics to either help or hinder various art forms as they might exist on Drip. Optimistically, Drip could be a new way for the lesser-known, more niche artists to break into a new fan base and gain recurring financial support at the same time. Worst-case, Drip could be another pie-eyed attempt at giving hard-working musicians the attention they deserve, only to fall flat (even in just the music sphere) and end up being a waste for those creators who put the effort into Drip in the first place.
For now, the best thing to do is sign up for their email list and wait for further announcements
on features, a broader base of existing Drip creators, and more confidence in the ability to harness real support from the known or unknown audiences.