Live from TED

In the Skype Studio: Creative crowd-funding

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At TED2013, Amanda Palmer gave a talk called “The art of asking” about her experience funding an album on Kickstarter; it quickly went viral on A year later, Palmer was back for a panel at TED2014 covering crowd-funding creative projects. She was joined live by her husband, writer Neil Gaiman, and Kickstarter cofounder Yancey Strickler, and through Skype by game developer Tim Schafer, Veronica Mars associate producer Ivan Askwith, Cards against Humanity designer Max Temkin, and musician Frank Bell.

In 2012, when Palmer ran her Kickstarter project, she received considerable backlash (hence the talk). But two years on, crowd-funding for creative projects has become commonplace and popular. Notably, the fans of the television series Veronica Mars, cancelled in 2007, successfully raised over $5 million for a sequel film. Sounds great, but creative crowd-funding comes with its own unique set of challenges, for artists as well as funders. As financial backers, do fans get to have a say in the creative process? To what extent do artists owe their fans, in content as well as in merchandise? Says Palmer, “When it’s working, it’s a dance between artist and backer. And it evolves.”

Still in its early days, crowd-funding has a long way to go before everybody knows the rules. Watch the intriguing discussion above to find out more.

This was just one of five different conversations that took place in the Skype Studio over the course of TED2014. Other panels explored the role of social media in sparking social change and revolution, living and working in remote areas such as outer space, the deep sea, and the South Pole — and a look at the extreme levels of performance now becoming commonplace in modern sport.