I read this during a dull moment (David Brooks' analysis) of the DNC broadcast this evening:

"But as the popularity of the site (Kickstarter), and others like Indiegogo, increases, users have been asking: What happens when I donate to a project but then the recipient never follows through?" (from CNN.com).

I contributed to a project over three years ago from an artist I have admired and followed for thirty years.  How long should I wait before I reveal their (hint-her) name? Should I blog about it or let it go? 



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I'd blog about it. I think people need to be held accountable when they accept crowd funding.  Has the artist communicated with the donors to let them know what's up with the project?  Why it's been delayed, etc? 

I've contributed to quite a few of these projects some via Pledge/Kickstarter and some via the artist appealing directly.  Everyone of them has communicated throughout and everyone of them has delivered what they promised. That said I've only ever contributed to people whose work I already know and like and tend to go for relatively low end contributions. 

I find myself increasingly annoyed about the cost of scammers, criminals, laws, enforcement in terms of time and money and I hope the comment you quote doesn't presage a bolt for regulation in crowdfunding.  Provided people take basic precautions and (a) make sure they know who they're dealing with; and (b) don't commit more than is sensible for what's offered,  crowdfunding is essentially a pre-order/pre-sale.

I agree with Kyla; you should blog about it but also give the artist and/or their representative a chance to respond before pubishing.

Kickstarter seems kind of lame, all the "inventors" want immediate funding to get their stuff into big box stores, which mosly means made in China. Not acceptable, at least to me.  Other donations, like Music Fog's are returned if they don't reach their goal, which kind of makes any donation moot.

Only good experiences here so far.


I am happy to support any innovative ways to get paid in the digital age.  It makes me feel better about my lack of sympathy for those who want to feel like victims of technology. 


But if an artist's project did grind to a halt after I fronted my dough, I would not be quick to feel I got scammed.  If these people wanted to scam anyone they probably would not be in the arts.  A little flakey, for lack of a better word?  Maybe.  I guess I keep the amount of my "investment" down to what I can afford to lose without too much teeth gnashing.


I don't think you would be out of place in stating the facts and saying who left you hanging though... 


I always wondered what happened to the money spent on the Help Lounge Ax Re-open Cds, concerts, t-shirts etc etc etc. when they never did re-open.Did that money fund Wilco?                  I once sent Pere Ubu money to fund a trip to the David Letterman snoozefest,I don't think they ever went but I got a handmade button as a thank you.

Hal,  I've never sent money to a crowd funded artist, unless you count No Depression, to which I sent money when they were trying to gather funds for the original version of this website. And that worked out in spades.  Has the act in question sent you any updates in the last three years?  Or, have you tried contacting them for an update(s)?  If you've tried and were ignored, I'd blog away, otherwise I'd make an inquiry or two before lowering the boom. Seems fair.

I'd contact the Kickstarter artist, just to make sure there wasn't some miscommunication and if that doesn't bear fruit, I'd burn the hell out of them.  Blog, sky-write, do whatever it takes to make sure no one else gets screwed by these people.  Make them rue the day...


hal, i agree with the others suggesting contacting kickstarter, then the artist. i've supported at least 15 projects through kickstarter and all have followed through so far. i can imagine when 500 to 700 people donate it is possible for someone to slip through the cracks. i find it hard to believe an artist that went to the trouble of setting up a kickstarter project would scam the fans and supporters helping them. the artists i have supported have been humbled by the amount of people that have wanted to help them and have been very appreciative of all the support. these projects keep music alive in an outlaw era for artists struggling to get their music out and further connect the artist to their fan base and people that just like to give. i just like the feeling of supporting music and being part of the new frontier. good luck!

If it was an established performer it's probably an oops moment and well worth contacting them.

@Matthew- You'ld be amazedat how complicated the music business can be. Lawyersare required because there are a lot of contracts needed to record, replicate, publish and perform. And having once spent 6 hours in Heathrow's detention area while getting the paperwork right for a session, the government can get involved.


On a personal note I find most of the digital music companies as bad as the old system. A short while ago I decided to jump off the merry-go-round and just offer music on my own website. Anyone can listen all they want for free which gives me the option of putting up whatever I feel like putting up and if they wanted to help keep me in Depends I added a donate button like No Depression has here. Of course being semi-retired allows me the luxury of not playing the game and doing things my way.

There are always complications, but I totally agree that compared to some business it's a piece of cake.


This was my second foray into music. In the time between I was a marine engineer and 30 years ago designed a solvent recovery system that was real use 95% effective (including maintenance downtime). To manufacture the system I picked a property  had been used for boat building for over 250 years (gawd knows how many chemicals had been spilled there in that time) but the EPA wanted me to dig up 5 acres of soil (about 4 feet deep). Compared to that year long battle with the EPA, the music business is a lot easier.


In the end what the EPA wanted done made the project either a manufacture overseas or go on to another project. I went to another project.

For the record it was not a Kickstarter funded project.

I received an update and will post something soon.

And yeah, an excuse was offered (after I mentioned I might blog about it on ND!).


I've funded a small number of Kickstarter projects (less than 10) and am still waiting for 2 of them to send me anything. One project got finished and the album released, but the person never sent any Kickstarter donor the album or the rewards, that I know of. Amazingly, I found the album on a bit torrent and didn't feel the least bit bad downloading it, since I figured I already paid for it. The second project recorded everything but never released the album. I think there are VERY few scammers in the Kickstarter music world, mainly just artists who get overwhelmed by the work involved in satisfying their many happy donors.

Kickstarter now has become like a pre-sale site for albums, and I know a few bands who have explicitly treated their fundraisers that way. Thing is, people are getting the albums for cheaper than they'd buy in person, AND the artist has to do a bunch of extra things, like handmade notes, or personal drawings, etc. Bands should maybe start thinking twice about Kickstarter. Is it worth the effort just to pre-sale some of your CDs for less than you'd usually make and more work?



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Created by No Depression Feb 17, 2009 at 9:06pm. Last updated by No Depression Sep 24, 2012.