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What artists can learn from Bjork’s crowd funding campaign

In a recent interview with Wired, Bjork talked about her failed Kickstarter campaign. Bjork was trying to get the funding to bring her Biophilia app to android. Unlike some very successful Kickstarter projects by high profile artists the project wasn’t funded (she was asking for £375 000). Bjork is asked what she thinks about established artists using crowd funding.

I think it is both right and wrong. It depends on the project, the artist and the circumstances. That’s the good thing: this is all being still formed.

A few people have looked at why Bjork’s campaigned failed and tried to learn from it.

1. Bjork’s project failed because it was lame

That’s the opinion of Mike Masnik of TechDirt. But it wasn’t just lame, no one really understood why she needed the money.

It seems likely that her project failed for a few key reasons, including that it was just about porting an app that came out years ago, rather than anything new. Also, the “rewards” were somewhat unimpressive. And, of course, Bjork fans who were iPhone users had little reason to contribute as well. There’s also the big one: unlike some other stars, Bjork really hasn’t embraced connecting and communicating with her fans. That’s her choice, of course. No one says she needs to. But, it’s much harder to raise a ton of crowdfunded money that way.

2. Bjork didn’t connect with her fans

She’s not as approachable as many of the artists who’ve used crowd funding successfully. She doesn’t talk to her fans (she tweeted 29 times in the third quarter of 2012, writes Billboard). Which led to a lot of confusion around the campaign and, again, why Bjork needed the money. Crowd-funding queen Amanda Palmer writes about this on her blog.

i think this is sad: in a weird new twists of fate, the old guard of “celebrity” artists like her are now being attacked for using a platform that…what…should be reserved for starving musicians only?

i don’t think so.

if lady gaga wants to turn to crowdfunding to get $100,000,000 of development cash to build the world’s first pair of musical six-mile-high electromagnetic-bedazzled stiletto heels – let her. if her fans back her, LET THEM. why the fuck not? because SHE should pay for if SHE wants it because SHE’S RICH?? because it’s a stupid idea? a waste of everybody’s time and money? (i can’t believe the blog comments on the guardian devolved to the “why would ANYBODy spend money on THIS APP PORT when there are starving children in….etc etc”). should we judge? or let the artist (and the fans) have their fun?

3. She asked for too much money

The funding goal was an incredible £375,000 pounds. That might actually be the cost of creating the app, but it’s certainly an intimidating sum of money. After a few days that figure become even more intimidating — pledges were not flowing in and it became clear the project would not hit its funding goal. Public Enemy’s 2010 Sellaband campaign didn’t meet its $250,000 goal, but it met its second goal of $75,000. Amanda Palmer’s goal was just $100,000 when she raised $1.2 million, writes Billboard.

Even if it doesn’t work the way you thought it would – something else might come out of it

Bjork doesn’t seem to be too upset about the campaign. She tells Wired…

I think it was the only thing we could do at the time, but only because of it failing we were approached by a company that had the latest technology to change Biophilia to Android in a lot simpler and more effortless way. So I don’t look at it as a mistake. When you go on an adventure like this, sometimes you have to accept that solutions come from places you couldn’t imagine and in a different way and from a different direction than you were aiming for. You have to drop control in a way but still try, not give up and not be too concerned about looking clumsy at times.

Image via Gyst/Flickr.