Crowd-funding, made popular by services like Kickstarter and PledgeMusic, has taken off as a phenomenon heading to a value of more than $3 billion this year, according to data from Deloitte.
Crowd-funding's impact on the music industry has centered on artists seeking financing for album projects or tours. And in general, crowd-funding platforms typically enable an entrepreneur or artist to seek financing online from amateur investors like fans and followers. But crowd-funding may expand to be the new venture capitalism. Pending U.S. legislation could soon allow small-time investors to also crowd-fund startups.
Deloitte reports that crowd-funding revenue is led by high-interest peer-to-peer lending companies like Lending Club and Prosper to the tune of $1.4 billion annually.
But the best-known crowd-funding is when large numbers of everyday people give out money on Web platforms that cater to musicians, artists, filmmakers, painters and other creators. Reward-based crowd-funding--in which the fan gets an album, T-shirt, DVD or other offering in return for a pledge--is valued at $700 million. Pure donation crowd-funding is a sector valued at $500 million.
Last year on Kickstarter, perhaps the best-known crowd-funding service, music had more successfully funded projects--5,000 out of 9,000 attempts--than any other category. It received nearly $35 million in pledges, up 84% from $19 million in 2011, from 1.4 million people for music projects, according to statistics released by the company.
For example, artist Amanda Palmer's $1.2 million fund-raising effort at Kickstarter has been well-publicized, but less well-known is the $341,000 raised by Canadian act Protest the Hero from 8,360 fans on Indiegogo in February.
And crowd-funding could see an influx of an additional $1 billion in venture capital. But that depends on U.S. legislation changes due this year if the Securities and Exchange Commission allows startups to use crowd-funding portals to sell equity. If the restrictions on accredited investors are maintained, however, Deloitte expects venture capital crowd-funding to be less than $100 million.