Article

Crowd-patronage—Intermediaries, geographies and relationships in patronage networks

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Abstract

This article introduces a new mode of patronage of the arts: crowd-patronage. In so doing the article illustrates the plural roles of intermediaries in patronage networks which go beyond Bourdieuian cultural intermediaries to include regulatory and financial actors. A brief history of patronage is presented which outlines different modes and eras of patronage for the arts since the 12th century. Particular attention is paid to the geographies of patronage networks, the mobility of artists, the plurality of roles played by intermediaries and the relations between patrons and artists. These themes then structure the analysis of crowd-patronage through a case study of the patronage platform Patreon in the remainder of the paper. Crowd-patronage is distinctive because of the scale and geographical scope of patronage networks, its focus on funding practice rather than outputs, a shift in the power relationships between patron and artist, and processes of re-intermediation.

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... A recent European report found that 88% of the estimated 75,000 campaigns launched by stakeholders in the cultural sector are reward-based (De Voldere and Zeqo 2017). In addition, crowd patronage (Swords 2017) has also been identified as a model allowing subscription-like payments to individuals to fund their ongoing occupation or career, which is often regarded as of particular relevance for artists in line with historical tradition. ...
... Here, some research identifies the criticality of mobilization of existing fan communities for funding cultural productions of established artists (Booth 2015), as well as the importance of investing in building up fan communities as part of the crowdfunding process for supporting new artists (Galuszka and Brzozowska 2016). Members in such fan communities may either take a patron's stance allowing artists to create 'authentic' rather than 'commercially driven' artistic production (Swords 2017) or a prosumer-investor stance influencing the design and production processes (José Planells 2015). In both cases, the support of both affirmational (non-creatively engaged) and transformational (co-creatively engaged) fans has symbolic value that goes beyond their actual financial contributions, as it boosts the artistic credibility of a creator, while enhancing her perceived economic power and value vis-à-vis industry decision-makers and funders (Navar-Gill 2018). ...
... Digitalization has had a pronounced impact on the cultural industries, from reconfigurations of traditional value chains to the opening of new channels for financing and co-production of cultural projects. Unlike in many other industries, the cultural industries have a long history of project financing via patronage and public fundraising initiatives (Swords 2017). Hence, it is not surprising that cultural production has stood at the forefront of adopting crowdfunding as a modern digital format for financing its projects. ...
Chapter
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Cultural production has stood at the forefront of crowdfunding adoption representing some of the first crowdfunding campaigns on record. This development emerged as part of comprehensive value chain reconfigurations in the cultural sector, which were triggered by the advent of digitalization on the one hand and the downsizing in public funds on the other. As a result, the emerging phenomenon here labelled as ‘cultural crowdfunding’ (CCF) has captured the imagination of researchers and practitioners. The study of CCF is of high relevance, as it presses creators to strike a balance between the commercial and the non-commercial, the economic and the cultural outcomes, as well as the authentic and independent versus the mass dictated and dependent. In this chapter we review earlier research on CCF and identify core themes and key studies representing such themes. Later, we outline an agenda for future research, while also suggesting some implications for practice.
... On the surface, these monetization features are well documented and understood. They are resonant of other contemporary business models for online content production and creative transactions, relying on a mix of advertisement, donations and regular subscriptions or patronage (Swords, 2017). However, monetization on Twitch has rarely been considered through a design lens, in order to understand how transactions are designed and configured in particular ways to produce valuable relations and communities around a channel, which audiences ultimately choose to pay for. ...
... Cultural workers increasingly work online, as 'content creators' -bound up in digital economies driven by social media platforms. In practice, as we see on Twitch, creatives are increasingly adopting and iterating new approaches and tools for 'crowdfunding' and 'crowd-patronage' (Swords, 2017), through platforms such as Patreon, Gumroad 14 , and Ko-fi 15 . These platforms are attempting to fundamentally redesign Creative Transactions and the way creative and cultural work is commissioned, valued and distributed. ...
... An artist or creator using crowdfunding can test the social response and financial viability of a project outside the traditional cultural production system (Bonet et al., 2016) and, in the process, retain a larger share of income through ownership and control of intellectual property (Kappel, 2009;Davidson and Poor, 2015). Crowdfunding also implies side-lining market intermediaries, like record companies, book and videogame publishers, and film producers, in favour of building a direct relationship between artists and audiences (Thorley, 2012;Swords, 2017). Audiences' and consumers' motivations to partake lie in their role as potential participants in the creative production, the construction of affective bonds with producers, and personal control over cultural consumption (Scott, 2015;Leyshon et al., 2016;Steigenberger, 2017). ...
... CCF is, in relation to funding ventures and projects in the CCIs, a digital development of a historical model of arts funding, the subscription-based patronage model of funding (Williams, 1981;Swords, 2017). The logic of subscription-based patronage is to collect individual payments, from people subscribing, to underwrite the production costs of artistic works, such as publishing a book or producing a concert. ...
Article
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Purpose Due to the unique nature of the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs), the impact of crowdfunding on them is more significant than on other industries. This study investigates the association between crowdfunding campaigns in four different categories of cultural production and each campaign promoter's decision regarding platform choice. Design/methodology/approach We classified cultural productions according to the Cultural Enterprise Framework. We collected data from 1,465 successful, reward-based, culture crowdfunding campaigns from five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden). We used binary logistic regression for estimation purposes. Findings We find that cultural productions with a high degree of cultural affinity are more likely to use a local platform, while cultural productions with a higher degree of complexity in production or with composite motives are more likely to use an international platform. Additionally, the funding goal and the platform's financing model affect the probability of using an international platform. Originality/value Our finding is that there is a relationship between cultural production type and crowdfunding platform choice, and that these choices can be crucial for campaign promoters. Based on the findings and empirical setting, there is evidence that campaign promoters of cultural productions with a cultural affinity orientation may choose to use local platforms, while promoters of projects with complex production requirements or composite motives for using crowdfunding similarly may tend to opt for international platforms. We also propose a framework for the categorisation of cultural productions.
... Applying Bourdieu's field theory, differences in artists' position-takings toward online technologies can be linked to opposing principles of hierarchization. For many artists, online activities are synonymous with positioning the artist as entrepreneur (Swords 2017;Win 2014). A link between online practices, commerce, and loss of autonomy emerges when disintermediation requires artists to take on new marketing, communication, and sales responsibilities as 'artist-as-intermediary' (Kribs 2017). ...
... First, we find an opposition between skepticism and optimism toward digital technology that reflects an opposition between autonomous and heteronomous pole within the field. This finding strengthens previous research where online activities have been found as being synonymous with positioning the artist as entrepreneur and commercially oriented (Swords 2017;Win 2014). In this way, digital technologies and the possibilities they offer are only to a limited degree perceived as relevant for getting symbolic recognition. ...
Article
This article analyzes visual artists’ response to online sales and dissemination technologies by mapping the range of corresponding positions and position-takings by professional artists in Norway. We consider whether artists’ responses align with traditional logics of artistic consecration identified in Bourdieu’s accounts of the field of cultural production, and how these responses correspond to Rogers’ theory of diffusion of innovations. Employing multiple correspondence analysis, we find position-takings toward online sales and dissemination can be structured by a dimension differentiating between technology-oriented optimism and techno-skepticism, between high and neutral levels of risk aversion toward online technologies, and thirdly between technology adopters and those still at an intentional stage.
... While some of the new "platform sharing economy" websites are considered outlets for flexible work (Fitzmaurice et al. 2020), others provide novel funding mechanisms for entrepreneurs, creators and artists seeking funds online. Previous studies have shown how crowd-patronage mechanisms often emphasize the funding process than the output (Swords 2017). That is arguably the case on Patreon, where funders are welcomed to support their favorite artist's creative process (Regner, 2021). ...
... Unlike previous patronage models centered in the figure of few wealthy patrons, crowdfunding users rely on digital outreach through a range of online intermediaries and dispersed support (Swords 2017). This is enabled by platforms that typically reduce transaction costs by providing an open locus for supply and demand matchmaking (Evans and Schmalensee 2016). ...
Article
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Crowdfunding is known as a funding solution for creative projects. Creators and business ventures consider crowdfunding as an outlet for promoting creative projects and raising funds. The literature and the media coverage overemphasized its benefits without taking into account key limitations for specific sectors. Based on exploratory, qualitative data gathering, this article investigates what artists expect from crowdfunding and what results from their successful engagement with this funding model. The findings organized in three sequential moments (pre-campaign, during and after) revealed that artists see crowdfunding as a contingent funding resort when other preferred methods are unavailable (subsidies, sponsorship, or labor market opportunities). While expecting to enter markets, artists remain restricted to their social networks, thus reaching successful, yet low funding targets. Artists report that the “investments” in their work resemble gift-giving practices of a costly nature. We interpret these findings as the result of a relative difficulty to reach out to other audiences and match one’s expectations with this funding model.
... It is known that the winner of election like small king in Banten local politic, the relationship with religion leader is still showing obidience to the religon leader which mean protector. Client relation between both of them is still well (Swords, 2017). ...
Article
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The involvement of the local Islamic boarding school (Pesantren) elite in a regional head election in East Java becomes the winning determiner. In a direct local election, elite religious roles significantly influence the constituent's vote. The elite utilizes religious hegemony in increasing society's political participation during an election. The era of new religious movement changes the tendencies of the thinking paradigm that, for the first time, women emerge as regional heads. This paper was aimed to analyze the hegemony of the religious elite based on Pesantren in the postmodernism era in regional head elections, especially in East Java. This research used qualitative research with a descriptive perspective and content analysis of qualitative data, which revealed that there is hegemony and patron-client movement of Islamic boarding school (Pesantren) among kyai, students, alumni, sympathizers, and Pesantren communities as a strategy to win regional head. The researcher used the elite theory approach and political participation theory—research data obtained from the library and document analysis from the affiliated institution. The formulation of this problem is how the religious elite hegemony the societies by increasing public participation and convincing voters to vote for women's candidates as governor. The analysis result remarks the hegemony of the religious elite becomes a tool to obtain power in a regional head election because there are significant influences of religious elite functioning giving dogmatize to society through religious routines ritual such as religion speech
... The necessity for arts and cultural organisations to manage their income sources is not new. From cultural policy and cultural work perspectives, studies have examined external support for arts and cultural organisations (Schlesinger et al., 2015), cultural practitioners' views on funding (Jones and Warren, 2016;Jordan and Jindal, 2020;Newsinger and Green, 2016) and new modes of patronage (Swords, 2017). The contemporary funding landscape requires arts and cultural organisations to identify and understand funding opportunities and openings in relation to an ever-wider range of possible sources. ...
Article
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This article examines the everyday experiences of arts and cultural organisations in negotiating the UK government and cultural policy priority for funding income diversification. Identifying the challenges of declining public funding and the connected pressures for arts and cultural organisations to be accountable, this article positions income diversification in relation to New Public Managerialism. In doing so, the need to examine the everyday experiences of how arts and cultural organisations engage with and respond to the income diversification priority is established. This article then presents findings from empirical research with arts and cultural organisations under the following three themes: balancing simultaneous sources, managing timelines and working through change. The discussion develops this analysis by identifying portfolio working and precarity as prominent and significant features of organisations’ experiences. Portfolio working is evident in how organisations identify and manage multiple, potential funding sources. Precarity is evident in the uncertainty and instability of managing the multiple funding sources, and in the way that organisations address operational issues of planning and working practices. To conclude, the concept of organisational portfolio precarity is proposed as a way to critically understand the everyday situations and implications of how art and cultural organisations respond to the income diversification priority.
... donation. The platform reinterprets systems of literary subscription-based patronage for the digital age: it allows smaller and repeated payments rather than one-off pledges; there is no goal or limit that has to be reached before the transfer of funds to the artist; and the process is not reward-centric, as the content supported exists for free whether the patron invests or not (Swords 2017). Artists themselves take on the role of intermediary and serve a range of functions, and whilst bonus rewards may be offered, the core product is still available without charge. ...
... Nevertheless, Allison et al. (2013) show that on this site, backers/lenders accept terms that are not competitive with other types of financial investments, and thus seem motivated by charity at least in part. Since 2013, Patreon popularized subscription-based crowdfunding version, where backers make payments at regular intervals to continuously support a founder over various projects (Swords 2017;Regner 2020). ...
Preprint
Crowdfunding is an innovation from the cultural sector that has found broad applications in other aspects of the economy. We document that cultural economics provides a useful structure to explain much of the crowdfunding phenomenon, which will be useful for any re-search on this topic. Based on central themes of cultural economics (including quality and demand uncertainty, socially interdependent demand formation, public good attributes, and intrinsic motivation to create), we extend on the current understanding in the crowdfunding literature regarding three fundamental questions: (1) under what circumstances is crowd-funding a superior alternative to traded means of financing innovative projects? (2) What types of crowdfunding are best suited for specific (cultural and creative) industries? (3) What is the potential of crowdfunding for cultural and creative industries? Overall, we de-scribe crowdfunding as a sophisticated and flexible tool for mitigating various, fundamental challenges in CCI and beyond. We also identify limitations of crowdfunding, which for now, severely restrict its application. Arguably, the main boon of crowdfunding for cultural economics is not so much that it makes markets (for cultural products) much more efficient and fosters growth. Instead, crowdfunding enables sophisticated empirical research on central topics of cultural economics, and a rich and diverse literature has begun lifting that treasure.
... Other similar platforms (Voordekunst, Goteo, Catarse, Indiegogo, etc.) are predominantly used by creative professionals, artists and cultural niches in the 'long-tail' (Caves, 2000;Anderson, 2006) who are in search for funding that is often unavailable for them through traditional institutions such as subsidies, banks or venture capital (Dalla Chiesa and Handke, 2020). In other cases, founders request recurrent funds to continuously provide creative output through platforms such as Patreon (Swords, 2017). Many studies that combined a focus on arts and crowdfunding suggested that a non-commercial reasoning exists along with the commercial aspects of crowdfunding (Rykkja et al., 2020). ...
Article
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This article analyzes the role that crowdfunding plays for artists who create small-scale projects. We find that artists struggle to reach new audiences and, thus, mainly use this funding tool to transform monetary gifts into reputation for their careers. Crowdfunding platforms are believed to lower transaction costs while allowing for more direct engagement between founders and funders. Instead, our study demonstrates that artists use the platform to build distance from their thick relationships and intimate networks where most of their funding originates. They hope that a successful project will help them cross the symbolic boundaries between amateur and professional realms. Despite a high success rate, most of them report not wanting to create crowdfunding campaigns again since they rarely reach other social networks. We develop these arguments to contribute to a socio-economic perspective of online funding platforms as important intermediaries in the career path of users operating at the boundary of amateur and professional production. This article contributes to developing a critical understanding of platforms, especially when users are not typical entrepreneurs or business-oriented agents but artists and do-it-yourself creators searching for funding opportunities.
... Algorithmic curation is therefore often associated with gatekeeping: "The process of culling and crafting countless bits of information into the limited number of messages that reach people each day" (Shoemaker & Vos, 2009, p. 1). However, whereas traditional gatekeeping theories emphasize the negating role of such processes (Thorson & Wells, 2015a), the notion of curation rather stresses the idea of promoting content (Swords, 2017). In this sense, curation is more appropriate for our contemporary media environments characterized by information overload and attention scarcity (Thorson & Wells, 2015a). ...
Article
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Amid the widespread diffusion of digital communication technologies, our cities are at a critical juncture as these technologies are entering all aspects of urban life. Data-driven technologies help citizens to navigate the city, find friends, or discover new places. While these technology-mediated activities come in scope of scholarly research, we lack an understanding of the underlying curation mechanisms that select and present the particular information citizens are exposed to. Nevertheless, such an understanding is crucial to deal with the risk of the socio-cultural polarization assumedly reinforced by this kind of algorithmic curation. Drawing upon the vast amount of work on algorithmic curation in online platforms, we construct an analytical lens that is applied to the urban environment to establish an understanding of algorithmic curation of urban experiences. In this way, this article demonstrates that cities could be considered as a new materiality of curational platforms. Our framework outlines the various urban information flows, curation logics, and stakeholders involved. This work contributes to the current state of the art by bridging the gap between online and offline algorithmic curation and by providing a novel conceptual framework to study this timely topic.
... Parmi les modalités de CF, notre article s'intéresse au modèle du pourboire 2 , lequel n'a jusqu'alors fait l'objet que de peu de recherches (Giraldo Lozano, 2015 ;Younkin et Kashkooli, 2016 ;Dowthwaite, 2017 ;Swords, 2017 ;Renault et Ingarao, 2018). Le modèle du pourboire permet aux créateurs de contenu d'obtenir un revenu régulier en provenance des communautés qu'ils agrè-gent. ...
Article
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Via des plateformes de crowdfunding fondées sur le modèle du pourboire, des créateurs de contenus sollicitent la foule afin qu’elle puisse les soutenir au long cours dans la poursuite de leurs projets. Sur la base d’une méthodologie qualitative fondée sur le suivi et l’analyse de collectes menées par des auteurs de BD sur les plateformes Tipeee et Patreon, cette recherche permet de mieux comprendre les ressorts et enjeux du modèle du pourboire. Il s’agit notamment de le positionner par rapport aux autres formes de crowdfunding fondées sur le don. Elle souligne également les sources de motivation et difficultés de ceux qui privilégient cette source de financement.
... While there is a certain level of economic capital required for a person to have a computer and Internet connection, the cost level of producing and distributing music now is greatly reduced (Morris, 2014;Waldfogel, 2017). Traditionally, the success of musicians (and other artists) has been influenced in part by their ability to attract patronage (Swords, 2017). Platforms like YouTube may both assist artists in attracting patrons and may also eliminate the need for patrons to act as cultural intermediaries, since the platform itself facilitates a type of international mobilization previously unavailable to many novice artists. ...
Article
Full-text available
Following Miller, who looked at offline performance capital for musicians and discovered important gender and genre impacts, we examined the role of gender and genre in the development of performance capital for YouTube top cover song artists. This case study suggests that online performance capital on YouTube is slightly different than offline performance capital, and benefits from the affordances of networked media, and specifically YouTube. While there is some gender-based homophily in channel linking behaviors, there are also connections between weakly tied individuals with respect to video category, meaning that musicians are linking to others outside of the music community and vice versa. While music video channels tend to link to other music video channels, and non-music channels tend to link to other non-music channels, the most popular videos tend to post from multiple categories including both music and non-music. Findings suggest that being a long-time poster and having a rich and diverse network are likely elements of building performance capital for YouTube musicians.
... Nevertheless, Allison et al. (2013) show that on this site, backers/lenders accept terms that are not competitive with other types of financial investments, and thus seem motivated by charity at least in part. Since 2013, Patreon popularized subscription-based crowdfunding version, where backers make payments at regular intervals to continuously support a founder over various projects (Regner, 2020;Swords, 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
Crowdfunding is an innovation from the cultural sector that has found broad applications in other aspects of the economy. We document that cultural economics provides a refined structure to explain much of the crowdfunding phenomenon, which will be useful for any research on this topic. Based on central themes of cultural economics (including quality and demand uncertainty, socially interdependent demand formation, public good attributes, and intrinsic motivation to create), we extend on the current understanding in the crowdfunding literature regarding three fundamental questions: (1) under what circumstances is crowdfunding a superior alternative to traded means of financing innovative projects? (2) What types of crowdfunding are best suited for specific (cultural and creative) industries (CCI)? (3) What is the potential of crowdfunding for cultural and creative industries? Overall, we describe crowdfunding as a flexible tool for mitigating various, fundamental challenges in CCI and beyond. We also identify limitations of crowdfunding, which for now, severely restrict its application. Arguably, the main boon of crowdfunding for cultural economics is not so much that it makes markets (for cultural products) much more efficient and fosters growth. Instead, crowdfunding enables sophisticated empirical research on central topics of cultural economics, and a rich and diverse literature has begun lifting that treasure.
... There are known as four types of crowdfunding, according to OJK (Otoritas Jasa Keuangan): equity-based crowdfunding, lending-based crowdfunding, reward-based crowdfunding, and donation-based crowdfunding. Both of these rules were only described crowdfunding as an activity that occurred by a specific mass organization [14]. The type of crowdfunding used in application was reward-based crowdfunding, and has collected some money from the patrons, offered them a 'reward' in exchange [15]. ...
Conference Paper
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Crowdfunding has become a popular term these days, and people usually do crowdfunding to raise a certain amount of money for a specific cause. There are already many popular crowdfunding portals in Indonesia where people can send support to anyone with money. When talking about crowdfunding, most people probably think of providing support to others in need, for example, those who are sick and poor. However, crowdfunding is not always like that. Crowdfunding can be applied to any field, especially in the creative industries, as the people in this report will discuss. If you do not know it beforehand, the creative industry sometimes struggles with copyright and online piracy issues. These problems will soon be very detrimental to the artists as creators. Another problem often sought is the artists themselves, especially those still amateurs. They are often hesitant to share their works and promote themselves because they do not know-how. In this case, crowdfunding application development will be necessary to facilitate all artists and content creators (such as content creators, vloggers, or even game developers) to gain support from their fans and promote themselves to become more popular.
... Here, while reward models often represent pre-sales of products and services, which funders expect to receive within a certain time frame, in donation, there are no tangible rewards, and funders are likely to have a sense of satisfaction from contributing to something they deem important and are passionate about. One interesting variant of donation crowdfunding captured above is patronage, which involves subscription-like payments (rather than a one-time donation) to individuals to fund an ongoing occupation or career and is of particular relevance for artists (Swords 2017), despite being relatively marginal in the overall crowdfunding sphere thus far. ...
Chapter
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The growing popularity of crowdfunding is manifested through the proliferation of thousands of platforms globally. The current chapter presents an elaborate, up-to-date, and detailed typology of crowdfunding models currently in use, as well as their main characteristics. Furthermore, it suggests some of the first frameworks developed for guiding prospective fundraisers in choosing between models. Each of the frameworks is designed for a different type of fundraiser, including model choice heuristics for organizations and consumers. The chapter concludes with some suggestions for further research and implications for practice.
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This article evaluates Bourdieu’s analysis of cultural production in terms of its effectiveness for understanding contemporary media production. I begin by outlining the main features of Bourdieu’s work on cultural production, with an emphasis on the potential advantages of his historical account over other, competing work. In particular, I stress the importance of his historical account of ‘autonomy’ and of the emphasis on the interconnectedness of the field of cultural production with other social fields. I then draw attention to two major problems in the work of Bourdieu and others who have adopted his ‘field theory’ for the media: first, that he offered only occasional and fragmented analyses of ‘large-scale’, ‘heteronomous’ (to use his terms) commercial media production, in spite of its enormous social and cultural importance in the contemporary world; second, that Bourdieu and his key associates provide only a very limited account of the relationships between cultural production and cultural consumption. In this latter context, I briefly discuss recent debates in cultural studies about cultural intermediaries. I refer to examples from recent media production to provide evidence for my arguments. The article argues that, as practised so far, Bourdieu’s field theory is only of limited value in analysing media production. However I close by discussing the potential fruitfulness of research based on a dialogue between, on the one hand, field theory’s analysis of cultural production and, on the other, Anglo-American media and cultural studies work on media production.
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