“Is OnlyFans crowdfunding?” “How does OnlyFans differ from Kickstarter and Indiegogo?”
These are common questions we get from creators looking for a way to fund themselves as well as fans looking to support them on OnlyFans.
What is crowdfunding?
The UK Crowdfunding Association (UKCFA) defines crowdfunding as, “A way of raising finance by asking a large number of people each for a small amount of money.” Businesses, charities and individuals are all using crowdfunding as a way to raise money.
In traditional finance, funding a project involves asking a few people for large sums of money. Conversely, Crowdfunding puts the power to finance projects into the hands of ordinary people. In the words of Rodrigo Nino, CEO of investment platform Prodigy Network, “Crowdfunding is creating a new public market which connects common people with investment opportunities that used to be accessible only by the very wealthy.” In this way, crowdfunding has been especially useful to independent creatives. Creators with a following can make money for it. As a result, there is less need for wealthy gatekeepers such as record labels, donors, sponsors and agencies.
History of Crowdfunding
Groups of people putting their money towards a common aim are nothing new. However, the first notable case of modern-day crowdfunding was in 1997. Fans of British rock band Marillion raised £39,000 to fund a North American tour. Today, Marillion are praised for, “Understanding where the internet was going very early on.”
The first dedicated crowdfunding site was Artistshare in 2001. It was launched as a “fan-funding” platform for creative artists. The word “crowdfunding” was first used in 2006. Entrepreneur Micheal Sullivan used the term to describe his vlog crowdfunding platform fundavlog. Fundavlog failed, but Artistshare is still going strong. High-brow artists in particular favour the platform, including Grammy winners and NEA Jazz Masters.
Kickstarter and all-or-nothing funding
The first crowdfunding platform to achieve global media attention was Kickstarter. It launched in 2009, in the wake of the recession. A Kickstarter campaign must have a clear goal like making an album, a book or a film. Backers pledge their chosen amount in return for rewards such as limited edition merchandise, a signed copy of the creative product or even time with the creator.
Kickstarter funding is all-or-nothing. If the chosen funding goal isn’t met, the backers won’t be charged and the creators get nothing. For first-timers, the numbers could look intimidating. As of spring 2019, only 36.84% of Kickstarter projects are funded successfully. On their blog, Kickstarter claim that all-or-nothing creates a sense of urgency that motivates creators to spread the word.
Competitors such as Indiegogo can be more forgiving because you can choose your funding type. Although fundraisers can opt for all-or-nothing funding, they can also choose a flexible funding model. This allows them to keep what they raise, even if they don’t meet their funding goal.
Membership and subscription sites
Membership and subscription platforms such as Patreon and OnlyFans work differently to the likes of Kickstarter. Due to this, they are considered crowdfunding by some people but not others.
Patreon is a membership platform used primarily by creatives. Creators set up monthly payment tiers and backers pledge for a certain level of content or rewards. On their blog, the Patreon say, “Patreon is not a crowdfunding platform; it’s actually a membership platform.”
So, is OnlyFans crowdfunding?
OnlyFans is a subscription site that enables content creators to monetise their influence. The OnlyFans user experience is similar to Twitter and Instagram but content is hidden until a fan subscribes. Creators can charge whatever they want for subscriptions, with a minimum of $4.99. Moreover, OnlyFans creators also earn from pay-per-view messaging and tips.
Fundamentally, the OnlyFans model fits the UKCFA definition of crowdfunding as asking a large number of people for a small amount of money. However, OnlyFans does work very differently to websites like Kickstarter. On Kickstarter you fund a project. On OnlyFans you fund a person.
Creator used to depend on wealthy patrons to create. Crowdfunding has reduced the need for gatekeepers, allowing any creator with a following to raise money. Consequently, it’s becoming easier for creatives to stay independent. This has opened up possibilities for innovative work without restrictions or censorship. Ultimately, websites like Kickstarter, Patreon and OnlyFans are democratising creativity.
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