Over the last century, growing media conglomerates have made independent projects – whether they be newspapers, radio stations, or television programming – progressively more inaccessible to the average individual. However, the advent of the internet and its unregulated international connections has allowed for a resurgence in independent media of all sorts. Even more recently – in the past decade – crowdfunding has emerged as a major way for independent and niche content creators to find their audience, get their projects off the ground, and keep them afloat without managing corporations taking the majority of the cut.
Starting any kind of media business – journalism especially – is a long and difficult process. Much as everyone would like to pursue that which is most important to them, it’s just not fiscally feasible most of the time, especially because drumming up support (read: money) requires marketing knowledge on top of everything else. The options have been to stick with the corporate status quo, be extremely lucky and make it big, or do your best impression of a starving artist – until crowdfunding.
Now, an African chocolate company can raise over $33,000, cutely-animated videos about science can make over $28,000 a month, and a congress watchdog publication is making $3,020 a month off from 428 readers. While each of these examples had to have the marketing experience to find their audience, they didn’t need to worry about locality or splitting the money with agents, dealing with loan agencies, or any other middleman business. Even something as counter-mainstream as a role-playing game system about supernatural LGBTQ teens managed to raise over $70,000.
Because of crowdfunding, nobody had to prove to corporate staff and marketing crews that a project they care about could make money. Nobody had to try and justify taking time away from a disappeared Malaysia Airlines plane for their coverage of congressional misdeeds. While mainstream media platforms may try to shut out the results of crowdfunding, they will only lose more viewers to the content viewers want and are willing to fund, rather than the content the conglomerates are serving.