Kickstarter hasn’t done a lot with Drip since acquiring the service from the Ghostly International record label a year and a half ago. Since then, the site has mostly continued its mission of helping bands and labels fund their projects through a subscription-based plan, with little input from its new owners.
Today, however, Kickstarter’s hitting the reset button on the service. “Kickstarter is for projects,” the company explains in its attached press material, “Drip is for people.” No doubt that pitch sounds a fair bit familiar. In its new form, Drip is more of a direct competitor for existing artist-funding services like Patreon.
And the company doesn’t shy away from the comparison. In fact, it name-checks Patreon and competitors like Flattr and Steady in its press material.
“We’re at the very beginning stages,” Kickstarter co-founder Perry Chen told TechCrunch ahead of launch. “I think there are a lot of people that haven’t seen the tools that currently exist as fitting for their practice. There’s been a good amount of ground gained with serial content creators, and I think the question is can a broader group of content creators find this kind of model as something that can work for them. We’re trying to see if we can have an impact in this space, and honestly, the more the merrier.”
As far as what Drip offers that the competition doesn’t — the first is obviously Kickstarter’s own prominent position in the creative community. At the very least, that ought to give the company a leg up on other upstart platforms. It could also make for an easier transition from crowdfunding into a day to day patron-fueled funding to maintain those projects. The service also offers something called a “Founding Membership period” that sets specific rewards for backers who get in on the process early.
Existing Drip accounts will be sunset, with a notice going out to users tomorrow, though those users will be given a priority sign up for the new version of the service, according to Kickstarter. As far as why the company opted to start from scratch here, Chen explains, “It’s something that we knew we wanted to build from, but not necessarily from where it was. It’s kind of a spiritual legacy in a way. We really loved what those guys did. They came into Kickstarter instead of shutting down. We were able to give them another two years.”
For now, the service is in a limited beta period. The invite-only model includes 61 handpicked artists, including choreographer Stephen Petronio, cartoonist Spike Trotman, writer Darian Symbol Harvin, artist Shantell Martin and illustrator Elizabeth Haidle. It will open up to the broader community in early 2018.