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XOXO shut down its subscription platform before it launched

XOXO shut down its subscription platform before it launched


Ultimately, they couldn’t create a ‘viable’ business to succeed Kickstarter’s platform, Drip

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Image: XOXO / Kickstarter

Last October, Kickstarter announced that it was ending its subscriber-based crowdfunding platform, Drip, but that it was planning a successor project with XOXO festival creators Andy Baio and Andy McMillan. Now, that project has been shut down, according to its creators.

Drip’s unnamed successor project was designed to provide “financial stability and transparency to independent artists.” It came out of conversations from Kickstarter founder Perry Chen and Baio, Kickstarter’s former CTO, with the intention of migrating Drip creators over to it before shutting it down later this year. Kickstarter provided seed funding for the new platform, and Baio and McMillan had brought on people to develop and run the company, but explained that while the concept was a good idea, they “couldn’t find a way to make the business viable.”

The issue appears to have come down to how to generate revenue in a stable and reliable way. The pair say that they explored a number of options: “voluntary subscriptions from users, premium features, increased fees,” but kept finding that “the resources required to support a high number of lower-volume creators always outpaced our revenue.”

“We were intent on running a sustainable and independent business. Even if we went the traditional route and raised venture capital, it didn’t appear likely to survive once that funding ran out. We were building this for the community we care about, and many of the artists and creators in our community are already financially insecure and vulnerable. The idea of launching something with so much uncertainty and risk felt irresponsible and unfair.”

Baio and McMillan noted that they ended up shutting the project down last month, and will be returning the remaining seed funding to Kickstarter. Drip’s shutdown appears to still be on track to happen: they say that they’re going to help the creators remaining on the platform migrate to others.

It’s a bit of a shame, because their description of what they were planning looks to be particularly appealing: a subscription platform with a focus on new and marginalized artists, human-curated discovery and recommendations, and community moderation tools.

Updated June 15th, 3:40PM ET: Updated to clarify that Kickstarter only provided funding for the project: it was uninvolved in the development of the platform.