Oxford American, which bills itself as “the Southern magazine of good writing,” asked its readers to crowdfund its annual music issue this year, and readers have responded in spades.
When OA first started focusing its music issues on Southern states with Arkansas in 2009, the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism funded the issue’s accompanying CD in an advertising partnership valued at $33,000. OA received $28,050 and Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods, the department’s agency of record, took a $4,950 commission.
The magazine worked similar deals with Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee. But things didn’t go as smoothly when OA approached the Economic Development & Tourism Division of the Texas Governor’s Office. “Texas was not forthcoming with support,” Associate Publisher Ray Wittenberg said.
So OA gave the crowdfunding website Kickstarter a try and met its goal of $25,000 in just four days. Of course, it helps that Maris Kreizman, Kickstarter’s publishing community manager, is an OA fan and promoted the campaign as a “Staff Pick” the day of the launch.
Two days later, OA was featured on the website’s homepage as “Project of the Day,” and sent out in the site’s “Projects We Love” e-newsletter with Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler publicly backing the project with a tweet.
OA staff doubled its goal to $50,000 with plans for more pages and web content. By Oct. 2, about $44,580 had been funded. The campaign ends Oct. 17.