What’s interesting is that this underlines the commonality between writing songs and writing code, and how the same approach to financing can be used for both (something I've written about before.) I think that’s important, because it offers a new way of getting free software projects off to a good start. Rather than just hacking and hoping, projects that serve a real need can follow Diaspora's example and seek funding from the start, offering a range of rewards.
The writer discusses Diaspora (note: I am one of the investors in Diaspora) which aims to be a privacy-safe Facebook-like site, once it is up and running. The folks behind it (NYU students) asked for pledges to make $10,000 but ended up getting more than $100,000 in pledges.
They had levels of pledging, with different premiums associated with each level. What a model that indicates there are ways to do Open Sourced work and still get paid.