Kickstarter, a leading crowdfunding platform known for raising funds for creative projects failed to do so for the New York City Opera. 70 years ago, Mayor Fiorella La Guardia founded the New York City Opera which has struggled monetarily for a decade now. To run its show, the City Opera had put down its long time abode at Lincoln Center, cut down on the number of shows, and loaned against its daily business. But, what once used to make millions now produces less than $200,000 a year!
To be able to run its business in September, the Opera Company needed $7 million and to raise $1 million of that amount it turned to Kickstarter while the remaining amount was expected to come through private donors. That of course made little sense, since Kickstarter is more popular among the youth who weren’t big fans of Opera’s shows. Result: City Opera could barely raise 30% of its targeted amount from its Kickstarter.
The Kickstarter cancelled City Opera’s funding after it failed to achieve its targeted funds by Sep 30. The company may now declare its bankruptcy proceedings as it failed to gather enough attention from its donors.
Will Robin, a critic and musicologist, had his reservations against Kickstarter as majority of its campaigns were either media projects or focused on gadgets. In all these campaigns, the investors were promised a reward in return say – a music album or a sample gadget. What it implies is that Kickstarter allows the project owners to behave more like a trader although its leaders have clarified that Kickstarter is not a store.
Kickstarter’s benefit is its geographical distribution and the fact that its projects also look to support anyone, anywhere. So, considering that the Opera would benefit only the NYC dwellers and its municipality, it’d be hard to find some takers for the Opera Company. Though Kickstarter has made many daunting projects look feasible, has fostered an atmosphere that motivates organisations “of the people” but it could still not find funders to save a local arts heritage. The Opera Company’s end is an unfortunate event.
It is the end of a classless establishment which never got the support it needed or could not retain its viewership with changing times. But, for those involved in the fusion of culture, tradition and internet, the story also epitomizes the failures of Kickstarter – a crowdfunding platform that claims to raise funds for creative projects.