The early 2000s saw the launch of one of the first internet crowdfunding platforms in the United States called ArtistShare. The main object of the platform was to help musicians to complete their artistic projects, such as albums or tours, with the financial help of their fans. Upon the company’s success, similar crowdfunding websites started appearing around the world. Some of the most successful crowdfunding platforms today are IndieGoGo, GoFundMe, and Fig.
Kickstarter, which launched in 2009, is one of the largest crowdfunding platforms in the world, having launched over 412,000 projects and having received pledges worth more than 3.9 billion U.S. dollars as of October 2018. Unlike other crowdfunding companies, Kickstarter focuses on mainly creative projects, from craft ideas to music albums or technological innovations and imposes a time limit for each campaign. If the project fails to reach its funding goal, it is dropped and the pledges are returned to the backers. According to statistics released by Kickstarter, the success rate of fully funding a project on the crowdfunding website was only 36.4 percent. The largest number of successful campaigns has raised between 1 thousand and 9.99 thousand dollars, although a select 321 campaigns have managed to raise in excess of 1 million U.S. dollars each.
Although Kickstarter does not release information on its own earnings, the company does make profits by charging a 5 percent fee to the collected funds of successful projects. However, if a campaign does not reach its goal in the estimated amount of time, no amount is charged.