English Listening Lesson

Listening level: 3
Audio file: 2:24 min
Story length: 295 words


Here is the listening file for this lesson.



In 1997, fans of a British rock group collected $60,000 on the internet to pay for the group’s American tour. This was an important moment in the short history of the internet. It was the first time an online group used the web to raise money for a project. Today, it’s called online crowdfunding.

There are many online crowdfunding sites, but one is special. Three years after it started, Kickstarter made online crowdfunding normal.

The history of Kickstarter goes back to 2001.

Perry Chen worked as a waiter. He wanted to bring a music group to his hometown, but lacked the funds to make it possible. That’s when his problem became an idea: build a website that enables people to give money to projects they like.

Eight years later, Kickstarter was online. Soon after it launched in 2011, it was a success. By 2016, 11 million people had funded 108,000 projects.

Kickstarter is easy to use. One person proposes a project and a budget. The project must be related to art, like making a movie or a game. If people like the project, they give money with a credit card. If the budget is reached, the people pay. If not, no money is paid and the project is stopped. About 35% of all projects reach their budget.

Kickstarter has helped many projects. An online library for kids raised $5 million. The Coolest Cooler, a picnic box with Bluetooth speakers, raised $13 million from 62,000 backers.

Kickstarter makes money from commissions. If a project reaches its budget, Kickstarter takes 5%. If the project doesn’t reach its goal, Kickstarter gets nothing.

Crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter are changing the world. By bringing artists and fans together, it is giving people a chance to influence technology, inventions and art. That is the power of Kickstarter and the internet.

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