Bjork cancels her Kickstarter 10 days in. Things must be ‘Oh So Quiet’

bjorkImagine, for a second, that you’re an internationally-known pop star and avant-garde artist who has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund an education program based upon your latest album. Now imagine that you’re 10 days into your Kickstarter, and the response hasn’t been quite what you’d hoped it would be. Do you:

  1. Decide to do more to promote the Kickstarter in hopes that more publicity will attract more funders?
  2. Wait awhile longer, hoping that more donations will come in as the campaign continues and more people learn about it?
  3. Close it down altogether with two-thirds of the campaign’s length left to run?

If you chose option 3, congratulations: You are Bjork.

The Icelandic performer has seemingly cancelled her fundraising drive to create Android and Windows 8 versions of the Biophilia app. It was supposed to be part of the singer’s latest project, which additionally includes an album, a tour, and an educational program that combines music, technology, and nature. But after overestimating the scale of the project, Bjork’s team shut down the Kickstarter a mere 10 days in, with 263 backers having pledged £15,370 (nearly $24,000 USD) towards an admittedly ambitious £375,000 ($592,350 U.S.) goal.

“We’ve decided to stop the Kickstarter campaign,” the team explained in the final update of the campaign. “Seems like the costs were too gigantic and we too optimistic, so it seemed cleverest to pause it for now.”  The update continued that perhaps the team would return to the idea in the future. “Perhaps in a year, even months, there will be a far cheaper way to reprogram this,” they write, adding that “we are still looking at ways of making this happen” and asking for interested parties to email kickstarter@bjork.com to stay up-t0-date on new developments.

“You guys generously offered your own hard–earned money to something bigger than yourselves that you believe in, and we are deeply touched by your contributions. Once again, thank you,” the update reads.

If the team is serious about the project continuing, there are numerous ways forward for the idea that won’t involve the need to raise such an extraordinary figure, yet stay true to the crowdsourcing idea. What if the programming work necessary to adapt the existing Biophilia apps – which are available for the iPad, with ten separate apps relating to different tracks on the album, all housed within one “mother” app – into Windows 8 and Android format was itself crowdsourced, or at least outsourced to programmers found online willing to volunteer some time?

Alternatively, there is the option to downscale the scope of the campaign: If creating two new versions of the app family for different OS in addition to funding the educational program proved too expensive, why not create three different projects? Or, perhaps the question that many wondered the first time they learned of the campaign, why doesn’t Bjork put some money towards the campaign herself? Looks like the Icelandic Kronar is still pretty weak in this economy. 

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