If you’re a member of the Insider Circle, or even a long time reader of this blog than you’ve no doubt heard me talk about Amanda Palmer. Amanda is a singer songwriter, painter, author and all around rock n’ roll warrior. In my opinion she is hands down the most interesting independent artist out there, on a number of fronts, and if you’re not familiar with her you should go sign up for her mailing list right now.
For several reasons…
Amanda Palmer is ferociously talented, prolific, and whether consciously or not, (I really don’t know), she is marketing and promoting her music in some extremely innovative and exciting ways. In short, this chick kicks ass!
I’ve actually been trying to organize an interview for many months now (hint, hint) and despite being unsuccessful at doing so thus far, I couldn’t NOT share recent events in her career with you guys.
In short Amanda Palmer has just blown past a number of the Kickstarter fundraising records by raising almost $1,000,000 dollars which she plans to use to promote her next independent release.
Here are the stats as I write this article:
4 Days to go
UPDATE: Amanda Palmer has now surpassed the 1 Million Dollar mark.
Here’s a quick video from Amanda which breaks down exactly what she is trying to accomplish…
To be honest, I’ve been on the fence about KickStarter. In short, I just have not been convinced that this was the right way to go for independent artists. It’s safe to say that those reservations just got thrown out the window, where they then fell 20 stories and shattered into a 909,607 tiny little pieces. I honestly did not know that this kind of thing was possible with “fan funding”. I’m excited to see that it is.
If by some chance you are unfamiliar with Kickstarter, they are an online threshold pledge system for funding creative projects. Kickstarter has funded a diverse array of endeavors, ranging from indie film and music to journalism and food-related projects.
Needless to say, many musicians have successfully been using KickStarter to “fan fund” their albums. The typical arrangement goes something like this…
1. An artist offers creates a project and sets a funding goal. A project must reach its funding goal before the set time limit runs out or no money changes hands. Projects can always raise more money than there stated goal and often do.
2. In exchange for their pledge each benefactor gets a reward. Typically the project creator creates multiple rewards packages which often range from a single dollar to many thousands of dollars.
For example, in Amanda’s case donations start as low as $1 for a digital download of the album and shoot all the way up to $10,000 for a personalized painting by Amanda, along with a quiet dinner with the artist. And YES, people are snapping these up.
In fact her $5000 house concert package has now sold out with 35 backers.
And while you certainly can’t argue with the effectiveness of her campaign, it hasn’t all gone as she expected. As she recently posted on her blog…
“What I did NOT expect to happen was to come under fire from so many sides. While 90% of people out there are so supportive I want to cry most of the day, there’s a lot of bitching. The bitching can be broken down into three categories, in order from least ridiculous to most ridiculous:
– People bitching that I shouldn’t be using KickStarter and I should leave it “to the artists who need it”.
– People bitching that I’m just shameless and tasteful in general and “begging” for money for my record.
– People bitching that my KickStarter campaign is actually a front to siphon money into the church of scientology.”
Amanda’s done a fantastic job of addressing the many questions about why she needs such a large amount of money to promote her album on her blog. She breaks down the costs associated with promoted an album internationally and shows that approximately 90% off it is going directly into hard costs associated with promotion, touring, manufacturing, etc.
There’s a really interesting break down of the costs associated with her album which many of you might find interesting. You can Read it here <== I don't personally know Amanda Palmer and so all I know about what she's doing is that which I've been able to observe by following her career, both from a marketing perspective and now as a fan of her music. But from what I'm able to discern she relies heavily on many of the same techniques we talk about here: Cultivating her tribe via email messages, blog posts, and social media, and by using scarcity and product packages to drive sales quickly. Amanda has a long history as a successful artist and she certainly has a large and healthy base to call upon when it comes to something like fan-funding (an important factor for anyone thinking of trying this). However I wanted to share her story with you because this is one of the most impressive things I've ever seen in the world of independent music. She's taken a platform that is typically used to generate four figure investments, and changed the playing field entirely by generated enough capital to truly compete along side major label artists. It will be exciting to see what she is able to do with this money and her upcoming release. If you'd like to get behind Amanda and help her reach her $1,000,0000 goal (I did and I really think you should as well), you can do so here. I think we should all rally behind her if for no other reason than to help drive a few more nails in the coffin of the major label system and get behind an artist who is doing some truly inspiring things.
And if nothing else you’ll get to see how the campaign is structured and just how good she is when it comes to blogging and communicating with her fans. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering just what the heck you should be blogging, posting, or Tweeting about, take a few cues from Amanda.
What’s your experience been with KickStarter?
KickStarter has certainly been a love-it our hate-it topic for many musicians. Some generate thousands and some generate nothing at all. What’s been your experience? Has KickStarter worked for you? If so, how much were you able to raise? If not, what were the drawbacks and what do you think went wrong?