Amanda Palmer, the infamously fan-friendly artist who recently took a very public stand against her record label, has written an article detailing her experience leveraging Twitter and her fanbase into cash. You can read it here, and you should.
The gist is that Palmer decided on a lark to do a big T-shirt push via Twitter (earning her $11,000), followed quickly by a Twitter auction and selling tickets to a private concert. As the $19,000 tally makes clear, this was an enormous success, to say the least!
Palmer’s gambit worked for two reasons: 1) she interacts with her fans regularly and openly, generating a huge amount of loyalty and, most importantly, 2) she is not afraid to ask for their help. That might seem a trivial or stupidly obvious point, but it shouldn’t be.
As creative people, we have always been trained (and with good reason) to view money like an illegitimate child — don’t ever ever talk about it; if you have it, don’t admit it; and if you find yourself without, definitely don’t ever openly desire to have some. And from this we got a world of sharks and minnows, the major label system and all of the other injustices that have made pursuing creative interests while trying to remain clothed and housed a monumental undertaking.
We like to think Kickstarter answers that call and offers people an alternative. But it takes effort. And it takes being willing to fail and be vulnerable. We know these are not easy things by any means. But the payoff, as we see here with Amanda Palmer and have seen before with Radiohead, Jill Sobule and Allison Weiss, is so worth the risk and effort it’s not even funny. To be a creative force in this world now requires this mindset, this level of dedication. There really isn’t a choice anymore.
One last point: the next time you are looking to raise money, Amanda, use Kickstarter. You won’t have to spend the time and resources building a quickie site and Paypal store (which you had to do for your Twitter success), you can easily leverage your incredible online networks into action and you can offer different levels of reward based on the level of involvement. No need for one size fits all. How many of those folks who bought a T-shirt for $20 would have been willing to pay $50 for one autographed by you? Or $5 for a refrigerator magnet? Or $3,000 for a private performance, like the Rural Alberta Advantage managed to pull off earlier today? With Kickstarter, you can find out. Amanda — or anyone else reading this — get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.