The Queen Of Crowdfunding, Amanda Palmer, Joins Patreon

amanda-palmer-patreon

**Update – 48 hours after launch, 2,200 patrons have pledged $20,000 PER THING.

The most successful crowdfunding-musician has joined the on-going crowdfunding site, Patreon. Amanda Palmer famously smashed the Kickstarter record for a music project when over 25,000 fans pledged nearly $1.2 million to her project for her latest album, Theatre Is Evil. If you didn’t hear about her from her Kickstarter, you definitely heard about her when the media jumped all over her for asking her local fans to join her on stage for a few songs at her show… for free! Gasp!

This normally wouldn’t be a big deal. How many times have you seen famous artists invite their musician friends to sit in with them at their show? Of course for free. The reason this blew up was because Palmer had just raised over a million dollars and everyone thought she’s now rich and is stiffing her musicians. (Not to mention that no one uttered a peep when the Polyphonic Spree CHARGED their fans $1,500 to perform with them.) Well, she did pay her TOURING musicians. But she asked her fans in each town to join her on stage and play a few songs. Jam, if you will. Musician unions came out of the woodworks to chastise Palmer (while people, head cocked, exclaimed “there are musician unions?!”), along with nearly every music blog and industry talking head.

But none of them understand Amanda Fucking Palmer. She doesn’t look at her fans as numbers on a spreadsheet.

She never has. She looks at them as friends. Comrades. Companions. She has built up an intimate relationship with her fans over the years – from her earliest house concerts in Boston with The Dresden Dolls, to her tours around the world while on Roadrunner/Warner records. And of course, she continued the relationship with her fans, after loudly leaving her label (because they didn’t understand why they should fund a website outside of “the album cycle” – among other things).

I first heard about Amanda Palmer during her battle with Roadrunner when they didn’t want to release her music video because they thought her belly was too big – which then inspired people to contribute over countless photos of their bellies to her Myspace page. Then to a blog. Which eventually turned into The Belly Book – 600 pages of bellies.

And then, shortly after leaving her label she made waves when she raised $19,000 in 10 hours on a Friday night, on a whim, to create a T-shirt idea she had. Her sole promotion was Twitter.

Palmer has mastered The Art Of Asking.  She first talked about it openly in her wildly popular Ted talk (which went crazy viral – with over 10 million views) and more extensively in her new book of the same title.  Which I have read and it’s incredible.  I highly recommend it to everyone.

+Amanda Palmer Releases Her New Book. And You Should Buy It

Patreon, which I have written about extensively here, here, here and here, is Crowdfunding 2.0.

It’s the future.  It’s the answer to the antiquated album cycle.  It’s THE solution for artists in the 21st century.  It hasn’t quite cracked mainstream.  But it will.  Maybe this collaboration with Palmer will do it.  For those just discovering Patreon, it is a way for supporters, patrons if you will, to support the creators they love.  They pledge a certain amount of money per piece of content or per month.

Jack Conte of the YouTube sensation Pomplamoose, created Patreon because his band had over 100 million views on YouTube and wasn’t seeing much ad revenue.  Definitely not livable income.  Instead of joining the hoards and bitching about low YouTube payments, he decided to go straight to his fans – bypassing the middleman completely. And Patreon is now wildly successful.

Aside from raising over $17 million in funding, there are over 225,000 patrons paying 12,000 creators over $2 million EVERY MONTH. The model is working.

Palmer discusses her vision for her Patreon on her page writing:

“I’ve gotten to know myself. as a creator, as a songwriter, and as a recording artist, I thrive on instant gratification and a direct mainline to my audience without having to go through labels, distributors, the machine, the mass media. I love making things and INSTANTLY sharing. and I know my fanbase: you’re smart, kind, supportive, future-embracing people.”

I think patreon is a revolution in music-release and art patronage: i’m planning to release pretty much ALL MY CONTENT for free: on youtube, bandcamp, my site, wherever.”

Patreon is for constant creators. Kickstarter is to raise a bulk amount for one big project.  Palmer explains that she doesn’t want to “exhaust the fanbase” by running multiple Kickstarters to keep her funded.  Sure, her Kickstarter raised over a $1 million, but most of that went into the rewards (these were pre-orders of lots of STUFF – not just free money).  She is not going to be creating as much physical stuff to give away this time.  But lots of art. Palmer is charging “per item of content.”  Or per “thing” as she puts it in her Patreon welcome video.  For $3 per thing patrons will be emailed downloads of any content she creates (mp3, pdf, etc). For $5 per thing, patrons get the emails and also get random surprises emailed once and awhile. For $10 or more, patrons will be invited to a monthly webcast in which she’ll perform and chat with her patrons. For $100 or more (PER piece of content – which have already sold out in the first 2 hours), patrons will get a personal email or phone call and will get personalized postcards from her travels. Along with VIP access to her shows.

The Patreon welcome video is a fantastic answer to her Kickstarter video – shot in the same manner, flipping text boards (ala Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” video) explaining her vision:

“It doesn’t matter if 100 or 10,000 people decide to TRY this thing with me. I am still going to make All The Things. All The Time. For Everyone. No Matter What. With whatever I have. I don’t know what I’m going to make first or what the fuck is about to happen. It’s going to be amazing. You’re just going to have to trust me. Thank you for going on this adventure with me… again.”

Support her Patreon. 

**Update – 48 hours after launch, 2,200 patrons have pledged $20,000 PER THING.

Ari Herstand is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter and the creator of the music biz advice blog, Ari’s Take. Follow him on Twitter: @aristake

50 Responses

  1. Bandit

    If she looks at her fans as “friends, comrades, companions” why doesn’t she give away her music for free?

    Reply
    • MacTavish

      If a carrier pigeon travels between San Francisco to Los Angeles at 30MPH and doubles it’s speed with each round trip , how many round trips will it take to crash into itself?

      Reply
    • TCooke

      Clueless. Women sell to each other. Havn’t you heard of Pampered Chef, innumerable jewelery, tupperware parties. Come on.

      Reply
    • Versus

      She is giving it away for free. She says so in the article. She is just looking for suckers to pay for what is free.

      Reply
  2. GGG

    Please explain why constantly creating stuff for your fanbase is not about the art? Is she not creating art? I don’t get commenters’ on this site aversion to people doing anything but sitting in a studio 24/7 until an album gets crapped out. And before you bring up Dark Side of the Moon or Abbey Road, I think we can all point to shitty albums that took a months/years to make, too.

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      sigh, sorry…

      the others who were pushing the limits and are not the most renowned, is supposed to be WHO ARE NOW THE MOST RENOWNED AND FAMOUS WHOS WORKS SELL FOR STUPID RIDICULOUS AMOUNTS OF MONEY, were mostly unknown hated broke and poor, its kind of where the whole starving artist thing comes from…

      Reply
      • GGG

        Was there a comment deleted or something? I don’t want to respond to this out of context.

        Reply
    • Anonymous

      “I don’t get commenters’ on this site aversion to people doing anything but sitting in a studio 24/7”

      I don’t think people have an aversion to Patreon — in fact, I’m sure they don’t — they just don’t like Palmer.

      Patreon is a good thing.

      Reply
      • GGG

        Well, the comment I was responding to was deleted, but every single time the concept of an artist making money off anything other than an album sale, or spending time doing anything other than sitting in a studio all day every day, people always come out of the woodwork shouting about “what if Bob Dylan had to work at Starbucks!! rabble rabble!”

        Reply
        • Mike

          @GGG: It’s interesting, and a debate I’ve had endlessly. I have questions more than comments:

          – Does doing a Patreon campaign make an artist look/sound “needy,” or “hat in hand?” Is it just a tip jar? A lot of people find tip jars degrading – I do when I know what the bar is making on my fans, and I have to play and watch the bucket pass around and distract everyone. That’s why I don’t do that anymore. But does this matter? Do you need the kind of angle/spin on the artist/fan relationship that Amanda does so well?

          – If you’re on a constant schedule, and you know what will boost your Patreon money, you’ll be pushed to do whatever that is. In essence, the spark of creativity is no longer in the artists’ control. It’s in the patrons’. This was the downside of the patronage system that I feel doesn’t get a lot of ink. Lots of great stuff got made under the Medici, but it’s a more uncomfortable relationship for some than it clearly is for Amanda (god bless her).

          – Anyone who has done art on a schedule knows that the art is affected by that schedule. Sometimes “the most inspiring thing in the world is a deadline,” but sometimes you send stuff out before it’s fully baked. Does this figure into the equation, or has it always and I’m just being resistant to the underlying implication that the art is now of ‘no value,’ at least not in the same way Starbucks doesn’t make free coffee and expect you to buy into their aesthetic.

          – Can you be an introvert and be an artist, too?

          I’m a constant creator, so it would work well for me, but I’m just so on the fence with doing this – I keep waiting for the one sliver of insight that will push me one way or the other on it. Any pearls, greatly appreciated.

          Reply
          • Anonymous

            I think you should contact Patreon — they’re very openminded about rewards and don’t force you to deliver half-baked products.

            In other words, you don’t have to become Amanda Palmer. You can set things up the way you want and deliver high quality products at a much slower rate.

          • GGG

            Well, right off the bat, I will say that this will most likely only work for a certain type of artist, and I understand that. Also with a certain size (and above) fanbase. So I wasn’t insinuating in my posts that everyone can or should do this, just that if people do, good for them. As for your questions, here are my opinions:

            1) I don’t think doing stuff online make artists look needy, for whatever reason, IF you are using it to promote quality art your fans like/appreciate. I hear you about buckets at shows, I avoid deals like that for my bands like the plague, but I just think there’s something about donating online that feels a bit less forced for people. So yea this could be spun as paying for stuff, rather than charity, pretty easy, I think.

            2 and 3) I get that, so don’t start the Patreon campaign until you have a pretty good chunk of backlogged works, whether it’s music, poetry, artwork, whatever OR if you don’t naturally create that much. I’ll say a year just for sake of getting the point across, but if you tell yourself you’ll launch in March 2016, spend this year specifically making art you’ll sell through the subscription, you’ll have plenty and be on a year (at least) deadline for what comes next. And obviously if you have moments of divine inspiration, create something and just want to put it out, then do so, and you’ve still got a work remaining. So the creation process can be pretty open ended if you plan ahead first. Don’t just start the campaign with nothing.

            4) Sure, it’s just getting harder to make money in the music realm, I’ll admit that. But there are still plenty of mediums for introverts. You don’t have to host parties for fans. I think the point is people get to a level of fandom where any sketch or poem made by their favorite artists has value to them. It’s part of the social media age, we love to stay connected. So some thing you drew on a napkin, or some 5 line poem you wrote drunk one night, people like to see that stuff, if not buy it. Is sharing that a couple times a month worth $3/month or whatever? You’ll have to find out with your fans, but I guarantee at a certain point of a successful career it is.

          • Anonymous

            @GGG: It’s interesting, and a debate I’ve had endlessly. I have questions more than comments:

            – Does doing a Patreon campaign make an artist look/sound “needy,” or “hat in hand?” Is it just a tip jar? A lot of people find tip jars degrading – I do when I know what the bar is making on my fans, and I have to play and watch the bucket pass around and distract everyone. That’s why I don’t do that anymore. But does this matter? Do you need the kind of angle/spin on the artist/fan relationship that Amanda does so well?

            Yes of course it makes them look as if they are holding out a hat, it makes me see an image of them on one of those medians during rush hour traffic, thing is with so much music and so many artists, its not even rush hour, its like a ghost town for the most part, so to me its a bad look, but it is what it is…


            – If you’re on a constant schedule, and you know what will boost your Patreon money, you’ll be pushed to do whatever that is. In essence, the spark of creativity is no longer in the artists’ control. It’s in the patrons’. This was the downside of the patronage system that I feel doesn’t get a lot of ink. Lots of great stuff got made under the Medici, but it’s a more uncomfortable relationship for some than it clearly is for Amanda (god bless her).

            Its similar to being commissioned to do something… back in the day you may have been paid to paint a ceiling and only did it for the money, didnt stop them from chipping a block of stone on the side and it still allows you to work on skills and try things and keep the chops up, so thats not a problem, same as it ever was really…


            – Anyone who has done art on a schedule knows that the art is affected by that schedule. Sometimes “the most inspiring thing in the world is a deadline,” but sometimes you send stuff out before it’s fully baked. Does this figure into the equation, or has it always and I’m just being resistant to the underlying implication that the art is now of ‘no value,’ at least not in the same way Starbucks doesn’t make free coffee and expect you to buy into their aesthetic.

            its commerce based on artforms, get over this romantic arteest thing, its a bit of both, the secret is finding the right balance…


            – Can you be an introvert and be an artist, too?

            Yes of course, that has nothing to do with art or being an artist… Itll be harder to make money and convene a large fan base that you can leverage for money…

            Can they be a politician face fronting super extroverted entertaining ego driven narcissistic attention seeking fame whore dancing around on stage and on tv and on every news rag and on every top of the pops show?? Possibly, dont see it much anymore as those people taking a swing and funding arent really looking for the introverted type, they want that politician that extroverted entertainer, they dont want art on the mainstream show, as much as they try to appear otherwise…


            I’m a constant creator, so it would work well for me, but I’m just so on the fence with doing this – I keep waiting for the one sliver of insight that will push me one way or the other on it. Any pearls, greatly appreciated.

            What is stopping you?

            If you have a fanbase who will support you and you cant leverage them for sponsorship or funding and you arent touring relentlessly getting bums in seats and peddling shirts and stickers to them, then why wouldnt you??

            Wont work for me and i wont do it or use it, but for a certain kind of person and artist and group of people, its great…

            id rather find like one silent partner, id rather be like bruce wayne man, id rather do something different, and that has killed me in that business, so be careful, cause i chose to try and go it my own way rather then going downtown and holding a hat out for all the peasants to see and say i hope thats not me and for all the richies to see and point a finger at laugh and degrade and look down there nose at me, but its for each their own and im quite surprised it took this long for someone to run with this sort of idea….

    • GGG

      This comment was directed at a since deleted comment, not the article.

      Reply
  3. Versus

    How come all these articles and mentions about Amanda Palmer are always just about her supposedly brilliant self-marketing and rabid fan-base who are so ready to throw money at her. Is her music actually any good? Who are these fans? I’ve never met one.

    Reply
    • janey

      Amanda Palmer is a cult figure. Her “fans” self-identify as depressive, anxiety-prone, and mentally-ill, and she feeds them succor over her blog and Twitter and probably in person too. That’s why.

      Reply
    • Paul Resnikoff
      Paul Resnikoff

      Statistically, that’s an interesting point. I think it was about 25,000 people that fueled her Kickstarter success, which is a decent crowd but very small in the grand scheme. But that gets even smaller when you look at who was contributing the bulk of those $1.2MM contributions. It was actually a fairly small group of ‘whales’.

      Those are the top-level breakdowns, but… great! It’s working (for Amanda).

      Reply
  4. Chuckling

    Well I listened to her music on Spotify and couldn’t stand it.

    Since then I canceled my Spotify subscription. Blame it on Amanda.

    Reply
  5. Victor

    The first time I heard of her, she was having some photos of her naked on a street (if I remember correctly). Which can explain her “success”. As another commenter before, I also don’t find her music and videos anything special.

    Reply
  6. jss

    Funny . . . Again, commenters going off on tangents. The article has nothing to do with Amanda Palmer’s music. The article addresses music BUSINESS (as does DMN in general). ‘Music’ and ‘Music Business’ are two completely different things.

    Like most artists, I’m guessing, I agonize over how best to present my work and try to be compensated also. I’ve joined Patreon, but trying to figure how best to use it. It doesn’t present the work as well as YouTube (it’s actually just LINKS to YouTube, and doesn’t allow for organizing/arranging them – playlists etc.)

    But something clicked (for me) in this article. It isn’t about sending fans to Patreon to see your work, it’s about offering to have Patreon send it to THEM! For some supporters this MAY work. It’s just another tool for us. Btw, sa LOT of fans will balk at being tied into an ‘auto-pay’ thing. I would. A solution I plan to add is a link (or text info) to offer tipping opportunity for each work. That way fans could give more or less depending on how much they actually like the art, and they wouldn’t be tied into ‘auto-pay’.

    I think it’s about offering lots of options in the simplest way. Creating the ‘perfect’ shell (to each his own) to fill with our art.

    Reply
    • Bandit

      Maybe commenters go off on an Amanda Palmer tangent because about 75% the article refers directly to Palmer and not Patreon.

      I learned more useful info about Patreon from your comment than I did from Ari’s “journalism.”

      Reply
      • jss

        I’m seriously glad that you got something out of the comment.

        To clarify, my point was that (some) people are commenting on her “music”, while the article is about her “music business”. ‘Music’ = art, ‘Music Business’ = politics. Totally different things. You can be good at one and not the other, or good at both, or suck at both . . . totally different things.

        I actually know NOTHING about her music and won’t bother to listen, ’cause it’s not relevant (not a dig, just saying I’m not curious). Her business processes are at least very interesting. It’s good to learn stuff, and assimilate it into my OWN business process in my own way.

        Now I’ll go off on a complete tangent myself.

        If you haven’t yet tried it, at least LOOK at VIDescape.com to see if it works for you. I’ve tried it and it does NOT work for me. Why would I suggest you look at it then? Because Tom took the time to email back and forth with me when I expressed my concerns and I judge him to be a nice guy with good intentions (just my impression), AND I think everyone should make up their own mind. My experience however is that even now that it’s out of Beta, videos lock up, stutter, and sound/visual doesn’t sync properly. That’s a pretty bad problem. I don’t want my fans to have a bad experience of my art and think it’s MY FAULT . . . (well, it kind of would be if I sent them there). I have good hardware and connection and none of these problems on YouTube. Pretty sad and telling . . . while checking out my posts, I saw an ad (on the VIDescape site) . . . “Watch Videos Work” – YouTube . . . yep . . .

        But check it out for yourself. Sorry, Tom.

        Reply
        • Anonymous

          “LOOK at VIDescape.com to see if it works for you. I’ve tried it and it does NOT work for me”

          At the risk of derailing this thread, I have to say that I agree.

          I’ve been very optimistic about it for months but it looks terrible now. Are you sure it’s out of beta?

          As for Patreon; it’s simply awesome…

          Reply
        • Sarah

          Regarding Videscape, the design on the site is significantly improved over a few weeks ago, so maybe they’re still working on it. I also don’t seem to be getting ads like I did before (which is great as a consumer because I thought they were obnoxious but I’m not clear how they’re monetizing at all if ads are off). IMHO they should probably take down the site until the videos work properly though – otherwise they’re just making a bad impression on people, as you experienced.

          Would love to hear anything else you did/didn’t like about Videscape. What made you try it? Would you try it again if you heard some good things about its performance?

          Reply
          • Anonymous

            “Regarding Videscape, the design on the site is significantly improved over a few weeks ago”

            You gotta be joking…

            The current version is the ugliest site I’ve seen in a long time (and I’m the anonymous who seriously thought it might be a YouTube killer). You only see snippets of the video thumbnails now (at least on Firefox); fonts are unreadable, the logo is dead, and the overall design is a joke.

          • Sarah

            I didn’t say that I think it’s good – just that it’s better than the last time I visited it. 🙂

          • Anonymous

            But it’s significantly worse? 🙂

            Now, I’m worried about your site…

        • Bandit

          You are correct

          What I shoulda said was “Since Ari has already written about Patreon here, here, here and here the only news is that Patreon has a new poster girl.”

          And since Amanda comes with a history of pissing off a lot of working musicians a lot people will be commenting about her and not the value as Patreon as a product.

          Reply
    • Anonymous

      I once wanted to donate to an artist I like on Patreon, but the process was not to my taste – as I understood it, they only bill once a month and you can’t do one-time payments. So I was up for giving maybe $10 to the artist, but I don’t feel Patreon made it easy for me to do that – it was early in the month, so in order to complete the transaction as I wanted I would have (1) signed up and pledged $10, (2) waited for the payment to actually be processed, likely at the beginning of the following month, and (3) returned to the site to cancel the recurring pledge because I just wanted to make a one-time payment not subscribe. Plus, if I then forget to cancel the pledge after the first actual payment, I unintentionally pay more than I wanted to (and no, contacting Patreon and asking for a refund is NOT an acceptable solution even if I get the refund, because it’s wasting my time).
      While I’m happy to donate, I’m not happy to do any significant work to donate – if you want me to pay (which I’m often happy to), make it easy on me, for crying out loud. Patreon denied me an easy, 30 second transaction in favor of pushing its own preferred model – and cost the artist money in the process.

      Then on further reflection, this exclusively charity thing seemed extremely demeaning to me. Many of the artists I looked at went on and on about how “don’t worry their work will ALWAYS be free and it’s okay if you never pay.” Well, that tells me you’re doing this just for fun, not for your living – professionals should get PAID for their work, and when they say “oh you don’t have to pay me” it sounds like they’re just amateurs, not doing this as a career.

      Musicians always say “no one pays for music anymore” and “they only want it for free” — but then they go around to sites like Patreon and say “my stuff SHOULD be free and it is TOTALLY COOL if you don’t pay but if you feel like paying that’d be neat but it’s really really not necessary because I am happy to give you my work for free.”

      I think professional music SHOULD be paid for. I see value in tipping beyond the basic payment for music that I really love (because that’s how the artist knows what I really love and can hopefully make more of it). So payment plus tipping, I get. But trying to succeed as a professional musician purely on charity, with the premise that your music will be available for free because you are okay with it being free? Make up your mind – don’t tell me your work will always be free and “please do not feel obligated to pay … I promise I will still like you as much as I already do” but then get upset when I take you up on it because you TOLD me your stuff is and (according to you, it seems) SHOULD BE free.

      If you’re a professional musician and you spend time and work and money on creating music and pay your bills with it, there’s value to your work and that means it should come with a price. But if you say “my music should be free (though I’m happy to accept tips)” then as far as I’m concerned your music damn well should be free and I’m not going to tip you any more than I tip the neighbor kid who practices guitar in his garage.

      So yeah. There’s nothing wrong with tipping but its screwed up when you say my stuff should be free but I want to make a living off tips. No one else does that: if work has value you put a price on it, whether its the cost of a meal or legal representation or a masseuse. If your music has value, you should charge for it – additional tipping optional.

      Reply
      • Versus

        Agreed. This is the problem. Palmer and her ilk who give their work away from free are undercutting other artists who actually need to make a living from their work. In the end, they are also hurting themselves.

        Reply
      • Anonymous

        “you can’t do one-time payments”

        I love Patreon, but you’re right — this is a problem.

        Patreon, are you listening?

        Reply
    • Sarah

      I think the key to this tip thing is making it extremely easy for people to give you tips. Patreon does NOT do that, in my opinion. A link to a site where the consumer can tip is good, but it’s still work that the consumer has to think about and actually follow through on. Ideally a consumer should be able to tip simply by clicking a button without leaving the page or doing any additional work. That way it makes for an easy impulse action – the consumer can think “wow that was an awesome video/song/whatever!,” click a tip button to express her appreciation, and be done with it. Adding work – such as needing to go to different sites – creates barriers for consumer action.

      That said, I think it’s a great idea for you to add a tipping option. As a consumer, I freaking hate Patreon’s recurring commitment model. Even if I’m willing to spend $50 on an artist, I’d rather make a single payment than have small ongoing payments. They don’t even let you cap by time period (e.g., pledge $5 per video/month, but only for 12 months) which means that if I do pledge I am definitely, no matter what going to have to do work when I eventually want to cancel it. There are a lot of consumers willing to use Patreon to support artists. Imagine how many more would be choosing to support artists if Patreon weren’t such a hassle for consumers.

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        “Ideally a consumer should be able to tip simply by clicking a button without leaving the page”

        Exactly how would you make that happen?

        You would need their credit card info — and they would still have to leave the page in order to log in.

        Unless they’re already logged in, of course, but that would mean the video were hidden behind a wall in the first place, and that doesn’t work (videos can’t go viral if they’re hidden behind a wall).

        Reply
  7. Amyt

    I couldn’t even watch the full video. Got a strange holier than thou vibe off of it. Don’t know why

    Reply
    • Anonymous

      just a correction about the musicians controversy. she wasn’t giving fans a chance to jam. she didn’t want to pay for a touring string section, so she asked fans/musicians to show up prepared and ready to fill that role. i still don’t have a problem with it but it’s a far cry from inviting people to jam.

      Wait….

      Are you saying someone at DMN mis-represented the plain facts of a situation, simply because those facts didn’t fit their pre-selected narrative?!?!?!?!?!?!

      Say it ain’t so!!!!

      Reply
  8. max

    just a correction about the musicians controversy. she wasn’t giving fans a chance to jam. she didn’t want to pay for a touring string section, so she asked fans/musicians to show up prepared and ready to fill that role. i still don’t have a problem with it but it’s a far cry from inviting people to jam.

    Reply
    • Ari Herstand
      Ari Herstand

      Yes and no. You’re correct that it wasn’t a “free-form” jam. And yes, they were to learn the parts (but what sitting in musician doesn’t learn the parts before sitting in?). And it wasn’t that she didn’t want to hire a touring string section, it’s that she had invited local artists to perform (live paint, street perform, recite poetry, etc) at nearly all of her shows previously. To welcome the local arts community of every city she visited to collaborate with her and be a part of the evening. This wasn’t anything new – it only garnered attention because she had just broken the internet with her Kickstarter campaign.

      Reply
      • Bad News Barnes

        Since the author is kind enough to hold court here, allow me to dispel the myths about Amanda’s relationship with her label that you propagate without corroboration. We would regularly fund origination of our artists’ websites, but the Dresden Dolls site was the only site we ever funded for maintenance. We paid the guy for 18 months, largely because we respected Amanda’s vision of creating an internet-based relationship with her fans. We stopped investing because of diminishing returns, not because she was off album cycle. We always understood that the artist website was most important when the artist wasn’t publicly active otherwise. We never threatened to not release her video because of her belly fat. We asked her to replace a couple of shots with something more flattering. She said no, and so we proceeded to release the video. Hey, what’s the harm in asking? You’ve got to admire her myth making talent, and we had learned by then that not to worry about our own public image when an artist used us to paint their self-portrait, but her book further convinces me that what she’s doing hurts the prospects of those that would like to make a living from their music.

        Reply
        • Ari Herstand
          Ari Herstand

          Thanks for the comment. Important to hear the ‘other side.’ I’ve read her book and I have to vehemently disagree that her model “hurts the prospects those who would like to make a living from their music.” The direct to fan model IS the future of the music industry. The old model of album cycles and record label advances to the select few that a board room deems worthy, is on its way out. Sure, there will always be a place for the superstars supported by the majors. But we’re seeing an emergence of middle class musicians who want to pave their own path. What’s wrong with that? It’s clearly working…

          Reply
          • Anonymous

            Erm, this isn’t direct to fan, its pseudo direct to fan where a tech biz site plays a middleman that provides a platform and mayube helps catch a few stragglers browsing who might toss a few coins in her or whoever’s hat that they otherwise wouldn’t have at the artists own website or own platform… does the few stragglers make up for the cut they take? All depends…

          • Anonymous

            On its way out? Are thou high? Where do thou pull this stuff from? Its so far from the truth its frightening….

          • Anonymous

            Where are all these middle class heroes?? I can’t recall more then a extremelyu tiny handful ever being true and real and able to back up their claims, the rest is just trust funders or else fakers and fronters…

            it’d hard to believe people are still selling that and spinning that tail when all the evidence everywhere points to the contrary.

          • Bad News Barnes

            I’m with the anonymi. Our marketplace is flooded and artists are being told to swim ashore. The only ones who are well served by this dream of a direct to fan future are those that build careers on monetizing the wannabes.

          • Mike Vial

            There are middle class heroes in all industries, including music, but you find them when you consider how their revenue streams are diversified, not from seeking a “silver bullet” that led to $100K or more.

            One of my friends has been using Patreon since the beginning of its dawn; no one is writing articles about him like Amanda Palmer, but I find his story more inspiring:

            He was a slightly early adopter to Youtube (2009), including the video song formats. He does all the recording and video work himself in his home studio. He rarely does covers. He doesn’t always six figure view counts, even five figure view counts, but he has a very healthy income stream from other Youtube creators using his songs in their own videos via a Creative Commons Attributions license. (He was an early adopter to CC, too.) Many creators buy his instrumental tracks from his own website for a small fee. He makes money from his Google Adsense account. He sells tracks on iTunes. He has 100K of streams on Spotify. He has a multiple income streams. Patreon is one of them.

            He has about 50 folks pledging on Patreon. He makes about $125-150 a video he releases, from Patreon. He releases two videos a month. But this isn’t his only income stream. It’s–another–income stream.

            One might look at his Patreon account and say, “See! Artists aren’t making a living!” But that $150-300 bucks a month is the same as playing a three hour bar gig; or a journalist doing a 400-500 word, web-sourced innovation article; or a guitar teacher in a small town offering lessons on Wednesdays for a few hours.

            My friend owns a reasonable house in Ann Arbor, where home prices are ridiculously expensive and rentals are getting to Brooklyn prices. He’s creating, all the time. He is writing and practicing music every morning and afternoon, after dropping his daughter off and before picking her up from school.

            I don’t share his name because I doubt he would want the attention, but I’m happy to see artists like him on Patreon. Patreon is offering Youtube artists and creators a way to engage with their fans in an organized way that really didn’t exist before now. Jack Conte is a perfect leader for this.

            I understand people being skeptical; I understand creators being fearful of not gaining larger number of pledgers; I understand the argument that only the “big companies” benefit from offering a platform for creators; but that simply isn’t true and is a dangerous mindset to have if you a person who is a creator and considering how to make a living.

            Making a living as a self-employed musician is usually about diversifying your income streams, and working every day. Same as a contractor, a journalist, a designer. Don’t miss the big picture here.

            Patreon may or may not fit every artist, but it’s a example of one way certain artists are gaining support.

            Get out there and create some art.

      • Central Scrutinizer

        You are correct that this wouldn’t have gained as much attention if she hadn’t just raised a million bucks but she did just raise a million dollars and asked musicians to audition for free.

        this was not a spontaneous fan jam event. she wanted to screen out musicians in advance.

        If she had just asked audience members to come up on stage that would have been fine by me. You get what you pay for and it adds an element of chaos But asking people to audition ahead of time is asking something for nothing and it sucks. Trying to characterize what she did as a spontaneous fan based jam is bs now and it was bs then

        Reply
  9. Versus

    Anyone who is giving their work away for free is essentially saying: “Take this. It’s worthless.”

    If they value their work so little, then why should I value it at all, or even listen to it?

    This just further devalues music in the public mind.

    Reply

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