Amanda Palmer Raises $1.2 Million On Kickstarter, And The Crowd Goes Wild

from the awesomeness dept

We’ve written a bunch about the amazing success of the Amanda Palmer Kickstarter campaign, powered by Amanda’s amazing ability to build an army of fans, by connecting with them day after day after day.

The campaign completed last night, with a grand total of $1,192,793 raised from 24,883 fans — an average of nearly $50 per person. Not bad at all.

Once again, as we saw with Louis CK, this seems to put to rest two key “myths” that we often hear from supporters of the legacy industry business models.

Myth 1: People today just want stuff for free and won’t pay. Yet, here, they not only paid, but the average amount paid was a hell of a lot more than a typical album. If you’re open, human and awesome and you give people a real reason to buy, they will.

Myth 2: People download illegally and don’t pay because they think artists are all rich. While it’s true that you’ll sometimes hear someone defend file sharing with a claim about “rich” artists, those arguments are few and far between — and are usually much more directed at a very, very small number of top pop stars, rather than as a defense for more widespread downloading. And, if anything, most of those complaints frequently are more directed at gatekeepers keeping a disproportionate share of any revenue. But here, where Amanda made well over a million dollars — even if much of it will be spent in getting this album out and related projects/tour going — her fans were absolutely thrilled at the amount she raised and have been celebrating each and every milestone along the way.

Last night, after the Kickstarter campaign closed, Amanda threw a giant blockparty in NYC (also streamed online), where tons of her fans showed up and they seemed to have quite a fun time:

And I grabbed a quick sampling of tweets about all of this and you see comment after comment after comment from fans celebrating the amount:

In many ways, that first tweet — which says “she/we did it!” is quite revealing. This was never just about Amanda. This (and many, many other projects by creators who connect with their audience) are about involving the fans and making them a part of the experiment. People weren’t upset about how much Amanda raised — they were so completely invested in both her and the Kickstarter campaign that the success of the campaign was a success for the fans as well. It’s exciting to be a part of something special, and that’s part of what makes Kickstarter so compelling.

It’s not about an “us vs. them” model — which is how the legacy industry players too frequently frame things. It’s about an inclusive model, where it’s about more than money. It’s about an emotional investment in the artist and the outcome. People don’t begrudge the success, because it’s not just Amanda’s success. It’s the success of everyone who supported her.

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Comments on “Amanda Palmer Raises $1.2 Million On Kickstarter, And The Crowd Goes Wild”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Queue the jackass trolls

“Who just can’t seem to accept that *they* are the dinosaurs in the room.”

Let’s not gloss over this. That first comment is incredibly insightful into the spirit and framework of all this, not because it included the words “we” and/or “she”, but because in THIS equation, there is NO “them”….

Anonymous Coward says:

See there, that is a lady that could do some creative accounting and get away with it with her fans, they would totally let it slide, well at least for me I don’t care.

I give some money and I just want her part of the bargain fulfilled and that is the part where she send what she promised and I paid for, whatever she makes after that is her problem unless she goes around undermining democracy than we got a problem.

sehlat (profile) says:

It *IS* "us" versus "them."

Because the legacy industries see it that way. So they rip off the artists *and* the public because only their version of “us” matters. Not one of them has any real conception of the difference between “top line” and “bottom line.”

Top Line == Value Given

Bottom Line == Value Gotten

Only the second matters to the legacy industries, so they skimp on the first, tell everybody who isn’t them that THEY are the thieves, and then wonder why people come to regard giving money to Hollyweird et. al. as treason against their own self-respect.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Aaaah, you can’t beat a bit of intelligent debate on Techdirt.
Congrats to Amanda Palmer.
This COULD be the future of the music industry if so many people weren’t taking music without paying.
I applaud those who supported Amanda.
Let’s see new artists selling their music, and those who want to smash the ‘legacy artists and labels’ buying this style of new music. Lets not see most people continue to download ‘legacy’ music rather than pay for it.
Personally, I wont be holding my breath.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Nah, that was just me being frustrated at the negative fuckers who do nothing but go “WHAAAAAAAAARGABL” on every fucking story about how X. Thgey literally have no point so they insult the person in the story.

And what’s worse, there’s no doubt some peoplewho get paid to do this shit. Sadly, I didn’t have anything to support at the time (Humble Bundles and all that) but there’s no doubt I’ll be paying fopr the album upon official release. And if it comes out “unofficially”, then I’ll gte that too.

Soma (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yes Amanda is an exception. The entertainment industry is difficult to succeed in as a rule. This is why parents never like to hear, ‘I’m dropping out of college and becoming a rock star.’ There are simply a disproportionate amount of people that want to become artists to those who can really capture an audience. The audience cherry-picked the artist in this case, not the executives or this article.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Re:

No these are just two examples that have reached “acceptable” numbers from the likes of you. There are plenty of others that, gasp, have made 5, 10, 20k. I know, I know, chump change for your kind, but enough to start recording, and possible start a small tour. Still dont get it. Keep on not getting it and we will see where you are in 20 years.

weneedhelp_not signed in says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Brandon Leigh AKA Marcus Carab (Newest addition to the TechDirt staff):
Have a listen to:
or watch:

A lot of ppl talk shit when they have never created anything of their own and feel the need to put down others who have. Yes Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 2:39pm this is directed at you.


Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Amanda and Louis CK are the exception, not the rule.

We keep hearing that, but we see more and more so-called “exceptions.” Thing is, you don’t realize that they became the rule a few years ago already, and anyone who still doesn’t realize that is hopelessly left behind.

Are Louis CK and Amanda extreme versions? Yes. But we’ve seen so many people succeeding this way that — and have highlighted them for years — that to claim they’re “exceptions” isn’t just ignorant, it’s profoundly wrong.

Anonymous Coward says:

Let’s address it sanely:

Myth #1: Well, it all depends on how you look at it. For every person paying $50, how many will freeload? How many cannot be bothered to pull a single red cent out of their digital wallets, but will gladly download the music (and probably promptly lose it on one of their TB drives)?

If anything, this is a perfect example of a smaller group of people financing the fun of a larger group. Say the album is downloaded 1 million times. That means you would have 399 freeloaders for 1 payer. Seems like you have proven why the old RtB continues to hinge on a few people paying way over what something is worth.

Myth 2: You got it slightly wrong:

“People download illegally and don’t pay because they don’t care if the artists are rich or not”.

They see the pictures of the shows, the big stage set, the lights, the costumes… they don’t think the artist is suffering. Live like a rock star, and people will think you have a roll like a rock star.

For the rest of it, it seems to be people more happy about hitting a number, and way less excited about the actual musical result.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Well, it all depends on how you look at it. For every person paying $50, how many will freeload?”

It doesn’t matter, that’s pretty much the entire point.
People pay what they want and can, people who can’t won’t. The section of those who want and can pay but won’t is tiny and doesn’t matter.

Real money coming in always trumps imaginary money that isn’t.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“It doesn’t matter”

This does seem to be the ACs biggest blind spot on these issues. For all the whining and false accusations, they miss the central point of these arguments which is that business models can be built where piracy is literally irrelevant. Perhaps some middlemen might get less than they’re accustomed to, or get cut out completely, but both the artists and consumers are served better.

That these people seem to be obsessed with fictional potential income as opposed to the money being waved in front of their faces is fairly mystifying, but at least they are become increasingly irrelevant themselves.

weneedhelp_not signed in says:

Re: Re:

“people paying way over what something is worth.” To you. To others who have made a connection it is worth it. She’s real. And here is the thing…. listen up… they love her.

“Say the album is downloaded 1 million times.” Say it is, and priced at a dollar. Even the tightest of wads will pull out a buck. And her hardcore fans still will support her at much more.

“That means you would have 399 freeloaders for 1 payer.” RIAA math taking place? Where did you pull that number from?

“it seems to be people more happy about hitting a number” I love that phrase, it seems to be, and it appears to be. I tell my users that when I have no idea whats wrong. It appears you are doing the same. LOL

A cd can be recorded and 1000 cd’s printed for 10-20k. Last I was involved with a band we did it for 10k. We sold all the cd’s in three months of touring. The cd’s paid for the recording and printing costs. We did 3k a weekend throughout the tour(I use that term loosely, they were a medium size local band traveling through NJ, PA, and Delaware) All and all in three months we took in 46,000, paid out 10k for above mentioned recording/cd’s, 2400 to the 2 roadies, and gas. Not bad for 2 nights a week and 24 shows. They would have been signed if not for not wanting to give up their publishing rights. For them, it was the deal breaker and the studio exec took his ball and went home. So you either sell your soul and all your rights to what you created, or fall off into obscurity… under the old system. Lastly if we would have toured the whole year, and the demand was there we all had other jobs to attend to, we could have made 156,000. The drummer’s wife did merch so I never saw those numbers, but we sold t-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers, coffee mugs, and hats. Judging from the lines at the merch tables we did quite well.

So I guess the point is she has 1.2 million reasons to tell you and your theory to fuck off. If spent wisely, she has more than enough capitol to record her next album, launch a tour, and its all paid for upfront. Ive said it before and ill say it again. The real money in music has and always be in the live performance.

3:36AM rant done.

Michael says:

Re: Re: Re:

“They would have been signed if not for not wanting to give up their publishing rights. For them, it was the deal breaker and the studio exec took his ball and went home.”

Look at it this way. If there were just three major animation studios that dominated their respective market, the last thing they’d want is for more competition to come along and potentially eat into “their” profits. So along comes a new animation studio which manages to garner moderate fan support with their first release. Upon learning this, the other studios become angry and send over some of their suits to try and broker a ‘deal’ to purchase said company, thereby freeing up the market so that only their feature films get any market penetration and recognition.

With the major labels, it’s the same story, except that instead of just one or two independent artists, there are literally thousands upon thousands. Therefore, what the labels are really attempting to do is remove as much competition from the free market as is possible.

That also explains why they’re so desperate to strangulate as many popular websites and services as possible, so that only their brand of lousy acts gets heard by the masses. They absolutely cannot stand the fact that people have the means to create, promote and distribute music without their say-so. Such is the new reality.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re:

For every person paying $50, how many will freeload?

Or, put another way: for all those that freeload, how many would pay $50?

Well, more than non-“freeloaders,” that’s for sure. Every independent study has shown that people who pirate music legally purchase more music than people who do not.

If anything, this is a perfect example of a smaller group of people financing the fun of a larger group.

Yeah, just like those who buy albums are “financing the fun” of those who just listen to the radio.

“People download illegally and don’t pay because they don’t care if the artists are rich or not”.

Well, the RIAA certainly doesn’t believe people think this way. Presenting filesharing as hurting “average musicians” is a consistent talking point from the traditional music labels. It’s like Joe the Plumber for music. And just like Joe the Plumber, it’s pure propaganda. The anti-filesharing crowd cares about your average musician exactly as much as Republican politicians care about your average plumber.

They see the pictures of the shows, the big stage set, the lights, the costumes…

You mean, the rock/rap star myth that the major labels have deliberately built up to glamorize pop music? The myth that keeps musicians looking for that “one big break,” that presents a label deal as the epitome of musical success, with all the groupies, blow, and trashed motel rooms that come with it? The brass ring that gets people to pay money to ride the merry-go-round?

Yeah, so maybe that backfired on them. Boo fucking hoo.

Of course, the fans that actually care about the artist don’t begrudge them for making money. They’re more than willing to support the artist however they can, whether they are filesharers or not.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If anything, this is a perfect example of a smaller group of people financing the fun of a larger group.

So what!

You forget that by paying people get a say in the sirection of the art (under this new system). In contrast, under the old system, art was controlled by a set of self appointed monopolists who dictated both to the public and to artists!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Copyleft or it didn't happen

“Q: ….
your opinions on sourcing music in an illegal fashion? (big fan by the way hello :D)

A: i think music should be shared. all the time. by everybody. i think it’s pure insanity to make music filesharing illegal.
and with that said, i have, for years, encouraged my fans to burn, download and share all of my music with each other and with strangers.
and i will never stop doing that. all that sharing eventually comes back to me in all forms of income and goodwill.”

She seems to have answered that.

MAFIAA Exec 201 says:

Re: Re:

Exactly! I can’t understand why anyone would think this is a good idea. There’s simply no money in it. How anyone can call Mrs Palmers “kickstarter campaign” successful is beyond me. I haven’t seen any money at all.

In a real business model, I would have seen at least $1,253,829 of those $1,192,793 in my pocket. Now there is nothing. Zilch. Nada! I feel robbed. Raped, in fact, what with Mrs Palmer giving away my source of income for free after robbing me.

We clearly need stronger legislation to deal with this blatant stealing.

Dana says:


This article is a bit misleading. Both Amanda Palmer and Louis CK have had support and promotion by major players in the industry. It’s not like they’re just nobodies who decided to put a project together and take it to the people. Had they not already had industry driven success, I highly doubt they’d be doing so well with these projects.

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Misleading

Had they not already had industry driven success, I highly doubt they’d be doing so well with these projects.

A common criticism. And, in Amanda’s case at least, totally wrong. One more time:

And because of that decision [to sign with Roadrunner], the band did receive pockets of radio success in markets like St. Louis and Arizona. The attendance at those shows spiked in 2006 when a few Dolls songs were receiving airplay. Awesome, right? Well, now it’s 2009 and we’ve returned to some of those markets. Many of those radio fans don’t turn up anymore. Yet, the hardcores or “1000 true fans” are still there, just like they have been since they organically founded The Dresden Dolls back in the day. They still line up outside for hours, know every word of every song (whether or not it has been released), and wait around for Amanda’s autograph. They don’t need a top down marketing plan to tell them what to like. And who are the new hardcore Dolls/ Amanda fans? They are the younger siblings and friends of the original fans, who continue to spread the gospel about an artist who’s work they love so much they can’t not talk about.

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