Amanda Palmer Shows How Her Fans Support Her

from the connect-with-fans... dept

One of the most amazing things to me about those who think that we need stronger copyright laws or that the music industry will "die" if we don't enforce copyright laws more stringently is what they're really saying about fans: they're saying that fans don't want to support artists. However, as we've seen over and over and over again, that's simply not true. Fans have no problem supporting musicians, if those musicians make an effort to connect. The idea that fans will suddenly stop supporting artists is shown to be false over and over again. The latest example comes from Amanda Palmer -- who's been on something of a crusade to get out of her record label contract with a subsidiary of Warner Music, Roadrunner Music. In an email to Bob Lefsetz, she talks about the support her fans are giving (voluntarily) as well as how she's better connecting with her fans via Twitter (despite the record label saying Twitter wasn't worth bothering with):
it's a lesson in how the future of music is working - fans are literally (and i mean that....literally) lining up at the signing table after shows and HANDING me cash, saying "thank you".

i had to EXPLAIN to the so-called "head of digital media" of roadrunner australia WHAT TWITTER WAS. and his brush-off that "it hasn’t caught on here yet" was ABSURD because the next day i twittered that i was doing an impromptu gathering in a public park and 12 hours later, 150 underage fans - who couldn't attend the show - showed up to get their records signed.

no manager knew! i didn't even warn or tell her! no agents! no security! no venue! we were in a fucking public park! life is becoming awesome.

also interesting: i brought a troupe of back-up actors/dancers on the tour (we were only playing 300-1000 seaters) and had no money to pay them, so we passed the hat into the crowd every night. each performer walked from each show with about $200 in cash. the fans TOOK CARE OF THEM. they brought us dinner every night, gave us places to sleep. (i couldn't afford to put up that many people in hotels). all sans label, all using email and twitter. the fans followed the adventure. they LOVED HELPING.

so?

the times they are a-changing fucking dramatically, when pong-twittering with trent reznor means way more to your fan-base/business than whether or not the record is in fucking stores (and in my case, it ain't in fucking stores).

twitter is EVERYTHING that you explain in your rants: it is a MAINLINE insta-connection with the fans. there is ZERO middleman. my fans hung out with me all day on twitter today while i unpacked weird tour shit, fan art, gifts and paraphernalia that usually just ends up in my closet or in the trash and took pictures of it for them.
Connect with your fans. Give them a reason to buy and they'll support you. This doesn't require DRM, lawsuits, collective licensing, blanket licensing or even copyright. It's a model that works today and works well for musicians of all stripes (though, you actually have to be good... no new model works that well for bad musicians).

Filed Under: amanda palmer, fans, support


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  1. identicon
    Mojo Bone, 6 Apr 2009 @ 6:27pm

    Re:

    Hugh: "200 a day is a bad thing? Since when? As a college Grad with a 2 year degree, I make 14 and hr, and i work 12 hr days. And that's before taxes, 200 a day no taxes, for maybe 4hrs of work, that's just frigging awesome."

    I don't believe there's any such thing as a four-hour workday for any independent musician, regardless of perceived 'level' in the industry. The four hour bar gig a lot of folks see includes a lot of work that most folks never see, nor even consider. 20 to 90 minutes drive time-not hard labor, exactly but time you can't spend on something else, 90 minutes setup , an hour to tear down, the same amount of drive time again, and that doesn't include at least 90 min a day of individual practice, several hours a week in rehearsals, ten or more years of music lessons, (not to mention the cost of those lessons) time spent on phone and internet to book the gig in the first place and time on the streets (and internet) promoting and passing out fliers. Now take that $200, split it four or five ways and calculate that hourly wage again, whilst considering that while taxes may or may not be paid they are still most certainly owed. When all's said and done, we'd be financially better off with a part time job at Taco Bell. We do this because we love music and we love you, the audience. You're welcome.

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