What We Can Learn From Amanda Palmer

If you’re a part of my family, then you are familiar with the musician Amanda Palmer – whose musical artistry has long-inspired my musician brother. But, in case you’re not, Amanda Palmer is an American performer who was originally known as the lead singer, pianist, and composer of the duo The Dresden Dolls. She has since started a solo career, and is also one half of the duo Evelyn Evelyn.

Palmer originally left her label four years ago due to controversy over her music video. After the release of her music video for the song “Leeds United,” Palmer posted in her blog that her label had wanted to pull particular shots from the video that exposed her stomach, because “…they thought I looked fat.” She then worked long and hard to leave the label, but continued work on a new album and new project, but without the benefit of a label’s financial support.

And because of the opportunities offered by crowdfunding, Palmer and her new project – The Grand Theft Orchestra turned to Kickstarter to raise the money for the recording, packaging, and promotion of their multi-genre new album. They set the goal of $100,000 and met that goal within hours of launching the page and ended up with a final total of almost $1.2m. An unprecedented musical success.

Palmer has long been heralded for her internet savvy in engaging her fans and audience and one of the reasons why Palmer is so beloved and so well supported is how she manages to make all of her fans feel a personal connection to both her and her work. For example, of the 25,000 backers of the project, 34 of them pledged more than $5,000, which entitles them to a private house party with her. She also uses a directness in her communications that feels candid and consistent. She’s always updating her blog, site, Twitter, and more and because of that she always has a captive audience waiting to hear what she’s going to say next.

She also launched a few more modest test projects (also exceeding their goals) so that she could apply learnings from those projects to this much more ambitious one.

So now we have an incredible collection of art, killer videos, and a great tour to look forward to as a result of one of the most successful music and art endeavors thus far launched on Kickstarter.

What do you think of Amanda Palmer’s success on Kickstarter? What else do we have to learn from her?

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