Lessons In Crowdfunding And Community Building That Artists Can Learn From Amanda Palmer

Posted on 22 October, 2015 by Team Wishberry

Amanda Palmer - Crowdfunding Lessons5
Image Courtesy: Kickstarter
She performed as a living statue, busked for her gigs, offered her eyelashes and a chance for fans to write their names on her naked body as a part of crowdfunding rewards. But above and beyond that, she restored the overwhelming power of the music community for artists all around the world, and mastered the art of asking shamelessly and fearlessly. Amanda Palmer is an American independent artist who made history in music crowdfunding by raising nearly $1.2 million for her album, book and tour, in 2012. Three years she continues to be a shining example for independent artists all around the world. She went on to write a book “The Art of Asking” to share her experience with crowdfunding. Watch her TED video here - We’ve decoded some of the things Amanda Palmer does so well that it should be set in stone for every music artist ever.

Building a strong relationship with fans!

Amanda proudly admits that her crowdfunding campaign took her over a decade to build. From interacting with fans, to battling it out on getting off a record label, it took immense amounts of time and patience. She made sure that her efforts wouldn’t go to waste and put together the right management team while keeping close contact with her fan base, listening to what they want. As an artist whose greatest strength will always be his/her fans, you should consider investing a good amount of time in setting the foundation for your community. Following this, whether you decide to crowdfund or decide to strike a deal with a record label, you have this epic leverage.

Listening to your fan base

Before one goes the crowdfunding route it is vital to know that they’re just asking a bunch of people for some help. And providing these people a listening ear is essential. After all your music is talking to them, why not work with what they’d want to hear.Amanda prefers calling her fans and funders - comrades or companions. She has built a strong relationship over the years by simply listening to what her fans have to say.

Trusting the fans

Nothing shows trust in fans more than the fact that Amanda consciously decides to crowdfund or community-enable her projects. She even asks her fans to let her couch surf in their homes when she’s touring. Plus, how can we forget that time when she let her fans write on her body as a part of crowdfunding rewards? It’s crazy, outrageous even, but it says, “I trust you enough to bare myself to you. And I trust you to support me in all that I do, if you think it’s worth it”. It makes fans want to be a part of her life and endeavours.

Asking the fans for help

Crowdfunding as an idea in itself isn't as new as it seems. The platforms help artists who have a great idea/project, the credibility to get people’s support and reach a wider audience. But it's not any different from the old days- the work involved is still the same. It is only the medium that has changed, while the principle remains the same. And that principle is asking for help unabashedly. Artists who take on this route have to not only be blatantly honest, but also absolutely shameless to ask for money from fans and followers. Amanda Palmer - Crowdfunding Lessons3  

Hustling to make your dreams come true

Amanda Palmer - Crowdfunding Lessons2 Amidst crowdfunding success, Amanda has also received a ton of flak and criticism for doing things the way she does it. But everything she has built around herself is with her own efforts- no studios, no agencies, nothing. Know this - the artists that hustle, are the ones that will make it to the finish line.   Amanda Palmer - Crowdfunding Lessons

Taking feedback from fans

Genuine fans will always have honest feedback to offer. Listen to them and if their inputs work with your creative flow, work on them. Incorporating is not going to be easy, you have to be realistic about it but make sure you provide due credit to the people who provide you with the help.

Giving back

Crowdfunding has helped create this whole sense of ‘giving back to the scene’ amongst musicians as well as fans. Suddenly, the quality of the music created and the community fostered becomes everyone’s responsibility. And Amanda acknowledges this fully well and banks on it too. Amanda Palmer - Crowdfunding Lessons4
In the end, the greatest takeaway that Amanda hands us is that whatever you do, keep the community at the heart of it. Remember, it’s much better when you create something with them, as opposed to for them.

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