Lessons In Crowdfunding And Community Building That Artists Can Learn From Amanda Palmer
Posted on 22 October, 2015 by Team Wishberry
Image Courtesy: KickstarterShe 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 baseBefore 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 fansNothing 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 helpCrowdfunding 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.
we're TWO patrons away from 6,000... come join the paisley side of the force. we have art. https://t.co/StKQnUH81K— Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer) September 8, 2015
Just ask. Now reading The #artofasking by @amandapalmer. Excellent thus far! pic.twitter.com/NnT7rHkkHg — Jeff Sandquist (@CoffeeBaconBks) September 5, 2015
Hustling to make your dreams come trueAmidst 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.
Taking feedback from fansGenuine 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.
about to post a FB/blog...so many people want to gift the book (but online, send copies, buy ebook) to people who can't afford it. but we can't find a central platform that doesn't take a full-time person to run !!! we've considered Google doc, book mooch, book crossing, etc etc and they're all not quite right --- IDEAS??? meanwhile the hardback is for sale for about 9 more hours on Amazon for about $11. see twitter or FB for links.
A photo posted by Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer) on
Giving backCrowdfunding 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.
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.
A photo posted by Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer) on