Category: Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer's Kickstarter campaign hits $1-million-plus jackpot

Boston-based burlesque-punk artist Amanda Palmer's new Kickstarter campaign has brought in over $1 million, the crowd-sourcing website's first music project to do so
Amanda Palmer makes no bones about the scope of her intentions for her recent Kickstarter campaign. "This is the future of music," declares the Boston burlesque-punk artist via cue card (shades of Bob Dylan's famous "Subterranean Homesick Blues") in the campaign's promotional video.

Laugh if you will: AFP, as she is known (guess what the F stands for), earned $1,192,173 in the fundraiser that ended May 31. Although other enterprises at the crowd-sourcing website have passed the $1-million mark, hers is the first musical project to do so.

In the bad old days, artists had to make a pact with a major label to get that kind of money. Now they can go straight to the people.

"You may pull other people in with the buzz around your project, but your goal on Kickstarter isn't to pitch to total strangers," Palmer told The Times in an email interview. "It's to gather capital from your community, your pre-existing fans, with the hope that their enthusiasm might attract people to hop over the fence and take a look at what you're doing. You need to treat your existing fans like GOLD, even if you only have 200 of them. ... They are your megaphone, and they are powerful message-spreaders."

In return for their cash, contributors get everything from a deluxe-edition CD (the most popular option at $25, funded by 9,333 backers) to dinner and a portrait-sitting with Palmer for $10,000 (two backers).

As if becoming a millionaire over 30 nights wasn't enviable enough (though, of course, Palmer has to pay lots of expenses, employees and management, not to mention Uncle Sam), here's the kicker to this Kickstarter kick-down: Palmer has already recorded the album, "Theater Is Evil." The money won't be going to studio time or producer John Congleton, the usual beneficiaries of a record advance. So how will Palmer spend her windfall?

“HOOKERS !!!!!!!!!!!! BLOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!,” she emailed. "Just kidding. We're going to put a lot of the money into the packaging of the CDs and LPs and art book themselves ... and the rest will go towards the videos and the touring production, which looks like it may be an unprecedented feat of rock theater."

Palmer, who split with her last label, Roadrunner, has made marketing and promotion an intrinsic part of her creative package, right alongside the business side of her trans-media empire. They used to call such a me-centric endeavor a "vanity project." But AFP's efforts are scarcely in vain. She's well aware, as a female artist, of how entrepreneurialism such as hers is changing the usual dynamics of show business. And she has a sense of humor about it all: “Of course if any money is left over I'll get that tummy tuck and [breast augmentation] I've always dreamed about. Finally."


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Photo: Amanda Palmer, center, and entourage at the Coachella Music and Arts Festival in Indio on April 18, 2009. Credit: Spencer Weiner and Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Digital DIY music platform Bandcamp finds its footing with artists like Amanda Palmer, Sufjan Stevens and RJD2 [Updated]

Amanda palmer After six years, a handful of albums and one censorship controversy, Amanda Palmer wanted a way to call her own shots after splitting with Roadrunner Records in April.

After she claimed the label sought to cut or alter shots of her stomach in the video for the “Who Killed Amanda Palmer” song “Leeds United,” Palmer asked to be dropped in late 2008. As fans bared their own bodies in an online protest dubbed “The ReBellyon,” the singer took to performing a song pointedly titled “Please Drop Me” in concert.

When she finally got her wish, Palmer celebrated by offering a free download of a track titled “Do You Swear to Tell the Truth the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth So Help Your Black Ass,” a decision that probably would have made her former label cringe.

Independence has its virtues.

The Dresden Dolls frontwoman-turned-solo artist has joined a growing number of artists who’ve found a home on Bandcamp, a San Francisco-based website and publishing platform that aims to put musicians in better control of their digital sales and online merchandising.

“We really wanted to do everything quote unquote on our own,” said Sean Francis, Palmer’s director of new media, marketing and promotions, adding that they discovered the site in its infancy. “We always had them in the back of our minds for when ultimately she would get off the label.”

In contrast with a number of rules-clad retailers, Bandcamp offers ease and options: free sign-up; a Bandcamp storefront page to add to an existing site or let stand alone; an array of digital download formats (from hi-fi MP3s to FLAC and Ogg Vorbis files) for customers; physical sales and physical-digital bundling; and, perhaps most important, the ability to set prices, from free to a flat rate to a pay-what-you-want donation.

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