I love Amanda Palmer (@amandapalmer) and once, when she tweeted me a free ticket she made me feel that she loved me, mostly she just rocks me. She wouldn’t know my twitter handle from any of her 560,000 twitter followers, but I do know that she luvs social media and thousands really love her. Actually she knows more than just social media, more than online, she knows how and wanted to engage before marketers took that word. (Check this essay out (but do it some other time)). She just maybe the truly connected person of the moment – the coolest cyberpunk of all time. Hold up. Just a mo. Although I believe that Amanda knows online, breathes it when she chooses, and connects supremely, she is foremost an artist.
I was first met Amanda (I like to think that we are on first name terms) when her band Dresden Dolls (Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione) featured on Later with Jools Holland and I have since kept an eye out for this Brecht punk band, and was thrilled when they turned up in Wellington. Her music is off the main road, its cerebal and challenging. Simon Sweetman of the Dom Post didn’t get into their Wellington concert at all and as the new way of the world is, Simon publishes his stuffand Amanda and her fans publish their reply-stuff.
Some of her music works for me some not so, but I love her and I loved the Dresden Dolls Wellington concert.
She is an artist (part improv part recording) in dialogue with her audience on stage and online. I’m sure she isn’t the first artist to do so, I just can’t think of any others who have. I’m thinking Andy Warhol or perhaps Earnest Hemingway sitting outside a Pamplona (Spain) hotel drinking with whoever rocked up.
Her understanding of social media, online and her audience(s) is remarkable. Her days as a street performer may have been a great foundation. She promotes, she connects and she gives it a lot of time and she is an innovator. She raised $1 million+ for the development and tour of her new album and new band through Kickstarter. I am not hugely familiar with kickstarter or crowd funding history but to quote another blog, this was only the seventh project to break the million-dollar mark in the Kickstarter’s history. It is also the highest funded Kickstarter music project ever. To give you some perspective, the second-highest-funded music project reached a little more than $200,000.
She reached her goal of $100,000 within a day. Pledges started at $1, which for that you got to download of their album with some exclusive content. Over 24,000 people backed the project. Two signed up for a $10,000 pledge, and for that they got Amanda in their home for dinner and she will also paint them a portrait of them. She has been pretty frank about the kickstarter money.
At the Wellington concert Amanda spoke about the music business and how music’s business model was failing artists. I don’t think that she was referring to the top 5% or less of top recording artists that seem to hoover money in from all quarters (if somewhat down on their earnings prior to digital sharing).
I don’t know much about the music business and this post is not about it, this is about a musician going directly to her audience, connecting with them with great material (her work and her posts), keeping in regular contact over a number of social sites and being authentic in every way. And how lame she makes other social media gurus.
In her social media journey, my 100% confident guess, is that she has had to deal with trolls, and other hideous personal knockers (as long as people can post anonymously they will always be there) and she appears to cope with it and stay her course.
Amanda Fucking Palmer is a brave great person. She must be one of the bravest people in entertainment. And one of the most interesting.
Postscript: The New York Times thinks similarly to me.
Phil Bilbrough (@philbilbrough) is a freelance online advertising specialist who is blogging on the subject for Scoop at Advertising.scoop.co.nz. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.