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Amanda Palmer has an idea...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by IPYF, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    I'm being serious when I say that I've been thinking about this TED talk for most of my workday. I hope this pertains to band management enough to keep it here for discussion because I think it could be a pretty interesting concept to have a chat about.

    Check out this video of popular alternative icon Amanda Palmer:

    Essentially the discussion surrounds the notion of crowd sourcing, the concept of 'pay what you think it's worth' and the positive aspects you can gain when you ask your fanbase for support.

    It's a really interesting concept and I want to know what other people here in bands think of this. I've been a huge fan of 'pay what you think it's worth' ever since Radiohead made a fortune on that record they released online. I'd actually love to have the confidence to release a record in this manner but the risk reward situation is daunting. The economies of scale at play suggest to me that in order to actually make a decent return you would probably have to be an extremely well established act, probably even at an international level, to begin with.

    So what do you guys think? Can 'pay what you think it's worth' work for the average band or is this only worth trying if you're already a really big deal?

    Is crowdsourcing feasible for the average band to implement?

    Is it possible to independently prosper in music with only a wireless connection and a folder full of MP3s?
  2. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Seems like a great idea for famous millionaires.
  3. Amanda Palmer is from up here in Boston and spent many years building a following with Dresden Dolls and her later solo work. Like her or not, she is far from an "average" act on a lot of levels:

    * Her work is highly original and often provocative.
    * She has a style sense that's completely her own and has worked hard to cultivate her image.
    * She understands and leverages the power of multimedia in her creations.
    * She is a helluva musician.
    * She works the media hard.

    To sum up: Before she crowdsourced, she created her crowd. I think that rule would apply to an "average" band as well.

    (Coincidentally, this is the same topic "Doonesbury" is covering this week.)
  4. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    See that is my thing. She's hailing it as this great idea that can work for artists but she seems to be quietly glossing over the fact that she's a big enough deal for it to work.

    Protest the Hero did a similar thing as well and they made an absolute fortune through kickstarter. But they're also the very top of their particular dogpile.

    I just don't agree that a band that's playing the pub and club circuit can afford to be generous and therefore this kind of information is only really an avenue for people who are already really successful to become more successful and more self sufficient.
  5. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    In the future, every musician who finds a way to make money will be hailed for saving the music industry, proving that musicians can make money, and showing that the rest of us are just lazy whiners for not adapting to a changing world. :rollno:
  6. Too many half-wits around my area- I'd think many of em would see it as a chance to get something for nothing.:(
    Pity, coz as it stands, it is a great concept :thumbup:
  7. If your name is Thom Yorke or Amanda Palmer crowdsourcing is a great idea. For the rest of us, it's a rebranded and more impersonal way to beg for money from the parents.
  8. punkjazzben


    Jun 26, 2008
    We did it to pay for our second EP. We covered the recording costs ourselves, but crowdfunded $2000 to cover mastering and CD manufacture. I think there were 80 or so pledgers, and we offered rewards as incentives: $15 got you the CD, $30 got you both our CDs signed, $80 got your name in the liner notes. For $600 we would come and do an acoustic set at your party or wherever (one guy took us up on that). We marketed the pledges as pre-orders, which was also a good way of getting people to donate.

    It was good for creating a bit of buzz around the release, and for the EP release we sold out a 500 seat auditorium and put on a show with some of the other bands around town. I would do crowd funding again, but I wouldn't do it in the same band twice - not without a decent gap of time between projects.

    It was a successful little experiment, and we weren't big names or anything.

    On a side note, Alien Ant Farm are trying to crowdfund their next album.
  9. punkjazzben


    Jun 26, 2008
    In that case, ignore my post too ;)

    (I replied to JakeFs nonexistent post)
  10. sleeplessknight

    sleeplessknight Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    I think it's a worthwhile enough idea to at least TRY a few times (and the key word here is 'a few'). The first time you try anything, you're going to suck at it and almost assuredly fail. However, take notes. The lessons you learn from Try The First will make Try The Second that much more productive. That's "Learning How It Doesn't Work, Class 102". You may fail, you may get a base hit, but you probably won't knock it out of the park. Again, take notes. Try The Third is your "actual, honest to goodness" attempt where you can start to really form an educated opinion on what does and doesn't work. If after #3 crashes and burns you aren't sufficiently excited enough to give it a fourth go, I'd say it's a reasonable expectation that It's Not For You(tm). This of course does not apply to skydiving, hang-gliding, bungee-jumping, and other such endeavors.

    tl; dr - you almost never hear about famous people's outlandish failures (unless, y'know, your surname is Lohan and therefor synonymous with failure. Sexy, redheaded, trailer-trash failure... mmmmmmmm...) You tend to only hear about folks' raving, improbable successes, which makes Technique X look stupid-easy to the point of being a scam.
  11. Isn't she the one that got a mess of money from Kickstarter for an album and tour but neglected to use any of it for paying the pickup musicians on tour? That piece of work?
  12. JakeF


    Apr 3, 2012
    Feel the fury of my voodoo magic!
  13. stagebanter


    May 12, 2012
    Yeah dude. She's saving the music industry (by refusing to pay musicians until Steve Albini calls her stupid).
  14. punkjazzben


    Jun 26, 2008
    Valid criticisms of Amanda Palmer's treatment of her band, but I'm not sure it has any relevance to the concept of crowdfunding. It is not Palmer's idea and she doesn't have the last word on it.
  15. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    Look. This was pretty contentious but after watching the TED talk I think she wasn't malicious in that event. I just don't think she thought it through properly. Probably a combination of naivety and arrogance. Not a great call on her part though. This is primarily why I can't credit her theories. She's at least somewhat delusional.
  16. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Yeah, that's the polite way to say what I was thinking.
  17. She's a musician. Aren't we all?
  18. AuntieBeeb


    Dec 12, 2010
    Personally, I think it's a great idea. It's a potential answer to half the question of "how can I make money from my own music?"

    The other half of the question, naturally, is "how do I get enough people's attention?" But that was going to be the second question whether you were talking a crowdfunding, self-funding, seeking a record deal or any other answer you might have had for the first half.

    Palmer's answered half the question; now you go and look for an answer to the other half. You can't expect her to do everything for you.
  19. ShoeManiac

    ShoeManiac Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey
    There was quite the backlash against Amanda Palmer following that incident. Even the NY Times took her to task. Eventually she relented, and all of those pickup string & horn players wound up getting paid.

    ....But she got a hell of a lot of publicity (negative or otherwise) because of the incident. Which made me think that the whole kerfluffle might have been a work, from start to finish.
  20. AuntieBeeb


    Dec 12, 2010
    Even I felt compelled to have a little ramble about it: http://thecrowfrombelow.wordpress.com/?p=75&preview=true

    I may feel compelled to have a little ramble about this new development as well. I do think she has an interesting philosophy, though I can see why it upsets a lot of people.

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