How many unsigned artists these days can make $600k on album sales before they even finish recording? Thanks to Kickstarter and her social aptitude, Amanda Palmer has done this without any help from the labels she shunned.
This is more money than any other music project has raised on the crowdsourcing tool. After raising $250k on day one, she ecstatically wrote that it was already $50k more than her recording fund would have been had she stayed with her old record deal!
This has all been made possible by the power of an engaged social network. Palmer offered fans 11 donation levels ranging from $1 to $10,000. Each donor receives a gift that was personalized in some fashion. At the lowest level you get digital content exclusive to kickstarter. Movements up the ladder earn signed limited-edition packages, a personal thank-note, surprise arts and crafts, a painted turntable and even a house party. But to one-up the President, Palmer’s top donors get dinner and a canvas painted portrait by the artist during a 5-hour intimate soiree.
And while we’re comparing her to the President, it’s interesting to note that 90% of Palmer’s donations were for $100 or less. However, this made up only 30% of the total money donated. The majority of the funds have come from a few people making very large donations.
So is this the new music business? It’s hard to argue with $600k (and counting), full ownership, control, and ease of distribution. But that doesn’t mean that I could just shoot a 3-minute promo video and schnor a new career for myself tomorrow too. Palmer’s overnight success story came after 10 years of hard work and 2 releases on a major label. More likely it will be another viable avenue for established label drop-outs and, on a smaller scale, aspiring local darlings.