IN AMANDA Palmer’s gone-viral TED Talk, “The Art of the Ask,” she explains how early in her career, as a street performer, she learned to understand the human connection with her audience; she goes on to use this relationship as an allegory for the music business. The heart of her talk: We are asking the wrong question when we ask how we make fans pay for music. We should be asking, how do we ask fans to support our art? The idea being, when you connect with people, people want to help you.
To make this work, you must work hard to engender loyalty among your fans and demonstrate why you’re worthy of support. And perhaps define success in new terms. As Palmer notes, “Celebrity is about a lot of people loving you from a distance, but the internet is about a few people loving you up close.” Does this make you a web version of a street musician? Maybe. But why not make this concept work for you?
The most progressive artists are trusting fans to find value in their art and support them in ways that never existed before the internet removed traditional barriers between musicians and their audience. Artists like Palmer, Trent Reznor, and Radiohead have proven that this works on a large scale. How have you made this work for you? Let us know.