Amanda Palmer made headlines in May when she pulled in a half-million dollars in funding on Kickstarter in just four days. Her project—raising money to promote her new album—featured a video of Palmer standing in the street holding a series of handwritten cue cards laying out her goals, and rewarded donations at every level: For $1, you could get an album download. For $5,000, she would play at your house.
For Palmer, long seen as a trailblazing artist who has defied traditional label models and artist roles, this Kickstarter accomplishment is a culmination of years of using social media to cultivate a deep personal connection with her fans. She answers their tweets. She asks their opinions. She’s human.
Creative fan engagement works both ways: Fans feel like they’re a part of something big, and you have a support system that will help you thrive as an artist—which is crucial for any entrepreneurial musician.
You are the face of your art. As Palmer told us in an interview last September, “that line between the art and putting out the art becomes increasingly more blurry as time marches on.” She went on to emphasize that you need to understand what is unique about you, and how that will resonate with fans: “Have some perspective on what your life actually is, as viewed by other people.”
In Palmer’s Kickstarter video, she holds up a card that reads, “We are the media.” Are you?