Great post from Amanda Palmer of the Dresdon Dolls on using online media to connecting directly with fans and make $$$. Love the creativity here…

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From: Amanda Palmer
Subject: twitter power, or “how an indie musician can make $19,000 in 10 hours using twitter”

this story has just been blowing people’s minds so i figures i should write it down.

1.
FRIDAY NIGHT LOSERS T-SHIRT, $11,000

about a month ago, i was at home on a friday night (loser that i often am when i’m not touring, i almost never go out) and was, of course, on my mac, shifting between emails, links and occasionally doing some dishes and packing for a trip the next day. just a usual friday-night-rock-star-multi-tasking extravaganza.

i twitter whenever i’m online, i love the way it gives me a direct line of communication with my fans and friends.

i had already seen the power of twitter while touring…using twitter i’d gathered crowds of sometimes 200 fans with a DAY’S notice to come out and meet me in public spaces (parks, mostly) where i would play ukulele, sign, hug, take pictures, eat cake, and generally hang out and connect. this was especially helpful in the cities where we’d been unable to book all-ages gigs and there were crushed teenagers who were really grateful to have a shot at connecting with me & the community of amanda/dolls fans.

i’d also been using twitter to organize ACTUAL last-minute gigs…i twittered a secret gig in LA one morning and about 350 folks showed up 5 hours later at a warehouse space….i played piano, filmed by current.tv, and then (different camera crew) did an interview with afterellen.com.
the important thing to undertsand here is that the fans were never part of the plan..,i basically just INVITED my fans to a press day, the press didnt’ plan it…i did.
i was going to be playing in an empty room and doing q&a with afterellen on a coach with only the camera watching.
it was like….why not tell people and do this in a warehouse instead of a hotel lobby or a blank studio? so i did.

it cost me almost nothing. the fans were psyched.

but back to the bigger, cooler story….

so there i am, alone on friday night and i make a joke on twitter (which goes out to whichever of my 30,000 followers are online):

“i hereby call THE LOSERS OF FRIDAY NIGHT ON THEIR COMPUTERS to ORDER, motherfucker.”
9:15 PM May 15th from web

one thing led to another, and the next thing you know there were thousands of us and we’d become the #1 topic trend on twitter.
zoe keating described it as a “virtual flash mob”.

the way twitter works (if you don’t have it) is that certain topics can include a hashtag (#) and if a gazillion people start making posts that include that hashtag, the topic will zoom up the charts of what people are currently discussing. it’s a cool feature.

so anyway, there we were, virtually hanging out on twitter on a friday night. very pleased with ourselves for being such a large group, and cracking jokes.

how do you “hang out” on the internet? well, we collectively came up with a list of things that the government should do for us (free government-issued sweatpants, pizza and ponies, no tax on coffee), AND created a t-shirt.
thank god my web guy sean was awake and being a loser with me on friday night because he throw up the webpage WHILE we were having our twitter party and people started ordering the shirts – that i designed in SHARPIE in realtime) and a slogan that someone suggested: “DON’T STAND UP FOR WHAT’S RIGHT, STAY IN FOR WHAT’S WRONG”. neil gaiman and wil wheaton joined our party. the fdnas felt super-special.

by the end of the night, we’d sold 200 shirts off the quickie site (paypal only) that sean had set up.
i blogged the whole story the next day and in total, in the matter of a few days, we sold over 400 shirts, for $25/ea.

we ended up grossing OVER $11,000 on the shirts.
my assistant beth had the shirts printed up ASAP and mailed them from her apartment.

total made on twitter in two hours = $11,000.
total made from my huge-ass ben-folds produced-major-label solo album this year = $0

2.
WEBCAST AUCTION, $6000

a few nights after that, i blogged and twittered, announcing a “webcast auction” from my apartment.
it went from 6 pm – 9 pm, my assitant beth sat at my side and kept her eyes on incoming bids and twitter feed.
while we hocked weird goods, i sang songs and answered questions from fans. we wore kimonos and drank wine. it was a blast.

people on twitter who were tuned in re-tweeted to other fans. the word spread that it was a fun place to be and watch.
we had, at peak, about 2000 people watching the webcast.

at the suggestion of a fan early in the webcastm anyone could, on demand, send us $20 via paypal and we would chew,
sign and mail them a postcard. we sold about 70, and we read all those names at the end of the webcast and thanked those
people for supporting us. here’s how the sales broke down:

all the items were signed by moi and hand-packed by beth and kayla._ the items and highest bidders were as follows:_ hilary, ukulele used on the european tour: $640 _jake, “guitar hero” plastic guitar controller used in album promo shoot: $250_ lary b, copy neo2 magazine, plus two post-war trade slap-bracelets & a crime-photo set: $230_ devi, glass dildo, with subtley-sordid backstory: $560 _liz b., “hipsters ruin everything” t-shirt, made by blake (get your very own here!!!!): $155.55_shannon m., my bill bryson book, a short history of neary everything: $280_ nikki, huge metal “the establishment” sign, used at rothbury festival for the circus tent i curated: $450 _j.r., purple velvet “A” dress used in the dresden dolls coin-operated boy video shoot: $400_ jessie & alan: who killed amanda palmer vinyl: $100_ nikki: wine bottle, auctioned BY REQUEST!!! $320 _shannon w., torn-to-shit vintage stockings used in the who killed amanda palmer/ michael pope video series: $200 _jodi,
school-note-book break-up letter, written to amanda from jonas woolverton in 7th grade (i still haven’t emailed him about that….): $250_ daryl, ANOTHER wine bottle, by request, that we had LYING AROUND: $320
and…………..
reto emailed, having barely missed the wine bottle, and asked us to send him “something funny” for $129.99. we sent a heath ledger statuette.

total made on twitter in 3 hours, including the postcards, was over $6000.
again, total made on my major-label solo album this year: $0

3.
TWITTER DONATION-ONLY GIG, $1800

a few days later, i twittered a guest-list only event in a recording studio in boston, to take place a week later.
the gig lasted about 5 hours, all told, with soundcheck and signing. i took mostly requests and we had a grand old time.
first come, first served. the first 200 people to ask got in, for free. i asked for donations and made about $2200 in cash.
i gave $400 back to the studio for the space and the help. we sold some weird merch. i think we should call it an even 2k.

total made at last-minute secret twitter gig, in about 5 hours = $2000
major-label record blah blah blah = $0

…..and for fun, and to thank my fans for being awesome, i’ve been doing some twitter perfomance art, including answering their questions by magic-markering my body until it’s covered, and displaying time-lapse make-up application advice….but that’s another story.

TOTAL MADE THIS MONTH USING TWITTER = $19,000
TOTAL MADE FROM 30,000 RECORD SALES = ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

turn on, tune in, get dropped!!!!!

love,
amanda fucking palmer

http://www.amandapalmer.net

http://www.dresdendolls.com

p.s.
if you want to read the full blogs and see the pictures from the #LOFNOTC events, i blogged here:

1. the friday night that started it all:

http://blog.amandapalmer.net/post/111667948/twitter-the-beautiful-losers-lofnotc

2. the webcast and magic-marker/make-up mayhem:

http://blog.amandapalmer.net/post/127401792/wasnt-this-supposed-to-be-my-fucking-week-off

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    Cool if you already have a buncha fans… :-) Not the real world, sadly. You’re successful and relatively well known… no one would pay me a dollar for an old shirt I’d worn somewhere.

    Of course, our independent release at least netted us a FEW dollars… without the major label sucking all the money up.

    Cool article tho.

    I’m sorry but this story really misrepresents some major facets of reality.

    I know many truly independent musicians and if they did this, they would not make anywhere near this kind of money. It’s the same deal with Trent Reznor being able to make a lot of money with his alternative distribution model.

    She states, ‘total made from my huge-ass ben-folds produced-major-label solo album this year = $0′ but, really, the prior exposure, touring and marketing form these major releases is what made this possible.

    I’m not saying this post is without merit or that it doesn’t make a very important point, it’s just that it draws attention to the wrong one.

    The post is titled ‘How an Indie Musician…’ and makes a direct comparison of total dollars supposedly made from a major label album and then from hanging out on Twitter. This framing is highly misleading and ignores the facts that if you’ve ever put out an album on a major label, you’ve had major label visibility (and in this case, a following from it) and thus this sort of thing is mostly inapplicable to the vast majority of independent musicians.

    So, what does this post point out? The post points out that going forward, revenue streams that aren’t album sales may be much more important than the revenue stream (or lack thereof) that is album sales and here’s how a holdover from the old model is making it work in the new model. I don’t think this comes as much of a surprise to any musician today. What would really be useful to musicians are studies in how to garner attention or following comparable to those formed in the old model coming from nothing.

    She ONLY made the progress because of Neil Gaiman. Duh.

    YOU HAVE AN EXISTING FAN-BASE!
    AN EX-IS-TING FA-N-BA-SE.
    I know it’s hard to understand (ivory towers have this way of obstruction the plane of vision) but NO newly established indie musicians are going to be making 19000 in 10 hours (which btw shows that you grossly overcharged for those t-shirts).

    Big babies. She didn’t say you would make $19,000, but that you can. Stop your whining and get a fanbase and then you could use her methods to make some cash too. I’m imagining that other artists (web comics, etc.) could use this template too. Twitter has no overhead and won’t cut into your profits like an established record label (full of deadwood sucking at the teat of the artists actually creating things).
    Great way to think outside the establishment Amanda!

    I’m going back and forth between admiring the creativity and being saddened by the weird waste of it all. There are a lot of artists (musicians, writers, painters, etc.) producing good work who struggle to be paid a dime for their good work. (There are also many many more would-be artists who are not producing good work who nevertheless also seek to be paid, but that’s another story, sort of.)

    Palmer, yes, has a fan base that made this story possible, and therefore not something generalizable to the average “indie musician.” But to me there are larger issues that are kind of depressing here. Should even talented artists simply not expect to be paid for their art in the internet age? Maybe so. (Palmer is in fact a genuinely talented musician, IMO.) Will financial success online be granted largely to those with the biggest egos and the least amount of social self-censoring? Not every musician thinks enough of him/herself to believe that a design scribbled “in real-time” with a Sharpie is instantly worth $25 when printed on a t-shirt, after all.

    I can’t help thinking that all that money could’ve gone to something with a bit more intrinsic value than what those people got for their $25. Instant gratification is a strange thing.

    I must have missed the part of this article that’s getting people so up in arms – where did Ms. Palmer promise that you, me, or anyone else could achieve these results? In a very slightly misleading headline? Boo hoo.

    The interesting thing here is the fact that she used her celebrity status on twitter to make this kind of money. I’m sure she’s aware that if she was just some nobody on the internet that it wouldn’t have happened. The point here is that artists who want to be in control of their own success NEED to build this sort of online following, and then use it. Sure, not everyone can do what NIN or Radiohead or even Amanda Palmer have done with their online fan bases, but this is a market that most people aren’t paying attention to, and clearly they should be.

    And even better, it’s a market driven by the fans. The fans pay what they’re willing to pay, and they won’t hesitate to abandon someone who’s ripping them off. So while some people may hem and haw about 25 dollar t-shirts, the fans wanted it, Palmer made it happen, and everyone ended up winning.

    The sad story here is that the major labels are driving musicians to have to spend their time self-marketing instead of creating, while still profiting off the fruits of their labours.

    When has it ever been the case that artists of all kind have not had to figure out how to support themselves?

    Hope that AFP enjoys herself and has a good ride; great to see that a Lexington High School grad is making good.

    There ARE examples of bands generating enough of a following to have done these experiments though you may not hear a lot of them because some artists (no matter how much YOU like them) may not have the mass appeal (or the quality) to make it big or maybe they’re just not working hard enough to get their music to a wider audience where they may find more fans than they have locally.

    Of A Revolution is a great example of a band who, by themselves, became big enough that they easily could have performed similar experiments successfully. They managed to generate a sizable fan base through extensive touring and by allowing their live shows to be recorded and redistributed. They have since gained more mainstream success by signing on with a record company but they managed to create more than enough buzz about themselves WITHOUT trying anything truly unique that I have no doubt that experiments like Amanda Palmer’s.

    If bands can’t generate enough fans to make money by using creative independent marketing techniques they’re honestly either not motivated enough or not talented enough. With the proliferation of easy internet access, it’s hard to believe that if you’re talented enough you should have a hard time finding people who like your music. It won’t necessarily be as fast as signing with a major label since you won’t have the funding to back mass-marketing but if you’re not satisfied with the speed at which your popularity is growing, try harder.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Of_a_Revolution

    I love this story and I love to see artist being innovative with promo, but its worth noting that she Grossed $19,000. One thing the story does not talk about is the fact that she probably paid $1000 in pay pal fees alone, plus shirt printing, packaging, shipping, hopefully paying the assistant etc. Making $10-11k is still pretty darn good, but it ain’t $19k

    If we say she “made” $19,000 from all this (calculating gross sales), its fair to say that she also “made” $450,000 from album sales.

    Anyway, onwards and upwards, I think its great what she is doing.

    First, hats off to Amanda. Keep doing what you do, and keep having fun with it.

    I do have to say that a major label act, in any shape, color, size, or orientation, is not an “indie” artist.

    That doesn’t mean that major label acts don’t have to kick and fight and scratch and bleed for every inch, just like the rest of us. But, it is, by definition, a different marketing platform.

    That being said, truly independent artists can make a huge amount of headway and create their own, very loyal, base, by touring constantly, marketing smart, and working their asses off.

    Good luck to everyone who’s out there doing the same.

    I’ll be touring in the Northeast in July, hope to see you at a show.

    This is everthing that scares me about where the future of music is heading. The actual music has no value except as a means of selling T-shirts. Instead of monetizing the music as product, it is becoming more accepted that merchandise is supposed to provide the income stream. Since so many music fans already have no problem with violating copyright law, I see no problem extending that same mentality to bootlegged, unlicensed merchandise. What happens then? What happens when the legit merchandise income dries up? I guess the income will have to come from performances. Not a very reliable source of money except for established acts. The fact is, there is NO WORKING MODEL for the future that you can plan on, if you do any long term business planning.. NONE. Right now it’s just a free-for-all. What band t-shirt do you want? Dresdon Dolls, NIN, Radiohead, Knucklehead Bitches? One can be had for $3.50, instead of $25. Oh well. Right now the experts are nobody and everybody.

    I think it’s kind of sad that people wanted to spend $25 on a t-shirt. I guess people have money to burn.

    Hola,

    Ian from Topspin (www.TopspinMedia.com) here.

    We hear criticism similar to some of what is being voiced here all the time: “Yeah, what you’re doing works fine for David Byrne, but how does it work for a band just starting out?” We have a number of bands using Topspin who have never had the backing of a major label marketing machine, too. Here are a few you could peruse:

    http://www.basecampmusic.com
    http://www.lesblanks.com
    http://www.fanfarlo.com
    http://www.joepurdy.com
    http://www.nealcasal.com
    http://theoldceremony.com
    http://imaadwasif.com
    http://whitedenimmusic.com

    Really I’d argue folks like Jay Reatard (www.JayReatard.com) and Metric (www.ilovemetric.com) count as well as they’ve always been fiercely independent, though some would take issue because Jay is now on Matador (distributed by Beggars) and Metric was once upon a time distributed through Fontana. Still, in both cases these are artists who have done it the old-fashioned way, organically over many many years. (Metric talking about self-releasing is worth watching, IMHO: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHkwAlJ7m1k)

    Anyway, what’s encouraging is we’re seeing the conversion metrics relatively similar from artist to artist, regardless of size. So yes, artists with more fans can make more money in terms of total dollars, but the conversion rate of people on email list to money in the bank is the same or *better* for smaller artists. We encourage our artists and managers to focus on the basics: collecting emails and other ways fans can communicate directly with you, search engine optimization, making it simple for fans to share your music with other fans, and of course, making great music that people WANT to share.

    I think Mike Masnick did a pretty good job of addressing the core value proposition: Connect with Fans, Give them Something of Value, Make $$$; as well as addressing the “this will only work for previously established artists” criticism in his presentation from NARM two weeks back: http://vimeo.com/5229486

    The Fanfarlo example above is an interesting one. They have been selling their album for $1 for the past two weeks, and will continue to until July 4th. Previous to this, they’d scanned 400 albums in the US. It’s not my data to share but suffice it to say they’ve sold many times that now. They *did* receive some help from Sigur Ros, who told their email list to take advantage of this offer. But it’s worth noting that less than half of Fanfarlo’s sales came through this “bigger” band endorsement. The rest was organic, word-of-mouth, KEXP, KCRW, etc.

    IMHO these bands are all showing where there’s a will there’s a way, and the truly good news for the future (and what Amanda’s experiment shows) is that there’s no longer just *one* way — make a demo, get signed, get an advance, if you have a huge hit maybe you get a royalty check, if not, well, you got your advance, right? These other ways are really just starting to present themselves. I don’t think we have any idea which ones will work yet. Plenty of time for you to invite yours!

    Best,
    ian

    While I don’t agree with everything Amanda did/is doing, it does inspire to think “outside the box”. As a veteran music educator who has stepped into a new career of promoting indie artists, I am looking for new and creative ways to get their names and music out there. I agree with Tori’s response–indies must tour, work hard, and market smart. In fact, I am presently reading two books–
    “Low-Budget Online Marketing” and “Marketing In The New Media”.
    Lastly, I applaud HRG’s last paragraph. It is the sad truth.

    I was part of this from the start. I own all her albums. I’ve seen her in concert. I’ve been following her on Twitter. I’m friends with her on Facebook.

    It’s great that she’s been able to make some money from Twitter! Some of that money came from me. But, but, I also want new music. Her concerts are amazing and I’ll see her again. No question. But I also want a new album. Does it have to come from a major studio? Maybe not. But musicians who find “alternate” income streams can’t forget the fans became fans because of the music.

    I’m sure some people would continue supporting Amanda just because she continues being Amanda. I don’t think I’m one of those. I bought an overpriced $25 t-shirt because I wanted to support the artist. The musician. If she transforms into a performance artist and doesn’t produce new music, I’m not sure my support would continue.

    The point here is not just that Amanda made a lot of money on Twitter (granted, she’s got the fan base to support it), but rather, that there are cool opportunities for independent artists to market themselves online in super creative ways. Use the concepts, not the literal activities, and see what you can cook up!

    To Stephen James,

    That’s not necessarily true, but some people love a band enough they are willing to spend income they don’t have. I know I’ve done it before.

    Any sort of promotion–whether it’s for bands or not–is very difficult at first. Momentum takes a while to gather. I find this less an article about self-promotion and more about the increasingly intimate connectivity that is possible once that momentum is in play. Basically, you’ll have to work your ass off, but once you reach that point the emerging relationship between artist and audience is much more fun–and frankly, working your ass off can be a lot more fun nowadays for the same reasons.

    Interesting comments here. I agree with both sides of the coin: she has a significant fan-base so go ahead and try this at home, kids, but don’t expect the same stellar results until you’ve got the same word of mouth she does.

    On the other hand: hey kids, TRY THIS AT HOME! Twitter is an amazing tool for developing your fan base and honing your social media skills is only going to help you. And you never know, maybe your base will get big enough so that you, too, can have your own ‘friday night lo$er’ fun.

    Yep granted she had an existing fan base, and she had major label support to garner most of that support but I think the real point is that she did something different and connected with the fan base. The question is then how are you going to establish your fan base? And once you do have a fan base how will you connect with them and offer them value for money. Money that they, as fans, are more than willing to give you in return for something they value. Think/dream big, get creative, write great songs, play great shows, think like a fan and give them what they want.

    If you’d rather watch then read, you can also get a feel from of this directly from Amanda Palmer in a video interview @ http://www.uncensoredinterview.com/vlogs/11836-amanda-palmer-friday-night-freaks

    regardless of false major label support/indie status debates, for many it comes down to what you’d rather spend yr time doing – emailing/twittering fans, making tshirts, and “establishing your fan base” or making more music (or doing something else), far from being a question of the fiction of “talent” or the insult of “lack of motivation”. who cares if 10K (or even 1K) ppl are listening? what matters is that 1 person hears it and digs it. that should be enough to keep you going, whatever your day job. if it’s not enough, you’re an egomaniac, and you probably suck. ;-)

    Amanda was an independent artist before she ever got a major label contract. Most of her existing fan base was earned with constant touring, DIY marketing, and sweat equity before the “majors” ever came knocking. So how you build your fan base is one show at a time. Until you are in a position to do this sort of thing because you’ve built the foundation for it. And then you don’t change the way you connect with your fans if it’s working, in spite of major label support or lack thereof

    Who would have thought that the interwebs would turn out to be just another way for trust fund kids to play at being ‘cool’.

    This is pretty cool. Yay for AFP! (and people who can afford $25 t-shirts in this economy!)

    Um, so your record label shelled out on all kinds of publicity to build up your fanbase, and then you found a way of monetising your fanbase while cutting out the record label?
    I bet they’re delighted.

    I’m not a musician. Just a business person who is a fan of an indie musician who sent me to this blog. I say well done Amanda Fucking Palmer for thinking outside the box to make some major money quickly! At the end of the day, there are bills to pay. And technology has opened up many avenues to reach the masses and their cash. You’re all artists! Use some of that creativity for cash!

    How do several one-off sales of merchandise/tickets equal album royalties?

    She should really be saving that post for after she drops the label. She can then create, produce, market, sell, and distribute her own album and double her fanbase using “new” methods. Then, perhaps, she’d have something to compare it to.

    And, you know, give the real figures instead of some guess that doesn’t factor in additional costs.

    This is brilliant. Not so much for the t-shirts that were sold, but for the way the “business” transpired. I love the way it all unfolded in real-time and without a lot of thought. I especially love the way her web guy Sean comes out into the night and builds the business model and transaction piece live right in front of everyone’s eyes.

    For anyone with a significant following, no matter how you got it, there is a real lesson here. Apply some creativity with willingness to try something new and invent new ways of engaging with your fans. And you don’t need to plan too hard, just try it.

    I think that’s the coolest part about the whole thing. I would love to know how some of her fans feel about the FRIDAY NITE LOSER experiment and if they’re ready for more.

    @whiny_musicians: Newsflash: This is not about the fact that every starting Artist can make 19 000 $ a month, cause well, then everybody who had any kind of piano lessons or anything would be an artist, if only for the money, but about the fact that it scales much better then the old model. This means it’s not “big label contract or nothing” but more of a linear growth with an exponential ending (or not). The fact is just, that as with photographers, and most other artists, not everyone can have the same kind of success, for that there are just too many small bands out there. Nonetheless, it’s easier then ever to market yourself and your music, but never forget that it still requires skill and practice and maybe a little luck too!

    What a great, inspiring story! Yes, I agree with the indie artists saying Amanda got her followers from being on a label so that made it easy for her to make money off of Twitter. However, the bottom line is that every indie artist has the ability to build up their own following. You have to work it. I know plenty of indie musicians who work their asses off, like Tori Sparks (great comment Tori!), and get out there playing, touring, connecting and being the head of their promotion team. They are out there making things happen. They could start their own Friday Night Loser club on Twitter and over time build it up into something amazing. Most people don’t. They make excuses.

    I say hats off to Amanda for doing something so many indie artists don’t do. She stepped outside the box and did something creative and attention grabbing.

    I do agree that not just anyone can make 19K on twitter in 10 hours. A preexisting fanbase does it for you. Not to mention being a musician willing to expose who they actually are, instead of a constant facade is nice to see. The connection to that preexisting fanbase seals the deal.

    The truth is, I purchased a shirt. Do I feel cheated? Is $25 too much? not in the slightest. I find it awful that some musicians cannot make it just by making good music. I believe Ms. Palmer to be talented beyond just the realm of music. The reality is, if she were not so dedicated and connected to her fanbase in the first place — NO ONE would be buying a silly T-shirt. Having met her in person, she is quite pleasant. It’s upsetting that her private/secret concert, in reality, should have brought in more cash than her auction/tshirts. She did it, and it worked. Good for her. Don’t hate.

    Amanda, you’ve always been a breath of fresh air & a source of divine inspiration!

    It’s a simple choice: are we focusing our energy on enjoying the adventure and finding solutions or are we looking for problems and excuses?

    The former will bring us more enjoyment, solutions, and success; the latter more crap.

    Simple as that.

    Which side are you on?

    “my assistant beth had the shirts printed up ASAP and mailed them from her apartment.” ???? Yep, all us “indie” artists have assistants. I got mine to type this.

    [...] Mike King’s blog on the music business has this incredible post about how Amanda Palmer, a member of the band Dresden Dolls, earned $19,000 on Twitter in ten [...]

    I have no idea who you are musically but that is both hilarious and fucking rocks. :D

    Mucho props. Who need labels?

    [...] Mike King’s blog on the music business has this incredible post about how Amanda Palmer, a member of the band Dresden Dolls, earned $19,000 on Twitter in ten [...]

    [...] Mike King’s blog on the music business has this incredible post about how Amanda Palmer, a member of the band Dresden Dolls, earned $19,000 on Twitter in ten [...]

    That’s great! Did Amanda get an advance on the album? How much was it?

    It’s so easy for an established artist to get attention and sell music or stuff. When Trent Reznor is telling how clever he has been and how much he earned by quitting his record label, he forgets to tell how great promotion his label did for him through the years. – The web is floating over with promotion experts that try to sell us their ebooks, and all these books have the same message: “Do it right, and you will become rich!” – My own experience as an independent artist for the last twenty years, is that it’s very hard to motivate people to buy my CD’s. I have tried a lot of different methods and so called secrets (adWords, Twitter, you name it), and my conclusion is that the best investment of time I can do, is to spend my precious time composing and performing great music, being with my family and good friends, get inspiration from all the really great artists out there – instead of spending every evening and weekends trying to reach one and one random person out there and convince him or her to check out my music! I know I need to promote my music in a clever way, but I am sick of all the clever salesmen that never stop attacking with me with easy solutions. If they were honest, they would admit that their business is about stealing the money of poor artists like myself.

    God, my fellow indie artists have such a weird sense of entitlement. Where is the indignation coming from? She’s in the position she’s in and she worked it to a pretty impressive advantage. She didn’t take money out of your pocket when she did that, so don’t cry just because you’re not in the same position! She’s not the reason you don’t have an assistant, you whining baby!

    Take a lesson and see what you can apply to your own situation. Or don’t! But you’re mad at her because she can do something you can’t? Don’t drink the haterade.

    Also, it’s clear from some of these comments that a lot of indie artists still don’t really understand what an advance is, or how major label PR gets paid for. If you think all of that was just dropped in her lap with a pretty bow on top of it, you’re painfully naive.

    Um.

    Most of Amanda Palmer’s fanbase was built up by extremely extensive touring, press, and word of mouth. Her label has done very little by way of promotion.

    [...] I shouldn’t even have to convince you to read the following article I found over at Mike King’s blog. It’ll change the way you view social networking. And the best part, it’s actually [...]

    Amanda’s whole career seems to be based on doing things that other people sit back and whine about not being able to do. You know why she has an EXISTING FANBASE? because she went out and got them and would not be stopped from making personal connections with her fans. Her style of music is it’s own niche- marginalized to be certain- and yet she has tapped into a large group of people who relate to her. That says a lot about her art and about her as a person. Any one of us could do the exact same thing… if we were Amanda. The girl is a force of nature, bless her little striped tights.

    Very clever, but if she wasn’t famous nobody would’ve coughed up big bucks for the “weird stuff” in her apartment or the shirts she drew with a Sharpie. It would’ve been another Friday night swapping one-liners on Twitter instead of practicing.

    Couple things to remember, for all you naysayers…

    She is “famous” because she has been accessible all along. She has made great music all the way and has connected with her fans from small time to “big” time.

    People paid $25.00 for t-shirts not because they have money to burn, but because in an organic experience like that–where it is all happening in real time–they know that the ARTIST is getting the kickback after expenses, and they want to support that artist. Again–because they feel a connection, which has been cultivated.

    The music is still primary. No one said it wasn’t. Saying she made “$0.00″ on her major label record sales doesn’t mean none were sold. It means the money is going back to the record label for the costs of production. Which is how it works. In the meantime, a girl’s gotta eat and pay rent. So if she masterminded a t-shirt frenzy, why SHOULDN’T she take the money earned? Whoever said she was “cutting out the label” is forgetting that the label had nothing to do with it. The label execs weren’t sitting there on Twitter working it all for AFP.

    Yes, she has a built in fanbase, and that’s why the numbers are so high. It didn’t magically happen overnight. It never does. You have to build your fanbase one person at a time. So DO that instead of focusing on your sour grapes because you’re not there yet and AFP is. And take from this story every bit of value you can and apply the principals all along the way. Connect, connect, connect!

    I’m inspired! I wish the same for all of you.

    Mike,

    Another wicked post ! I had come across this same story of Amanda Palmer earlier, and I was inspired by how she connected with her fans.

    I think it’s really incredible how more and more artists have taken control over their music marketing efforts to establish real connections with their music fans. Profits = connection to more people feeling your music and your brand.

    – Ryan

    I have been following Amanda on Twitter for some time and I can tell you she has put a lot of work into building and keeping her twitter following. It didn’t happen over night (even though it did). She is a great artist and performer who works hard and from the sounds of it is having fun. Kudos to her.

    ur not supposed to read this and think you should do the same thing, ur supposed to be inspired to come up with your own creative way to make money. Like it or not, music is now free for everyone which is how it should be. Let the record industry die and allow the music industry to thrive. Its up to you to find ways to get people to pay for the EXPERIENCE, not the music.

    Funny as this may sound I know its possible
    because music fans and enthusiasts have somehow
    been idolizing the artists.

    Don’t think of making $1k in 24 when you have not been known.

    great article :)
    it’s very fresh and inspiring,
    especially for an indie musician like me

    -Greetings from musician in a faraway country, Indonesia-
    Niki
    http://www.myspace.com/nikiwonotomusic

    Good job Mike! People need to realize music is a hustle, being creative musically is one part, being creative business wise is vital. Great food for thought… Dont cry and say you cant, or you wont. Be positive.

    I LOVE the creativity here that you are sharing and while each person may need to adjust to their conditions, fan base, resources etc–the example that you are sharing is a call to expand one’s paradigm and open to the field of infinite possibilities.

    Ummm.

    Most of Amanda Palmer’s fanbase was built up by extremely extensive touring, press, and word of mouth. Her label has done very little by way of promotion.

    Blog advertising network

    i am an artist and i really need a record label thanks.

    The fellow from the aptly-named TopSpin misleadingly points to Canadian band Metric as a example of a fiercely independent band that has done it “organically”. Metric has been the beneficiary of big$$ from labels and also more than $500,000 from Canadian government programs. Most indie bands could become far greater successes than Metric if given the same financial and industry resources.

    I never have figured out how to use twitter ……………it still is very new to me

    With such an overcrowded market place giving away your music is essential in my opinion. The biggest problem for emerging indie artists today is obscurity, not piracy. You can hear more from me and my music business philosophy on The Antiqcool Podcast.

    http://antiqcool.podbean.com/2010/01/22/the-antiqcool-podcast-episode-1-how-can-you-be-a-part-of-our-success/

    I agree on both sides. Amanda is a good artist that can do in correct form. The creative sense is good here. It is an interesting post. Thanks a lot…..

    Amanda Palmer proves that using your mind creatively in any situation can make a major difference for the better!!
    Shout out to everyone she pissed off, don’t think….feeeeel!!

    haha awesome story ^^ Friday night losers, quite brilliant how you made 19K in such a short amount of time!

    this article gives me the chills. Hey, quick, get a website up, get a t shirt done, i can make a buck here!

    is this really the future? selling bits of crap to people? :(

    $400 also seems pretty cheap to the studio for 5 hours show plus soundchecks :(

    great post – very interesting to read your views as a developer on this debate.,lucy

    Thanks for this very good things,lucy

    19 GRAND WOULDNT BE NOTHING FOR THE SONGS I HAVE WRITTEN, THATS CHUMP CHANGE FOR WHAT I HAVE

    Nice! But this only works if u are famous enough. So the question is how to get famous enough?

    Anyway, i am a big fan of this new way of making money as an artist without 3rd parties!

    Sunshine,
    Synapsenkitzler

    Hey there fantastic post , Thank you sharing these details

    Hmm, well even know the music industry is always changing, musicians will always be the same. Maybe that’s the problem.

    Great article.

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