The Art of Asking

Posted: Ieva Gabrėnaitė Date: 2013-11-29 05:52

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A shot from a video.

Don’t make people pay for music. Let them pay for music!

Amanda Palmer has spent her life and musical career seeking out connection with people. Start off as a street performer known as the “Eight-foot Bride”, who in exchange for some spare change, would give intimate eye contact and a white rose. In later year, first as one half of The Dresden Dolls and more recently as front woman of the Grand Theft Orchestra, she didn’t hesitate to ask fans for support, either in person or over Twitter.

It all started one night after a show, when a fan walked up to Palmer with a $10 bill. “I’m sorry, I burned your CD from a friend,” he said. “I just want you to have this money.” The exchange brought a realization. “This is the moment I decide I’m just going to give my music away for free, online, whenever possible,” Palmer says. What she set out to do was to encourage people to download and share, but in exchange to ask for help. Just as she had from passersby on the street. To fund her latest album, Amanda Palmer set up a Kickstarter page, in order to raise $100,000 dollars. She got $1.2 million from less than 25,000 people.

In the process she ended up spearheading the latest tendency of disintermediation in recent music. Disregarding the music industry altogether,  joining the likes of Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails, and even appearing on the Kickstarter site with a sign saying “This is the future of music”. Are we to believe that she is the ground-breaking musical maverick she claims to be? Or is she nothing more than a very successful self-promoting entrepreneur?