Amanda Palmer: Maverick Musician’s Business Model Puts Fans First

Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer doesn’t need the old-school music industry.

In an interview with Forbes magazine, the artist discusses her success with crowdfunding sites Kickstarter and Patreon. Currently, over 4,000 fans have pledged more than $30,000 “per thing” that Palmer creates–be it song, video, or long-form writing.

It’s almost as if there’s now two music industries…The difference between the two music industries is that ye olde music industry pretty much has one face and it’s totally understandable and it functions one way. The other music industry has a million different platforms, a million different approaches. Success is measured not in terms of the bottom line and the profit made at the end of the day, but by the artist’s happiness. That confuses the shit out of everybody in the other music industry.

Palmer started crowdfunding after a messy split with Warner’s Roadrunner Records. Her first off-label project–an experimental album of Radiohead covers–raked in $100,000 in preorders four years before crowdfunding platforms existed. Palmer went on to raise a then-record $1.2 million via Kickstarter. Just a few years later, she’s raising $30,000 per creation on Patreon, a crowdfunding platform designed specifically for creators.

Palmer credits her strong relationship with her fans for her success along with the immense amount of hard work that goes into crowdfunding and running a business. Adaptability is also vital in order to survive and thrive within the music business. Palmer states,

“Survey the buffet of options available to you as an independent artist and put together an a la carte meal that actually works for you and your lifestyle.”