In 2012, musician, writer, and artist Amanda Palmer raised a massive $1.2 million (approximately £785,000) on Kickstarter for an album, tour, and book. Now she’s in the middle of another huge crowdfunding success thanks to U.S site Patreon.
As the name suggests, rather than being for one-off fundraising efforts, Patreon allows fans to support the musicians, writers, and artists they love on an ongoing basis. Like the old-fashioned idea of patronage, except no one has to work in a garret. (Unless they want to.)
What this means for Amanda Palmer is that every time she releases a new song, video, or piece of writing, she’ll earn more than £9200 from 1604 backers. (At the time of writing – those numbers are continuing to grow.) That’s minus Patreon’s 5% fee but including thirty super fans who’ll each pay $100 per release, and two who’ll shell out an incredible $1000. ‘I’ll call, we’ll talk, we’ll have dinner,’ Palmer promises them on her page. Her plans for future content include a podcast, German and French recordings of her songs, and making videos featuring the Tardis, BBC-permitting.
Palmer was heavily criticised at the time of her Kickstarter when it turned out she wasn’t planning to pay local musicians to play on her tour, except in hugs, which most banks don’t accept. She later backed down and paid up, but still defended her decision to ask for free labour.
It’s inspiring that Amanda Palmer’s been so successful – she’s proof that crowdfunding can make a huge difference to indie artists, especially if they have a passionate fan base and a large social media following. I only wish more unsigned musicians who don’t expect their minions to work for free and don’t think dressing up as conjoined twins is fun would inspire the same dedication.
Image by Manfred Werner via Wikimedia Commons.