No Record Label, But Amanda Palmer Raises Over $100k In Just Six Hours On Kickstarter

from the what-are-people-complaining-about-again? dept

We’ve certainly written about Amanda Palmer’s many success stories on this site before — including her celebration of the fact that she finally got dropped from a record label two years ago. Since then, she’s done a bunch of fun projects, more or less going musically wherever she suddenly felt like going (all without the meddlesome hand of a record label demanding she do things its way). These experiments have been quite successful, and also quite lucrative. But she decided it was time to do a “traditional” studio album again, and put together a full orchestra to help, while also planning to make the physical package she sells totally and completely worth buying by including all sorts of original artwork with it.

So… of course, she turned to Kickstarter to help put together funds, seeking $100,000 in 32 days. Instead, she got it in SIX HOURS. Damn. As we’ve noted, the success of Kickstarter as a funding platform is making it easier and easier to fund big projects, and this is yet another example of that. If you have a semi-decent following, you might question why you’d ever sell your soul to a large company for an “advance” again.


The details of what she’s offering are, as you might expect, quite interesting as well. All too often, it feels like people seem to think that all you have to do is “put it on Kickstarter.” And, sometimes that can work, but it helps to have cool options. Amanda’s offering has a lot of cool goodies and opportunities (including live events) for backers, allowing them to self-select in to how they’d like to support her. A lot of the offering is vinyl focused, which isn’t that surprising, given the renewed popularity of vinyl these days, but also the ability to do more artistic work in combination with a vinyl release. Of course, not everyone has a record player… but they’ve got that covered. At some of the higher level packages, they’ll include a USB-enabled Crosley turntable which they’ll custom-paint for you, making it awesome.


Also, with this project, Amanda announced a new project called Loanspark, which is kind of like a Kickstarter, but as a loan, where the money gets paid back (assuming it’s made up) and the “interest” isn’t monetary, but creative. This is definitely for larger amounts, but you can see the listing of options, which include things like getting a home concert (or for a charity) or a work of art created by Amanda. Who knows if anyone will take her up on it, but it’s another interesting idea worth watching.

Once again, it seems that lots of artists are figuring out cool and creative ways to make money these days, even as the old industry continues whining. Of course, what’s notable is that these new ways don’t seem to involve those old industry players — or their ridiculous deals where they get the copyright and keep the vast majority of income.

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Comments on “No Record Label, But Amanda Palmer Raises Over $100k In Just Six Hours On Kickstarter”

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124 Comments
ltlw0lfsays:

Re: Re:

This is not news really, because signing a traditional deal with a large advance should have been bypassed years ago.

And yet, many artists still sign 360 deals that put them into voluntary indentured servitude. Those days are numbered though. As more and more musicians figure out the stupidity of dealing with the majors, less targets will be available and the majors will have to do more and more to struggle to hold on to their current fat cow.

All I’ll say is it’s a lot easier to keep the bank happy if people buy your music.

If you can’t keep the bank happy, maybe it is time to look for a different job. People will buy your music if you are good to them, and don’t constantly treat them as thieves, and offer them something to buy from you. Amanda seems to be doing this well. If you aren’t, then it is likely because you’re doing it wrong, not because others are lucky.

Keroberossays:

Re: Re:

Exceptions.don’t.prove.rules.

This is true regardless of your route to getting your music published, being successful with a label has always been the exception–the rule is you are never going to be discovered in the first place (regardless of talent); and even if you are lucky enough to be signed by a label (if you call that luck), you most likely would never recoup and be in debt to the label forever. Those successful with a label are the one percent of the one percent. If Kickstarter can help more artists (or even some) make a living doing their art, then what’s the problem you have with it? Do you work for a label and are afraid for your job or something?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I don’t portray it as anything that is you trying to put words in my mouth. Marcus, are you that stupid and that biased?

My comment is only that exceptional cases don’t define a business model. Kickstarter type financing is just a passing trend, something that seems nice until it screws up somewhere along the line.

Congrats to her for having loyal fans willing to pay ahead. Although, isn’t it stupid and anti- “try before you buy”? Seems to be exactly what piracy isn’t. Hmmm.

Does not compute, does it?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Congrats to her for having loyal fans willing to pay ahead. Although, isn’t it stupid and anti- “try before you buy”? Seems to be exactly what piracy isn’t.

It doesn’t compute for you because you’re one of the few shills that insist that Techdirt is pro-piracy. You can’t stomach the idea that the site supports people who want to pay others out of sheer goodwill.

But you know what, we’ll keep this article in mind so that the next time you insist that Techdirt is pro-piracy, we can prove you wrong with yet another counterexample.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Wait, people like giving money to artists they like but don’t like it if 90% of that money goes to the giant corporate structure around that artist that sues kids on youtube, dead people and old ladies but adds very little to the process except the money they siphoned away from some other artist? Wow that really doesn’t compute.

indeciSEANsays:

Re: Re:

This is the most arbitrary crock-of-shit-response, and I it see come up EVERY time someone finds success (whether that’s within their niche, or by breaking through to a larger audience).
Kickstarter projects (of ALLLL varieties) have about a 40-50% success rate. Should they just shudder their doors and tell people to go elsewhere? The numbers show successfully funded projects aren’t overwhelmingly the rule/the norm, right?

Stupid.

But hey, if you’re so easily discouraged from trying to do something, more room for someone who’s going to fight and work and train like their life depended on it.

Amanda’s assemblage of positive elements are clearly working for her (in this instance and in many others), and they definitely are NOT interchangeable with any other artist?but no one’s saying THAT.
The message of the video – “THIS IS THE FUTURE OF MUSIC” – is not trying to tell people that her project is a blueprint or that if you try and copy her bundle rewards you’ll raise $100k on a Monday morning?the MESSAGE is about fucking connection.
As she said on Twitter this afternoon: “$100,000 raised in 6 hours. no label, no cocksucking mainstream radio shows, no billboards, no marketing bullshit. PEOPLE + INTERNET. DONE.”

Drizztsays:

HBS' Shadowrun Returns kickstart

Another recent big kickstart: Harebrained Schemes’ “Shadowrun Returns” kickstarter campaign made nearly M1.9 USD. Just another example on why even impeding licenses (Microsoft forbid them for example to make a console version for anything than Xbox, which made publishers shy away from this project) can turn into an awesome project with continued fan connection by all companies doing something in the Shadowrun universe.

Sell music, not copies

How many times have people insisted that artists cannot sell music direct to their fans, but must forever be restricted to selling copyright protected copies at monopoly prices?

http://culturalliberty.org/blog/index.php?id=251

Selling music is the future.

Selling copies is the past – we make our own copies for nothing.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Sell music, not copies

They can… but again, even Amanda Palmer is the product of the record label system, otherwise she is likely to just be another starving musician working an office job and playing weekends in a pub in Boston.

Would you have heard about her without her label (and her telling them to fuck off?)

ltlw0lfsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Sell music, not copies

They can… but again, even Amanda Palmer is the product of the record label system, otherwise she is likely to just be another starving musician working an office job and playing weekends in a pub in Boston.

Cargo cult argument. Pure unadulterated BS.

Would you have heard about her without her label (and her telling them to fuck off?)

I hadn’t heard of her when she was with her label. I’ve heard a lot more of her since she left her label, because she has put out the word herself.

We’ve seen where folks have sold stuff to the industry only to have the industry sit on it and not do anything. If it doesn’t fit into the industries definition of a sure thing, they are more likely to sit on it and not promote it. At that point, they are just buying it to prevent anyone else from turning it into a success because if there is one thing they hate more than spending money on promoting someone who isn’t Justin Bieber, its passing up on promoting someone who is Justin Bieber and having someone else make more money on it.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Sell music, not copies

“We’ve seen where folks have sold stuff to the industry only to have the industry sit on it and not do anything. If it doesn’t fit into the industries definition of a sure thing, they are more likely to sit on it and not promote it.”

Labels have also signed bands up, locking their music up, then the label tells them they didn’t want the competition for “___ ____” band. There’s a number of tricks up their sleeve.

indeciSEANsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Sell music, not copies

I hadn’t heard of her when she was with her label. I’ve heard a lot more of her since she left her label, because she has put out the word herself.

Chicken/egg. I heard about The Dresden Dolls before they signed, but I know a LOT of the fanbase came along in the years following.
I won’t detract from the amount of touring they did to raise awareness, but in a pre-everyone-on-the-internet-era / pre-easy-DTF-tools, the label did do some good.

I don’t doubt that Amanda would’ve still garnered attention and success after leaving them, she’s TALENTED and SMART, but they also helped put her into a position so that when she shouted into the ether, it shouted back.

Maybe you didn’t hear about her ’till she was free, but I bet a combination of interest earned via fans who DID, helped spread her message to you.

ltlw0lfsays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re: Sell music, not copies

Chicken/egg. I heard about The Dresden Dolls before they signed, but I know a LOT of the fanbase came along in the years following.

I am sure that is true with every artist. I’ve seem bands in concert that weren’t signed until after I saw them, and they still had quite a following. When they were signed, they got exposure and went bigtime. However I’d bet there are just as many I’ve seen that have disappeared into obscurity.

Maybe you didn’t hear about her ’till she was free, but I bet a combination of interest earned via fans who DID, helped spread her message to you.

If it was anything that got her message out it was her connecting with her fans, and her fans spreading the message. Those fans may have come from whatever promotion she received from the label, but had she squandered it, she would have lost those fans. Labels don’t make fans, and they certainly don’t keep fans. Labels may create buzz, which gets people interested, but it is the artist that keeps them. When Metallica started suing their fans, they likely lost more fans (they certainly lost me.) Many of us believe that it doesn’t take label buzz to make fans any more — and I need only point to other recent artists who have become quite successful without the labels by connecting with their own fans and giving them a reason to buy.

Chosen Rejectsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Sell music, not copies

It would be pure speculation for me to guess as to whether I’d have ever heard of Amanda Palmer if it wasn’t for the label system. However, I can say without doubt that I have heard of both Dan Bull and Jonathan Coulton and no labels were involved. I can also say that being signed to a label doesn’t mean I’ve heard of you.

akpsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Sell music, not copies

I hadn’t heard of her before she went “solo” from her label. I haven’t even listened to any of her music, from before or after. But I follow her career anyway (and partly see what she’s up to through her husband’s tweets), and I backed her Kickstarter.

Seems like she could have been doing her own thing all along if she’d never signed with the label in the first place.

TtfnJohnsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Sell music, not copies

“They can… but again, even Amanda Palmer is the product of the record label system, otherwise she is likely to just be another starving musician working an office job and playing weekends in a pub in Boston.”

It’s possible, though working an office job would indicate that she wouldn’t have been starving.

There are a lot of musicians signed to labels I’ve never heard of and likely never will because the label is just sitting on them “until the right time” and the musicians seem to think that because they’ve signed on the dotted line they no longer have to gig, play weekends in pubs in some small town somewhere before returning to the “day job”. I’ve known some.

Would I have heard of her? As it happens I had. She’s clearly very talented and capable though I’m not fond of the style she plays I know people who are and helped to finance this in their small way.

Music is like any other art form in that you have to work at it, hone your skills and become good at it. Part of those skills is to be able to connect with your audience/fans something which she does well. The home made ad for Kickstarter shows that.

As to her telling her label to stick it where the sun don’t shine. Lots of artists would love to do that. Most, for their own reasons don’t.

She’s selling her music without going into debt before hand to her former label. So she can focus on her music.

Copies, for them that wants them, will sell themselves when the time comes.

And you have a problem with that?

ABsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Sell music, not copies

“Would you have heard about her without her label (and her telling them to fuck off?)”

I never heard of her before. I made a pledge based purely on the sample in her presentation. I pledged because I like her music. Too bad if the big labels were too greedy to match our Kickstarter offer. Our gain, their loss.

gorehoundsays:

Re: Re: Sell music, not copies

+1
I am an Artist and have many songs shared for free.I seed my Art on P2P and offer direct downloads.I have never thought I wanted to sign with a Big Label.I am an original 1976 Punk Rocker who hates and has hated the large Corporate Labels.
Artists who sign with those bloodsuckers are traitors to me and to most of my friends who do not own one piece of Big Label Stuff in their record collections.
All of us listen to INDIE and buy INDIE.
I so look forward to seeing those Big Labels go extinct.I am 56 and hope to live long enough to see it happen.No Artist needs to ever dream of signing as you will sign your life away.Go DIY and it will pay off in the end.

Benjosays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It’s pretty hard to raise money without credentials. Doing so requires transparency and communication. Most kickstarter funders realize there is no legal obligation for the person they are funding to come through with a product/service.

And it’s not even illegal. If you think you can make some easy money tricking people into paying you on Kickstarter, I would LOVE to see you try.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

When Kickstarter was about a few hundred bucks, it wasn’t an issue – when it starts getting to millions, the potential for fraud is 100%.

What happens if AP takes in $200,000, produces an album in a couple of days, and uses the rest of the money to buy a house. Is that a valid use?

Benjosays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re:

She could absolutely do it. Lets make it $500,000 just for kicks. Buys a REAL NICE house.

Now lets assume these people paying her are her biggest fans. What do you think happens to her fan base when she doesn’t come through with any of her promises.

The result seems pretty obvious, so I won’t continue to spoon feed it to you.

ltlw0lfsays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

She could absolutely do it. Lets make it $500,000 just for kicks. Buys a REAL NICE house.

Not to mention that doing so would be considered traditional fraud. Are we going to shut down all the newspapers because someone might use it to post a pyramid scheme? Are we going to shut down television because shady companies can sell bait-and-switch PC repair scams, or scareware? Are we going to shut down the mail service because some Lads from Lagos can use it to perpetrate 409 scams?

Kickstart is a tool. Its use to perpetrate fraud is no different than any other tool. Shutting it down is a slippery slope that has been shot down, thankfully, in the past by judges.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re:

Attempted kickstarter fraud, crowdsourced investigation ends it though: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/05/01/kickstopped-the-strange-case-of-mythic-gods-men/#more-106454

Of course if you are crowdsourcing your funds you have to be smarter than the whole the internet to pull off the fraud. Unlike the good old days of just fooling a couple investors and running away with the cash.

Richardsays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re:

What happens if AP takes in $200,000, produces an album in a couple of days, and uses the rest of the money to buy a house. Is that a valid use?

How is that different from investing $10,000 making an album selling 30,000 copies and using the proceeds to buy a house?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

The difference is that the copyright cartel don’t get to creatively account all the revenue into their own coffers and go back to the artist and say “Sorry love, but we’ve only sold 30,000 copies and we need to sell 100 times that before you even recoup, let alone see a penny in royalties – oh, and before we forget, we’ve now spent all your $250k advance – any chance of topping it up so we can do a bit more publicity for you?”

Richardsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Kickstarter will end when the feds come in and start wanting to apply standard rules to track funds, to assure that investors don’t get ripped off, and such.

You are ignorant.

Kickstarter funders are not investors. They have no equity stake. All rights remain with the artist – although commonly the work is released on permissive licenses.

The issue you raise simply does not apply!

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

They already track funds. Kickstarter has quite the vetting process. You have to show detailed plans as to where the money will go and why you need that much money for each part of it and are you taking your rewards into account and do you have people and manufacturers that can do what you want.

Does that mean someone can not defraud the system? Of course not but its no more prone to fraud then any other model. Apple could package a piece of shit in the next iphone5 box. They could still sell billions in pre-orders before anyone got a box. Does that mean we should stop pre-orders? Or should we just let the market and existing laws handle cases of fraud as they arrive?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

It’s all about her telling her label to fuck off. That’s why she gets time here. She’s a poster child for Mike’s ideas of how to destroy (scratch that “build”) the music business by taking the money out of it, stripping away all the support and distribution systems, and hoping like hell that sites like Step 2 pick up the slack and guide everyone to the promise land – and Mike to a bigger house and a nicer car.

Remember, the new middlemen are still middlemen… and gurus, well, Can you say “Tom Vu”?

Benjosays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re:

I would take amazon/kickstarter taking 5% of an artists revenue as opposed to a label taking 90% of it any day.

You shouldn’t deserve a job tomorrow just because you’ve had it for the last 10 years. If you aren’t worth what your company is paying you, they will let you go.

Well, the music industry is letting the labels go. “Distribution channels” exist without needing to pay a premium. If the new model cannibalizes the old, it’s only the labels fault for not getting on board sooner.

DCsays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re:

3 replies and none pointed out the astonishingly clues main points?

1) From what I’ve from actual musicians, the labels don’t really provide that much support for acts they didn’t specifically create out of whole cloth. Also, if people don’t want plastic disks, you don’t need a distribution system.

2) Pretty much no one has a goal of getting everyone (musicians) to the promised land. It was never the case and never will be the case. Very few people can even make a basic living as a musician, Almost nobody if you exclude teaching income, and an infinitesimal number only through recording (you know, the only part of the music business threatened by filthy pirates).

By the way, if this is all about her flipping off her label, I’d have to guess there’s a reason she is unhappy with the label.

And then we have Mike’s ideas now suddenly powerful enough to destroy the music industry (of which the recording industry is only a part … you keep conveniently forgetting that). That’s quite a turnaround from the typical label story told here.

TtfnJohnsays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re:

Destroy the music business as a whole or the labels in particular which, according to you must make up 100% of the music business.

Turning to “distribution systems” have you noticed a distinct lack of shiny round disk retailers lately? A decline that went into freefall when LEGAL stores like iTunes arrived? It’s very hard to blame all of that on “piracy”. The market, as in music buyers, don’t want CDs anymore. Vinyl, yeah, CDs no. To change the name of a song slightly — “I Want My MP3!”.

In other words, the Web is your distribution system. Some musicians, quite a few, actually, would question the support systems of the big labels these days as well.

Pine away all you want for the fact that the recording industry as we know it is disappearing because of “technological change”. And that artists actually have a choice in this day and age that they didn’t have even 15 years ago. Get used to it. That self same industry is the author of its demise as many others have been.

The music business existed and thrived fore centuries before the recording industry became a force 100 years ago. And it will continue to both when the recording industry as we know it is given last rites.

Richardsays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re:

It’s all about her telling her label to fuck off. That’s why she gets time here. She’s a poster child for Mike’s ideas of how to destroy (scratch that “build”) the music business by taking the money out of it, stripping away all the support and distribution systems, and hoping like hell that sites like Step 2 pick up the slack and guide everyone to the promise land – and Mike to a bigger house and a nicer car.

Remember, the new middlemen are still middlemen… and gurus, well, Can you say “Tom Vu”?

I love this story because – as I predicted the moment I saw it – it has forced people like you to new levels of idiocy in your attempts to counter it!

Mike Masnicksays:

Re: Re:

Oh, and no one would ever have heard of her without the label in the first place.

Actually, that ridiculous claim was debunked a few years ago:

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090709/0208545494.shtml

She funded her own first album, and built up a huge following on her own. The label got a few more people out at college shows, but didn’t get them to stick around. Her loyal following didn’t come from the label according to multiple people familiar with her success (including an ex-manager).

So, um, nice try, but no.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

Funny I never heard of her till after her label. Guess she is better at raising money and marketing herself then her label ever was. If she was 20 years younger she would have never had a label because the opportunities she takes advantage of would already exist. As they will for the next generation of musicians partially thanks to people like Palmer.

ltlw0lfsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: What does she need $100,000 for?

Album+1tour is notably more expensive than album+0tour.

Plus, if grandparent had even read the summary (I know, tl;dr for Anonymous Coward,) she planned to hire a full orchestra to back her up, and orchestras cost money. If she tours with that orchestra, it is going to be even more expensive.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What does she need $100,000 for?

Yes but until then she needs money to secure stage gear, the additional musicians, techs, roadies, van/bus ect ect. She needs some upfront capital, usually labels pay for this then take a big chunk of profits. Now the fans pay for it and hopefully Palmer uses the profits to give back, which gets her more fans…rinse repeat.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Okay by me

“Weak-hitting?” Are you suggesting that guys who make it to the majors haven’t worked their asses off for years to break through? Not saying it justifies the pay, but it’s no small feat to make the big show. Safer bet to have a go at music, really.

But really, not a lot of people begrudge Amanda Palmer. I think they begrudge places like Techdirt that still keep propping her up as an example to artists, neglecting the fact that she was built up in the old system, and is one of very few artists who are making decent money at their craft. At this point, the lack of other successful “case studies” is proving the point that the ‘new model’ is unsustainable. She’s become the exception that proves the rule.

G Thompsonsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Okay by me

And?

Publishing Books, which are traditionally still tangible (and will be for a long long time to come) and have centuries of legacy tradition behind them, can not be compared to Music which the publishing side has had a century if not less as it currently stands. They are chalk and cheese in this context.

Though her husband being Neil Gaiman does create a separate thing. Apart they are not to bad, together they are freakin awesome.

ltlw0lfsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Okay by me

I think they begrudge places like Techdirt that still keep propping her up as an example to artists, neglecting the fact that she was built up in the old system, and is one of very few artists who are making decent money at their craft.

What about Jessica Frech? She isn’t extremely famous, but she has quite a following. She isn’t signed. And just because you haven’t heard of her doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have quite a following. There are a number of others who have become quite successful without using the old system.

Music doesn't trigger huge payouts

It’s interesting how much more lucrative design and games have been on Kickstarter than music. There are a lot of music projects and in the aggregate they have been lucrative, but none of them has produced a million payout yet. I suppose they don’t scale like a cool gadget or game does.

Three Years of Kickstarter Projects – Graphic – NYTimes.com

TtfnJohnsays:

Re: Re: Music doesn't trigger huge payouts

I could be reading it wrong but the graphics in the articles are pointing at money raised not to an ROI.

That said I’d agree that most music and arts projects don’t scale as well as some other offerings. The music fundraisers do seem to make their targets though which are well under a million bucks.

That it does provide musicians with an alternative to their own pockets or the recording industry is an overall positive in my view.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Music doesn't trigger huge payouts

I could be reading it wrong but the graphics in the articles are pointing at money raised not to an ROI.

I wasn’t talking about ROI. I was noting that music doesn’t seem to generate significantly large donation totals. Music as a category brings in lots of money, but individual projects aren’t reaching the heights that we are seeing in design and gaming. There’s been no million dollar music project. The biggest so far has been $207,980. Perhaps Palmer’s latest project will top that, but I can’t see her reaching the same level as the top projects in other categories.

In theory there’s no reason why music couldn’t have a million dollar project, but so far nothing has been close. I’m guessing that fans already know they can get the recorded music for free anyway, and in most cases there’s no reward compelling enough to get lots of people to pay in advance for it.

Benjosays:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re: Music doesn't trigger huge payouts

This HAS to scare the hell out of record labels. Even if not everyone can pull it off, it’s at least going to make a A LOT more artists consider doing things a different way (sans label). Plus they will get to control artistic direction, which is always nice.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Music doesn't trigger huge payouts

I’m guessing that fans already know they can get the recorded music for free anyway, and in most cases there’s no reward compelling enough to get lots of people to pay in advance for it.

Or, maybe they know that music can be done with fewer people, and significantly less investment, than even an indie video game. Think about it: an indie game needs music, and the costs to produce that music will be about equal to your average band’s recording costs.

Just a theory. Also, do you have any evidence whatsoever that people consider music to be “more free” than video games? I can’t see it, especially since most video games are moving to a “free to play” model (and making money doing that).

Re: Re: Re: Re: Music doesn't trigger huge payouts

it costs considerably less to record a song that has already been written

Please tell me where you thought Amanda was recording “a song that has already been written.”

Well, unless you mean written by her… in which case, that means you’re saying record labels are saving money, too. After all, most of the songs artists record for record labels are songs “that have already been written” – by themselves.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Music doesn't trigger huge payouts

Perhaps it’s because it costs considerably less to record a song that has already been written than it does to code out a game, or design and produce a new gadget?

But for the Pebble watch, the project organizers asked for $100,000 and raised $7 million. I don’t think the people paying them were thinking that the organizers “needed” $7 million but that a band does not.

The Infamous Joesays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Music doesn't trigger huge payouts

Maybe it’s the innate understanding that a Pebble watch (can’t wait for mine!) is a tangible, scarce good that requires money to make, but a song only has to be recorded once. As for video games, I think it might have something to do with how the media is consumed. Music is often used in the background of other events; a video game is something that usually requires direct attention. Perhaps that subconsciously causes people to increase their price point for one and not the other.

Just speculating, of course.

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re: Music doesn't trigger huge payouts

Maybe it’s the innate understanding that a Pebble watch (can’t wait for mine!) is a tangible, scarce good that requires money to make, but a song only has to be recorded once.

I definitely think buying an object that you want and that might be offered at a discount if you prepay is a big reason why successful design projects do well.

Music projects as a whole don’t seem to offer the same kinds of compelling objects to buy. Palmer’s project has already raised the bar for music projects, but I’m guessing it won’t hit the $1 million mark. I don’t know that, though.

I’ve just been intrigued by what works and doesn’t work on Kickstarter, so whenever I can learn something about the process, I pay attention.

Michaelsays:

Re: Re: Music doesn't trigger huge payouts

“It’s interesting how much more lucrative design and games have been on Kickstarter than music. There are a lot of music projects and in the aggregate they have been lucrative, but none of them has produced a million payout yet. I suppose they don’t scale like a cool gadget or game does.”

That’s because a music album doesn’t require a million+ dollars to produce. Despite the money a major label will pour into album production for their artists (usu. in order to keep them in debt), we’ve gotten to the point where independent artists’ recordings sound every bit as good. Indeed, an album’s quality cannot be determined by its production costs, just as an artist’s worth cannot be determined by the clothes they wear or the car they drive.

Re: Re: Re: Re: Music doesn't trigger huge payouts

That’s because a music album doesn’t require a million+ dollars to produce.

I don’t think that is a factor because for the really lucrative Kickstarter projects, the people raise considerably more than their goals. The Pebble watch organizers wanted to raise $100,000 but got $7 million. I don’t think all those who chipped in money thought the watch makers “needed” $7 million.

If that is what is actually happening, then that would suggest that those who chip in money have assigned a value to a concept and rate music lower than a watch or a game. They see music as easier to make than a watch or a game. And they don’t factor in the cost of touring, putting together a light show, etc. They have decided there aren’t a lot of additional expenses to being a musician. Is that your interpretation?

Torgsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Music doesn't trigger huge payouts

As you say, people who chip in on a thousand dollar project after it’s got millions of dollars in funds probably aren’t thinking that the project needs their money to succeed. My guess is that video games and technology just draw fans in greater clumps than music does. Lots of people want music, even more so than video games if the total money raised is any indication, but there’ll be more people who want that particular video game than that particular album. Music fans are spread out across the medium, while video game fans are far more likely to gravitate towards a Wasteland or Shadowrun.

Karlsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Music doesn't trigger huge payouts

that would suggest that those who chip in money have assigned a value to a concept and rate music lower than a watch or a game.

I don’t think that’s true at all. It’s just that there are a lot more musicians on Kickstarter than there are video game developers or watchmakers.

If you add up all the money given to musicians, vs. the money given to watchmakers and video game developers, I’d wager that more people gave money, total, to musicians. In fact, I’d say it wouldn’t even be close.

Re: Re: Re:2 Re: Re: Re: Re: Music doesn't trigger huge payouts

If you add up all the money given to musicians, vs. the money given to watchmakers and video game developers, I’d wager that more people gave money, total, to musicians. In fact, I’d say it wouldn’t even be close.

If you look at the link I posted, you will see the total given to music projects versus the total given to other projects. And yes, in the aggregate music gets a lot of money. But for individual projects, music hasn’t reached the big leagues compared to other categories. I’ve been pondering why that might be.

But you actually have made a point I’ve been making over and over again about the reality for musicians. There are so many of them that the amount going to each one tends to be small. And I don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing, but it needs to be addressed when people talk about opportunities. For most musicians, music alone won’t generate a living wage.

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Music doesn't trigger huge payouts

Suzanne, I think that’s one of the key things here, the sheer number of musicians now producing quality content.
In the last 20 years the costs of recording have plummeted, software, hardware, instruments, the lot. You can now produce something in your bedroom to a higher standard than many of the labels were kicking out in the 70s and early 80s.
The thing that hasn’t got cheaper is time or expertise. Sometimes your biggest recording cost is actually going to be the time of a decent producer, and you’ll pay that, because that skill can be the differentiator.
This is the new challenge for musicians, there’s so much really good stuff out there, finding the great stuff is that much harder.
But as a musician and customer, I reckon that’s a pretty good challenge to have.

So in summary...

1- It will never scale
2- It will only work for X
3- It’s not really working for X because X is having to do loads of other stuff
4- X would never have made it without the record label in the first place
5- People will never pay for anything if they can get it for free
6- I’ve never heard of X so X is not a proper musician anyway
7- Kickstarter is fine for the small stuff but you’ll never raise any serious money on it

I think that’s the usual list of complaints isn’t it?
Now let’s translate that
1- You need us! No-one’s worked out how to make money on the web!
2- You’re too small and insignificant to try this yourself, come to our welcoming embrace.
3- Because in the old model everyone instantly becomes a millionaire and never has to work again.
4- Because there’s no way to get your CDs into the record shops. You remember them don’t you?
5- All your fans are criminal scum, you’d be better off arresting them in advance really, it will save on the court time later.
6- Because we define what music is culturally relevant, don’t forget that, we bought the rights…
7- Pay no attention to the old man behind the curtain!

Pricing for Kickstarter collaborations

This is a topic I have been curious about since the beginning of Kickstarter.

A number of projects offer rewards that go beyond music. There might be art or some sort of other object.

So I have wondered about the income sharing arrangements for these. Does the musician contract out for the items, creating a work-for-hire arrangement (e.g., he hires someone to make a design for a t-shirt and then owns the design and make sell multiples)?

Or does the musician team up with others and they share in the income in some fashion? And if they share in it, how do they decide what each earns? Do they split it up equally? Do they get different amounts, depending on how much each contributes? And if that, how do they decide? By the amount of time put in? By the commercial going rate? By how much “fame” each brings to the project?

Amanda Palmer has multiple people contributing to her Kickstarter project so I shot her a question to see how she handles it. What’s the arrangement when they just hit their goal and what’s the arrangement when they greatly exceed their goal?

There’s been so little discussion of music/multi-collaboration income sharing that I’m curious how various people divide it up. In some cases, the musicians may be hoping that the artists/photographers/graphic artists are donating their contributions in exchange for exposure, but if they are, I’m guessing that if the project is very successful, the volunteers are going to want some compensation, even if they don’t think about it until after the fact.

Re: Re: Pricing for Kickstarter collaborations

And I think one of the interesting aspects of Kickstarter is the transparency. People can see how much money is coming in for each project. So if the various collaborators on the project didn’t work out an agreement beforehand but now see how much money is coming in, they may adjust their terms accordingly.

Let’s say, for example, you were going to cut a musician a break because he had no money. But then he raised $300,000 on Kickstarter. I’m going to guess that now you know he has money, you won’t feel the necessity to give him your work for free or at a rock bottom price.

Like I said before, I have been pondering all of this for several years as I watched musicians coming up with creative ways to reward contributors on Kickstarter. I’ve wondered how the Kickstarter money was going to be divvied up among people working across media.

Anonymoussays:

My problem with this argument is the same, time and time and time again. Amanda Palmer had a career, funded by labels and she slowly built a fan base. She got signed by roadrunner, given a chunk of change and then she got videos, promoted, and took advantage of her situation. When Radiohead, Trent Reznor and Amanda Palmer do successful crowd funding initiatives it is not showing the future of music because they already have a structural advantage. Those who are given label largesse, get big and act as though they earned it all are clearly missing the point. It’s like Mitt Romney telling us all about how he was a self made man… Missing a crucial part of the story.

On the other hand, real independent musicians cannot generate enough attention to garner that kind of cash. A much better example is Order of the Stick, because that really was organic. But the investment there is totally different.

Re:

It’s just a matter of time. You’ll be many years older by the time there are so many artists using non-label, non-copyright exchange mechanisms that you’ll finally concede that ok, perhaps artists no longer need copyright, no longer need to sell copies at monopoly protected prices.

But, by that time there will be no labels and no copyright and we’ll have forgotten why we ever needed to convince the copyright exploiters and supporters that they and their 18th century privilege are dispensable and disposable.

Palmer's huge fan base

The Kickstarter campaign’s aim was to amass $100K in 31 days and reached its goal and beyond in a mere seven hours after it was posted; Palmer’s huge fan base (over half a million twitter followers for starters) eagerly showered her with the funds with which to achieve her goal and then some. Depending on the size of one’s donation, receivables range from a digital download of the album for a mere $1 to a professional photo shoot with Amanda and band including Thai food and alcoholic beverages and likely an acoustic performance on ukulele with Her Fabulousness for $10K.

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