Musician Raises Over $1mm on Kickstarter, Teaches ‘The Art of Asking’ in Viral TED Talks Video

When former Dresden Dolls member Amanda Palmer went to Kickstarter last year to ask for donations to fund her latest solo album, her goal was to raise a little more than $100 thousand. Little did she know that thousands of fans would heed her request by giving her more than $1 million in donations, an amount that’s raised music industry eyebrows.

In her viral TED Talks speech posted on YouTube called “The Art of Asking,” Palmer talked about the changing relationship between performance artists and their fans. Unlike most conventional performance artists, Palmer has tapped her fans as a valuable resource for just about everything since her days as a street performer. If she needed a place to stay after a concert, she relied on her social media network. If she needed some props for an upcoming show, she’d hit up Facebook or Twitter for help. These small favors helped her and her former band the Dresden Dolls connect with their dedicated fanbase.

Because of her strong connections with her fanbase, she considered her Kickstarter effort a matter of trust rather than one that was a big risk. Contributions from thousands of people have helped her goals come true.

Palmer adds that the old ways of getting money for performances need to be changed: “I think people have been obsessed with the wrong question, which is how do we make people pay for music. What if we started asking, ‘How do we let people pay for music?’”