Sunday, March 3, 2013

Amanda Palmer - The Art Of Asking (TED)

Another must watch video.  13 minutes that will enhance your life.

If you've followed closely here for any amount of time, you know that I often struggle trying to figure out how to make sure the artist - not so much a label - benefits from their work.  I am not one of those who believes that just because music is freely available online it is somehow a right.  But it's here and it isn't going away.

I am very much against the legislative onslaught by corporate middlemen whose incomes are slipping away and seek to punish, making it seem as if this is the most important issue of our day.  I've said it before and it bears repeating: the day of the behemoth label and the mega superstar is dying.  No matter how much a Bieber or a Rihanna is forced down our throats, we have the ability online to find that music that moves us and, on the flip side, artists are able to reach out and find an audience of fans who dig what they have to say unfettered by commercial interests.  

Recently I contributed to a crowd funding project for The Conet Project and it was successful.  Pretty cool idea.  231 people contribute $80, get their name in a booklet and a project that might not otherwise see the light of day will come to exist.  Still haven't received the finished product yet but I do look forward to it.  Though it wasn't cheap, it will have that much more meaning when it arrives.  

I've been able to communicate directly with a handful of artists whose music moves me and there is a sense of pride that comes in purchasing, sometimes directly, from them.  The personal touch is a huge factor and I gladly support them financially.  Though I may never meet them in person, there is a connection there and a mutual passion for the music.

Though I don't know who Amanda Palmer is (though the cross between Cabaret and Punk sounds quite interesting) she gives an amazing presentation about asking fans for support.  She has tapped into something, that fans really do care about what an artist has to say and will, given the choice, support that artist willingly.  

The bridge between artist and fan is shrinking.  There is a tremendous paradigm shift happening and it will be amazing to see where it goes.  I've seen it called "The Intention Economy" and it basically states that the power is in the hand of the customer and the voice is where the money goes.  By purchasing a favorite artists' albums, especially ones not on a major label, I have let my "voice" be known.

Is her journey an anomaly or is she a harbinger of things to come?

Would be curious to hear others' thoughts on her talk.  Comments always appreciated.


  1. Amanda Palmer fronted The Dresden Dolls, and an amalgam of cabaret and punk pretty much hits the nail on the head. The Weimar Republic (the historical era, not a band of the same name) applying a punk -often of a more Situationist aesthetic than 'wanting to beat the brat with a bag of glue' variety- and she's an exceptionally interesting artist.

    A 2010 EP 'Amanda Palmer performs the popular hits of Radiohead on her magical ukelele'? Such things were BORN to appear on HTCIS, Aorto.

    I repeat, she is important because she possesses a capacity to demonstrate today's artist's most appreciated talent, to be interesting, not to be boring.

    I'm about to watch the video now, but I would expect that it's a well conceived piece, and can almost be treated as part of her art, a performance piece, which should, in reality, possess a catalogue number, because in time it will be seen as a key moment in her portrayal of where is is, early in 2013, as an artist.

    Once I've watched a couple of times, I'll come back and comment some more.


  2. A magical ukelele? You know I'm just going to have it give that a listen.

    Thanks for the background info as well. The Situationist aesthetic is a context that makes perfect sense.

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts after watching it.

  3. I think she's correct in that asking (for money, for recordings) can work. Crowdsourcing a project, expecting $100,000 and getting $1m shows it to be true, although in perspective she has a history in the record industry that gives her a profile the rest of us wouldn't have. Our expectations, as bedroom studio musicians, might have a lower expectation but we could all begin somewhere. $1000 to fund physical product (there remains a market for CDs and vinyl) and getting $1200, for example.

    What could we spend the extra $200 on? Better artwork produced by proper artists? Where could we source that? Well...crowdsourcing. Rather than ask for money, ask for art, select a favourite, utilise it on your website, physical CDs, whatever and pay the (graphic) artist for THEIR work.

    This may take a decade or more, but I have a sense of people beginning to open up to new possibilities, of feeling their way to a new music industry. The problem is that many of us are still stuck in a mindset dictated by the major labels, and the established order of things. Wrong. It's a blank page, and Amanda offers one solution that works for her. It might not work for all, but it's a version of the future.

    Eventually these things will coalesce into a new, established way of doing things. Amanda's talk merely gives us a vision of how things might be, utilising social media, the net, digital files and so on until we arrive, ten years or so hence, at 'the future'.


  4. add...I suspect many of us tuned into HTCIS are active musicians as well as music fans. I know I use HTCIS as the radio station that no longer exists, adventures, meandering roads and sometimes cul-de-sacs I want to reverse straight out of as a means of discovery.

    It's the journey, after all, with several potential destinations.

    I would be enormously pleased if others would take the time to comment. Let's not just 'take' from Aorto all the time. Let's give back. Our thoughts, our ideas, our visions of where this big adventure is headed.


  5. I remain encouraged...feels like we may be on the cusp of something breaking through...

    Great words, as always.