Amanda Palmer, a solo artist and member of the Dresden Dolls with releases on Roadrunner Records, has achieved Internet notoriety for using Twitter to gross $19,000 in 19 hours over three separate events. The first was a T-shirt created during a Twitter conversation with fans and other followers. The second was a Twitter-driven webcast auction. The third was a donation-only gig in which fans got on the guest list via Twitter.

Uncensored Interview has a great interview with Palmer in which she describes the first Friday night Twitter conversation and what followed. Her stories offer valuable lessons on initiative, communication, marketing and teamwork.

Spontaneity + Scarcity = Sales. An on-the-fly T-shirt creation combined with a real-time Twitter conversation resulted in a spontaneous product to commemorate the event. To many of the conversation's followers, the off-the-cuff nature of the project made it more special than a mass-produced T-shirt. The vinyl album, still a niche item, is increasingly popular in part because it represents scarcity in a world of ubiquitous digital music. Combine spontaneity and scarcity and the impulse to buy is greatly increased.

Build Relationships. Palmer is active on Twitter - nearly 36,000 messages posted as of Monday, June 29. She has been able to communicate with her fans and connect with them to the point where they are paying hundreds of dollars in an online yard sale. Part of building a relationship with fans is having the will to connect, the personality to connect and the ability to communicate in a way that attracts and endears. Some artists are better at these things than others, but all can work at it. Spontaneity and scarcity won't add up to much if the artist has not built good relationships.

Teamwork Matters. Spontaneity means nothing if a team is not in place and ready to act. Palmer was able to take 400 T-shirt orders because her web guy happened to be home and awake that evening. Her assistant helped during the webcast auction and donation-only gig. Even though Roadrunner, her record label, gets little credit in this story, its marketing efforts are undoubtedly a factor in the strength of Palmer's following. The importance of the team in a seemingly DIY effort was exemplified by the success of indie rock band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. The five members had experience and talents that kept some duties in-house, and were on their second manager before Pitchfork gave their debut album a 9.0 and set off a firestorm. In this case, Palmer's team put plans into action so quickly because it came independently.

Beyond the Music. Believe it or not, $11,000 of Palmer's $19,000 in Twitter revenue had little, if anything, to do directly with her music. She originally posted a message, which had nothing to do with music, to her followers. After a series of re-tweets, many more followers, who may or may not have known she was a musician, were following the conversation. Palmer got 400 pre-orders - 200 that night, 200 the next day - for a T-shirt that had nothing to do with music (it read, "Don't Stand Up For What's Right, Stand Up For What's Wrong" ... a phrase that is all but certainly not part of any merchandising contracts, by the way). Proof that people responded to Amanda for reasons other than her music can be seen in SoundScan sales data for her September 2008 solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer. Since the May 15, 2009, Twitter conversation and T-shirt sale, there has been no discernable effect on album sales. People identify with and are attracted to musicians for reasons beyond the music. Being associated with a cause, trend or movement allows for a deeper understanding of an artist and allows for the fan to join that artist's community. Examples: Moby's vegan diet, Dixie Chicks' political views, Kanye West's eye for fashion and trends, Guster's eco-friendly tours and Nine Inch Nails' use of new technologies. Bottom line: fan-artist relationships are derived from or aided by many things other than the actual music, and artists should capitalize on that relationship in ways other than traditional music sales.