Amanda Palmer Fans Pledge More Than $14,000 Per 'Thing' She Creates

Amanda Palmer
Rebecca McGivney

Brace yourself for plenty of new songs, videos, stories, whatever from Amanda Palmer. The former Dresden Dolls vocalist, who raised $1.2 million in 2012 using Kickstarter, has discovered a way to get paid handsomely each time she hits "publish" no matter what the content is. Using crowd-funding startup Patreon, Palmer has attracted 1,620 patrons and counting to contribute at least $1 per "thing" she creates, a level of investment that will so far earn her over $14,250 for every piece of content. The campaign was launched a day ago and is growing rapidly.

In a lengthy pitch on Patreon, which was co-created in 2013 by Pomplamoose's Jack Conte, Palmer says she wants "to do a LOT of things" -- a new studio album, videos, collections of songs in German and French, a project with her day, a podcast -- and that "they're gonna cost money." Rather than seek an "all-in" round of funding on Kickstarter, she sought ongoing support so that she can focus on spontaneous art-making rather than deadlines. "Kickstarter was like a serious date, this is like… going steady," she writes.

Hundreds of patrons have already pledged in the $1, $3 and $5 levels, the latter gets you a "random surprise" from Palmer via email. The more premium $10 level (490 patrons/counting) will grant fans access to a monthly interactive webcast. Incentives to be in Palmer's sold-out "inner circle" of $100/thing patrons (30 people) include a personal phone call or e-mail plus a handful of handmade postcards. Finally, two people have so far agreed to pay Palmer $1,000 every time she creates something -- a level of investment that gets you one-on-one time with the artist. "I'll call. We'll talk. We'll have dinner. All the things, pretty much. Thank you (holy shit)," she writes.

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Palmer explains her inspiration for trying patron-based funding like so: "I don't find it as inspiring to work for two years on a bunch of songs, knowing that i'm going to have to spend TONS of time raising funds for a record, a few more months (or years, in some cases) going through the record-biz 'album cycle'….. dude, it's boring. I mean, all respect to the artists who do it, and i may choose to do it with one project or another, but mostly, fuck it, i just want to MAKE STUFF AND PUT IT OUT. And get paid, and then keep going."

Palmer's first "thing" for her patrons, a new song, will be released in the coming weeks. While fans will get first dibs on Palmer's new works, she also makes it clear she intends to put "pretty much all my artistic content for free" on YouTube, Bandcamp and other sites.

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Back in 2012 Palmer became the face of crowd-funding when she raised $1.2 million dollars on Kickstarter to help produce her latest solo album, Theatre Is Evil. At the time it was the most ever raised by a musician on the site. In her Patreon pitch, Palmer reveals that "even though it had 25,000 backers and was given nothing but rave reviews in the press, [the album] sold very few copies in stores. That wound up sinking me financially."