Amanda Palmer also gets it.
One Friday night earlier this year, Palmer says she was bored, and so she accidentally started a tee-shirt project with her fans on Twitter. Just two hours of work earned her a whopping 11,000 dollars. It’s just one of the many ways Palmer has made a living by tapping into her fans’ goodwill. The key, Palmer says, is trying out lots of different ways of making money.If you go to Palmer's website, you'll see her store offering all kinds of interesting bundles of products with lots of exclusive, non-replicable content: ordering the CD pre-release can get you a "pre-release only" t-shirt; you can pay more for bundles including a custom ukulele. Higher end bundles include dinner with Palmer, 11-week around-the-world trips with Palmer, and even a moon launch for the low low price of $11 billion.
AMANDA PALMER: Everyone has to stop thinking there is an answer. The answer is, there’s an infinite number of answers.
RICK KARR: You've done some fairly unusual things to raise some money from your fans.
AMANDA PALMER: I've done free webcasts in which I've auctioned off props from the videos that I've shot and handwritten song lyrics and weird stuff from my apartment. People have bid hundreds and hundreds of dollars on this stuff. But a lot of it is not even really so much about the stuff itself as it is about their willingness to, to connect with me and support me.
And I've also done a lot of sort of flash mob shows using Twitter and my blog to get a bunch of people in a public space, and literally put a hat out and said, I gave you this show for free, I'm really glad you came. If you can afford to give me some money, do it. If you’re too poor, don't.
Artists ought to be building their business models on an assumption of copyright not really being there. It's the non-digital, hard to reproduce complements to the music that'll be earning the money going forward: experiences with the artist, artifacts associated with the artist. The music builds the market for the artifacts and the experiences. And, of course, CWF makes folks at least feel a bit guilty about ripping off music.
Susan and I are of course greatly looking forward to tonight's Amanda Palmer show at Al's Bar in Christchurch! We hope that Ira's young sister, due to arrive end-April, also enjoys. Hope to see some of you there!
Update: Lots of other folks have covered this in more depth: here here here...