Alt-rock icon Amanda Fucking Palmer believes we shouldn't fight the fact that digital content is freely shareable — and suggests that artists can and should be directly supported by fans.

Why you should listen

Amanda Palmer commands attention. The singer-songwriter-blogger-provocateur, known for pushing boundaries in both her art and her lifestyle, made international headlines this year when she raised nearly $1.2 million via Kickstarter (she’d asked for $100k) from nearly 25,000 fans who pre-ordered her new album, Theatre Is Evil.
 
But the former street performer, then Dresden Dolls frontwoman, now solo artist hit a bump the week her world tour kicked off. She revealed plans to crowdsource additional local backup musicians in each tour stop, offering to pay them in hugs, merchandise and beer per her custom. Bitter and angry criticism ensued (she eventually promised to pay her local collaborators in cash). And it's interesting to consider why. As Laurie Coots suggests: "The idea was heckled because we didn't understand the value exchange -- the whole idea of asking the crowd for what you need when you need it and not asking for more or less."

Summing up her business model, in which she views her recorded music as the digital equivalent of street performing, she says: “I firmly believe in music being as free as possible. Unlocked. Shared and spread. In order for artists to survive and create, their audiences need to step up and directly support them.”

Amanda is currently working on a nonfiction book, due out in November with Hachette, that will dig deeply into the topics she addressed in her TED Talk, and she is touching base with her one million Twitter followers on a daily basis to figure out how to write it.

What others say

“Palmer is set to join Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails as the artists people mention when they talk about the new music business.” — Billboard

Amanda Palmer’s TED talks

Amanda Palmer on the TED Blog
See all
Live from TED2014

In the Skype Studio: Creative crowd-funding

March 21, 2014

At TED2013, Amanda Palmer gave a talk called “The art of asking” about her experience funding an album on Kickstarter; it quickly went viral on TED.com. A year later, Palmer was back for a panel at TED2014 covering crowd-funding creative projects. She was joined live by her husband, writer Neil Gaiman, and Kickstarter cofounder Yancey Strickler, and through Skype by game […]

Continue reading
Live from TED2014

Power poses, idea technologies and the Internet’s birthday: A recap of “Where are we now?” All-Stars Session 3 at TED2014

March 19, 2014

By Liz Jacobs and Ben Lillie Taking stock of our moment in history helps us better understand ourselves, our societies and the present moment itself  — which often gets lost in the temptation to look backwards or forwards. And at TED2014: The Next Chapter we’re doing plenty of both. But we’re also designating this All-Stars […]

Continue reading

Quotes from Amanda Palmer

I maintain couchsurfing and crowdsurfing are basically the same thing — you're falling into the audience and you're trusting each other.
Amanda Palmer
TED2013 • 5.9M views Mar 2013
Inspiring, Courageous
For most of human history, musicians, artists, they've been part of the community — connectors and openers, not untouchable stars.
Amanda Palmer
TED2013 • 5.9M views Mar 2013
Inspiring, Courageous
A lot of people are confused by the idea of no hard sticker price [on my music]. They see it as an unpredictable risk, but … I see it as trust.
Amanda Palmer
TED2013 • 5.9M views Mar 2013
Inspiring, Courageous