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03 May 2012 @ 09:13 am

No doubt plenty of you have been watching Amanda Palmer’s mind-blowing Kickstarter rocket all over the place the past few days. …ology has a good article about it, which is summarized by focusing on AFP’s understanding that the music, making the music, sharing the music, is about connecting with the listeners/fans, and that it pretty much always has been.

I admit with no particular pride that for about the first day and a half of AFP’s Kickstarter I was consumed with envy. There is a part of me which, offended, says, “Let Kickstarter be for people who REALLY NEED the money!”

Except, y’know, for one thing, I have no idea how much money AFP has. I know she’s married to a rich man, but I’m quite certain she’s not interested in having him bankroll her career. And for another, realistically, I know that musicians do not exactly roll in cash. There are exceptions, as there are with writers, but realistically: yeah. Very few of us are getting rich off our art. For a third, although I’m reasonably certain there’s some small crossover between my readers and AFP’s fans, I mean, really, what the hell is my deal, it’s not like she’s taking money out of my pocket or anything. o.O

Furthermore, it doesn’t really matter. The truth is the reason that AFP’s Kickstarter is running out of control is because she’s got direct access to thousands of passionate fans*^, and she interacts with them on a personal level that means a lot to them, and, vitally–and this is something I understand from doing my own Kickstarter–people want to help make art happen. This is *important* to people, and we’re suddenly in an era where individuals can come together to offer small patronages which add up to something wonderful happening. I came to that realization before I read the above article, but really, it’s utterly true: the important thing is that this is about the art, whatever the art is, and its success should be celebrated.

So my hat is off to Amanda Palmer, and I hope that crazy thing cracks a million bucks before it ends on May 30th. Because even if I’m not a particular AFP fan (I’m not *not* a fan, I’m just not a fan), even I’d kinda love to see what she does if she gets that kind of money to do it with. :)

*and, okay, here, her extremely-well-social-media-connected husband is not exactly a down side: no one I know wouldn’t give an arm, leg or eye to get a boost from Neil Gaiman, because that’s a career-making kind of high-five

^which is also why Order of the Stick did so incredibly well, and why Womanthology blew all expectations away–neither of which, interestingly, got up my nose in terms of “but that’s not FAIR!” I suspect this has something to do with how closely to my own passions the wildly successful Kickstarters lie.

(x-posted from the essential kit)

Kari Sperringla_marquise_de_ on May 3rd, 2012 10:47 am (UTC)
I think there's an element in this of seeing the idea being used by someone who is already very media-savvy. That raises the bar in uncomfortable ways for those of us who aren't as well-connected or so well-assisted.
Michael M Jonesoneminutemonkey on May 3rd, 2012 11:31 am (UTC)
I totally agree with you in this matter. Everytime I see a Kickstarter go absolutely wild in terms of funding and success, I'm torn between pride and happiness for them, and a tiny knot of jealousy saying "How come -my- Kickstarter didn't get that kind of runaway success? How come Neil Gaiman never retweeted -me-?" and so on.

And then I get over it because no two projects are alike, and blah blah blah blah. Because I made my goal anyway and that's all that should matter, and I can't gauge myself by how someone else does, and again with the blah blah, and Kickstarter is -awesome-.
irishkateirishkate on May 3rd, 2012 02:50 pm (UTC)
dancinghorsedancinghorse on May 3rd, 2012 06:23 pm (UTC)
I just hope the little voices (including mine) don't get drowned out by all the Big Loud Noises. If they suck all the air and cash out of the room, what's left for the small projects that really need the money?

If the answer is, "Enough to make your goal and hopefully go over," OK. But if it's what I'm seeing here and there, which is, "So many projects, so little cash, if I'm going to back anything I'll back the Big Noises," then that's a problem.

It's different in publishing because if millions of people are buying Stephen King's book, the profits go back into the company and help make it possible for other, less successful authors to keep getting contracts. With Kickstarter, unless the creator chooses to share, that's no such wider benefit. So, I dunno. Time will tell whether blowouts like AP's draw more backers who then back other projects, or just feed themselves and no one else.

Edited at 2012-05-03 06:23 pm (UTC)
Amberleyamberley on May 4th, 2012 08:04 am (UTC)
Art for a Dollar
Kickstarter recently posted an analysis of "Do big projects take money away from little projects?" and so far it seems to be the exact opposite. Big exciting projects bring in new people who have never kickstarted before, and a lot of those look around and find other projects to back.

And AFP seems as genuinely delighted by backers who contribute a single dollar (which buys you the ENTIRE album as a download!) as the ones who contribute $5000 for a house show. She takes joy in creating art and sharing it, and more, sharing the joy of creating art to inspire others to realize they can make art too, and share it.

"[N]ow we can do things for strangers who do things for us, and at a low enough cost to make that kind of behavior attractive, and these effects can last well beyond our original contribution. Our social tools are turning love into a renewable building material." -- Clay Shirky, Here Comes Everybody

Edited at 2012-05-04 08:05 am (UTC)
Amberleyamberley on May 4th, 2012 07:41 am (UTC)
Oh sure, she raised nearly half a million dollars in 3 days, but is she part of the top 2 fiction kickstarters? No? Gee, I wonder who is?
kitmizkit on May 4th, 2012 07:44 am (UTC)
Re: Relative
*laughs* *hugs* :)

Gosh. Having just read kylecassidy's rant, I do hope I made it clear I got over myself, because I did... O.O :)
Rachie: lost in thoughtrachie203 on May 4th, 2012 11:48 am (UTC)
As one of those people who does fit into the cross-fan category, I find it interesting. I bought in to Amanda's Campaign for $1 (for rather a lot of reasons, but ultimately because that's what I could afford right now and got me access to the music). I've also bought into a number of kickstarter campaigns for authors (some recently), and I ALWAYS buy in to those for significantly more.

I do think it's normal to be a shade of jealous, and I also think you made it clear you got over it. Musicians do appeal to people on a different level, and AFP has a unique relationship with her fans even in terms of musicians. Of course, havong NFG as a husband doesn't hurt, and those who love him will likely be tickled by his love of her. There are many reasons why she has done so well so fast, but that doesn't in any way take away from other kickstarter successes or reflect on other artist/fan relationships.

Cymru Llewescymrullewes on May 7th, 2012 03:25 pm (UTC)
I admit that I'm not all that impressed with AFP's music but her Kickstarter reminded me to go look and see if there were any Kickstarters that I did want to be part of.