Amanda Palmer on passing the hat for art

Paul Raven @ 01-10-2009

guitarist buskerI imagine many of you have seen this elsewhere (judging by the dozens of different sources I saw it bounce through yesterday) but if not, here’s the one and only Amanda Palmer explaining why she’s not ashamed to ask her fans for money:

artists need to make money to eat and to continue to make art.

artists used to rely on middlemen to collect their money on their behalf, thereby rendering themselves innocent of cash-handling in the public eye.

artists will now be coming straight to you (yes YOU, you who want their music, their films, their books) for their paychecks.
please welcome them. please help them. please do not make them feel badly about asking you directly for money.
dead serious: this is the way shit is going to work from now on and it will work best if we all embrace it and don’t fight it.

unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve surely noticed that artists ALL over the place are reaching out directly to their fans for money.
how you do it is a different matter.
maybe i should be more tasteful.
maybe i should not stop my concerts and auction off art.
i do not claim to have figured out the perfect system, not by a long shot.

BUT … i’d rather get the system right gradually and learn from the mistakes and break new ground (with the help of an incredibly responsive and positive fanbase) for other artists who i assume are going to cautiously follow in our footsteps. we are creating the protocol, people, right here and now.

i don’t care if we fuck up. i care THAT we’re doing it.

It’s worthwhile reading for anyone who writes with the intent to sell their work, or those who publish at the small scale of webzines or print mags (or iPhone apps, or whatever other way you’ve decided to do it). As has been suggested before, dead-tree publishing is going to take a comparatively long time to catch up with the business models of the music industry, because the pressures of piracy and freely-available content aren’t so strong yet. But they will be… and it’ll happen sooner than you expect, especially if you just sit on your hands waiting for someone to give you the answer.

So be bold, try things. Throw the spaghetti at the wall and see if it sticks. Hal Duncan’s got the right idea – he’s doing a direct-to-audience publishing experiment on his blog right now. So go throw a few bucks in his hat, and know that you’ve bought good art… and helped feed the person who made it. [image by Martin Pettitt]

(Go throw Amanda Palmer a few coins, too; she’s not just a fine musician but a crusader for independent art, and that alone deserves your support.)

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One Response to “Amanda Palmer on passing the hat for art”

  1. GLP says:

    Thanks for the link to Hal Duncan’s site. It has inspired me to conduct a similar experiment and offer one of my short stories in PDF format to readers of my website.