Thursday, May 3, 2012

so won't you kindly do a girl a great big favor?

Two new Kickstarter projects I want to mention today--one a really interesting project I'd like to see funded, and one an incredible success story about the power of the internet, and the power of song--and talent.

First up: Shane Lavalette's Picturing the South project--started two years ago as a private museum commission for an exhibit, he now wants to compile all the photographs for the project into a glossy coffee-table book. He's always envisioned it as a book, over simply a series of photographs, and I think he's got a great eye for capturing both the beauty and the nature of the South.

He's over halfway to being funded, and he's still got fifty days to go.

(from the media album)

Next up: Amanda Palmer.

(from the media album)

It's taken her four years of writing songs, playing them, refining them, and finding the artists she wanted to partner with to help her vision become a reality. Along the way she recorded an EP of Aussie-themed music, got married to Neil Gaiman, starred in another revival of Cabaret in Cambridge, Massachusetts......it's been a tumultuous time.

(from the media album)

She wants to release her next album with all the bells and whistles she can possibly throw in, and she's compiled some really, really phenomenal talent to form the Grand Theft Orchestra, which backs her on this album.

(from the media album)

Even better is reading through the donation levels--she goes clear up to $10,000 level rewards (and she's already got one of of those rewards booked).

(from the media album)

But that's not the best thing. The best thing? She got her project funded the day she announced it. Not even kidding.

(from the media album)

She is--at the point of this writing, right now--at $464,649--and before I refreshed the page to get an accurate total, she was at $464,468. This thing is still going up. It's likely going to keep going up until it actually caps, twenty-eight days from now.

(from the media album)

"The music business is baffled by the idea that people would willingly give money to something that they could get for free, just to support an artist," she told an interviewer from HypeBot. There's been a huge amount of press on this, considering what happened day one, and it's not surprising.

Seth Godin penned a brief entry. The ology blog states "the story here is about making art and really caring about the people who purchase, interact and live with it". And they're right. She's gotten coverage from the Huffington Post to Norway, and there are likely more articles coming.

I think everyone involved is astounded, but I think overall it proves new patronage works--get the people behind you, do what you love, make it good, and people will support you. Flat out. Whatever you do. If you find and connect to people, if you show them you really care, and really love what you're doing--if you're not searching to be another cog in the mindless, faceless machine--people will support you however they can.

(from the media album)

And the most astounding thing is that she's not faking. Amanda Palmer really means it. (Go watch the entire clip on the Kickstarter link, it's beyond charming.) She throws herself, heart and soul, into art like it's the air she needs to live. She meets her fans with wild loving abandon. She's the only artist I know of who organized a major tour around the Occupy camp sites in the US, so she could stop at every one she could and give concerts for free after her "paid" gigs.

John Scalzi said in his entry about the whole thing, that "you can’t buy a living network of people who are invested in you as a person and/or a creator. You have to earn that through work, and by being a person worth friendship."

Amanda's earned that in spades, and she's nowhere near done yet. More power to her, and more power to patronage. Record labels forget to their peril that they don't own the art. Amanda Palmer's never forgotten.

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