Studies show that the numbers in CD sales are dropping year after year – in 2017, only 169.1 million physical CDs were sold against over 500 million pieces 10 years before, as a study made in USA showed. At this same pace, online radios and streaming platforms are increasingly growing and gaining space – even Metallica now is part of the music streaming culture, after the legal action they took against Napster in 2000.
Nowadays, musical artists need to reinvent themselves in order to survive in the music industry. They gain money through concert tickets, merchandising and online royalties from apps such as Apple Music and iTunes. And in the middle of all this, there is Amanda Palmer.
Amanda Palmer is a singer, songwriter and author of a best selling book in the New York Times charts. Her music goes through anguish punk, cabaret performances, ukelele versions of Radiohead and heart-breaking pieces in the piano. With her band, The Dresden Dolls, she had a very public discussion with her major, Roadrunners Records, about what was wrong with the music industry. Amanda does not conform to any norms she does not agree with.
In 2012, Palmer started a discussion between artists, producers and fans about the way the industry was actually ripping the artists off. She started a Kickstarter campaign to help the funding of her new album at the time “Theatre is Evil” with The Grand Theft Orchestra, her first one without a major. The campaign was set to a $100,000 goal but it got over $1,000.000 from 24,883 people, breaking the record as the biggest music crowdfunding campaign to date.
With that campaign, she was able to finish her solo album and tour to different countries. She also used the Couchsurfing philosophy to find places to stay over on her world tour – this way, she did not have to spend in accommodation and was able to fully connect with her fans. Now, Amanda Palmer uses Patreon – a website that allows her audience to sponsor her art. They donate money through the website and she gives back with exclusive art pieces (it could be a poem, a song or even a whole music video).
Amanda Palmer is innovating the music industry – she is making music for people with people’s help.