Wow. No sooner do we report on an artist doing the DIY thing (see yesterday's piece on Erin McKeown), then we stumble across a tale that will probably go in the digital DIY storybook (not sure who publishes that).
Amanda Palmer (of Dresden Dolls and solo fame) is no stranger to the world of self-promotion and marketing. She’s also a big fan of Twitter — especially while touring — because of the direct line of communication it opens between she and her fans. Palmer has tweeted information on impromptu performances, secret gigs and press interviews that have resulted in thousands of people spontaneously turning up. Recently, Palmer took her Twitter addiction to new level and ended up netting $19,000 in a mere ten hours.
After putting out a tweet to the followers of a little subgroup she calls the Losers of Friday Night On Their Computers (Twitter hashtag #lofnotc), she soon had thousands of guests. At some point in the evening, she decided to Sharpie a t-shirt with the suggested slogan, “DON’T STAND UP FOR WHAT’S RIGHT, STAY IN FOR WHAT’S WRONG.” (Probably not presidential campaign material, but still kind of catchy.)
By the end of her anti-party (which also included comic writer/novelist/screenwriter Neil Gaiman and former teen star/geek icon Wil Wheaton), Palmer had grossed $11,000 in t-shirt sales via a hastily assembled website and PayPal. Over the next few days, Palmer pulled in an additional $8,000 from such Twitter stunts as a real-time auction and reservations to a private gig in a Boston recording studio. Total revenue for ten hours worth of tweets: $19,000.
Social technology is now a permanent part of the modern musician's arsenal. And, in some cases (like Palmer’s), it can turn into to "cash money" without the artist leaving her apartment.
You also may have heard about Palmer’s highly-public feud with her label, Roadrunner (which is distributed through Warner Music Group). It certainly could be argued that whatever investment the company made in Dresden Dolls and Palmer’s solo work had something to do with how she got those fans. Of course, compelling music and a strong live show surely played a big part.
Obviously, not every musician with a Twitter account is going to have this level of success. Still, it’s another example that a little gumption and creativity can pay dividends in the digital age.
To read more about Amanda's Twitter haul, check out her own play-by-play (via HypeBot.)