Quite a few people have picked up on Amanda Palmer's story.
Amanda Palmer Made $19K in 10 Hours on Twitter
Some people are excited because she appears to validate that idea artists don't need major labels anymore.
Others are excited because her experience appears to validate social media, and Twitter in particular.
And still others see it as a model for the music business of the future. I've got some thoughts about that. But since this is a short week and people are still processing Michael Jackson's death, I'll save those comments for a future blog entry.
For now I'd just like to toss out my take on the Amanda Palmer experiment.
Palmer sold T-shirts. Lots of artists sell T-shirts, so that part of her money-raising effort wasn't unique. People buy T-shirts to (1) show support for the artist, (2) because they like the design, (3) to show they attended a show, or some combination of those reasons.
What made Palmer's spur-of-the moment T-shirt sale work, I think, was that it was an insider's club formed by people staying home on Friday night cruising Twitter. And what gave the club status was that a music celebrity created it and invited people to join.
Think about it. How many times do people who are home on a Friday night get to say they were cooler than the folks who went out? Now, rather than missing all the action, they were part of a party. And they have their very own T-shirt to prove it. And even more important, the T-shirt comes with a story: the night they hung out with Palmer online. This was not a T-shirt sold by some roadie at a show. This was a T-shirt they helped to create, or at least inspire.
Similarly, the online auction was also an insider's club. Fans got to make suggestions about what Palmer could sell (like chewed postcards). I'd venture to say that people were buying the stuff primarily to interact with Palmer. If someone else was selling Palmer's stuff, I doubt there would have been nearly as much interest.
And then finally the studio party. The first 200 to respond on Twitter got in. Since Palmer is often announcing short notice gatherings, fans who want to participate in them need to keep tuned into Palmer's messages. Again, an insider's club for those who want to play.
The Amanda Palmer experience is kind of like a reality TV show that the fans get to join.
@slainson on Twitter