Amanda Palmer talks crowd-funding, new album 'Theatre Is Evil'
The days of rock stars being treated like gods as in the movie "Almost Famous" are long over. Today, it's common for musicians to interact with their fans before concerts and through Twitter and Facebook. Few have done this as well as Amanda Palmer.
Palmer talks constantly with her 600,000 Twitter followers and used the crowd-funding website Kickstarter.com to raise more than a million dollars from fans to fund her new album, "Theatre Is Evil." Depending on the size of their donation, fans could get anything from a special edition CD to a private dinner or house party with Palmer.
amNewYork spoke with the musician.
Did bringing fans into the process change the way you write? It did. I grew up a very solitary songwriter. About two years ago, I wrote my absolute favorite track on the record, "The Bed Song" while tweeting with fans. I didn't tell them what I was writing, but I tweeted that I was writing and would appreciate some support. I had a half-million cheerleaders encouraging me.
Why was it important for you to show your fans exactly how the Kickstarter money was spent? I'm a great believer in transparency in general, but I also wanted to remind people that making $1 million on Kickstarter by no means makes me rich. I was pretty much breaking even. I think it's our responsibility as DIY artists to say "this is how things break down" so they understand that it costs a lot of money to make and put out a record.
How do you avoid awkwardness when meeting a fan who considers you a hero? Part of the overarching skill of being a social rock star nowadays is being able to navigate situations with your fans and putting them at ease. It's its own skill. Some people hate it. I love it. It's one of my favorite things to do.
You're known for theatrical live shows. What can people expect on this tour? People can expect to be really surprised. We're going to reach out to the fan base and ask them to send us pictures and materials and bring things to the shows. We're trying to make every show a locally crowd-sourced experience. If we succeed, it will be really thrilling because we'll have connected the performers to the audience in a way that has never been done before.
If you go: Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra are at Webster Hall Tuesday at 9 p.m., 125 E. 11th St., 212-353-1600, $27.