Amanda Palmer Tells #SXSW She’s Sold 85K Units, But Worries About Less Social Artists

image from images5.fanpop.comAt SXSW yesterday, Amanda Palmer revealed that she'd sold 85,000 of "Theatre Is Evil" in the six months six it's release. 25,000 sales came via her $1.2 million Kickstarter campaign, others were "pay what you want" sales on Palmer's website and the rest through distributors Girlie Action in the United States and
Cooking Vinyl in Europe.

Palmer also spoke of her concerns for a business model that won't work for artist less adept a social media.  “I would, personally, be kind of disappointed if PJ Harvey started tweeting all the time,” Palmer said. “It’s just not PJ Harvey…I’ve built a personality of stripping off my clothes and running around all the time.”

"I hope we don't lose the PJ Harveys and the Jeff Mangums and the Elliott Smiths and the people you would never expect to get out and wave their own flag and blog and tweet and be super social," she continued. "Their music is amazing and necessary,"  

"Is [Harvey] going to be OK?” Palmer concluded. “Is it going to be a harder future for artists who don’t roll up their sleeves?”

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  1. Glad to see Palmer is sensitive to this issue. I have always been concerned by the fact that her widely-publicized, “future-of-music” success has been deeply dependent upon her unusual (for a talented musician) predilection for theatrical extroversion. Not easily replicable by just anyone, on the one hand; and, as she notes, not even possible for many truly worthy musicians.

  2. What Amanda fails to point out is those artists she mentioned all have been supported at one time or another by the major label system and those fan bases usually don’t completely disappear. She has been in the same position herself which has helped greatly with her crowd funding efforts.

  3. I think social networking is more important for musician on small or no labels at all. Artists that have radio airplay are also getting their tunes easily into other mediums through their labels and don’t need the extra marketing to be successful. At least not at this point.

  4. I hate the implication that musicians that aren’t doing social media like her aren’t “rolling up their sleeves.” What she’s doing works for her because she has a cult-like fanbase that was built off of the Dresden Dolls fanbase (at least initially).
    Not all musicians or music styles lend themselves to that kind of fan building. Just because a musician may choose not to blog about every little thing doesn’t mean they aren’t working hard, aren’t using social media, and/or aren’t connecting with their fans.

  5. I agree w/ Jeremy, and she is asking a question that is disturbing to me, and hopefully others. What is painfully true about many of the greater geniuses of music, or canvas, etc, is their complete inability to relate normally to lots of people. Their isolation is in itself the cocoon that they create best in. They can’t relate to hoi polloi except through their musical catharsis. We are losing them because of this…bullshit internet.

  6. “Is it going to be a harder future for artists who don’t roll up their sleeves?” – Amanda Palmer
    So condescending!
    Amanda Palmer is a charismatic cult figure. And a mediocre-at-best musician.

  7. I agree. Calling out other musicians is condescending. I’m so sick of Amanda Palmer. And, yes, she’s a cult figure, which is how she operates.

  8. Certainly there is more than one way to skin a cat. But what concerns me most about AP’s business model is that according to her own blog, she didn’t turn a profit despite raising so much money. So, it begs the question, how is that a business model? The validity of it is still untested, and as one who was part of a major label success story and has since run his career independently, I have my doubts. For that reason, it’s not something that I would promote in my music business lectures as a viable business model…at least not yet.
    But social media is important for all artists (and businesses) today, whether driven by the artist directly or a team in the background. It is the modern day distribution and marketing tool, and perhaps a funding tool as well.

  9. Whoa. I agree with what you guys are saying. But blaming the internet is neither an accurate nor sane accusation to make.

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