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Mike Masnick On Amanda Palmer’s TED Talk: Don’t Make People Pay For Music, Let Them

Ted-logoBy Mike Masnick of Techdirt.

There's been so much talk about Amanda Palmer's TED talk this week, that the folks at TED rushed to get the video edited and up on the site within days, rather than the customary months. It is, not surprisingly, quite inspiring.

The crux of the message: people are focused on the wrong question. It's not about "how do we make people pay for music" but "how do we let people pay for music," by making it such that people want to support the artists they love. And the way to do that is by building a real connection with a core group of fans. It's not unlike core concepts we've discussed around here for a long time:

Connect with Fans & give them a Reason to Buy combined with the concept of cultivating your "true" fans.

And, as Amanda notes, one thing that she's learned throughout her life, from when she was a "human statue" working for tips to her massive success today, is that the whole thing begins and ends through the uniquely human connection — and that this connection is not in one direction, but in many directions. It's the artist giving to fans, the fans giving to artists and, beyond that, the fans giving to other fans and artists giving to other artists. Whether it's crowdfunding or crowdsurfing, it's about building up a real relationship, and at the heart of that relationship is trust.

As Amanda notes at one point,

For most of human history musicians and artists have been a part of the community. Connectors and openers. Not untouchable stars. Celebrity is about a lot of people loving you from a distance. But the internet, and the content that we are freely able to share on it, are taking us back. It's about a few people loving you up close. And about those people being enough.

I'd argue, in some ways, it's even more than that. What the internet has enabled is for artists and creators to reach out to wider and different communities than they could in the past — meaning that that ability to connect and to be both supportive and supported can come about in unique and different ways. That historical context that Amanda discusses, used to be mostly bound by geography. Artists would connect with people nearby. But now, many more artists are able to connect and build a fan base that is "enough" by finding and bringing together that special and unique community that is right for them and them alone.

It's a message that is unquestionably true and incredibly powerful for those who recognize it, rather than fight it.

Watch: Amanda Palmer's TED Talk: The Art Of Asking.

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