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Amanda Palmer Explains The Art Of Asking For Help

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(Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

(Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)

Annie Reuter
Annie Reuter
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Amanda Palmer raised eyebrows last year after she raised nearly $1.2 million dollars on Kickstarter to fund her new solo album and then asked for volunteers to play in her band sans payment.

Last week, she took the stage for a TED Talk and explained herself to the public for the first time since her story made headlines.

“I think people have been obsessed with the wrong question, which is how do we make people pay for music,” she said. “What if we started asking how do we let people pay for music?”

Palmer decided to go solo after a stint with the Dresden Dolls and took her past experience working the streets as an eight-foot bride statue asking for money to her new project.

“We made an art out of asking people to help us and join us,” she said. “I become the hat after my own gigs but I have to physically stand there and take the help from people.”

She explained that after a man came up to her at a show and gave her $10 in cash, apologizing for burning her record from a friend, she decided she would give away her music for free and online whenever possible.

“I’m going to encourage torrenting, downloading, sharing but I’m going to ask for help because I saw it work on the street,” she said.

Palmer turned to crowd funding and fell into thousands of connections that she made over the years.

“I asked my crowd to catch me,” she said. “The goal was $100,000. My fans backed me at nearly $1.2 million which was the biggest music crowd funding project to date.”

With 25,000 people backing her, Palmer explained that she didn’t make them pay for her music, she simply asked them.

“Through the very act of asking people I connected with them and when you connect with them people want to help you,” she said.

Despite the backlash from continuing her crowd sourcing practices she remains hopeful that this is the future of music, if done right.

“Celebrity is about a lot of people loving you from a distance but the Internet and the content that we’re freely able to share on it are taking us back,” she said. “It’s about a few people loving you up close and about those people being enough.”

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