The new content economics: Paying directly for the media you love

Amanda Palmer
Amanda Palmer's 2012 Kickstarter campaign raised over $1 million in support of one of her albums. Her goal was to raise $100,000. Nearly 25,000 fans contributed.
Screenshot from Amanda Palmer's Kickstarter campaign

Amanda Palmer wants everyone to hear her music, and she trusts her audience to support her.

The music on her website is available through a "pay what you can" system. She writes on her website, "i firmly believe in music being as free as possible. unlocked. shared and spread.

"i believe that in order for artists to survive and create, their audiences need to step up and directly support them. honor system. no judgment. if you're broke - take it. if you love it, come back and kick in later when you have the money.

"if you're rich, think about who you might be karmically covering if you really love this record."

Journalist Mathew Ingram believes that Palmer and other artists like Louis C.K., who released a recent comedy special directly to his fans for $5, represent the future of content.

"What has happened is that the web and social media — along with crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo — have added more horsepower to the concept that Wired magazine founding editor Kevin Kelly described as '1,000 True Fans,'" Ingram wrote in GigaOM. "In that model, trying to become the next global superstar through traditional media is replaced by connecting with a loyal fan base and then engaging with them, whether it's to fund a tour or an album or a book."

In this TED video, Palmer talks about the art of asking. She says, "I think people have been obsessed with the wrong question, which is, 'How do we make people pay for music?' What if we started asking, 'How do we let people pay for music?'"

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