The art of asking | Amanda Palmer | Summary and Q&A

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March 1, 2013
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TED
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The art of asking | Amanda Palmer

TL;DR

This content is a TED Talk by musician Amanda Palmer, discussing her experiences with crowdfunding and the power of asking for help.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What was the speaker's previous job before becoming a musician?

The speaker's previous job was being a self-employed living statue called the Eight-Foot Bride.

Q: How did the speaker connect with people while being a living statue?

The speaker connected with people by making prolonged eye contact with them and creating beautiful moments of interaction on city streets.

Q: How did the speaker continue to maintain a direct connection with people after becoming a musician?

After becoming a musician, the speaker continued to maintain a direct connection with people by signing autographs, hugging fans, and engaging with them on social media platforms like Twitter.

Q: How did the speaker fund her music projects?

The speaker funded her music projects through crowdfunding, where she asked her fans for help and support, and they willingly contributed to her projects.

Summary

Amanda Palmer, a musician and artist, shares her experiences as a living statue and musician to highlight the power of connection and the importance of asking for help. Through her stories of street performance, couchsurfing, and crowdfunding, she emphasizes the value of building relationships and creating a sense of community with fans and supporters.

Questions & Answers

Q: What was Amanda Palmer's day job before she became a musician?

Before becoming a musician, Amanda Palmer worked as a self-employed living statue known as the Eight-Foot Bride. She would paint herself white, stand on a box, and give people a flower in exchange for money. This job allowed her to have profound encounters with people and experience moments of connection on the city streets.

Q: How did Amanda Palmer make a living as a living statue?

Amanda Palmer made a predictable income as a living statue, despite not having regular customers. She would typically make around $60 on a Tuesday and $90 on a Friday. This consistent income surprised her, considering the unpredictable nature of her job.

Q: How did Amanda Palmer maintain a direct connection with people after she quit being a living statue?

Even after quitting her job as a living statue, Amanda Palmer wanted to maintain a direct connection with people. After her band performances, she would sign autographs, hug fans, and engage in conversations with people. She also made a point to ask people for help and encourage them to join her in her music and art.

Q: How did Twitter enhance Amanda Palmer's ability to connect with people?

Twitter played a significant role in enhancing Amanda Palmer's ability to connect with people. She could instantly ask for help or resources from her fans and followers. For example, she could ask for a piano to practice on, and within an hour, a fan would offer her one. Twitter enabled her to create a sense of closeness and collaboration with her audience.

Q: Why did Amanda Palmer decide to give away her music for free online?

Amanda Palmer decided to give away her music for free online because she saw the power of asking for help and receiving support. Inspired by her experiences on the street, she wanted to connect with her audience and create a sense of trust and reciprocation. By sharing her music freely, she was able to establish a connection with her fans, which, in turn, led to their support and willingness to help her.

Q: How did Amanda Palmer fund her next music project after leaving her label?

After leaving her label, Amanda Palmer turned to crowdfunding to fund her next music project with her new band, the Grand Theft Orchestra. She asked her fans to support her financially, and the initial goal was to raise $100,000. However, her fans backed her with nearly $1.2 million, making it the biggest music crowdfunding project at that time.

Q: Why did Amanda Palmer choose to ask her fans for help instead of making them pay for her music?

Amanda Palmer believes in the power of connection and building relationships with her fans. She didn't want to focus on making people pay for her music but rather on creating a space where people could choose to support her if they wanted to. By asking for help, she connected with her audience on a deeper level, and people genuinely wanted to support her.

Q: How did Amanda Palmer respond to criticism regarding her asking for help from her fans?

Amanda Palmer received criticism for her continued practice of asking fans to join her onstage in exchange for love, tickets, and beer. Some people viewed this as begging or taking advantage of her fans. However, Amanda saw it as a fair exchange and a deep connection with her audience. She recognized that those who criticized her were unable to see the true nature of the relationship she had with her fans.

Q: How did Amanda Palmer create a sense of trust and reciprocity with her fans?

Amanda Palmer created a sense of trust and reciprocity with her fans by being open and vulnerable. Through blogging, tweeting, and sharing not only her music but also her fears, mistakes, and personal stories, she formed a genuine connection with her audience. By seeing and acknowledging each other, people naturally wanted to help and support her.

Q: What is Amanda Palmer's perspective on the future of music and payment?

Amanda Palmer believes that people have been focusing on the wrong question of how to make people pay for music. Instead, she suggests asking how to let people pay for music. She emphasizes the importance of building connections, creating a sense of community, and allowing people to support artists in ways that feel meaningful and authentic to them.

Takeaways

Amanda Palmer's talk emphasizes the power of connection and the importance of asking for help in the music industry. She highlights that building relationships with fans and creating a sense of community can lead to support and collaboration. Palmer encourages artists to embrace vulnerability and share their work and stories openly, as this can foster genuine connections with their audience. By reimagining how artists can be supported and valued, the future of music can shift towards a more reciprocal and fulfilling experience for both artists and fans.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The speaker, Amanda Palmer, worked as a living statue before becoming a musician and had profound encounters with people during her time as a statue.

  • Palmer believes in the power of connection and building relationships with her fans, and has used platforms like Twitter and crowdfunding to engage with her audience and ask for their support.

  • She challenges the idea of a hard sticker price for music and encourages artists to focus on building trust with their fans and creating a sense of community, rather than trying to make people pay for music.

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