Amanda Palmer’s Tips for Being an Artist in the Rough-and-Tumble Digital Age

Aman­da Palmer is an artist who total­ly gets the pow­er of the Inter­net. Encour­ag­ing fans to freely share pay-what-you-wish down­loads of her music has endeared her to a cer­tain per­cent­age of the 99%, while anoth­er per­cent­age (there may be some over­lap here, folks) drubs her for lever­ag­ing her fame to crowd­source back­ing musi­cians will­ing to work for hugs, merch, and beer.

Her appetite for dig­i­tal dia­logue with admir­ers and accusers alike calls to mind fel­low shrink­ing vio­let Court­ney Love. Her refusal to let any­one but Aman­da Palmer speak for Aman­da Fuck­ing Palmer has giv­en rise to an army of trolls, who glee­ful­ly find proof of mon­strous ego in her most innocu­ous of moves. It’s the price of allow­ing the pub­lic com­plete access to “Do It With a Rock­star,” if you will.

As not­ed in her keynote speech (above) at the recent Muse and the Mar­ket­place lit­er­ary con­fer­ence, “with the inter­net you do not get to choose.” This applies whether one is gen­er­at­ing con­tent or leav­ing nasty com­ments. Her remarks touch upon her most recent firestorm, a direct trail lead­ing back to “A Poem for Dzhokar,” a hasti­ly com­posed and post­ed attempt to put her­self in the shoes of the sus­pect­ed Boston Marathon bomber as he lay in a boat, await­ing cap­ture.

Clear­ly, some­one with her expe­ri­ence does not slap such a hot pota­to online inno­cent of the con­se­quences. She got plen­ty of lumps, and whether or not the major­i­ty of them were deserved is a mat­ter of per­son­al opin­ion. More than 2300 peo­ple quick­ly logged on to voice these afore­men­tioned opin­ions, some sup­port­ive, some tak­ing the form of mock­ing haikus, which Palmer appre­ci­at­ed, espe­cial­ly since it was, at the time, Nation­al Poet­ry Month.

It seems to me that any time her ass is hang­ing out her giant heart’s not far behind. Lis­ten to her speech, and see if you don’t find her atti­tude ulti­mate­ly inspir­ing, espe­cial­ly for those artists inter­est­ed in con­nect­ing with a larg­er audi­ence. (The pre­sen­ta­tion’s so restrained, you can turn your back on the screen, turn your atten­tion to some pedes­tri­an task, and enjoy her thoughts pod­cast-style. )

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Neil Gaiman Launch­es New Crowd­sourced Sto­ry­telling Project (Spon­sored by the New Black­Ber­ry)

The Black Cab Ses­sions: One Song, One Take, One Cab

Ayun Hal­l­i­day will glad­ly wrap her­self in Aman­da Palmer’s “Ukelele Anthem”

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  • Anne Owen says:

    She’s a won­der­ful artist and a very provoca­tive per­son, I wish her all the best, and hope­ful­ly peo­ple will notice her efforts and pay for them accord­ing­ly. If you’re a per­son who is broke, donate your voice to pro­mo­tion of her music to oth­ers and sup­port her pages as much as is pos­si­ble.

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