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The Kickstarter Rock Star: Amanda Palmer

... and why Twitter is "the greatest thing."

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Tech Now's Scott Budman tech and social networking with Amanda Palmer at a San Francisco nightclub, days before the release of her new album. (Published Wednesday, Sep 26, 2012)

    Amanda Palmer is not dead.

    Far from it -- she's jamming. Not in front of a packed club, but right in the middle of it, launching her new album literally among her fans on the floor of San Francisco's Public Works.

    It's like a rock & roll campfire, with Palmer at the center of the action.

    It's also fitting, given that Palmer -- more so than just about any artist in the world -- is famous for connecting with her fans. Not just through a website or album notes, but through individual one on one contact. Before the show even starts, Palmer makes the rounds through the club, catching up with fans, hugging fans, commiserating about a sick friend, even accepting a Navy patched ripped off a jacket by a fan.

    You think that's dedication? Just wait.

    Turns out that these fans, on this night, didn't just buy a ticket to the Amanda show. They're all investors in her latest album. Through the magic of Kickstarter, the entire album was funded online, one fan at a time.

    As is the Kickstarter way, investments were rewarded: $1 got you a download of a Palmer song, $300 got a ticket to the Public Works show, for $10,000 Palmer will paint your portrait.

    As one fan named Connie told me, "This is not a donation, this is an investment." Spoken like a true Silicon Valley investor, except Connie flew up from San Diego to see the show. In fact, so many people invested in the album, Palmer -- who says she hoped to make $100,000 from the campaign -- actually pulled in more than $1 million. Marc Andreessen should be taking notes from Palmer.

    If you've ever seen one of her shows, either solo or with her earlier group, The Dresden Dolls, you'll get a feel for why the investment plan went so well.  Palmer has a huge following, both on stage, and on Twitter.

    Almost 600,000 fans follow her every tweet, helping them stay connected with her, and vice-versa.  "Twitter is amazing," Palmer says, "being famous and staying connected is like hosting a big constant dinner party - Twitter makes it possible." Palmer says she plans to play for the Twitter folks a little later during her Bay Area run.

    First, though, she has investors to hug.

    Amanda Palmer’s new album drops September 11th.

    Scott Budman is on Twitter: @scottbudman

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