Media professionals will benefit from “the art of asking”

Don’t make people pay for music, says singer/songwriter Amanda Palmer.  Let them.

Palmer proved this to be possible by placing her plans on Kickstarter, a website created to help people host and fund their creative projects.

While on tour, Palmer would often use Twitter to ask fans for anything she needed (housing, food, clothes, etc.) in exchange for hugs, merchandise, music or beer.

After signing with a major label, Palmer disagreed with their plans for her music.  She left the label, choosing to instead use the same approach she used on other social media websites and ask for donations from fans so she could continue to make music.

Her goal?  $100,000.  At the end she found herself with nearly $1.2 million in donations to fund her next music project.

Palmer opened up last month during a TED talk  called “The art of asking” saying, “A lot of people are confused by the idea of no hard sticker price [on my music]. They see it as an unpredictable risk, but … I see it as trust.”

The idea of trust has turned into now common terms called “crowd sourcing” and “crowdfunding.”  Through crowd sourcing, fans or supporters can help shape another’s passion. Crowd funding, much like passing around a collection plate in church, allows people to buy into another’s passion.

Musicians are not the only ones benefiting from this either.

For example, ArduSat is a tiny satellite that weighs no more than 1kg, but is important when considering the future of space research. Its developers put the idea on Kickstarter and asked for $35,000.  By the end, supporters had pledged $106, 330.

Another example involved Double Fine Adventure, the first multi-million dollar video game campaign.  The game reached its $400,000 goal on Kickstarter in less than 24 hours, and ended with $3, 336, 371 in pledges.

Developers of a iphone-friendly wristwatch posted their idea on Kickstarter too. Their $100,000 goal reached $1 million in just over a day and $10,266,845 by the end of the campaign.

Not all projects have been as successful as these, but it’s obvious that some people are willing to support another’s project financially. If anything crowd sourcing is a way for people to connect with their supporters and build trust, and social media is making it all possible.

This applies to media professionals, as it’s important to listen to your audience and connect with them. Building that trust will help make you even more successful. Kickstarter helps gather like-minded people and media professionals need to do the same in order to better target their audience.

Ask instead of tell.  You might find people respond better that way.

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