One of my favourite cartoons shows a shaggy-haired young man holding a guitar who is saying to his girlfriend “How can I be expected to write a hit record if you won’t leave me?” There’s nothing musicians like more than a little suffering and even when they’ve made it they like to moan about the record label who’ve snaffled all their millions. This has become such a cliché that some of the canniest newcomers are looking at ways to get started which don’t involve signing their name in blood on a contract with Universal or Simon Cowell. One ingenious device is Kickstarter, an internet site which allows acts to launch themselves with financial help from members of the public. The system is that the act pitches for a certain amount of money and no money is taken from anyone until the full amount requested has been pledged.
This is what Amanda Palmer did. She asked for $100,000 to promote her new album, put on a tour and publish an art book. She allowed 32 days to raise the money but the target was passed in just a few days and by the time the deadline was reached she’d raised a million more. She did this on the back of an infectious video (below) with a clever nod to Bob Dylan. As a bonus she took her kit off. I think we’d all agree that she deserves the million much more than Simon Cowell.