Amanda Palmer

While researching for my online music essay, I came across an amazing story about a musician named Amanda Palmer, who went down the traditional route of signing to a major label and found that it was not for her, and the labels interest was not focused on her creative side, instead, just how much revenue they could gather from her art. I looked at her past and how she was a very creative and personal artist who loved the relationship of fans who would come to gigs. She then went down the DIY route of setting her new band up and getting the people and music lovers involved in creating and funding the album.

Quick History of this fascinating journey:

  • She started as a street performer collecting money day to day.
  • Formed The Dresden Dolls and signed to Roadrunner
  • Sold 25,000 records and was told by major label that this was not enough sales
  • She asked to leave the record label and managed to do so.
  • Formed a new band a decided to do it her own way.
  • With a well-known fan base behind her she found a website called Kick-starter which is set up to allow you to have full control over a project you have created.

This site was a brand new breakthrough as it allowed friends, people, investors and fans to pay money into a project allowing the artist to receive funding for an idea. Amanda decided to set up different pledges that included digital downloads, vinyl and cd manufacture and distribution, a 100 paged signed art book that artists drew being influenced from the album, and some strange ones such as meet and greets with Amanda and private drawing from her naked or not. I thought this was brilliant as she has taking a complete different approach to funding an album that fans wanted to hear and helped out with putting it together.

  • Her pledge was set at $100,000
  • She managed to raise $1,192,793 which is the largest privately funded project ever.

This just proves that artists can take other approaches to getting a project started and involving the fans more to build up a strong relationship and create a cult following. The use of these types of sites allow unsigned artists to compete with major labels without having large advances and becoming in major debt and minimum control over what approach they wish to take.  Since their launch in 2009, 5.1 million people have pledged $858 million, funding 51,000 creative projects. This proves that using DIY forms of selling music and controlling your own creative art is a great way to expose your band/music.

Check it out

Current development in the online music industry

Research and references:

A lot has changed over the current years when it comes to online music, and how traditional methods of distributing and growing a fan base has changed rapidly. In the traditional model, a band/artist would be signed by a major label and since the late 90’s would be distributed on certain online music sites such as I-tunes and Amazon. However with recent technology’s improving on a daily bases allowing constant access of sites within mobiles phone apps, android’s and tablets, there are many new ways in which to listen to music. I will quickly talk about how the new digital age has changed the traditional market and what is being done within online music for the artists to distribute their creations and certain features that are constantly being added to these types of websites.

When it comes to the DIY models constructed by artists themselves or independent labels, they tend to use other functions within the online media market. This can range from using certain websites that allow streaming of music, file sharing, podcasts and blogs to promote the music that an audience can access easily. Before with the traditional industry, the music would be distributed by CD’s, Vinyl and other formats that allowed the customer to have ownership over the product in a physical form.

Although vinyl and CD’s are still being accessed by customers, certain online sites have become the best way to allow music to be heard from millions of people over a short amount of time. This includes a site I will go into more detail called Spotify, this is a legal music streaming website which has recently just announced it has over a billion playlists. This is a key example of a current online site that allows its users not to own the music, but be able to have online and offline access to thousands of customer’s playlists every day. This is an amazing opportunity for musicians to upload their music as there are new features within Spotify which allow you to listen to music you would have never been interested in by the new recommended option. This option works when you are viewing an artist’s music, it simply recommends other artist similar to the genre of music you are operating and opens up new artists you may of never fell in love with.

To conclude I believe this is a great option within Spotify to allow artists to get their music heard and build a fan base. It also helps gather recognition when customers are searching for different types of music, and now with over a billion playlist, there is a massive search engine of music to be found and enjoyed.

Current online business models associated with the music industry


I have recently been researching current business models within the music industry to gather as much information about different processes taken by certain individuals/companies to distribute music online.  I will be using this blog to display information I have collected from different sources such as the internet, magazines, books and contacts within the online music business. Each time I find a source which interests me, I will catalogue the subject and write a focused account of the contemporary development which happens each week within the online music industry.

DIY Models:


Author: Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan

One of the first sources I came across was a book I decided to buy about DIY models, and how they can benefit the artist by selling music online. The book gave a great insight to how certain companies within the online music industry have options whereby the artist can sell their music in an easy and safe environment, and not have to act as an online merchant dealing with packaging, shipping and handling orders. One of the online companies I decided to evaluate was CD Baby ( which was formed in 1998 by Derek Silvers. CD Baby have a very simple online business structure that works efficiently. They have a small one time setup fee and they keep $4 of each CD you sell, and the rest goes to you. I personally felt this is a very small amount to pay for a great service and opportunity to get your music heard from a large audience of music consumers. Although CD sales are slowly dying out, there is still a large percentage of musicians and music fans that either want to buy new music in physical form, or create an album and sell it to a market of similar minded people. The service provides the presence of major labels, retail store fulfilment, helpful tips and also a partnership with Amazon.

Beyond selling CD’s, cd baby also deals as a digital music retailer and digital aggregator. They also have the option to add your music or artist’s music to all the major digital music retailers, and do not charge you any more fees for these other services, only the setup fee at the beginning if you want to “Do it yourself”. They take 9 % of the total earnings from the digital retailers and allow there sales to be tracked through the charting authorities. This is a different option to purchase music online, and in my next blog I will show how other sites within the web allow you to view music in different ways.