(Welcome to the UCLA Anderson Blog’s coverage of TED Week. Our guest blogger for TED Week is Swati Desai, who will be tracking the various TED talks as we live stream them and also taking notes on various panels. For more information on the TED Week schedule, please click here.
Swati is a UCLA alum (Anderson, PhD, 1992 and Engineering, MS, 1984) and the link to her website is www.swatidesai.com.
What follow are Desai’s notes on the Wednesday afternoon session featuring TED speaker Amanda Palmer.)
How do you finance artists by using social media and by directly connecting with the fans?
Anderson’s Entertainment Management Association examined this question by exploring musician Amanda Palmer’s provocative presentation about the way she secured funding for her next music project. Amanda “kick-started” her campaign using “crowd funding” by asking her fan base to help her out. She raised 1.2 million dollars with contributions from 25,000 fans by connecting with them on social media, on her blogs, her tweets, and by simply asking for their help while touring.
Amanda has an exceptionally open personality and is willing to take social risks. This helps!
She says that the act of asking is connecting, unlike some other artists who think of asking as begging. She uses her tweets to inform her fans of her needs and gets help with all sorts of things such as food, accommodation, transportation, love, and appreciation!
Can every artist do crowd funding? Is this way of connecting now expected from them?
The Anderson panel seems to agree on the fact Amanda’s crowd funding is a very effective and new way of getting funding, but this may not work for everybody. It would depend on the artist’s personality, fan base, time they want to spend, where they are in their career trajectory. Student panelist Josh who is a musician himself points to the fact that connecting with the fans using social media is now expected from artists. He admires Amanda’s way of kick-starting the campaign but also would like to see crowd funding with any small donations fans can afford. Live Nation founder Chris Adelmann thinks that there is still a place for an intermediary person based on meritocracy who knows the business well. For an artist who would much rather spend time in the bedroom making music, they will need to use such a person to connect with the fan base. Faculty panelist Sanjay Sood believes that social media connections worked for Amanda for the crowd funding because she already had a fan base. It may not work for someone who is raw or has a different personality.
The next obviously relevant question is this. Can this model be used for small businesses to kick-start their funding campaign?
The answer is yes! The biggest take-home lesson for small businesses from Amanda’s story is the importance of directly connection with people, especially with the availability of social media. Sanjay Sood points to the fact that informing people of what they are making by connecting with them is even more essential for small businesses with a niche market. Josh believes that kick-starting offers a great way for small businesses to test the markets for their products. Chris Adelmann notes that frontline connecting to another person in a directly is the best type of customer service.
Ironically, the new way to connect with people is by using web-based social media, the very tool that is blamed on alienating people from each other