In 2012, Amanda Palmer launched a Kickstarter project to fund the recording of her new album. Palmer set a goal of $100,000. Within 30 days, nearly 25,000 of her fans donated twelve times that. The $1.2 million marked the most successful music funding project in Kickstarter’s history.
Let’s look at the numbers. Amanda Palmer’s 25,000 donors is less than .001% of Rebecca Black’s 70 millions viewers. But do these numbers tell the whole story?
It’s true, almost everybody knows who Rebecca Black is, but almost no one is willing to pay $100 for a ticket to see her in concert. Conversely, not nearly as many people have heard of Amanda Palmer, but the few who have are eagerly waiting to pay far more than $100 to see her perform. This is why Amanda Palmer has been successfully making music for over 15 years now, and why (other than an unsuccessful attempt at a sequel to “Friday") you never heard from Rebecca Black again.
Between these two women, who is the more “successful” one? Who is more “famous”? I’m not sure that question even has a correct answer, but it certainly begs us to take another look at how we define words like fame and success.
One thing's for sure though, when Rebecca Black disappeared from the music scene, barely anyone noticed. If Amanda Palmer were to disappear though, people would notice. People would care. She would be missed. To me, this is the sign of a successful artist. As Seth Godin asks, “Would they miss you if you were gone?”