The fact that indie artist Amanda Palmer raised over a million dollars on kickstarter is fantastic, but cannot be properly evaluated as a business model without looking at how she spent it–which she outlined in her blog.

She set out to raise $100k–a perfectly reasonable budget for an indie artist to put out an album and tour to support it–but raised over a million. It’s easy to accuse her of pocketing a significant profit especially if she didn’t pay her musicians, which she is accused of. However, her expenses rivaled a typical major label budget.  It doesn’t cost $250k to make a great album with today’s technology…that was a typical major label advance for recording in the day.  Presumably she set out to create a top-notch artistic experience for herself and her fans/supporters well beyond the recording, with thank you packages, art books, and an art gallery tour for which she had to pay visual artists. She was committed to creating the most value for those who contributed to her project.

However, at the end of the day if one doesn’t turn a profit, it isn’t a business. It is too soon to promote this as a success story or even a viable model…that is a disservice and misrepresentation to the indie artists struggling to put food on the table.

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