How I Made $19,000 In 10 Hours Using Twitter, By Amanda Effing Palmer


Amanda Palmer has put up a post on her site that’s a must read for musicians trying to make a dime from their music in today’s inverted music world.

Here’s the juicy bits:

From: Amanda Palmer
Subject: twitter power, or “how an indie musician can make $19,000 in 10 hours using twitter”

this story has just been blowing people’s minds so i figures i should write it down.


about a month ago, i was at home on a friday night (loser that i often am when i’m not touring, i almost never go out) and was, of course, on my mac, shifting between emails, links and occasionally doing some dishes and packing for a trip the next day. just a usual friday-night-rock-star-multi-tasking extravaganza.

i twitter whenever i’m online, i love the way it gives me a direct line of communication with my fans and friends.

so there i am, alone on friday night and i make a joke on twitter (which goes out to whichever of my 30,000 followers are online):

9:15 PM May 15th from web

one thing led to another, and the next thing you know there were thousands of us and we’d become the #1 topic trend on twitter.

zoe keating described it as a “virtual flash mob”.

the way twitter works (if you don’t have it) is that certain topics can include a hashtag (#) and if a gazillion people start making posts that include that hashtag, the topic will zoom up the charts of what people are currently discussing. it’s a cool feature.

so anyway, there we were, virtually hanging out on twitter on a friday night. very pleased with ourselves for being such a large group, and cracking jokes.

how do you “hang out” on the internet? well, we collectively came up with a list of things that the government should do for us (free government-issued sweatpants, pizza and ponies, no tax on coffee), AND created a t-shirt.

thank god my web guy sean was awake and being a loser with me on friday night because he throw up the webpage WHILE we were having our twitter party and people started ordering the shirts – that i designed in SHARPIE in realtime) and a slogan that someone suggested: “DON’T STAND UP FOR WHAT’S RIGHT, STAY IN FOR WHAT’S WRONG”.

neil gaiman and wil wheaton joined our party. the fdnas felt super-special.

by the end of the night, we’d sold 200 shirts off the quickie site (paypal only) that sean had set up.
i blogged the whole story the next day and in total, in the matter of a few days, we sold over 400 shirts, for $25/ea.

we ended up grossing OVER $11,000 on the shirts.

my assistant beth had the shirts printed up ASAP and mailed them from her apartment.

total made on twitter in two hours = $11,000.

total made from my huge-ass ben-folds produced-major-label solo album this year = $0

She goes on to talk about how she used Twitter to generate another $7,800 in revenue with a web auction and a Twitter donation-only gig.

Twitter isn’t going to be a get-rich-quick solution for musicians, but it is a useful tool for communicating directly with your audience. And Amanda Palmer is proving that keeping in touch with your audience and giving them what they want can be very profitable.

Image: Otterfreak

2 thoughts on “How I Made $19,000 In 10 Hours Using Twitter, By Amanda Effing Palmer

  1. yeah well, fame = directional relationship between one person and many people so when it's money that's being directed = lots of money. Still, it wouldn't have worked had it not been a cool idea, directly in sympathy with the people concerned = targeted product and one they'd already 'invested' in through their interaction with Twitter on that Friday evening. I'll bet though that if marketing people try to replicate the idea, that particular audience would run from it like it was the Black Death.
    Which brings me back to music. Along with a great many other music fans, I spend a great deal of money on music. And all that money is spent on music I've discovered for myself; music that has not been marketed to me. Most recently, I've avoided buying an album by Little Boots. She's talented, personable (virtually!) and interesting and I started to follow her own updates on various sites. But towards the release of her album, the 'feel' of the whole thing started to shift and I began to feel like one of a horde of dumb-asses being cajolled into purchase decisions. This put me right off the whole concept.

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