Don’t make people pay for music, says Amanda Palmer: Let them. In a passionate talk that begins in her days as a street performer (drop a dollar in the hat for the Eight-Foot Bride!), she examines the new relationship between artist and fan.



  • upstanding – respectable
  • smorgasbord – 1. a meal with many different foods that are placed on a large table so that people can serve themselves 2. a large mixture of many different things 
  • neti pot
  • crash pad

Think about it

  • Pause at 2:05. What does Amanda say about profound encounters with people in streets?
  • Pause at 4:43 and summarise what you’ve learnt about Amanda and her band, the Dresden Dolls. In what way is she closer to the fans in comparison to other musicians?
  • Pause at 8:22. Summarise what Amanda said about her label and how some people reacted to this.
  • Pause at 9:45. How did Amanda raise money for her latest album? How successful was she?
  • Pause at 11:52. What does Amanda say about the status of musicians for the most part of human history? How does she contrast this with being a celebrity?
  • How does Amanda use the internet to get closer to her fans?


Practice makes perfect

 Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. Use ONE word per each blank space.

And meanwhile, my band is becoming bigger and ________. We signed with ______ major label. And our music is a cross ________ punk and cabaret. It’s not ________ everybody. Well, maybe it’s for you. We sign, and there’s all this hype leading up ________ our next record. And it comes ________ and it sells about 25,000 copies in the first few weeks, and the label considers this ________ failure.

And I was ________, “25,000, isn’t that a lot?”

They were ________, “No, the sales are going down. It’s a failure.” And they walk off.

Right at this same time, I’m signing and hugging after a gig, and a guy comes ________ to me and hands me a $10 bill, and he says, “I’m sorry, I burned your CD from a friend.” (Laughter) “But I read your blog, I know you hate your label. I just want you to have ________ money.”

And this starts happening all the time. I become the hat after my own gigs, but I have to physically stand there and take ________ help from people, and unlike the guy in the opening band, I’ve actually had a lot of practice standing there. Thank you.


Explore it more

Link to the original TED talk page: http://on.ted.com/Amanda