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Amanda Palmer

singer-songwriter-blogger-provocateur

Amanda Palmer will deliver the opening plenary.

The singer-songwriter-blogger-provocateur, known for pushing boundaries in both her art and her lifestyle, made international headlines this year when she raised nearly $1.2 million via Kickstarter (she’d asked for $100k) from nearly 25,000 fans who pre-ordered her new album, Theater Is Evil.

But the former street performer, then Dresden Dolls frontwoman, now solo artist hit a bump the week her world tour kicked off. She revealed plans to crowdsource additional local backup musicians in each tour stop, offering to pay them in hugs, merchandise and beer per her custom. Bitter and angry criticism ensued (she eventually promised to pay her local collaborators in cash). And it’s interesting to consider why. As Laurie Coots suggests: “The idea was heckled because we didn’t understand the value exchange — the whole idea of asking the crowd for what you need when you need it and not asking for more or less.”

Summing up her business model, in which she views her recorded music as the digital equivalent of street performing, she says: “I firmly believe in music being as free as possible. Unlocked. Shared and spread. In order for artists to survive and create, their audiences need to step up and directly support them.”

Amanda’s nonfiction book, The Art of Asking: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help, which was released in November 2014 with Hachette and debuted on the New York Times Best Seller list at #7, digs deeply into the topics she addressed in her TED Talk.

Amanda will inspire you to rethink your own ideas about asking, giving, art, and love.