Magazine

The Kickstarter give and take

Over one month this spring, Amanda Palmer raised nearly $1.2 million from fans through Kickstarter.com.

When an NPR station holds a pledge drive, it offers thank you gifts based on donation size — $60 might get a mug; $120, a tote bag to show off at Whole Foods. Amanda Palmer promised similar kinds of treats when, over one month this spring, she raised nearly $1.2 million from fans through Kickstarter.com. Those who paid $1 got a digital download of the new album, Theatre Is Evil, while fans who ponied up $300 got an invite to a private show (in places from Boston to Berlin). Here, a selection of Palmer perks for higher-level donors — and an idea of how busy she’ll be delivering them.

PLEDGE $1,000+

Number of backers: 28

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What they get: A Crosley turntable painted by Palmer herself, who joked about doing the work “by candlelight with sad music playing while the wind whips outside her window.” 

What that means for Palmer: This summer, Palmer and friends met at her folks’ house in Lexington to custom-paint about 100 turntables (35 by Palmer, the rest — which went for a $500 pledge — by the others). The experience, Palmer later wrote, was “like a horror movie where a bunch of wisecracking teens go off on some adventure that goes so, so wrong.” It took more than 30 hours.

PLEDGE $5,000+

Number of backers: 34

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What they get: A ukulele-toting Palmer will be the guest of honor at a house party. “Want me to invade your home?” Palmer wrote on her Kickstarter pitch. “Oh, I shall.”

What that means for Palmer: Over the course of 18 months or so, Palmer will make her way around the world to party with her fans. At a recent gathering in California, that included swimming and hanging out around a fire pit.

PLEDGE $10,000+

Number of backers: 2

What they get: For the maximum amount allowed by Kickstarter, Palmer will spend four or five hours one-on-one with the big spender.

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What that means for Palmer: “I’d like to paint/render you on a big canvas format over the course of an afternoon/evening,” Palmer wrote. “If you’re too ego-paranoid to sit, we can get together and fingerpaint while listening to very loud cathartic music, and perhaps engage in some primal screaming.” Then dinner.

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