Musician Amanda Palmer's Kickstarter project has successfully closed after raising $1.2 million, making hers the highest-funded music project in the site's history and only the seventh Kickstarter to break $1 million. The project's $100,000 goal was meant to fund an album, art book, and tour for the former Dresden Dolls singer, who broke with her label in 2010. Although the majority of backers pledged less than $100, Palmer also got several more substantial donations, including two people who pledged $10,000 for a one-on-one art sitting and dinner with her.
Since the average successful music project takes in about $5,000 and the previous record (no pun intended) was a mere $200,000, this is an unprecedented amount of money, and it's no surprise that Palmer has called Kickstarter "the future of music." New artists or those with a less devoted following, however, seem to see less success. With the exception of industrial design projects like the Pebble, the top-funded projects are almost invariably sequels or work from established artists and developers like Double Fine. Even the previous top-funded music project was for an album by ska band Five Iron Frenzy, which enjoyed a strong cult following.
Palmer, meanwhile, has said she'll have less than $100,000 from the million-dollar Kickstarter once she's produced the album and art book, paid the artists, and arranged for things like tours and music videos. She'll certainly make more money over the course of the tour, but she says the biggest benefit will be proof that "major-label refugees" can use Kickstarter as a platform. Whether smaller names can do the same remains to be seen.