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Amanda Palmer's New Record: Most Unique Crowdfunding Campaigns of 2012
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Amanda Palmer's New Record: Most Unique Crowdfunding Campaigns of 2012

Editor's Note: Over the last few weeks, we’ve be looking at some of the most successful, innovative, and unique crowdfunding campaigns of 2012. The previous category was “Most Funded,” and you can check out our recap with the year’s top five grossing campaigns here. This time, we're looking at "Most Unique" campaigns. The projects featured were chosen in a much more subjective manner than last time around (which we selected by amount of money raised), so feel free to leave your own suggestions and links to favorite campaigns in the comments!

Here’s a pop quiz for the crowdfunding watchers: Most of the successfully funded projects on Kickstarter belong to which category?

Given the numerous video games that received millions of dollars, one may be excused in picking that category as the answer; and Apple products did well this year, too, so perhaps design or tech projects? Wrong, and no.

The most successful category on Kickstarter is music, accounting for nearly 30 percent of all successfully funded projects (almost 10,000 of 34,000). The vast majority of them raise less than $10,000, and we rarely hear about the small successes. There was, however, one standout project that managed to get thousands of backers to donate over a million dollars: Amanda Palmer’s campaign for a new record, art book, and tour.

Palmer, who first found a cult following as a member of the duo The Dresden Dolls before launching her solo career, turned to Kickstarter to fund her album directly through the crowd, bypassing a record label. She ended up raising $1.2 million, greatly surpassing her initial $100,000 goal. An internet-savvy artist, she was able to mobilize nearly 25,000 of her fans to back the campaign, making it by far the most successful music campaign of the year on Kickstarter (the runner-up raised less than a quarter of a million).

Her campaign featured thoughtful perks, especially on the higher end of the scale. For $5000, Palmer would play at a backer’s house party (34 people picked this up), and for $10,000, she would come paint a picture of the backer and have dinner him or her (two people chose this perk). For smaller donations, Palmer drew Sharpie pictures her backers, helping to create a truly personal experience for the fans.

Though Palmer came under some fire after her campaign for asking fans to play on her tour for no pay (she offered beer and hugs as compensation), a decision she later backtracked on, her campaign was key in putting the spotlight on crowdfunding for music. It was also one of the first million-dollar campaigns, helping to validate the reward-based crowdfunding model in general.

Perhaps the most attractive thing about her fundraiser, however, is her belief that, "This is the future of music." Given the success of music projects on Kickstarter, the future seem bright indeed.

For more on the campaign, check out the Kickstarter video below.

The previous campaign we highlighted was Dare to Share, which you can read about here.

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