Work for beer, Neil Gaiman's wife tells musicians
Kickstarter wealth doesn't trickle down
Amanda Palmer, the artist who raised $1.2m from her fans on Kickstarter to fund a new record and tour, is now asking classical musicians to work for her for free.
The money has been on lavished on studio time, a luxury booklet, and an abundance of expensive promotional material. But there's nothing left for the classical musicians she wants. The cabaret singer, who is married to writer and Open Rights Group patron Neil Gaiman, put out a request for "professional-ish horns and strings" – local volunteers for each tour date – who would be required to rehearse before performing, before joining Palmer's 'Grand Theft Orchestra' for the performance.
"We will feed you beer, hug/high-five you up and down (pick your poison), give you merch and thank you mightily for adding to the big noise we are planning to make," promised Palmer, who explained that the $35,000 required to pay seven or eight musicians for 36 tour dates at union rates was too much.
It's hard to pay the rent in beer, and classically trained musicians are less than impressed.
"She's playing mid-sized ballrooms and theaters, and she will sell many of them out. And she will have $35,000 and then some to spare by the end of it," notes one.
"You've raised over $1 million for your tour and album release. Here we are as musicians on foodstamps, maxing out their credit cards to keep the lights on, hoping that we have enough money to pay next month's rent, and have instruments that are in need of repair, need to be replaced, and even need to be insured," another musician points out.
The most biting observation came from the producer Steve Albini, a veteran critic of the music industry, who posted this on his studio's forums:
I have no fundamental problem with either asking your fans to pay you to make your record or go on tour or play for free in your band or gather at a mud pit downstate and sell meth and blowjobs to each other. I wouldn't stoop to doing any of them myself, but horses for courses. The reason I don't appeal to other people in this manner is that all those things can easily pay for themselves, and I value self-sufficiency and independence, even (or especially) from an audience.
If your position is that you aren't able to figure out how to do that, that you are forced by your ignorance into pleading for donations and charity work, you are then publicly admitting you are an idiot, and demonstrably not as good at your profession as Jandek, Moondog, GG Allin, every band ever to go on tour without a slush fund or the kids who play on buckets downtown.
Pretty much everybody on earth has a threshold for how much to indulge an idiot who doesn't know how to conduct herself, and I think Ms Palmer has found her audience's threshold.
Palmer has been heavily promoted on sites which are often hostile to the established music industry, such as BoingBoing. Now we know what their vision of the future looks like. It's one where wealth never trickles down... ®
Re: From the horses mouth
Wow... I suppose you could sumarise that response by "Amy, you just don't get it. Go away."
It's the little revelations in there, like how it's fine for her to do this because 'Beiber's fans would jump at the chance of supporting him', or 'David Byrne' once spent a few hours doing vocals with me', which shows how out of touch she is with peoples concerns. Like David Byrne is going to struggle to pay the rent by doing something for free for a few hours, and he'll probably get some good exposure to a different market by doing this, it's not like she's planning to introduce the all the supporting artists on stage.
But it's the 'for the big important shows, we've decided we have to pay people to do this, so we've contacted some professionals' that blows her entire standpoint out of the water. She needs these musicians, without them her show isn't going to work, and she acknowledges that she's going to have to pay for this on the big shows, but she just doesn't get how this is exactly the devalument that was discussed by Amy in the post which kicked this all off.
Sorry Amanda, it's you who doesn't get it. Now go away.
@Law Re: I need to lie down somewhere...
I've read Gaiman.
I'd not heard of Palmer till this article.
I expect elReg knows its audience
Re: I need to lie down somewhere...
> This is the first Orlowski article I've actually agreed with.
Indeed. If there's one thing that musicians really *should* be able to make some money from, it is live concerts.
How you can sell out at venues and still make a pittance is quite honestly a mystery to me.
I realise that concerts are expensive to put on, but one of the major costs are people. If you're not paying the people, then where is all the money going?