2012.08.21-blog

WANTED: HORN-Y AND STRING-Y VOLUNTEERS FOR THE GRAND THEFT ORCHESTRA TOUR!!!!

we said we’d do it, and we’re DOING IT! the GRAND THIEVING IS UNDERWAY.

Photo by Lucid Revolution
we’re looking for professional-ish horns and strings for EVERY CITY to hop up on stage with us for a couple of tunes.
we need a COUPLE of horns (trumpet! bari! sax! trombone! all need apply!!!) to join in the blasting with Ronald Reagan, our sax duo who’ll be joining the Grand Theft Orchestra every night.
and we need enough strings to make up QUARTET (pre-made quartets WELCOME) to join us for a couple tunes….and to act at the string quartet for jherek bischoff’s beautiful music (basically, you get to BE the opening ACT!).

the deal:
you’d need to show up for a quickie rehearsal (the parts are pretty simple) in the afternoon, then come back around for the show!
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.
CHAD is going to be in charge of sorting the horns, JHEREK is going to be in charge of gathering the strings, and
they’ll also be CONDUCTING you on stage.
you need to know how to ACTUALLY, REALLY PLAY YOUR INSTRUMENT! lessons in fifth grade do not count, so please include in your email some proof of that (a link to you playing on a real stage would be great, or a resume will
do. just don’t LIE…you’ll be embarrassed if you show up for rehearsal and everyone’s looking at you wondering why you can’t actually play the trombone.)
we’ve had a blast putting people together this past summer….COME JOIN THE FUCKING ORCHESTRA.
it’s almost as good as the circus.

Photo by Hans Wendland
interested? when you email us, please put the show date, city, and instrument in the subject line of the email i.e. “Trumpet – New York, NY – Sept 11th” or “Violin – Philadelphia, PA – Sept 10th”…it’ll make sorting go much easier for us.
interested HORNS, SEND AN EMAIL TO: horns@thegrandtheftorchestra.com
and
interested STRINGS/QUARTETS, SEND AN EMAIL TO: strings@thegrandtheftorchestra.com

you’ll get a yes/no reply as soon as we lock down the choices for that town (or we’ll let you know that it’s already locked). here’s where/when we’ll be playing that we need people:

PHILADELPHIA, PA (THEATRE OF LIVING ARTS)
MON. SEPTEMBER 10

NEW YORK, NY (WEBSTER HALL)
TUE. SEPTEMBER 11

WASHINGTON, DC (9:30 CLUB)
WED. SEPTEMBER 12

CARRBORO, NC (CAT’S CRADLE)
FRI. SEPTEMBER 14

ATLANTA, GA (VARIETY PLAYHOUSE)
SAT. SEPTEMBER 15

NEW ORLEANS, LA (TIPITINA’S UPTOWN)
MON. SEPTEMBER 17

HOUSTON, TX (FITZGERALD’S – UPSTAIRS)
TUE. SEPTEMBER 18

AUSTIN, TX (STUBB’S – OUTSIDE)
WED. SEPTEMBER 19

DENVER, CO (GOTHIC THEATRE)
FRI. SEPTEMBER 21

PHOENIX, AZ (CRESCENT BALLROOM)
SAT. SEPTEMBER 22

SAN DIEGO, CA (HOUSE OF BLUES)
MON. SEPTEMBER 24

LOS ANGELES, CA (THE MUSIC BOX / THE FONDA THEATRE)
TUE. SEPTEMBER 25

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (THE FILLMORE)
WED. SEPTEMBER 26

PORTLAND, OR (WONDER BALLROOM)
FRI. SEPTEMBER 28

VANCOUVER, BC (COMMODORE BALLROOM)
SAT. SEPTEMBER 29

SEATTLE, WA (NEPTUNE BALLROOM)
SUN. SEPTEMBER 30

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (FIRST AVENUE)
WED. OCTOBER 3

LONDON, UK (KOKO)
TUE. OCTOBER 23

MANCHESTER, UK (CATHEDRAL)
WED. OCTOBER 24

GLASGOW, UK (ÒRAN MÓR)
THU. OCTOBER 25

AMSTERDAM, NL (MELKWEG)
SAT. OCTOBER 27

BERLIN, DE (COLUMBIA CLUB)
SUN. OCTOBER 28

PRAGUE, CZ (PALÁC AKROPOLIS)
MON. OCTOBER 29

ZURICH, CH (ABART)
TUE. OCTOBER 30

ANTWERP, BE (TRIX CLUB)
THU. NOVEMBER 1

PARIS, FR (LA MAROQUINERIE)
FRI. NOVEMBER 2

COLOGNE, DE (LUXOR)
SAT. NOVEMBER 3

VIENNA, AT (ARENA)
MON. NOVEMBER 5

TORONTO, ON (PHOENIX THEATRE)
FRI. NOVEMBER 9

CHICAGO, IL (METRO)
SAT. NOVEMBER 10

MILWAUKEE, WI (TURNER HALL)
SUN. NOVEMBER 11

DETROIT, MI (SAINT ANDREW’S HALL)
TUE. NOVEMBER 13

BOSTON, MA (PARADISE ROCK CLUB)
THU. NOVEMBER 15

BOSTON, MA (PARADISE ROCK CLUB)
FRI. NOVEMBER 16

BOSTON, MA (PARADISE ROCK CLUB)
SAT. NOVEMBER 17

tickets for all shows can be found at my tour page.
again, if you’re interested, send us an email about the show you wanna be a part of with some info/video/whatever on you and what you play……horns go here and strings go here

LOVE
afp

Photo by KaH
Photo 1 via flickr/Lucid Revolution
Photo 2 via flickr/Hans Wendland
Photo 3 via flickr/KaH

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  • Kristof

    Looking for a mallet player in any of the European shows?

    Every song needs more marimba. EVERY. SONG.

    • Cama

      OMG marimba is the BEST.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hamish.orr Hamish Orr

    Boom. Shared on the royal conservatoire of scotland page, sure we’ve got a few music playing fans in there somewhere….

  • Annabel

    If I play the flute really loudly does it count as a brass instrument?

  • Melissa(:

    Any age restrictions?

  • please!

    what if you’re 15? i play bari and tenor! i came in third in ri jazz all-state for two years! which means i didn’t make it! but is still pretty good! jazz band since 6th grade! little shop of horror pit band! hello, dolly pit band! grease pit band! i’m just listing my experience! exclamation point!

    • musicians’ advocate

      You can get a bunch of 15 year olds to play the gigs – but will they even be let into the club?

  • Latexsolarbeef

    more cowbell?

  • ElectricViolinist

    I wish you’d bring the tour to Newcastle, Australia. Even Sydney would do, or Canberra.
    I’m 17, but I’ve been playing Violin for 11 years now, but I haven’t had a teacher for the last four. I haven’t really done graded exams, but I’d guess I’m at third grade AMEB level. I’ve won an Eistedford category and placed in others.
    I’ve been in five concerts, and played on stage on my own four times. I’m not the greatest violinist in the world, but I’m pretty good. I’m a fast learner and my sight reading is excellent, and I’m a huge fan.
    Also, are strangely shaped, glittery electric violins allowed, or just acoustic?

    • insignifikunt

      An Oz tour is in the works for our Summer, so early next year!

  • Coke

    Definitely curious if there’s an age minimum, or if a kick ass resume speaks for itself.

  • Amanda Diana

    Id love to be a part of this. Is there an age restriction?

  • Smith

    When do we find out?

  • www.itbroker.ro

    no comment

  • confused in PDX

    Just trying to make sure I understand.. You raised over a million dollars on Kickstarted, you are making a world tour and charging admission at your performances, you are short on musicians for some of the pieces so you want local musicians to perform for FREE. Do I have that correct? For the record I am not a musician.

  • Disgusted

    Have you stopped to think about how CROOKED this all seems? You got your fans to pay your way, and now you’re asking for even more by trying to get musicians to back you up for free?! What did the million dollars go toward? What about the proceeds from this tour? You’re going to sell t-shirts, records and tickets to your fans who have already payed for the production of those items? Gross!

    • Victoria Racz

      I’m a professional musician and I’m disgusted by this as well. Thanks for speaking up.

  • Huh?

    What? You want musicians to perform for free? Are you performing for free yourself? How unprofessional can you get?

    • Luci

      She has performed for free in the past. And her album is available for download for free.

      • http://twitter.com/AnOrangeFellow Will Donelson

        Which would be impressive if 85% of all her profits weren’t made from live performances.

  • Bruce Fife

    This is just another example of someone who has “made it” to a highter level, and is now playing on the dreams and aspirations of others. It’s abusive. Notice that most of those posting here that want to perform for free for you are minors? Seems that they just don’t know any better, but I guess you’re teaching them a life lesson about “paying their dues” while offering them a chance at “stardom”, no matter how short lived (two songs). Doesn’t have to be this way. Show respect for your fellow professional musicians and pay them a fair wage for rehearsing and performing with you. It’s the honorable thing to do.

    • jmb

      They’re giving the fans merch. Personally, I’m not trying to play to be famous or anything, I just want a fun night on stage and I want to meet musicians I admire. They’re not forcing anybody to play, anyone who chooses to has volunteered themselves and probably for the same reason that I did. It’s really not that unreasonable.

      • Bruce Fife

        What do you do for a living? If someone agreed to come in and do your job for free, and that caused you to lose your job, because they just wanted to do it for fun, would that be ok with you? For those that perform at Amanda’s level, it’s a profession, as well as a passion, and if we are to truly support the art form, musicians need to be compensated fairly for their work so that they can have sustainable careers and become the best possible artists. If you want to do it for a fun night on stage, that’s great, but you should still be paid a fair wage for your work so you don’t undermine the professionals ability to make a living.

        • jmb

          I am currently a student but a studying to be a music teacher. I play trumpet and yes, I get paid to do so and get upset when people think that musicians are seen as obligated to play for free simply because they have a skill that they worked for. I understand your argument completely and in most situations I am actually the one on that side. However, they are asking for volunteers. People who WANT to do it for a tee-shirt or something (you know, what I would be spending my money on anyway if I were going to the show). It is a form of payment, and the only people who are going to sign up are people who want in. This is not causing anyone to lose their job, and if they don’t have enough volunteer I am certain they will pay musicians. It’s a grassroots effort to not have the expenses of taking 6 more musicians on tour and dealing with food, lodging, and other expenses beyond what they are actually getting paid. A shirt for a few minutes of work IS a fair wage. I enjoy the music. If I were being paid $25 I’d honestly just turn around and use it to buy merch anyway. If anything this is just more efficient.

          • Bruce Fife

            Everyone always has a reason why “this time”, it’s ok to work for free. She is requiring you to have skills, to come in and rehearse and then be there to perform. You should get all the perks being offered, plus compensation for the skill set you bring. You say it’s not causing anyone to loose their job, but then you say that they’re doing it to save expenses on touring musicians. It can’t be both. I guess you could technically say no one is loosing their job, but no one is being hired, and that’s the same basic thing. By the way, in most towns, all you have to do is pick up the phone to the Musicians Union and they have contractors that will put together whatever grouping of musicians you need, hence no tour costs for those musicians, just wages for the job they’re doing. And maybe you would spend the $25 (for a rehearsal and performance? Way to low.) on a shirt anyways, but the difference is, when you are paid for your performance, you get to decide how to spend it, whether it be on a shirt or maybe even rent.

          • violist

            You are completely missing the point. Woe betide your future students if this is the kind of attitude you have about music and musicians going in to a lifetime of teaching.

          • jmb

            I really don’t want to go here, but at least I can spell the word lose and I know which too to use (of course that’s too low, I’m just trying to make a point). And what I’m telling you is that I DID make the decision as to where to spend my money, and it’s the only reason I’d be willing to do this gig. Nobody is being forced into this, they are making the choice on their own, and that’s why it’s at least somewhat valid. I get the impression that this entire idea is more about camaraderie and including every city and every musician fan than it is about saving money. But since I’m clearly not going to get my point across in writing, it’s probably time to stop trying. It’s like trying to explain to the Chicago Teacher’s Union why NOW may not really be an appropriate time to strike.

          • calm

            Kid, there’s a time to assert a well-formed opinion (if you think you have one) to your peers and colleagues, and there is a time to be deferential to those who have come before you, have more experience than you, and are otherwise blazing a trail that you someday hope to enjoy.

            You have chosen poorly.

          • Unbiased

            I would have no particular side in this argument, except it makes me really angry to read how patronising you are to this guy, @jmb. I guess that is why I should never read this type of comment thread…

  • Juliet Andrien

    I think it’s an awesome stunt, and not just because it gets me into the show for free plus backstage and a T-shirt ($value on that, anybody? More than I generally make per set in my other brass band.) Seriously. You can’t call it the GRAND THEFT ORCHESTRA and then start PAYING people to be in it. Sheesh.

  • wtf afp?

    maybe we should do our own kickstarter to pay the musicians… oh wait…

  • Also confused in PDX

    You want me to come play for a hug and a beer and some merchandise? How insulting. You need to HIRE some musicians!

  • Allie

    It is beyond unprofessional and just sad that you, as a musician, are asking for experienced musicians and the skills and talent they bring and are not paying them. We have bills, debt and want to have a fulfilling career as well…just like the visual artists, web designers, band, etc., etc., etc., that you are paying. Musicians deserve to share in any financial compensation being given. This makes me very upset as I am a longtime fan.

  • amused_to_no_end

    i cant believe you actually said it out right that you want your fellow musicians to play for free. hahaha! and you have the guts to keep the post up? you are a brave brave self-claimed gift of god. bless you.

  • WorkingMusician

    Amanda Palmer. A million bucks from the people, and she don’t want to pay musicians to play with her. Nice going.

  • amused_to_no_end

    i cant believe you actually said it out right that you want your fellow musicians to play for free. hahaha! and you have the guts to keep the post up? you are a brave brave self-claimed gift of god. bless you.
    you are right, it is as good as the circus- at least the animals are protected by PETA.

  • K.Lucas

    You’ve got to be joking. There is a reason only children are replying with interest to this — because they don’t know any better. Shame.

  • amazonkris

    Are you fucking kidding me?! You raised over a million dollars from your supporters on Kickstarter, and you aren’t planning to pay the musicians you want to recruit from these respective cities?! SHAME ON YOU!!! If you can’t financially support this many cities with your full band, then you need to scale your tour back. I’m so disgusted by this!

  • HornistInPHX

    Sounds like the grand theft of the livelihoods of working musicians to me…you should be embarrassed at this sort of stunt. Are the stagehands and box office employees working for tshirts and hugs too? I think not.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nyates1 Nick Yates

    I’m a saxophone player with an honours degree in music performance. Playing and teaching is my livelihood, and unfortunately beer and hugs won’t pay my rent. If you want professional horns and strings, please pay them professional rates. Being a musician is hard enough without being exploited by other musicians.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dustyrex Meghan Birmingham

    I don’t even know who you are, and I’m really not interested in finding out. However, based on the post I read above, I can tell you that you have absolutely no character or integrity if you expect professional musicians to play for free. Perhaps you should remove “professional” from your post, because you clearly do not understand what that word means.

  • Lucia

    It is worth mentioning that we professional musicians were willing to play for token 50 dollars per person which is a fraction of what we would normally charge for a gig like this. Even that was denied to us. I am very saddened by this development.

  • Struggling Violinist

    Yeah sure!! I’m so psyched to have you bend me over and fuck me up the ass for some high fives and beers!! Awesome, man!!!

  • Eric Forman

    The “Grand Theft Orchestra” is aptly named. You are literally STEALING from qualified professional musicians. If you don’t believe that performing as a professional musician is LABOR, then you know nothing about live music. Laborers deserve to be paid. Pure and simple, no excuses.

  • HornistInPHX

    So much for discussion…my comment from earlier tonight night disappeared, which makes me embarrassed that much more for the promoters of this farce…actual discussion on this discussion board not allowed? Musicians deserve to be paid for the work we do, just as much as the stagehands and box office employees do. So much for supporting music.

  • LLG

    Are you fucking serious?!!? I suppose you’re doing this tour just for the fun of it? Are YOU getting paid in hugs and merch? Oh wait, that’s right, people GAVE you money before you even did anything. I hope no pro musicians donated to your fundraising. If they did they deserve a refund.

  • So Disappointed

    I hope you realise this page is going viral online- and not in a good way. Professional musicians around the world are reading your description and laughing at you. If I had donated to Kickstarter, I would rescind my donation upon reading this bull shit.

    Either you have no idea how much work it takes to play an instrument professionally, or you and your management are completely selfish. Good luck finding anyone who can actually play to join you on stage.

  • HornStar for hire

    The music community must fight to get paid by non-musicians on a daily basis, other musicians shouldn’t be supporting the idea that highly trained musicians should play for free for the “opportunity.” If you get paid, and the bartenders get paid, and the house manager gets paid, all the people on that stage should be getting paid.

  • Bbcorno

    You’ll probably end up getting what you pay for. Anyone who’s competent enough to show up to play a quick rehearsal then basically sight-read the gig is either already working that night, or wouldn’t consider showing up for free. There’s no such thing as “professional-ish”. If you want pros, hire pros. If you want volunteers, don’t ask for experienced players; be prepared to accept those folks who took lessons in 5th grade.

  • Cellist with rent to pay

    To any young musicians out there considering this offer: don’t take it! There are very few times you should work for free, like a charity benefit or your best friend’s wedding. I understand the urge to get yourself some exposure, make some new contacts, etc., but when you take up a scam like this you help to devalue the hard work that we all do. You will only be shooting yourself in the foot in the long term. Join the union and demand a fair wage for musicians!
    Now personally, I’m only a professional string player, not a professional-ish string-y player, so I’m pretty sure I don’t qualify.

  • S.leon

    Please don’t become yet another artist who doesn’t respect their own profession.
    Pay them.
    Cheat Walmart not a trained musician.
    I will have to boycott you both because there’s no difference.

  • http://www.facebook.com/raycurt Raycurt Johnson

    Are you coming to Washington, D.C.??? Fidla plays On…
    http://www.raycurt.com

  • http://twitter.com/dstarpro TheDebster

    Wow, who do you guys all think she is, Lady Gaga? Even she’s bankrupt! The point is the opportunity. I’ve been freelancing for free for years; I work a regular job to pay my bills. That’s most people. Get your head out of your collective asses, people.

    • LK

      It is difficult to make a living as a musician. That is precisely the point! I am a string pro (20 years in business) and like most pros I do not have a day job:). I need to keep my playing chops up, not sit somewhere answering phones from 9 to 5. We love playing but freelancing for us is NOT a hobby, it is work that puts food on the table and pays the rent. Yes, we are the lucky ones that actually love our jobs. Does that mean that we should not get paid because we enjoy our work?

    • Bruce Fife

      What’s the opportunity? To be disrespected by a peer who thinks so little of you that they’ll use you augment the show they’re charging people to attend. You are part of the problem. It’s fine to have another job to pay the bills, but when you freelance for free, you undermine the ability for Professional Musicians (those that are good enough or have chosen to have no other job) to earn a living wage. What you describe is not most people and certainly not most professionals. Unless and until you’ve been a full time working musician, you will never understand. It’s not about our heads in asses, it’s about respect and remuneration.

    • http://twitter.com/AnOrangeFellow Will Donelson

      She raised a million and is married to Neil Gaimen. You think she’s bankrupt, try talking to some of the horn players and violinists who are being paid in fucking high-fives.

  • tobin

    you make me sick.

  • new to viola

    Luckily my family belongs to a Co-op market where we can trade hugs and high-fives for groceries ! If my Dad can drive me, I’d like to play. Have to be done by 8:30, that’s my bedtime. Haven’t been playing long, I’m a very mature 11, but all my friends say I look at least 12.

  • http://www.facebook.com/francabb Franca Benedicty Barton

    As a serious amateur who truly enjoys making music with anyone who plays/sings at least as well as I do, this resonates something of a long and deep-seated guilt for “barging in” on professional musicians’ venues, especially if they are at all money-generating. To actively ask pros to work for free is truly beyond the pale. As a serious amateur, I select venues so that they do NOT compete with money-generating professional activity. I want to continue being invited, so I make sure I am NEvER taking the place of a pro who deserves compensation

  • P

    If she doesn’t want to pay, she won’t get good people. It’s a shame, but it’s her choice. Nobody has to take this gig if they don’t want to, and in a way, it’s really up to musicians to show standards in what sort of work they take. If you want these people to shrink into mediocrity and are in a position to do so as a professional musician, say no and compel your colleagues and students to say no so we can re-establish that music (and all things) should follow the ‘you-get-what-you-pay-for’ principal.

    I’m just curious if she truly understands that this decision has the potential to significantly detract from the quality of her concerts. If she assembles a bunch of people that will work for free, but don’t sound great, she ends up with a bunch of squeaky strings and clammy horns on stage. That’s just horrible. Isn’t that payback enough?

    • ECN

      The problem is, “it’s really up to musicians to show standards in what sort of work they take” only works in a world where there aren’t scabs deluded or desperate enough to not insist on fair compensation. That’s not the world we live in, and nothing will make it the world we live in. All we can do is make sure that everyone — all the artists we can reach, all the audience members we can tell — knows about these scummy business practices. Employers have all the power. They’ve always had all the power. If they set a price, someone will be dumb enough to take it. (Even if it’s zero. Heck, some people pay to perform.) Short of requiring unionization for all musicians, and somehow making that stick, outrage and word of mouth are the only weapons we have ad our disposal.

  • Disgusted

    Good luck. Assholes.

  • Tracy

    You’re a real jerk, Amanda Fucking Palmer.

  • Alex

    You should be ashamed of yourself. Recruiting pros to play for free hurts us all. PLAYING FOR FREE HURTS US ALL! Just say no!!!!!!

  • justin

    Clearly you have no respect for music or musicians. If you need plumbing work done, hire a plumber. If your fridge breaks, call the repair man. If you need horns, hire some horn players… or call the local high school and see if any kids want some experience.

  • HornNYC

    All pro musicians living in her tour cities – sabotage this crap if you have the night off. Put a fake name on a fake resume, play the rehearsal normally, then shit all over everything at the gig. Give her exactly what she’s paying for.

  • YesMassuhYouDaBoss

    With luck EVERY ONE of your shows will be boycotted by local, working, professional musicians. Efforts are in place to completely stop as many of your shows as possible through whatever legal means available until you are willing to pay ALL the professionals engaged in your for-profit international tour. This is the most extraordinarily abusive kind of request I can imagine.

  • Graham

    And with that you’ve gone from Amanda Fucking Palmer to Fucking Amanda Palmer. This is unbelievable. Absolutely one of the worst moves you could make and sad that you are trying to make it. I most certainly will not be attending, purchasing or listening to your music. Ever. You lost a fan and supporter.

  • http://www.facebook.com/safathemonkey Safa Shokrai

    I’m having a house concert at my place. You should bring your tour to my house and play for free. It’ll be great exposure for you.

    • BluePlasticStraw

      Amanda played tons of free shows last year. She did a free gig at the Occupy camp in every city she visited last fall. If you knew anything about her at all you’d know that if you want to see her play for free it’s entirely possible.

      • http://www.facebook.com/safathemonkey Safa Shokrai

        You’re missing the point. She is obviously getting paid for her work. She got paid at her concerts, which made it possible for her to do those free gigs. And I do know a little about her, I love her music, her aesthetic, and her performances.
        But the context here is what’s important. Musicians all around the country are struggling to make ends meet with pay scales that haven’t changed since the 1960’s. Musician’s unions are powerless. And more and more often, we see the industry edging out higher paying gigs. My average gig pays $50. Look anywhere and you see the same thing. Our society is teaching us to underpay and undervalue musicians. I can’t count how many times I’ve been offered a gig with no pay and been told “It’ll be great exposure for you!”
        Just like a doctor, lawyer, chef, whatever, musicians spend thousands of hours honing their skills. Arts spending is down, music is free to download/ stream and nobody makes money off records sales anymore (e.g., the record industry’s collapse).
        To have a fellow musician (and a high-profile one at that) not recognize that, not even to offer a token amount of cash, is disappointing at best.

        • http://www.facebook.com/Dalisair Robert Lee Andruszko

          Safa – is there a musician or band that you would KILL to perform with? An idol of yours? Now, assume they are touring. They put out a call for a couple of horns or strings and you happen to fit the bill. The trade off, you playing with your IDOL on stage in a live show, is you get no pay. Would you do it? THIS IS WHAT IS BEING OFFERED.

          You had never heard of her before this. Did you read the blog post where she did a quick and dirty run down of where the kickstarter money went? ( http://www.amandapalmer.net/blog/where-all-this-kickstarter-money-is-going-by-amanda/ ) Have you read her blog posts about traveling on tour? Have you done ANY research into the costs and the like?

          I am an artist as well. I don’t generally agree with unpaid gigs either. Nobody asks chefs to come and make a dinner for 10 people once a week for a month in the hope that it might turn into a paying gig. But that happens to musicians all the time. “Come play music at my restaurant once a week on this themed night. If you do well, I might have paying gigs in the future” is a common refrain we hear. I agree, that is complete CRAP. This is different. This is the chance to jam with an idol, and be part of the movement of getting rid of the record companies.

          If you have a way to look at the Kickstarter blogs, or learn a bit about Amanda, I’m sure you might change your thoughts at least a little. Or, you can just see the free musician call and stay on the righteous soapbox and not learn about the circumstances at all.

          • fairplay

            if that musician were even slightly ethical, they would kick their fellow musician a few bucks for their time… not only did this person rake in 1.2Million on kickstarter, there is the house take every night, of which I’m sure she gets a cut. I think you are the one who mentioned taxes, but taxes are paid on income after expenses for the most part. most businesses are exempt from paying sales tax on supplies, etc, though they do have to collect it on sales to end users.

          • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

            I think you’re imposing some unfair ethics on others here. Who are you to say that it is only ethical behavior if a musician were to “kick their fellow musician a few bucks for their time?” I find it fascinating. Say, for example, Justin Bieber asked for fans to come to the show to dance with him on stage but also wanted people to rehearse and be competent too. The media would be in a frenzy, saying how cool it was, what an opportunity/memory for die-hard fans to be a part! No one would be complaining about it devaluing professional dancers wages or that he was exploiting them.

            As a long time supporter of Amanda Palmer and a professional musician myself, I’d rather be a part of the experience, knowing that I added something cool to the show than to feel like a cheap whore who only has a few bucks at the end of the night.

          • Phil the Tremolo King

            well, amanda’s the pimp…but I guess pimps are cool now.

          • JAmes

            So playing without being paid is part of the moment to get rid of record companies? What happens when they’re gone? Will we play for free all the time?

          • mattyo

            Being part of a string section is not likely to be exactly “jamming with an idol”. Doing some fills off of a lead sheet is not quite the same as Bird inviting you for an after-hours jam on 52nd street. What people who are willing to do this are being paid in is social cachet, and the chance to post an iphone photo of them high-fiving the Famous Person on Facebook. The unspoken assumption of those who are willing to support this move is that she deserves to get paid, and they don’t. Basically the Republican politics of the moment.

          • http://twitter.com/TheNobleRobot The Noble Robot

            “is there a musician or band that you would KILL to perform with?”

            I think we all would say yes to that. But isn’t that exactly how she’s getting away with this?

            I mean, imagine you’re a skilled house painter. Now imagine that your favorite actor is John Hamm (of Mad Men fame), and he wants you to paint his house for free in exchange for a few beers and a chance to hang out with him for a few hours. Would you say yes?

            OF COURSE YOU WOULD! A chance to hang out with John Hamm! Sign me up at any cost. But… is that an ethical way for Jon Hamm to get his house painted?

          • http://www.facebook.com/safathemonkey Safa Shokrai

            You’re being awfully presumptuous, Robert. I actually HAVE heard of Amanda Palmer and I actually REALLY like her music. I’ve been a fan since the Dresden Dolls (before they toured with NIN by the way). And i did read the money breakdown. I didn’t say anything about that. Where did you get your presumptions?

            What i think is, if she can raise that much money through her fans, that’s a pretty strong indicator of the level of support she has, don’t you think? And when it comes to performances in public, usually strong support translates into $$$.

            I am a touring musician, I know very well the costs associated with touring, with paying musicians, and so forth. In fact, the very band i play in (much, MUCH, less successful than AFP) hired a string quartet in several cities to accompany us as part of our tour. and PAID THEM.

            And re: playing with you idols. Sure, that’d be great. And if Tom Waits, heck even if AFP asked me, I’d have serious moments of hesitation. Because I’d REALLY WANT TO. But that’s exactly the problem you see, i’d want to do it just like so many others. And by taking me on for free, said performer is exploiting my love for their own profit. Just pay a little bit. But i know that Tom Waits actually does pay his musicians, and quite well. And i think Amanda should too. She’s in a position where her actions go beyond her own little bubble. They affect the world. So be a strong, responsible model for the world instead of… this.

      • http://twitter.com/TheNobleRobot The Noble Robot

        So I would expect that these volunteer musicians will get the same level of exposure from their free performances, then? Will Palmer let her volunteer band play one of their own songs?

  • http://twitter.com/oddbird Nadina Mackie

    why is everyone so angry? you don’t have to play… it’s just an invitation to jump onstage to meet her and the band with the added bonus of some preparation, not some sweatshop project. … the collective indignation shows a lot of pain from previous experiences but i don’t think she intended to exploit anyone… there is room for a human, musicianly invitation to share a space… if we don’t have the freedom to make this choice, then we really are slaves

    • http://www.facebook.com/composers Anthony Joseph Lanman

      Well said!

    • ECN

      If you don’t have the freedom to be a scab… yeah, that’s what unions are about. If scabs aren’t punished, why would anyone pay anyone to do anything? Why wouldn’t every employer gouge every employee and potential employee as much as possible? Common decency? Well, there doesn’t seem to be any of that happening here…

  • you suck

    this is ridiculously stupid.

  • Mike Daugherty

    You suck! Seattle Local 76-493

  • Mike Daugherty

    If any musicians I know play for you, I will punch them in the stomach.

  • I guess I missed something

    I agree that professionally trained, professional musicians should be paid for their time and efforts. Here, though, I can’t know for sure, but to me, “professional-ish” looks
    like a nice way of saying “you played in the high school band/orchestra for
    four years, and, therefore, can perform in front of 100 or 200 people without
    fainting or spewing and can keep the beat with a bunch of other musicians, but
    then you graduated and went on to college to study archaeology, but still get a
    kick out of playing at your cousins’ bar mitzvahs or jamming at the local
    coffee shop’s open mic every month.” If that’s kinda like you, then you are
    professional-ish and can hack it.
    Now, let’s say a musician/band you’re a huge,
    adoring, long-time fan of asked you if you, whether you’e a Juilliard grad whose solos bring in more money than the entire violin section earns annually or someone who’s
    self-taught and whose sole experience is playing at church every Sunday for the
    good of God, wanted to come up onstage and play a dozen easy bars of music during
    the choruses of one of their songs. If you don’t do it, they won’t miss you–you volunteer. They’ll let you come into the show for
    free, enjoy a beer, and then walk away with a handful or two of merchandise. Would you say, “That would be great—do you want to sign the contract and pay
    the bill now or before the show?” If so, this “gig” isn’t for you.
    Whether we like it or not, AFP has a lot of fans who want to do this for the sheer thrill of playing a few bits on stage with someone they’ve probably loved obsessively for the past decade, no matter how harshly we judge them and try to make them feel badly about it. In this case, though, I don’t see the point of that.

  • too much angst

    I agree that professionally trained, professional musicians should be paid for their time and efforts. Here, though, I can’t know for sure, but to me, “professional-ish” looks
    like a nice way of saying “you played in the high school band/orchestra for
    four years, and, therefore, can perform in front of 100 or 200 people without
    fainting or spewing and can keep the beat with a bunch of other musicians, but
    then you graduated and went on to college to study archaeology, but still get a
    kick out of playing at your cousins’ bar mitzvahs or jamming at the local
    coffee shop’s open mic every month.” If that’s kinda like you, then you are
    professional-ish and can hack it.
    Now, let’s say a musician/band you’re a huge,
    adoring, long-time fan of asked you if you, whether you’e a Juilliard grad whose solos bring in more money than the entire violin section earns annually or someone who’s
    self-taught and whose sole experience is playing at church every Sunday for the
    good of God, wanted to come up onstage and play a dozen easy bars of music during
    the choruses of one of their songs. If you don’t do it, they won’t miss you–you volunteer. They’ll let you come into the show for
    free, enjoy a beer, and then walk away with a handful or two of merchandise. Would you say, “That would be great—do you want to sign the contract and pay
    the bill now or before the show?” If so, this “gig” isn’t for you.
    Whether we like it or not, AFP has a lot of fans who want to do this for the sheer thrill of playing a few bits on stage with someone they’ve probably loved obsessively for the past decade, no matter how harshly we judge them and try to make them feel badly about it. In this case, though, I don’t see the point of that.

  • too much angst

    I agree that professionally trained, professional musicians should be paid for their time and efforts. Here, though, I can’t know for sure, but to me, “professional-ish” looks
    like a nice way of saying “you played in the high school band/orchestra for
    four years, and, therefore, can perform in front of 100 or 200 people without
    fainting or spewing and can keep the beat with a bunch of other musicians, but
    then you graduated and went on to college to study archaeology, but still get a
    kick out of playing at your cousins’ bar mitzvahs or jamming at the local
    coffee shop’s open mic every month.” If that’s kinda like you, then you are
    professional-ish and can hack it.
    Now, let’s say a musician/band you’re a huge,
    adoring, long-time fan of asked you if you, whether you’e a Juilliard grad whose solos bring in more money than the entire violin section earns annually or someone who’s
    self-taught and whose sole experience is playing at church every Sunday for the
    good of God, wanted to come up onstage and play a dozen easy bars of music during
    the choruses of one of their songs. If you don’t do it, they won’t miss you–you volunteer. They’ll let you come into the show for
    free, enjoy a beer, and then walk away with a handful or two of merchandise. Would you say, “That would be great—do you want to sign the contract and pay
    the bill now or before the show?” If so, this “gig” isn’t for you.
    Whether we like it or not, AFP has a lot of fans who want to do this for the sheer thrill of playing a few bits on stage with someone they’ve probably loved obsessively for the past decade, no matter how harshly we judge them and try to make them feel badly about it. In this case, though, I don’t see the point of that.

    • jmb

      Thank you. I realize that you people here will ridicule me, but I am a professional musician, and that’s exactly where I’m coming from here. Nothing more, nothing less, just a chance to collaborate in whatever small way with one of my favorite musicians.

  • Mike Daugherty

    Grand Theft is a good name for you, because you are stealing money from real musicians.

  • Professional Musician

    As a professional orchestral musician, I’m offended by this. We have enough problems fighting the boards and business organizations in control of our paychecks that believe we shouldn’t be paid a fair living wage; now we have to defend our work to other musicians as well? I had a pair of tickets to the Detroit show – count me out. I hope to see an apology or retraction, Ms. Palmer.

  • http://www.facebook.com/linden.killam Linden Killam

    What does that merch include? Is there a shirt that says “I played for a touring ‘orchestra’ and all I got was this T-shirt”?

  • SonicZen

    Wow. Lots of haters!

    I predict these shows will get exactly the musicians they deserve, putting only as much effort into it as they want to. I see no foul play in that. I hope that no one will take the gig unless they’re comfortable with it. I think it sounds like a lot of fun, personally. If I’m not busy that night (a Wednesday in SF) I think this would be a blast to do!

    I love to play music, and it’s helpful when I can get paid for it too. That’s my philosophy. I’m not in it for the money. But after 5-10 years of doing it for the love (and working construction on the side), I was getting paid enough to support myself full-time. I play trombone, run a small recording studio, and haven’t worked construction in the past 7 years.

    I have never felt that playing for free undermines my worth as a musician. If someone invites you to play a show (for free) and you show up and kick ass, that performance has value whether you were paid for it or not. And the next time that band plays, they’ll think of you and want you to come play. And if it’s worth it to them they’ll be willing to pay. If you can’t afford to play with them for free because you have to do other higher-paying work (musical or otherwise) to pay your bills, then that’s the deal. And if you’re worth it to them they’ll come up with the money to hire you for the price you’re asking. You’ve got to make yourself indispensable, so that they want you so much they’re willing to pay what you ask.

    If you’re not indispensable, you’re not a professional musician.

    • jay

      Totes. I’m sure Amanda isn’t “in it for the money” either. :/

      The reason everyone is angry about this is likely because many of these fans have supported Amanda over the years WITH MONEY and by the looks of it from her recent Kickstarter campaign, lot’s of it. That she can’t share a portion of that back with her supporters by financially compensating them for their time and dedication TO HER is insulting and disappointing. I think the idea itself is lovely – but it needs to be respectful and appreciative – hugs and a beer do not equal respect for me personally.

      • jay

        *lots

  • musician

    You should be ashamed! This attitude that professional musicians should play for free in exchange for beer and hugs is destructive to the profession. If you want professional musicians you should pay for them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michelle.castleberry1 Michelle Castleberry

    So do professional musicians ever sit in on a few songs with other musicians they like for nothing more than a shout-out (or a beer)? Do they ever have impromptu unpaid jams? AFP was offering a chance to sit in, y’all, not a gig. I agree that professional creative people should be paid for their work, absolutely, but I am frankly confused as to how this invitation to sit in was confused as some kind of entitlement to be paid for a actual gig.

    • Zepi

      It’s not really a sit in if you have to practice the sheet music and rehearse and such. I think the main contention that seems to be getting missed is that she asked for basically professional skills (high competency on the instrument, ability to read sheet music, play in an ensemble, follow a conductor, be able to do this all in advance and a very quick rehearsal beforehand) – and asking for basically audition tapes from musicians. These are pretty much pro-level skills for a session musician, so hence why people want to be compensated and treated as such. If it was “hey come jam and make a big collective cool wall of sound on two songs for the love of it all” that would be super awesome. However, because there’s a real skill set involved I see why people are upset.

      • http://www.facebook.com/michelle.castleberry1 Michelle Castleberry

        Zepi, thanks for responding. I get that the “professional-ish” label is what people are reacting to, the expectation of a certain level of skills. So the fact that there’s music and prep negates it from being that “hey come jam…collective wall of sound…on two songs” thing you described? Usually stage sharing (and I’ve seen jazz guys do it with charts, btw) is limited to musicians who sort of know each other and the level of player they are. Here, someone is offering that to basically random strangers to play with, hence the filter of the audition. I live in a town with an amazing amount of very talented players, which means they often don’t get paid what they’re worth. So I am with everybody about getting paid to work, but I still don’t understand how being asked (of your own free will to just decline or accept) to play a couple of songs equals the expectation of a paid gig. If gaining that level of skills means you expect to get paid every time you pick up the instrument, that rules out a lot of playing. I just wonder if the anger at a culture that doesn’t value artists is getting lashed out at a woman who wanted to open her stage a little bit. I get the anger, just think it’s going toward the wrong target.

        • Origami_Isopod

          Musicians practice a lot, and they jam with one another socially, without an audience. That adds up to a lot of skill-building opportunities.

          AFP didn’t create the culture of undervaluing artists, true, but she’s contributing to it. “Every snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty.”

        • ECN

          The difference is, if you already have a concert and someone offers to sit in, that’s a nice little added bonus. In this case, subtract the additional musicians and YOU DON’T HAVE A CONCERT. Ms. Palmer is not touring with a full band, and it sounds as though she’s expecting these unpaid scabs to play the entire opening set.

          • Luci

            No, I’m sorry but “a nice little added bonus” is exactly what’s being asked for here. Subtract the additional musicians and you still have the band, who would still be able to perform the material from the album.
            I did see a song that did require horns being played on a live-streamed gig to celebrate the albums release, and she did specifically state that she would not be able to do the song without it. But it was a fun cover of ‘careless whisper’ which seemed more a joke than anything else. It certainly doesn’t a concert make and the set could’ve survived without it.

          • ECN

            Good. If whatever you have left over from the Kickstarter, plus the $600,000 (or so — add merch, subtract venue rental, etc.) in tour revenues can’t support the bonus performers you want to add, guess what? You don’t need those performers. You’ll have to go on without an opening act, but you don’t need those performers. You probably should have considered that when you were making your budget.

            “I can’t afford to do this thing I envision and do it ethically” is not an excuse for doing a thing unethically. Do what you can afford.

          • Luci

            No, you don’t need those performers, but it would be nice to have them – and even better if you’re giving someone the chance to do something they really want to do. You haven’t really defined how that’s unethical – ethically it seems fine to me.

            Equating affordability with ethics seems very odd. She’s been doing things for years that she can’t afford – she’s been the very definition of a struggling artist and the fans have helped her out. This isn’t really any different.

            If you can’t afford to tour you shouldn’t tour? Why not? Say you don’t have the money to tour, your record label isn’t supporting you financially, but people really want to hear your music so are willing to help with some of the costs – food, lodging, transport. Is it wrong to take them up on it? Is it wrong to ask?

            She’s been doing this for years – it’s how she’s built her fanbase. I don’t consider it unethical, I consider it reciprocal.

            I can of course understand the argument that musicians should get paid for their work, as should anybody else, but there’s no paid job here to lose – not least by someone helping for free for their own enjoyment.

    • mr cags

      michelle – musicians who play at jam sessions, show up and play, they don’t rehearse, generally aren’t conducted and don’t do it in front of sold out audiences in the hundreds or thousands who have paid 20 bucks a ticket. This is demeaning to professional musicians who have spent hours and hours perfecting their craft and just plain wrong. Would you do what you’ve chosen as your profession for free? I imagine you may be one of those people who demands annual raises and healthcare for what you do…. which is NORMAL! Please consider that musicians have to eat and even a TOKEN payment is proper. Hell, She could pay $50 bucks a person and she’d find qualified professional people to take the gig. She just raised 1.2 million bucks to produce an album, which is a HUGE budget by major label standards and has made 20 grand selling t-shirts on twitter in a day (using a “borrowed” image) I think she could come up with $500 bucks per show to pay for some side musicians. Do you think she’s playing for free? I highly doubt it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/christopher.bingham1 Christopher Bingham

    Man, I’ve had a band since 1997 and they get paid every show. It’s not a lot, but it’s more than a token. If I can’t pay the musicians, I don’t ask them to play, I can’t imagine being given over a million dollars by my fans and then asking local players to come play for “hugs and a beer.” Even a $50 token at least shows that value their effort and experience.

    I admired your ability to connect with fans and make your music and raise money, even if if your work didn’t knock me over. Now I’m just kind of slack jawed.

  • Bystander

    Yes, she DID raise 1.2 million from a kick starter. Have you read her blog post about how almost every single cent of that money was accounted for? Probably not. but here is another thought. To get 4 horns and 4 strings to tour, if they share 2 to a room, at an average cost of 100 a room for a night, and 100 for food/expenses per day per person, + an average of 200 travel costs to each show, and all 33 shows, that is already $50000! That is not even counting the fact that there will be multiple plane tickets in there, as well as the costs for hiring each person. So You are looking at over $100 000 for the orchestra! She publicly stated, she is taking home less than that herself after all is said and done from the kick starter. Honestly, if I had maintained my practice on my instrument and could do this, I would do it in a heart beat! To play for my favourite artist would be an honour. She isn’t forcing you, she is asking for volunteers.

    • Thomas

      $50,000 is merely 5% of $1 million. Also, with classical players, we don’t need to travel, you can hire us readily in any city for a decent rate, and we don’t need a room or per diem because we already live here.

      • Pete

        She is also not putting these gigs on for free. She will be charging for, & she will be profiting from, ticket sales.

        • Demure

          Thomas and Pete: Exactly, and she will be profiting mightily, in all probability. I would have no problem with the “volunteer professional-ish” invitation if the concerts were free, or the proceeds went to charity, but they don’t. They go to FAP. Sorry- AFP.

          • Luci

            “Yes, she DID raise 1.2 million from a kick starter. Have you read her blog post about how almost every single cent of that money was accounted for?”
            “$50,000 is merely 5% of $1 million.”
            “Thomas and Pete: Exactly, and she will be profiting mightily, in all probability.”
            /facepalm
            Please read the aforementioned blogpost where, to paraphrase, she says in all probability she’ll barely break even. The money is accounted for, so $50,000 may merely be 5% of $1 million, but where is it going to come from?
            http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/amandapalmer/amanda-palmer-the-new-record-art-book-and-tour/posts/232020

          • ECN

            If by “break even”, you mean “pay off $250,000 in personal debts”, sure.

            If by “break even”, you mean “throw money around until you haven’t got any more, then try to stiff the next guy because you don’t have the money you just threw around”… well, that would explain how someone managed to get $250,000 in debt.

    • disheartened long time fan

      you’re ignoring the albums she sold outside of kickstarter, the merch she will sell outside of kickstarter, the ticket prices for each venue, all the stuff on bandcamp, her incredibly low cost of living, all that stuff. Artists like Joseph Arthur pull off tours on a shoestring of a budget and still manage to put out albums for free, and assumedly pays people to play with him (unless they are friends of his or something)

      • disheartened long time fan

        I mean didn’t she charge like 3k to show up at someone’s house to play a set with a uke? there’s like, next to no overhead in that at all. If you expect your backing band to be doing it “just for the music” you should be doing the same

    • ECN

      So she’s justified in cheating professional musicians out of a paycheck because she’s too irresponsible to handle her own finances? Wonderful… the blind leading the blind, here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alecn Alec Toast Nicholson

    I’m not a full-time professional musician. I’m a music graduate who does both paid and unpaid work in theatre orchestra pits few weeks of the year. I love playing, and my main (also music-related) job pays the bills and lets me treat playing as a hobby, all of which suits me fine. Most of the people who play in the bands and orchestras along side me are very capable players, but also are doctors, teachers, students etc… people for whom playing their instrument isn’t their full-time day job but something they do because they enjoy playing. To all the people complaining about Amanda giving people like me an opportunity to do something we love – 1) YOU DO NOT OWN MUSIC, it’s for all of us to do whenever, however, and for whatever renumeration we want (or are able to command…) 2) There is a large middle ground between Itzhak Perlman and Little Johnny Who’s Just Had His Third Trumpet Lesson; stop pretending that if she chooses not to hire the former, the latter is the only remaining scenario: it’s patently false and is clutching at straws. 3) Shame on you all for suggesting no-one should pick up an instrument except for money; the hypocrisy is unbelievable, since not a single professional musician EVER got that way without gaining experience first by performing without being paid – ie playing in school bands, University or Conservatoire orchestras & recitals, competitions, exams… 4) As a wider issue, expecting other people to conform to your beliefs is problematic – “I don’t want to play music without getting paid, so you shouldn’t either” sounds (to me) a lot like “I don’t want to marry someone of the same gender as me, so no-one should be allowed to” or “I don’t eat meat from this particular animal so we should ban everyone from doing so”. Well… in a world of so many people, we can’t all have it all our own way. So by all means don’t volunteer to play for Amanda; don’t buy her albums or gig tickets if her attitude offends you; state your objections here or elsewhere; but spend a further moment reflecting on whether it’s more harmful to YOU for me to play for free at her show, or more harmful to US ALL for you to feel I shouldn’t be free to choose to do so if I wish.

    • eflash

      you are awesome

      • http://twitter.com/sinemsaniye Sinem Saniye

        agreed :)

    • ECN

      Well, it’s less “I don’t want to play music without getting paid, so you shouldn’t either” and more “by choosing to play music for free, you’re denying a professional musician who needs the work of his or her rightful compensation.” So really, you’re the one making the choice for other people here — and by “making the choice”, what I really mean is “stabbing them in the back.”

      It’s wonderful that you’re in a position to treat music as a hobby — maybe you’re selling yourself short, maybe not. But if this kind of cheat became standard practice, EVERYONE would have to treat music as a hobby. it’s not a “belief” — it’s an economic reality. There’s always someone dumb, desperate, or deluded enough to become a scab… that’s what unions are for.

      • http://www.facebook.com/alecn Alec Toast Nicholson

        Is it stabbing someone in the back if you change the oil in your own car rather than taking it to a mechanic and paying them? Or fix your own leaking tap rather than call a plumber? What if you help your elderly neighbour and fix HER tap to save her the expense of a call out? What if you give your wife a lift to work so she doesn’t have to phone a cab, are you stabbing cab drivers in the back? After all, they have a right to be paid to do their job, even though other people who aren’t professional cab drivers are able to drive cars? What if it’s your wife’s friend? Or someone you met once at a party? Or a hitchhiker?

        There are two arguments at work, an economic one and a philosophical one. JS Mill’s argument about the “harm” done by legitimate competition is very relevant here and no-one has made a better job of arguing the case here on Amanda’s blog than he does. If two people apply for a job, the one who gets it does real and material harm to the other person who doesn’t (whether or not there’s a discrepancy in the salary they’ll work for). There’s no way around that – you can’t for example compel employers to employ everyone who applies. Mill’s point is that Amanda’s freedom to ask someone to do something, and my freedom to agree to do it, are more valuable than artificial constructions that attempt to prevent the “harm” done to others with whom we chose not to contract. All western democracies agree, and it’s a founding premise of all legal structures. So… “denying… rightful compensation” is a flawed way to look at this because you only have a RIGHT to be compensated for work you did for an agreed price, not work you’d like to have done, but didn’t do (for whatever reason, including someone else doing it cheaper). The musician may “need work”, but who is ***obligated*** to provide it? Certainly not Amanda…

        The economic argument is another matter. I’m an American who lives in the UK and Unions function VERY differently on the two sides of the Atlantic. I regret that Thatcher destroyed so much of the Unions’ power here (miners and printers in particular), but it happened… and talk of legal (or other) action to prevent gigs because of people working for free is something that would just baffle and bemuse people here. Having seen how easily the unions were eventually all but demolished, I feel strongly that the long term hope should rest with persuading people of the value of your job, not threatening people and using collective power to build or prolong artificial or unsustainable expectations. The cabin crew at British Airways are an example of what I mean – they went on strike over pay in a year that BA lost three hundred million pounds (despite earning on average 50% more than cabin crew on other airlines, so bankrupting BA and having to work elsewhere was NOT in their interests!) It’s great that Broadway pit players are unionised and get a fair wage, and the union rules help keep people in work by making it harder to save money by expecting people to play six instruments … But even within that framework, eg a production of West Side Story can sack five string players and play those parts on one keyboard instead… My point is that ultimately the market WILL decide what the value of someone’s labour is, and it WILL be subject to laws of supply and demand as with any product, like it or not. Unions can help strengthen people’s bargaining position, but only within limits.

        As things stand, there are NOT eight or whatever JOBS going for professional musicians on stage with Amanda at each show. She’s just not offering that work, so it mystifies me that people are talking about the jobs that musicians are being cheated out of. Perhaps she could, and perhaps she should, but it’s SURELY her prerogative to work out the details of the economic risk she’s taking with each decision about the shows. Coincidentally I work at one of the venues she’ll be playing at so I know those specific costs at least (and anyway it’s a separate thing from the kick-starter, which related to recording and fabricating the album)… but it’s easy to vastly underestimate the costs of touring, and it’s not long since tours (at all levels, even by very famous bands who sell a lot of tickets) were very often done AT A LOSS but done anyway to support album sales. From our perspective as a venue, even a sellout show can sometimes struggle to break even. The big numbers you get when you multiply ticket price by ticket sales are so far from the truth of anything it’s just mind-blowing – e.g. in the UK there’s a 20% tax on every ticket sold (not on the profit you make at the end of it, though there’s that too of course…) so discussion of how much money Amanda has available for musicians may not be based on accurate guesses…

        Ultimately the two sides of this debate are too far apart to meet; I hope everyone who plays with her has fun, and I hope everyone who objects nonetheless has a prosperous career. I’m off back to the piano to continue practising some Bach, whose gift to us all from a world before record labels or copyright or unions (or Internet blog arguments), and who presumably therefore saw the business as subsidiary to the art, will underpin my conviction that music should be played by anyone who wants under whatever circumstances they choose.

      • Luci

        The fact is, as has already been stated many times, the reason volunteers are being asked for is that it would be too expensive. I understand that’s hard for some of you to swallow when you’ve read a “Amanda Palmer gets 1 million on kickstarter!” headline, but that was for producing a record. The breakdown of costs is here. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/amandapalmer/amanda-palmer-the-new-record-art-book-and-tour/posts/232020
        record aside, she’s touring as she’s always toured – on a shoe-string and relying on the kindness of strangers (often it’s been for food, lodging). as such, no one is stealing a paid job from anyone in the fanbase who chooses to volunteer – there is no paid job available. The gig would simply go ahead without strings or horns (which was only wanted for a few songs).
        She has a paid band to support her. But she’s also solo gigged with a piano and a ukulele. If no one wanted to volunteer it wouldn’t be a problem. So he’s not making a choice for anyone else here but himself. And that’s up to him.
        Seriously – pick your battles. This isn’t it, you’ve got the wrong end of the stick.

  • abby_road

    So sick of her bleating ego trashing my Twitter feed, my Facebook feed, and just about everything else. Now she wants people I know to give away their hard earned skills to suit HER cause. Enough. I’m out!

  • Chuck Padgett

    Are all of you being paid for the comments you have posted here? If not, shame on you! How can you live with yourself, taking your apparently VERY valuable time to write something for FREE knowing full well that there are professional writers out there who could be making money writing something. You are taking money out of THEIR pockets!

    • Origami_Isopod

      Stupid analogy is stupid.

  • Danielle

    Even though I am a huge fan, I didn’t know about the controversy surrounding this request until my husband brought it up. He’s an audio engineer at an ASU Gammage venue as well as a local jazz club, and supposedly there was communication from someone involved with this to one of his bosses about sourcing musicians for the show in Phoenix. I am of mixed feelings about this (mostly because there was some possibly anti-union sentiment being thrown about and that upsets me greatly as I come from a family of Teamsters and my husband and in-laws are all union as well. But I don’t even know who said what, what was actually said, or if what was said was misconstrued or inferred). On one hand I know what it’s like for creative professionals, especially in such an anti-union and art hostile state as Arizona. It effects my family on a personal level on a day to day basis.
    But as someone who has been a fan for a while, when I read this request, I thought it sounded par for the course. This is not out of the ordinary for Amanda’s projects. It’s about connecting with the fans and creating something different and unique every night. I get it. If I knew how to play an instrument I’d be the first to sign up. And I’m not some child like some of the other comments have suggested anyone who might like to participate in this would be. She’s asking for volunteers! I know a few people who aren’t professional musicians but are talented enough to meet the experience level Amanda is asking for. A friend of mine plays guitar and sings humorous songs as the opening act for a local sketch comedy troupe and he doesn’t get paid a dime. And he does it for every show, three nights a week for four weeks at a stretch. He does it because he likes it, because it’s something different, because it’s fucking fun.
    As someone else already pointed out, this probably doesn’t have as much to do with money as it does giving fans the chance to be a part of the experience. What other artist sends out an open invitation for fans to join them on stage every night? I think if no one wanted to do it for merch/hugs/beer, then it wouldn’t come down to hiring musicians to fill those slots, but more like they just wouldn’t have those instruments that night. No other artist gives their fans so many opportunities to connect with them as Amanda Palmer. If you’re not a fan and you don’t want to volunteer your time, no one is forcing you to. If you’re a fan, it seems to me, the chance of a lifetime.

    • HappyHappyJoyJoy

      Your buddy that plays for free 3 nights a week, “for fun”, pays his bills with another job. He also helps reinforce the stupid notion that “playing for fun and for free” is an acceptable business practice. Guess what…it’s still FUN when you get paid…Imagine that.

      As a teamster, your post smacks of hypocrisy.

    • ECN

      Is the “local sketch comedy troupe”‘s show selling $20,000 in tickets per date? If so, and if he doesn’t demand his share of that, he’s a fool and a traitor to the comedy business. Hell, he can interpret “his share” however he wishes — but “nothing” is clearly not a valid interpretation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/philip.maguire.5682 Philip Maguire

    Disgraceful. The shear bald-faced arrogance of you!
    I’m appalled that fellow musicians who have ‘made it’ as yourselves can so quickly forget the day’s of lentil supper’s, beans on stale toast and dodging the landlord when the rent’s due. How can you possibly be so shameless as to ask musician’s who are ‘free'(read unemployed) to go to the gig (do you expect them to buy tickets too?) and play for nothing. Please think about what you are doing here.

  • Gabe Langfur

    I hope you’re getting the picture from all these comments that what you’re asking is unreasonable. Professional musicians get paid professional fees. Professional-ish musicians get professional-ish fees. Amateurs play for free. I’ve been a professional trombonist for 20 years, and when I play for free it’s either to benefit a greater cause or for a friend that truly can’t afford to pay me.

    • nzlemming

      If it’s that unreasonable, she won’t get any takers. How does this actually affect you?

      • http://twitter.com/siobhangx Siobhan Gibson

        It affects all professional musicians. This kind of thinking, that it’s okay to plough hundreds of man hours into a job for free “because you love what you do” is great if someone’s just given you a million dollars. Not so great if you have rent to pay. We can’t keep encouraging this concept that it’s okay to ask people who work in the creative industries to do so for free.

  • Chris Siebert

    Dear Amanda Palmer,

    I’ve been a professional touring musician for 23 years, and I’ve never heard of you until today. With all due respect, your request for free labor sounds like a promotional gimmick dreamed up by a corporate republican who has no concept of the history of working people in this country. Americans fought and died for the right to have a union, for fair pay, for a forty-hour work week, for the concept of a weekend, and for the dignity of all labor. And working people are still fighting for a living wage, health care and pensions in the USA, the stingiest of all industrial democracies.

    I have learned that you raised a million dollars through kickstarter. That’s a lot of money. And the best you can do is come up with a scheme to take advantage of desperate musicians by reinforcing everything that’s wrong with the music business and the modern American economy? I would expect this sort of exploitation from a record label, a retail chain, or a music venue, but it’s shocking coming from a musician.

    I believe that you could turn this around for yourself by offering an apology, retracting this sad publicity scheme immediately, and replacing it with a serious job offer to hire a string and horn section for union scale in each city that you peform in. You would still generate excitement by hiring relatively unknown local players, with the added bonus of paying them a fair wage. Now that would would be some great publicity, and lead people to sing your praises nationwide.

    Anything less would get you even more negative press at this point, and demonstrate a stubborn refusal to listen to your musical compatriots. You deserve a second chance. Show some heart and some guts, and stand up for what we all know is right.

    With hope and respect,
    Chris Siebert

    • Stephen LeBlanc

      Any way you put it, asking musicians to play for free is total BS. Pro or not, musicians need to be paid. No matter how cute the request or how ‘AMAZING’ the music…it’s plain wrong and offensive.

      • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

        Asking friends or fans to volunteer a few hours (or even a day of their time) for fun and to create art is up to them. If people aren’t willing/can’t afford to take the day to do so, it’s up to them.

        When I was a professional photographer, touring bands would ask me to take some pics, I was happy to do so. It was a lot of fun and I got memories that money can’t buy. If people have a skill/talent and want to share it, it’s up to them. There’s nothing wrong or offensive about this. It’d be different if there was a misleading promise of fame and fortune, with only disappointment in the end. But there are no empty promises of payment here. It’s just a call for a jam session.

        • Chris Siebert

          You have to hand it to Amanda Palmer, because we’re all talking about her. I don’t want to pick on her, but her publicity scheme seems to run counter to the interest of musicians in this country, and, I believe, sets a very bad precedent for national touring artists.

          I’m surprised at some of the comments here. I think a lot of folks are confusing non-profit arts ventures and other various artistic projects that generate little or no revenue with Amanda Palmer’s publicity campaign and tour, which seems aimed at self-promotion at the expense of desperate musicians. Far from being a small-time “labor of love”, she has raised 1.2 million dollars, and will also take in a lot of money from ticket sales and merchandise.

          True, she’s not forcing anybody to take this freebie gig, but, while claiming (somewhat self-righteously, in my view) to be creating a new music business model, she’s in fact just reinforcing the old model where everybody in the music business (lawyers, accountants, publicists, venue staff, production crew, record labels, distributors, manufacturers, concession and merchandise interests, etc.) gets paid except the musician.

          I can’t tell anybody what to do with their talent, but I’d like to suggest that if musicians do freebie or cheapo gigs, which devalue our profession in the labor market, they should benefit someone or some organization who really needs it, such as a friend or colleague in need of health care. Unless we’re independently wealthy, we all have limited time to donate free labor, and perhaps we can set some priorities in the current economic crisis. Musicans can do so much to raise money and awareness for peace, human rights, voting rights, environmental sanity, public education, single-payer health care, a woman’s right to choose, the alleviation of poverty and a living wage and decent working conditions for all of our citizens.

          There is so much work to be done. According to the Children’s Defense Fund,

          “In 2010, 16.4 million children were poor in the United States, and 7.4 million of those children lived in extreme poverty

          1st in gross domestic product
          1st in number of billionaires
          1st in number of persons incarcerated
          1st in per-capita health expenditures
          1st in defense expenditures
          1st in military weapons exports
          6th in per-capita education expenditures
          13th in teen suicide rates
          17th in reading scores
          22nd in low birthweight rates
          23rd in science scores
          29th in infant mortality rates
          31st in math scores
          31st in the gap between the rich and the poor
          Worst in relative child poverty
          Worst in adolescent birth rates
          Worst in adolescent birth rates (ages 15 to 19)
          Worst in divorce rates
          Worst in lifetime use of cocaine, marijuana, and tobacco
          Worst in protecting our children against gun violence

          The United States and Somalia (which has no legally constituted government) are the only two United Nations members that have failed to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.

          If we compare just Black child well-being in America to child well-being in all other nations, according to UNICEF:

          -67 nations have lower infant mortality rates including Thailand and Costa Rica
          -114 nations have a lower incidence of low birthweight, including the Dominican Republic, Nigeria, and Kazakhstan.”

          http://www.childrensdefense.org/child-research-data-publications/data/soac-2012-handbook.pdf

          Amanda Palmer is a big believer in donating one’s labor, and has no qualms about asking others to work for free to benefit her career. If she was to donate her tour profits and considerable talent for self-promotion to the Children’s Defense Fund, for instance, I’d say we should all cheer her on.

          • http://www.facebook.com/hotrod213 Chris Ellington Long

            you have no class….

          • Coin Operated Boy

            Who are out of your effing mind. You have never heard of Amanda Palmer, haven’t been to her shows, and you’re buying in to a faux controversy based on what you’ve “heard” about the situation. Amanda got out of a record deal with Road Runner Records to be able to play her music on her own terms. She’s not really in this for the money or the fame. I know you wouldn’t know, based on your lack of success as a musician, but $1M isn’t that much money when it comes to recording an album, paying a band, running a tour. She’s not wealthy, nor is she trying to be. Her shows are interactive – she let’s fans sing on stage, shows fan submitted photos during the show, reads fan submitted writing. Sorry if you don’t get it, but the thousands of us who backed her on Kickstarter and have supporter here since the Dresden Dolls do GET it. Go play your trombone and get a life and career of your own.

          • Chris Siebert Sucks

            Chris – apparently you don’t get a lot of paid gigs, since you have so much time to write this nonsense. I think all this backlash you started is your own “sad publicity scheme.”

          • Amanda Palmer Sucks

            Thanks for the insight, Amanda.

        • http://twitter.com/Tekaaah Ester G.

          As a professional photographer, I tell you are a stupid, or are not a real photographer or not have bills to pay. I have much fun taking photos of bands and concerts, and never for free. I value my talent.

          • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

            It did nothing to devalue my services. I chose what gigs to do pro bono, which ones to charge. The same with my band. Sometimes we do gigs for free or donate our time to help another touring artist, sometimes we charge. It just depends on the situation but it doesn’t cheapen the industry at all.

            If anything, being open to things increased demand and value. Me choosing to donate my services opened up opportunities to fly around the world taking photos and led to being introduced to some incredible, legendary musicians, which in turn helped launch my band’s career.

            To make blanket statements about someone’s talent or business model based on a one paragraph comment in a thread is the stupid action.

          • JD

            dude you took pics for Bono?
            tiiighhtt

          • Heather

            JD. “Pro bono” means for free. Not for Bono, singer of U2. I don’t know if English is your first language or not, but either stop skimming comments so fast, or if you don’t know a term look it up- the internet has plenty of free dictionaries. However, if your usage of ‘common’ slang has any bearing, I think you might need to pick up a dictionary and some more advanced literature and learn something.

          • JD

            it was a joke, but thanks for the lesson

          • Alex
          • Ann-Dee

            When trying to lecture someone, get your facts straight, Heather: “Pro Bono”, although commonly used, is a LATIN term, it’s not English. Also, it doesn’t mean “for free”, it means “for the public good” or “for charity”. Splitting hairs, maybe…
            For the record, English is neither my first nor second language.

          • mitsukurina

            He’s making fun of you.

          • Amanda Palmer

            Best. Misunderstanding. Ever.

          • Backstabber

            Did you photograph that great cartoon cat picture in your avatar? A real artist who values their talent wouldn’t use that to represent themselves.

          • http://twitter.com/Tekaaah Ester G.

            HAHAHA So you can’t do better against my arguments and all you can do is attack my AVATAR? And thanks for paying my bills and getting the right to say what i should use to represent myself… what a pity.

        • Tottal

          In no way, sir, is this a “call for a jam session.” Ms. Palmer is charging professional-level ticket prices, performing at professional venues, with room capacities of over 1000. These are first-tier concerts. Musicians deserve to be compensated financially for these sorts of performances, just as Ms. Palmer will be. She will be earning a profit on each show, assuming that her tour is a success. Her supporting artists should too.

          • DCL

            I agree. It is hard as an artist to make a decent buck. Bring me up to speed. Amanda Palmer?. I was a haircutter and I volunteered time for some Vidal Sasson presentations . Did hair for him backstage . I have also foregone “pay” in exchange for an autographed picture. On my resumee , it looks good to say I did those things because their fame give me great credentials . But ain’t gonna happen for Suzie Creemcheeze. Suzie has to pay.

            This may be the hottest celeb in the world . I tend to prefer yesteryear to the horrors of today so things get past me. I just heard of Honey BooBoo a couple days ago. That’s how out of it I am…

          • Coin Operated Boy

            Oh shut the hell up. $25 is professional level ticket prices? Guess you don’t get out much. Some former high school band tuba player who works for Best Buy and loves Amanda Palmer doesn’t deserve nor expect $$$ for joining this goddess on stage.

          • Kent

            Do you make your living playing music? Curious.

        • Dave Browning

          Please take all my wedding photos for free.

      • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

        I think what’s wrong and offensive is forcing your version of morality on someone else.

        Musicians play for free all the time. Recently, Amanda Palmer did a free concert here in Portland for the people camping out during the Occupy movement. Was it wrong and offensive that the people camping out for weeks in the cold didn’t pay her? To say ”
        Any way you put it, asking musicians to play for free is total BS” is just rhetoric that sounds good but doesn’t actually make a lick of difference. The same could be said of any human service, skill, or talent but that doesn’t mean a mandatory pay structure should be instituted for said service.

        Sometimes, musicians just want to have fun too. Other times, we just want to jam on stage and have a good time with people we like.

        • Mr. Anthrope

          Simon, the Occupy concert is completely different. It was a not-for-profit venture that Amanda CHOSE to partake in, even though there wasn’t any money in it for her. If the musician wants to play for free or doesn’t mind playing for free, that’s fine. If someone else wants the musician to play for free when they should be compensated, then we have a problem.

          • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

            That’s the thing….if people want to do it for free, it’s fine. You are making rules and changing them when it suits your argument. If someone wants to be a part of her show under these terms, why should anyone other than the people involved determine what terms are sufficient?

            As you yourself said in regards to her decision, if she chose to partake in the event, that’s up to her. If her fans decide to do the same, that’s up to them. Some people consider making art for the sake of art or spending some time with someone they really admire a worthwhile cause in of its own. Who are you to say otherwise?

          • http://twitter.com/TrustMeScience TrustMeI’mAScientist

            Because it effects others, Simon, that’s why it’s different, and that’s why people are speaking up.

            When poor families are exploited into taking on sub-prime loans that they can’t afford, it hurts us all.

            Sharecropping, indentured servitude, sub-minimum-wage labor, 90 hour workweeks in unsafe conditions, unregulated underage labor — By and large, these are things that people “chose knowingly.”

            These are errors in judgement that negatively impact all of us. Because of these desperate choices, our culture and economy at large suffer.

            Thank goodness we did something about those kinds of exploitation! That’s why we’re doing something here, now.

            This is an honest parallel, unlike say, comparing this to volunteer work at a non-profit. The latter is what’s called a “false equivalency.”

            This is not a charity we’re talking about. This is a cash-rich, for-profit entertainment entrepreneur who has just raised $1.2M on the argument that musicians are valuable.

            On *top* of this, she is now selling out tons of $30 and $60 tickets to her concerts, and has hit the top 10 in Amazon downloads.

            She pays a management team, a publicity team, and accountants, but not the professional musicians she requests? With this course of action, Ms. Palmer is *becoming* the very thing that she has told us that she’s railing against.

            Unless she changes course, then the charge of hypocrisy is only valid.

          • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

            Lol, I think comparing sub-prime mortgages, servitude, and 90 workweeks in unsafe conditions is the “false equivalency” here.

            Seriously, asking people who are local to shows to come up and join her on stage for a few songs isn’t disparaging to the music community. Asking that they be competent and show up for a rehearsal is to everyone’s benefit: people don’t want to be embarrassed on stage, everyone wants a good show.

            “This is not a charity we’re talking about.” – Actually, I’d argue otherwise. I’d say that promoting the arts is a worthwhile charitable cause, whether or not it is a registered 501(c)3 organization or not. Are you going to slam the American Cancer Society for recruiting year-long volunteers who manage their Relay For Life fundraising events? They’re the “richest nonprofit in the world” (over $700 million in cash reserves) and ask for competent, experienced, connected volunteers (in addition to a large staff). I don’t see people freaking out about that.

            Having a paid staff doesn’t change it, her backing band are paid musicians. She’s not asking for people to drop everything to go tour with her. She’s asking for local people who want to do this to join her on stage. It doesn’t matter how much money she has or doesn’t have, that doesn’t change the situation at all. The “Musicians must always be paid no matter what” mentality would still be critical of her if she didn’t have a successful Kickstarter campaign.

          • shrug slash sigh

            The problem is that people are suddenly painting Amanda Fucking Palmer as Mitt Fucking Romney for doing this (nice spin), instead of being like, “Hey…I get that you did stuff for free and see things differently based on your past experiences. And on an individual level, I get it, but on a systemic level – here’s what’s happening. Please consider that and consider paying your musicians as well.”

            I don’t think it’s at all surprising that so many of the comments against Amanda Palmer right now are coming from people who know nothing about her or have never been to one of her shows and seen her pass a hat or seen how much she promotes those around her. If you have a bit of constructive criticism…then fine. Voice it. But I’m tired of people who only bring ONLY their own experiences and frameworks to the table and fling vitriol all over this blog, yet don’t consider other possible scenarios other than AFP = greedy evil Republican 1%er.

            Also, the examples of “please do my plumbing for free” are ridiculous as well. As soon as I see a plumber who dresses as fabulously as AFP + GTO and leaves me with a memory of a lifetime (“Wow…that plumbing gig was something I’ve been dreaming of forever…I can’t believe I got to fix seals with Jeb Fucking Plunger!” I’ll accept that as a reasonable argument. [Not slamming plumbers at all. At all. Just saying – it’s not the kind of gig that historically has delivered the same kind of experience as experiencing an AFP/Dresden Dolls gig – especially from the stage].

            Point being – these arguments may as well be political ads. Picking the parts that support your argument and spinning the rest in an US vs. THEM supreme battle match. It’s still fighting for a side instead of a solution.

          • Guest

            BWAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAH what a fucking crock of shit. yes, share-croppingTOTALLY=asking musicians to share their talents.

            Their is absolutely nothing illogical or blown up about this post at all. you’re right, volunteering time and talent is NOTHING like being ASKED to volunteer time and talent. She really did just show up at that Occupy thing like totally unannounced. Way to call her on it!

          • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.bean.735 Lisa Bean

            BWAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAH what a fucking crock of shit. yes,
            share-croppingTOTALLY=asking musicians to share their talents.

            There is absolutely nothing illogical or blown up about this post at
            all. you’re right, volunteering time and talent is NOTHING like being
            ASKED to volunteer time and talent. She really did just show up at that
            Occupy thing like totally unannounced. Way to call her on it!

          • yourmom

            Back in the plantation days, I used to tell my slaves and servants “Hey… you don’t have to be here. Go ahead. Run along if you want to. I’m sure there are plenty of other opportunities out there.” Strange how they didn’t like that very much.

            “Let them work for free,” is the Marie Antoinette statement of the art world in the 21st century.

          • You Dummy

            You are ignorant and clearly no my mother.

      • http://www.facebook.com/hotrod213 Chris Ellington Long

        STephen—– WHY NOT TRY BEING AN INNOVATOR INSTEAD OF A HATER?

        • yourmom

          Because not everyone has the star power to draw people into working for free.

      • https://twitter.com/#!/libbyking punksocks

        oh what a cruel, hard, ungiving, black and white world you inhabit @c79c54cf6e894344986c8a3f00592a4a:disqus. sad.

    • Joy

      You’ve never heard of Amanda Palmer, or her Kickstarter, you haven’t done your research, and you think it’s okay to comment without that knowledge? In the internet age, that’s just foolish. There’s no demonstrable merit to your criticism because you don’t know the details of Kickstarter fundraising and where the money goes, you’ve just seen a big shiny million dollars and assumed that it’s just money.

      You’re also flinging around highly emotive and opinion-based words like ‘sad publicity scheme’. If you are a musician, you should be painting a better picture of musicians: as people who appreciate community ventures, as people who should appreciate a rock star offering to let fans who love her play on stage with her. How many stars open their doors and their arms to their fan communities like that? She’s asking for time and love, and she’s making a stand for these things not to be outlined in terms of petty opportunism and money. And you, who claims to have been a musician for 23 years (as if that lends any weight to your opinions on anything!), are solely defining this venture in terms of money, rather than what I was always taught was the heart of music: sharing and community. You should be ashamed of yourself.

      Worst, you claim to have respect, to be giving respect, and demanding an apology and ‘what we all know is right’. Well, what _I_ know is right is to do my damn research before I try to pick apart someone else’s argument. It’s also to avoid using weasel words, and to consider things from the other person’s perspective before I launch into a preaching diatribe.

      I understand that we’re in a financially difficult time, but money shouldn’t colour all of your perceptions. If you were a fan, wouldn’t you leap at the chance to play songs you love with a band you love? Of course you would. Wouldn’t you hope that that wonderful opportunity – something that people would pay for – would be offered to more people? Wouldn’t you want to support someone who’s showing the world that music is about love, not money?

      with very little respect for your frankly poor linguistic and analytical skills because you didn’t even look up Amanda and the Kickstarter before you embarrassed yourself in front of the fan community,

      Joy

      • Chris Siebert

        Hi Joy, you raise some great points. I tried to be respectful in my post, and I think it compares quite favorably with the tone of the other posts here, which are very angry and quite profane. I didn’t intend to offend anyone, but I’ve clearly offended you, and you’ve decided to try to offend me in return.

        You may or not believe me, but I’ve got a lot of experience touring around the USA and the world, and I’m part of a very large community of musicians, many of whom feel the same as I do about Amanda Palmer’s publicity efforts. Many musicians are frustrated with her promotional tactics, which I think is evident from the extensive discussions on this page, and on facebook:

        http://www.facebook.com/chrissiebert/posts/221596234635060?ref=notif&notif_t

        http://www.facebook.com/skatebone/posts/223314201130769?ref=notif&notif_t

        I did check out Amanda Palmer’s kickstarter page before posting, and I did some research about her online. I found that she has received a lot of attention for trying to do something different in the music business.

        As someone else on this blog pointed out, however, Amanda Palmer’s request for free labor is a very old and very common tactic in the music business. It’s usually made, however, by record labels, venues, and retailers, not other artists. That’s why hundreds, if not thousands, of musicians, are frustrated by it.

        I used the term “sad publicity scheme” not as an insult, but because it is disappointing to see a musician who is claiming to change the way the music business works resort to the same old things that make the music business a particularly unethical market. If you’ve studied the history of the music business in America, I’m sure that you’ve found an unbelievable litany of lying, stealing and abuse of artists. A lot of the abuse starts with someone asking someone to work for free in return for some ill-defined future reward like “exposure.”

        While it’s true that it’s up to each musician to decide if and where they want to volunteer, we have to think about our community of musicians in the larger scheme of things, and how the sort of promotional campaign that Amanda Palmer is running affects our ability to earn a livelihood.

        Musicians are frustrated with the state of the music business, and everybody is frustrated with the state of the economy. In this environment, we should be aware of the impact of our actions on the music scene.

        I suppose that national artists like Amanda Palmer have the right to ask for free labor, and we have the right to point out the ramifications of her request. I suppose that venues also have the right to ask for free labor.

        In the end, however, musicians can’t expect venues or people like Palmer to create a fair labor market for us. As musicians, we have to take the matter into our own hands by communicating with each other and refusing to take freebie or cheapo gigs that generate revenue for for-profit venues or businesses like Palmer’s.

        That’s what boycotts are for. It’s also what unions are for, and union’s depend on solidarity. I acknowledge that it’s next-to-impossible to unionize the local club scene in one’s home town. But at the very least, we can work together to encourage musicians to value what they do, and refuse to work for people who are getting rich from music but don’t share the proceeds with the people making the music. This is not an easy solution, but I believe that it’s our life-long obligation to each other.

        There are venues that I won’t play at, or spend money in, because they make a lot of money from music, but don’t pay musicians. If we don’t value our labor, no one else will. If we communicate and stick together, it’s in our hands, not theirs.

        As I said in another reply, Amanda Palmer is a big believer in donating one’s labor, and has no qualms about asking others to work for free to benefit her career. If she were to donate her tour profits and considerable talent for self-promotion to the Children’s Defense Fund, for instance, I’d say we should all cheer her on.

        http://www.childrensdefense.org/

        • http://www.facebook.com/Dalisair Robert Lee Andruszko

          Chris – is there a musician or band that you would KILL to perform with? An idol of yours? Now, assume they are touring. They put out a call for a couple of horns or strings and you happen to fit the bill. The trade off, you playing with your IDOL on stage in a live show, is you get no pay. Would you do it? THIS IS WHAT IS BEING OFFERED.

          You had never heard of her before this. Did you read the blog post where she did a quick and dirty run down of where the kickstarter money went? (
          http://www.amandapalmer.net/blog/where-all-this-kickstarter-money-is-going-by-amanda/ ) Have you read her blog posts about traveling on tour? Have you done ANY research into the costs and the like?

          I am an artist as well. I don’t generally agree with unpaid gigs either. Nobody asks chefs to come and make a dinner for 10 people once a week for a month in the hope that it might turn into a paying gig. But that happens to musicians all the time. “Come play music at my restaurant once a week on this themed night. If you do well, I might have paying gigs in the future” is a common refrain we hear. I agree, that is complete CRAP. This is different. This is the chance to jam with an idol, and be part of the movement of getting rid of the record companies.

          If you have a way to look at the Kickstarter blogs, or learn a bit about Amanda, I’m sure you might change your thoughts at least a little. Or, you can just see the free musician call and stay on the righteous soapbox and not learn about the circumstances at all.

          • Chris Siebert

            There are lot of interesting points being made by those supporting Amanda Palmer’s request. I’ve been discussing this subject with a large number of musicians, and here are some of the counter-arguments to those points:

            1) This is an Amanda Palmer discussion board, and we’re discussing Amanda Palmer’s career, her publicity stunts, and her business model. It’s the proper forum to do so.

            2) No one is forcing Amanda Palmer to pay anybody any more than she is forcing folks to play for free. She’s requested something from the music community, and many of us are in turn requesting something of her. If her request is not outrageous, than ours isn’t either. On the other hand, if her request is outrageous, than it invites our request.

            3) In seeking publicity as someone who is changing the music business, Amanda Palmer invites an investigation of whether her claim is true. At first glance, her business model seems new. But closer investigation reveals that it is the same thing that labels, retailers and venues have done for 100 years, which is to ask that musicians play for free for some vague future reward.

            4) She could easily have requested musicians in each town to play with her for beer, merchandise, high-fives AND some money. If she had done so, she would have earned good will from musicians everywhere. Instead, she has quickly become synonymous with the most current form of music business exploitation, wherein a musician such as Amanda Palmer takes the place of record labels, retailers and venues as the bad guy. She has very quickly generated a lot of ill will among many of her peers, i.e. musicians who happen to be decent people. I may be wrong, but I don’t think she wants that kind of publicity. Or maybe she does…

            5) A lot of money will be generated by Amanda Palmer’s tour and current album. She will profit, but so will her touring band, the venues, the production crew, the food and concession vendors, the airlines, the transportation companies, the hotels, the CD manufacturers, the accountants, the book-keepers and the lawyers. All of these folks and more will profit from the music being performed. I think it’s reasonable to ask that Amanda Palmer take the high road and set high standards for her fellow artists by promising that those performing the music get paid as well, since the music is the source of all of the profit for everybody else.

            Finally, for those who suggest I study her career and kick-starter page, you’ll want to know that I did that before I made my first post. I was surprised that she would ask for money, raise over $1.2 million, and then ask folks to play for free, and that’s what drew me into the discussion.

          • Luci

            “1) This is an Amanda Palmer discussion board, and we’re discussing
            Amanda Palmer’s career, her publicity stunts, and her business model.
            It’s the proper forum to do so.”

            Absolutely. But one would also expect people discussing Amanda Palmer’s career, publicity stunts and business model to have an inkling about those things before posting, or they’ll end up looking a little silly.

            A lot of the posters here obviously don’t…especially when they start sentences like ‘Well I never heard of you before this outrage, and now I’m glad I didn’t!’

            “2) No one is forcing Amanda Palmer to pay anybody any more than she
            is forcing folks to play for free. She’s requested something from the
            music community, and many of us are in turn requesting something of her.
            If her request is not outrageous, than ours isn’t either. On the other
            hand, if her request is outrageous, than it invites our request.”

            Eh…She requested something from her *fanbase*. Which in this case overlaps with the music community, but certainly doesn’t cover all of it…Most of “you” for example, hadn’t heard of her.

            Most of her fanbase – the people that would actually be reading her blog and the initial request- seem to feel that they *have* recieved something from her… be it a free gig, free songs or just the sheer amount of time personally connecting with people – hence this being part of the reciprocal relationship Palmer has with her fans, rather than an exploitative relationship with them.

            “3) In seeking publicity as someone who is changing the music
            business, Amanda Palmer invites an investigation of whether her claim is
            true. At first glance, her business model seems new. But closer
            investigation reveals that it is the same thing that labels, retailers
            and venues have done for 100 years, which is to ask that musicians play
            for free for some vague future reward.”

            Hm. I think that’s stretching the point a bit, as that’s…not really what she was doing with her kickstarter. She was funding a record without a record labels support – relying on, essentially, pre-orders at the lowest level with more lavish offerings up the scale. Thusly the middle man is cut out, the artist gets paid directly, and the money people paid for pre-ordering the CD went into *making* the CD.

            All the artists and musicians and whoever else that went into making the CD, the artbook etc were paid as far as I know – and she funded a LOT of artists. What you are talking about is seperate to the kickstarter.

            I do think you are right that as someone who is changing the music business she invites an investigation of her claims, though.

            “4) She could easily have requested musicians in each town to play
            with her for beer, merchandise, high-fives AND some money. If she had
            done so, she would have earned good will from musicians everywhere.
            Instead, she has quickly become synonymous with the most current form of
            music business exploitation, wherein a musician such as Amanda Palmer
            takes the place of record labels, retailers and venues as the bad guy.
            She has very quickly generated a lot of ill will among many of her
            peers, i.e. musicians who happen to be decent people. I may be wrong,
            but I don’t think she wants that kind of publicity. Or maybe she does… ”

            No, I don’t think she does. As mentioned before, it’s more to do with her relationship with her fans. She’s accustomed to asking her fans for food, lodging etc to help with touring and also foster a personal connection. Inviting fans to come on stage with her and play a couple of songs is an extention of this and is pretty much the norm here.

            I think if it became a financial issue she would just simply forgo the additional horns and strings and that be that…they aren’t really neccesary to the set from what I can tell. She’s certainly stated that paying for additional musicians to tour with would be too expensive, but I can’t comment re: the financial viability of a pay-as-you-go per gig thing, or whether that would be worth it for extra accompaniment on a couple of songs.

            “5) A lot of money will be generated by Amanda Palmer’s tour and
            current album. She will profit, but so will her touring band, the
            venues, the production crew, the food and concession vendors, the
            airlines, the transportation companies, the hotels, the CD
            manufacturers, the accountants, the book-keepers and the lawyers. All of
            these folks and more will profit from the music being performed. I
            think it’s reasonable to ask that Amanda Palmer take the high road and
            set high standards for her fellow artists by promising that those
            performing the music get paid as well, since the music is the source of
            all of the profit for everybody else.”

            Hm. Well, those performing the music are mainly her and her band. I would hope they’re getting the bulk of the finances. In retrospect, I am starting to think she would’ve done better just…not asking people to volunteer and not having those extra horns and strings. Which is a shame, as it’s denying the fans who might’ve wanted to participate, and the songs might sound better with the extra accompanyment. But it’s not worth the mass misunderstanding this seems to have generated.

            “Finally, for those who suggest I study her career and kick-starter
            page, you’ll want to know that I did that before I made my first post. I
            was surprised that she would ask for money, raise over $1.2 million,
            and then ask folks to play for free, and that’s what drew me into the
            discussion.”

            Then it might be worth checking this out if you haven’t already, as it does kind of explain the disparity between raising over a million and having to tour on a tight budget:

            http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/amandapalmer/amanda-palmer-the-new-record-art-book-and-tour/posts/232020

            Additionally, the kickstarter wasn’t just “asking for money” – people got what they paid for: the final product (+ whatever
            else).

            Which is not to say Amanda Palmer hasn’t asked
            for money and passed a hat around before – she has – but the kickstarter
            wasn’t an example of this. It wasn’t sheer goodwill or an act of charity; a product was
            bought.

          • Chris Siebert

            Once again, folks are raising a lot of interesting points.

            There are several reasons that so many professional musicians object to Amanda Palmer’s business model:

            1) We’ve heard this same request before from other entities in the industry (labels, retailers, venues), but not from artists.

            2) Palmer is not just asking some random fans to join her for a tune or two at the end of the night, as Green Day and other groups have done (and which I think is a great idea).

            Palmer’s request was made far in advance of her tour in the language of a slightly hipped-up version of a corporate talent search, hedging her bets with the odd term “professional-ish” and asking musicians to “apply”. She wants experienced musicians who can meet her requirements, and expects a resume or video as proof. Once the musicians have been vetted, they will receive a “yes/no reply”. She wants a rehearsal, and, unlike bands that pull fans up on stage, is not providing instruments.

            In other words, it is not like the Green Day example at all. It is exactly like the sort of job that most professional musicians do to make a living, except for the highly unusual fact that the artist doing the hiring is not offering any money, regardless of how much she takes in that night. If anything, her approach seems much more corporate than most jobs musicians take. For instance, I’ve made a living solely from music for 23 years, and have never had to supply a resume.

            And that leads me to my answer to those who wonder if I would leap at the chance to play with a famous musician. The answer is that I’m not interested in going through an application process in order to try out for the opportunity to play with somebody for free, regardless of how I feel about their music.

            I must confess, of course, that I’ve never heard of such a thing before, but I can safely say that it’s not for me. Obviously, there are musicians who disagree with me on all of these points, and many Amanda Palmer fans who are quite angry with those of us making this case.

            We can probably all agree on one thing: Amanda Palmer has asked folks to play with her for free, and there will be people who will play with her for free, most likely from her fanbase.

            That fanbase is clearly very impressed by her business ethics and indendence from the music industry. But for many musicians, Amanda Palmer looks and acts like a very typical corporate business person. She strikes us an intelligent entertainment entrepreneur who has found a way to build her business by getting others to work for free. In some sense, it is reminiscent of the republicans who opposed the “occupy” movement that Palmer says she supports, and who seek to pass off their costs (think bailouts) to the public while they profit from the unpaid (or minimally paid) labor of others. Judging from the reaction of her fans here, that is exactly what she will do, and they will love it. And no one can argue with that.

            Thanks for listening to our point of view, and best wishes.

          • http://www.facebook.com/DasChurro Evan Sanchez

            I notice that you didn’t address Robert’s introductory point:

            I’m going to point it out again:

            “Chris – is there a musician or band that you would KILL to perform with? An idol of yours? Now, assume they are touring. They put out a call for a couple of horns or strings and you happen to fit the bill. The trade off, you playing with your IDOL on stage in a live show, is you get no pay. Would you do it? THIS IS WHAT IS BEING OFFERED.”

            You’re boiling this all down a financial payment. Do I really have to explain how one-dimensional that is? I guess I do! I don’t think anyone is objecting to your right to object or your right to say, “Meh, I’m not that big of a fan of Amanda Palmer’s. I’d need to be paid to do this gig.” Hell, if some crappy nu-metal group like Trapt wanted me to play guitar for them, I’d definitely need some hefty money for that. If one of my favorite groups gave me an invite, I’d ask where I could sign up. What we object to is your holier-than-thou attitude as describing this as exploitation based on your assumption that there is only one legitimate form of payment – cold hard cash, check, or credit.

            You also say:

            “But closer investigation reveals that it is the same thing that labels, retailers and venues have done for 100 years, which is to ask that musicians play for free for some vague future reward.”

            There’s no vague or future reward. The reward *is* getting to play with Amanda Palmer. Not playing by yourself. Playing WITH someone. That’s different than a typical label exploitation set up. The label wants you to front your own money to play your own stuff and doesn’t want to pay you. That’s like asking you to tickle yourself (or masturbate) as opposed to engage in sex – they want a one party show. Amanda Palmer is asking for people who *want* to tango – people who want to get on stage and make something happen with *her* and her band. She’s going to be investing too. She’s putting her money towards this tour and doing it night after night. She’s putting her heart and soul on the line every night. Since these are her songs and her show, she and her band are getting the payout for that. She’s asking for participation in what – “A couple of tunes?” She’s not asking for full on orchestral support for the entire damn show. And seriously – how much do you think your time is worth as a musician for 2 or 3 songs? More than beer money?

          • http://www.facebook.com/safathemonkey Safa Shokrai

            By her own admission, they are hiring musicians in some cities like NYC, because they don’t want to “take the risk.”

            Think about that for a minute.

            It’s not all about finances, but obviously they are an important part of being a professional. Someone in a position of power like AFP has the opportunity to show the world how things COULD look, if everyone was awesome. This is just so disappointing.

          • shrug slash sigh

            Yes. This. I think the last two lines of the comment could have been left off because they are diminishing for no good reason, but the rest of this…exactly. EXACTLY.

          • shrug slash sigh

            If you can find the place where Amanda Palmer promised “exposure” please point me to it. As far as I can tell, that is an argument that has been bantered around by everyone else but her. Also, she wasn’t asking musicians to play for some vague future reward. The reward was pretty specifically laid out and would be received no less quickly than if they were being “paid.”

            The issue that I have with these arguments is the word “labor.” She didn’t put out a request for “labor.” She made a spontaneous artistic decision late in the game to involve local fans (as far as I can tell, based on following the Kickstarter and her blog and her Twitter) based on the kind of interactions she has had with fans in the past. So things are changing because of scale and a rush of people who know nothing about her? Yes. Yes, she will need to think about things differently now that the scope of her Palmerverse is expanding. But just flatly equating her with fat cat record labels is short sighted at best.

          • DCL

            WHO IS SHE? never heard of her

        • DCL

          Brilliant. Eloquent. On target. If Miss Palmer can travel from city to continent in as little as a one day turn around , she can grease a palm with a couple of books. I Paid for my training by working overnight stocking grocery store shelves , went to school during the week, and waited tables at Howard Johnson. If my parents had paid, I might feel differently . But no way I give it away for free UNLESS the celebritee is so famous it elicits YOU PLAYED WITH CHER! Wow . What’s she like? I can google her , but if I need to do that, it’s very likely I am not the only one standing in the darkness

          • shrug slash sigh

            Sooooo…it’s OK if it’s Cher, because you place more value on Cher and Cher’s fans, but it’s not OK because you place less value on AFP and her fans. That’s…a totally unshakable argument you have there.

            Also, per your previous comment, assuming that anyone who disagrees with you must have had a handout from their parents is as bad as name calling and as reliable as truthiness. Mehr.

      • Mike

        I would say being a professional musician for 23 years is, in this context, exactly what would give credibility to one’s opinions. It means he’s spent 23 years making a living off music, he knows the ins and outs of the business. He knows, in a context of paid (or in this case, unpaid) gigs, what’s fair and what’s not.

        • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

          Eh, I’ve spent two decades in the industry as well – not only as a touring musician, but a record label owner, a booking agent, a manager, and a promoter for a venue. These days, I spend my time cosnulting up and coming artists and write free advice for them on sites like Music Think Tank.

          I think many of these claims are short sighted, based on unfounded claims of knowing the industry intimately (the reality of the claims against the music business model here are for the most part generalized and exaggerated), and are based on imposing one’s own morality upon someone else’s.

          Again, she isn’t forcing anyone, it’s a call to action to her fan base. That would be like someone screaming at her if she asked for a street team to assemble to help promote the show in exchange for some free tickets. Should we factor in the number of hours said street team was working to promote the show? Are they devaluing or perpetuating the marketing services of the promotion industry? Of course not. It’s a group of people who love and support what she’s doing and who are willing to help be a part of the project.

          • Mike

            The street team doesn’t need any training or practicing or prior-skills to put up their posters and tell people to come to the show.

            With these musicians she’s hiring she wants them to come to a rehearsal, be able to play their instrument (as in be some level of professional, even if it’s low) and spend the time to learn the parts and play with her. That’s much more to ask than to get some of her fans to put up some posters.

          • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

            Not necessarily. Venues have professional street teams full of people who do it for a living. Either way, most street teams have fans run off their own flyers, figure out their own transportation, spend at least a day putting up posters, etc.

            The problem with the concept of forced charity (such as what is being applied to Palmer) is that we come up with arbitrary rules without any inherent standard or reasoning behind said rules. If the people who participate believe that what she’s offering is enough for them and agree to do it, isn’t that enough? Why do outsiders need to step in and dictate how much really is too much when asking for fans to participate in an experience?

          • http://twitter.com/TheNobleRobot The Noble Robot

            Your argument is like how people confuse criticizing someone’s political position with advocating to restrict their right to free speech.

            No one is saying that Palmer *can’t* or isn’t allowed to do this, or that there aren’t people who would happily volunteer to play for nothing. We’re just saying that she *shouldn’t* do this, that it’s a total dick move, that it prays on the ambitions of struggling artists, and that it’s an insanely hypocritical action given her online reputation and personal history.

            Many people will work for next to nothing, just for the opportunity to work. That’s why we have minimum wage laws, moron.

          • http://twitter.com/TheNobleRobot The Noble Robot

            There is no such thing as a professional street teamer. It takes no talent and three minutes of training.

            Asking for volunteers from her fanbase to paste flyers on telephone poles is one thing (although still a bit exploitative, let’s be honest), but asking for professional musicians to devalue their hard-won skills and abilities is like if Mitt Romney asked if there were any Republicans out there who would like the opportunity to do his taxes for free.

          • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

            Eh, you’re still imposing your values and double standards on the situation. It’s saying that money is more important here than a real unique fan experience to share the stage with her. For her and her fans, that’s good enough.

            And actually, there are professional street teams out there. In fact, the average wage for one here in Portland is about $12-$15/hr. Not all professionals require talent nor intense amounts of training. Those are all side things have nothing to do with the situation. It doesn’t devalue their skills.

            When professional writers are asked to do a guest blog on a website, it does nothing to devalue them. When I asked other musicians to have a guest spot on my album or to join us on stage, it did nothing to disparage the music community.

      • Howard

        JOY wrote–“If you were a fan, wouldn’t you leap at the chance to play songs you love with a band you love? Of course you would.”

        And that’s exactly what Ms. Palmer is counting on with this scheme.
        She is probably well intentioned, but the whole the whole thing does come off as a pretty smarmy ploy to hire free talent.

        But no matter…I’m sure there’s plenty of people standing in line to do this.
        In the end, a pretty shrewd idea, definitely. But it certainly disrespects musicians.

        • ECN

          Exactly. There’s always someone dumb, desperate or unprincipled enough to be exploited. That doesn’t change the fact that we have to hold the people exploiting them accountable.

          • Paw

            How about just playing for fun? Musicians love to play except, apparently, the ones on this board that need a check for every note. So what if she wants a resume and a rehearsal? Doesn’t seem like an outlandish ask. The fact that she wants to expose local players to audiences doesn’t get her any props at all? And BTW, who’s twisting your arm to do this? Would you rather force her to pay and have her simply abandon the idea? Take your collective heads out of your asses and at least be open to someone who came up with an interesting idea, even if you don’t agree with it.

        • http://www.facebook.com/DasChurro Evan Sanchez

          “the whole the whole thing does come off as a pretty smarmy ploy to hire free talent.”

          Who needs who? Does Amanda Palmer need you for her show or might you very well need her to get access to other bands she tours with, promoters, agents, or other people she might be able to network you in with?

          If you have it all locked in, then this shouldn’t be an issue for you – you’re already making money, touring, and rollin’ like a G-6. If you don’t have it all locked in, maybe some perspective is warranted or maybe?

          Cause I’m pretty sure Amanda doesn’t *need* free talent – she’d have no problem selling her tickets without these quartets.

          Nice job helping support your fellow musician in her risk taking – cause it isn’t like some wacko could show up or anything else could go wrong by inviting random people on stage. What the fuck, man? Do you work in rock n roll or do you work as a risk assessor at an insurance company? Fucking fucks.

          • http://twitter.com/TheNobleRobot The Noble Robot

            “get access to other bands she tours with, promoters, agents, or other people she might be able to network you in with?”

            That’s the big unspoken lie of this. People who volunteer shouldn’t be under the illusion that Palmer or anyone involved with the tour will so much as remember their name once they leave town (It’s also important to note that Palmer isn’t promising a career boost or anything more than a fun evening).

            And that would be fine, but only if they paid you a fair rate.

            As a filmmaker, I see this all the time from record labels who want us to work on music videos for cheap, just for the opportunity to get close to a famous artist. They take advantage of us because because we have more to lose (and more to prove) than they do. It’s annoying but it’s something we manage to put up with.

            For an artist to pull the same bullshit on their fellow artists? I don’t care if it’s good intentioned, it’s fucking wrong. Palmer isn’t some bar band with no money asking for favors in order to get some attention from the local press. She’s a national sensation with at least a million dollars, and as many paying fans.

            The irony is that idea to use local musicians is brilliant, and it would have saved her a ton of money even if she did pay them. But it’s insulting to suggest that it’s okay for artists work for free because “art isn’t about money.”

            Palmer isn’t a starving artist, she’s famous and successful (with enough cash, lets be honest), and is the one fucking over the rock and roll spirit by saying it’s not worth anything to her.

          • http://www.facebook.com/DasChurro Evan Sanchez

            “People who volunteer shouldn’t be under the illusion that Palmer or anyone involved with the tour will so much as remember their name once they leave town”

            Sure, not if you just show up and quietly nod your head at rehearsal, play your part, and bounce as soon as the gig is over. I can think of many setups where a charismatic person with some musical chops shows up and finds a way to impress people and make themselves memorable. Maybe that person is such a hardcore fan they’ve actually mentally done different arrangements of songs or given different orchestral arrangements of these songs a lot of thought or even experimentation on their own? That person could probably show up and take the risk of saying, “Hey, I really love this suggested horn piece. Could you listen to this little thing I came up with? Do you think that would add to this musical mix?” Such a person would probably only get one shot to either get shot down or propped up, but that’s often how those things go. If they accepted your suggestion, that could be the foot in the door to possibly make other suggestions (which would prove your long term value to the band) or at least would make you memorable and facilitate later discussion if you could use your credibility to get a nice conversation going with the band after the show (and get contact info while you do after indicating you’d be interested in possibly working with them on other stuff or perhaps working with them the next time they came to your town). That’s just one possible universe. I can see dozens of ways to effectively network here if you are creative, a bit daring (fortune favors the bold!), passionate, and charismatic. If you just show up and play the instruments, then no – you won’t be memorable, though. Whether or not your networking possibilities are an illusion depend on *you* (mainly), a little bit of luck, and the bands’ receptiveness that night. It isn’t a sure thing, but if you do the right thing and fire on all cylinders, I think it is very possible to turn something like this into an opportunity.

            “But it’s insulting to suggest that it’s okay for artists work for free because “art isn’t about money.”

            Damn, man – I’m surprised you aren’t asking for compensation for Amanda Palmer’s website to use your written words. After all, they are permanently hosting them on this web space. Seriously, have you thought about that? It is insulting! After all, you spent the creative and mental talent coming up with these sentences and discussion points. Why shouldn’t you be compensated? Oh wait…maybe because the payoff you’re looking for isn’t financial, it is attention and interaction, right? Money isn’t the only form of payout. I would never suggests that artists be slaves or be exploited. However, if someone is passionate to take a non-paying gig, chances are they *are* getting payment from the experience and love they get for playing music. Cash, credit, and check aren’t the only forms of payment – and I’ve NEVER said that artists should be unpaid. Just that money isn’t the only form of payment and for some people in some situations – it isn’t even the most meaningful or best payment. Hell, I’d take a shot to play with some kickass bands I like for a couple of songs for a chance to maybe have a few beers afterward and get some merch (which is also what we’re leaving out) and I wouldn’t be like, “God, you guys are such jerks cause you didn’t give me my $50 on top of that.” I’ve got a day job, thanks. I can make my own way and money in the world and *I* can determine if something is worth my time or wouldn’t be worth doing. Can’t you? How is this unfair of Palmer to provide this opportunity if people are willing to jump on it? Hell, there are actual prostitutes that have sex for money who would probably be willing to have sex with Johnny Depp (for example) for free and would walk away happy from the experience. Is it really fair to say, “OMG, Johnny has all those millions. How dare he not leave $500 on the nightstand?”

      • John Candy

        eat a dick

      • Mr. Gravity

        Frankly, I’m disappointed with her decision as well. Her intentions
        might be good, but the model is still exploitive and could set a
        precedent. Imagine, a future of bands that tour off of the desire of
        their fans. At the end of the performance, everyone would be happy,
        especially the volunteer band. However, what if behind the curtain, the
        musician actually thought of those people as naive sheep who just
        helped him/her make a huge profit?

        A more direct example: what
        if I don’t respect your opinion at all and actually thought you were a blind
        idol worshiper? What if I do admire your passion and
        love for Ms. Palmer and actually do respect your opinion? How would
        you which is my true intent?

        You don’t.

        So a
        SUFFICIENT gesture is needed; in the context of a message board, that
        would be a civil and thoughtful reply. In Ms. Palmer’s case, she has an
        inherited responsibility, being a _successful_ and _professional_
        artist, to compensate any aid that she receives in a “for profit”
        venture, regardless of the situation (these aren’t “buddies responding,
        its fans that she does not know on a first-hand basis). Payment for
        their services is more sufficient than just a
        “thank you” because it solidifies that gratitude with an actual benefit
        for the receiver.

        Furthermore, her tour is operating on a
        Kickstarter fund, which entails
        that fans are actually paying her at least TWO times, and THREE times
        max: 1) for the fund, 2) for
        the free performance, and 3) the tickets at the door (volunteers, will
        obviously not have to pay for tickets). Even in times
        where entities like Ticketmaster had a stranglehold on live
        performances, musicians still had to pay their non-band member staff
        (roadies, accountants, lawers, etc). What about now, especially since
        she made even more than she budgeted? She would be getting away
        with only having to pay for the non-band members and the regulars while
        the “proper” band retains the rest of the profit which should be given
        to the backing
        band, volunteers who have enough skill to play on a professional venue
        (Palmer made a point about having demonstrable skill). She’s even
        circumvented the traditional way of finding loan backers with
        “Loanspark Collective” via the kickstarter. Kudos to her on that;
        funding money should go
        to the artist and not to exorbitant and unreasonable fees set by
        publishers/labels.
        However, again it is from her fans. On an individual level, a donation
        doesn’t matter much, but looking at that gesture when applied to the
        whole? It _appears_ disrespectful. Another example: shipping is free
        because price is adjusted per location. Going from the kickstarter
        example, it’s nice that New Yorkers will pay more for people in Tibet,
        but do they all want to? I wouldn’t mind for that sole purpose, but
        would they? If possible, why not avoid grey areas with the expected
        compensation of a backing band? Then, fans of _all_ points of view
        would be satisfied and her intentions unquestioned.

        It becomes a matter of escalation: how far will people be able to get
        away without paying someone? It’d be better if it were the other way
        around: how much more can the maximum amount of people benefit from a
        situation (she gets to have a tour wherever she wants and for cheaper
        [ie: her fans directly front most of the bill of her starting cost and
        performances], and her fans come out with good memories and payment for
        their services. She may not be a thief, but this idea is definitely
        short-sighted.

        To be clear, I’m not labeling her as the greedy
        charlatan in the
        first example. As I said, her intentions may be right, but the model is
        exploitive. She _has_ to care about the repercussions of this model
        because she’s part of a professional community no matter how different
        or avant garde she or the fans thinks she is. She’s not playing on a
        “5th grade level” anymore, she’s a professional who _can_ afford to pay
        for a backing band. If she absolutely cannot, then she needs to scale
        back on her plan it only takes one chance to make a lasting impression
        (especially in this “internet age”. Imagine, in that future of free
        fan-sourced
        performances, backing bands will _never_ be paid because a precedent had
        been set for it. Other performer-fans might even be put down and have
        their enthusiasm
        questioned simply because they
        think their talent is worth some sort of monetary
        compensation. So much for their love, it’s not “pure”.

        Thanks can be given all day long, but if you
        really want to show someone appreciation, do something physical that
        will ease some part of their day _along_ with a good memory (beer is not
        enough). Its the difference between telling someone they care and
        giving them something to eat. It’s the difference between saying you like the
        band and buying the ticket; and donating to the tour as well as buying
        admission. As someone who has succeeded and is adored by others, she
        cannot
        treat contributing members as simply a means to an end when she has the
        capability to do more. It’s the least she could do– especially to those who may have been a fan since “Day One”

        I too believe that money isn’t everything, but
        this model is relatively new and so her actions will leave
        impressions. And as
        for Love and community? Love is a great thing, but it is not merely
        emotive and passionate, _it is responsible_. She has to love her fans
        AND her community. She is not alone in the music world. A tour is a
        large scale event, and precedents set there can affect _all_
        professionals. On her kickstarter she holds up a sign “This is the future of music.” Hopefully she respects that statement.

        Respectfully,
        -A fellow fan

        • http://tekhedd.com/blog/ tekhedd

          It’s not really taking advantage of the fans if they’re not being forced, is it? Depends.

          “Does the phrase ‘power imbalance’ mean anything to you?” –Kathleen Hanna

      • DCL

        star?

      • Phil the Tremolo King

        I love it when people claim musicians should play for free because of ‘love’. Love doesn’t pay my mortgage. Do you parents still pay your rent?

    • Joy

      You’ve never heard of Amanda Palmer, or her Kickstarter, you haven’t done your research, and you think it’s okay to comment without that knowledge? In the internet age, that’s just foolish. There’s no demonstrable merit to your criticism because you don’t know the details of Kickstarter fundraising and where the money goes, you’ve just seen a big shiny million dollars and assumed that it’s just money.

      You’re also flinging around highly emotive and opinion-based words like ‘sad publicity scheme’. If you are a musician, you should be painting a better picture of musicians: as people who appreciate community ventures, as people who should appreciate a rock star offering to let fans who love her play on stage with her. How many stars open their doors and their arms to their fan communities like that? She’s asking for time and love, and she’s making a stand for these things not to be outlined in terms of petty opportunism and money. And you, who claims to have been a musician for 23 years (as if that lends any weight to your opinions on anything!), are solely defining this venture in terms of money, rather than what I was always taught was the heart of music: sharing and community. You should be ashamed of yourself.

      Worst, you claim to have respect, to be giving respect, and demanding an apology and ‘what we all know is right’. Well, what _I_ know is right is to do my damn research before I try to pick apart someone else’s argument. It’s also to avoid using weasel words, and to consider things from the other person’s perspective before I launch into a preaching diatribe.

      I understand that we’re in a financially difficult time, but money shouldn’t colour all of your perceptions. If you were a fan, wouldn’t you leap at the chance to play songs you love with a band you love? Of course you would. Wouldn’t you hope that that wonderful opportunity – something that people would pay for – would be offered to more people? Wouldn’t you want to support someone who’s showing the world that music is about love, not money?

      with very little respect for your frankly poor linguistic and analytical skills because you didn’t even look up Amanda and the Kickstarter before you embarrassed yourself in front of the fan community,

      Joy

    • Hugo Burnham

      Boy, what a whiner….solipsism to the max.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Chris. Your opinions are also being voiced on Digital Music News.
      http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/permalink/2012/120913palmer

      • Coin Operated Boy

        Which is EXACTLY what he was hoping for – publicity for his own music. Now that’s what I call exploitative and a sad publicity scheme.

    • http://www.facebook.com/DasChurro Evan Sanchez

      Seriously? This is an opportunity for a musician to play. Isn’t that what it is supposed to be about at the end of the day?

      Also – there are forms of payment that are different and sometimes larger than a simple check or cash. As in, you show up, you show off your personality and your amazing skills. You show your passion. You impress people – maybe Amanda Palmer and crew. Maybe you have some drinks and make a big impression? Maybe that leads to a future gig down the road that *is* paid? Maybe you network with a bunch of other cool musicians and make a band because you all met up at this Amanda Palmer show?

      If you invest yourself and really put yourself out there (assuming you’re confident and have reason to be confident), you can get a ton of things out of life – especially if you see these things for what they really are opportunities to *learn* to *network* and to do what you supposedly love doing *playing music* (in front of real people who would probably appreciate what you’re contributing – how many musicians hate the fact that only 2 people show up to their gigs – well, this is your chance to change that!).

      As it is, instead of looking for these opportunities and approaching this with positivity or energy (which very well might earn you a shit ton of money in the long haul – assuming that you have the skills to hang) you list everything *you* see as negative and make it all about the paycheck. You’re exactly who I *don’t* want getting any power and the person that will end up doing Pepsi commercials to cash in. You’re what people hate about the music business, and I think that it is hilarious that you attack this thing as being dreamed up by a “corporate Republican” when all you can talk about is the payout. I look at your post and see corporate Republican. I look at Amanda’s post and I see passion, inclusivity, daringness/a willingness to take risks, etc.

      She’s not demanding anyone show up or saying she’s entitled to people playing. She made an offer, simple as that. Now you show up and act entitled to money she raised that very well might be helping facilitate the very EXISTENCE of these shows you want to show up and mooch off of.

      Take a look in the mirror. Do you really like what you see?

      • Sammy T

        cute

      • http://twitter.com/jackryan4DA Jackryan4DA

        Can’t the same set of opportunities you mentioned above be there WHILE be paid at least minimum rates?

      • Brianfgsgd

        First off, it’s not about a musician playing for people at the end of the day. I can do that anytime I want. For as much time as I’ve spent practicing my instrument, I better damn well make it a living. If she wants to have a couple high school washouts play music for attention, that’s fine. But anyone good at their instrument should be paid. Plus, any musician can tell you that playing a show with Amanda Palmer will never strengthen your musician cred, since no one outside her fan base knows nothing about her. Personally, I can’t trust the musicianship of anyone thats a Dresden Dolls fan, so good luck finding fans that can play a show after one rehearsal!

        If she makes money from the show, everyone on stage should. It’s a principle every musician should adopt. That’s why they are musician unions. We have a talent very few people have. We’ve honed it, and expect our hard work to get paid off. So if you think any half decent musician is going to support a hack entertainer, one that is arrogant enough that can think she can make a blog post and have musicians flock to her pleading to play one of her shows for a pat on the back, just quit going to concerts.. You don’t give a damn about live music anyway.

        • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

          Actually, you are making it about the payment. Come on, you even said that “But anyone good at their instrument should be paid.” That has nothing to do with what’s happening here. We all know plenty of people who suck but get paid quite well.

          Amanda didn’t force anyone to spend years learning their music skills, she’s asking people who already play who want to do this cool thing for fun.

          It isn’t unreasonable to ask that people are decent at their instrument before they get on stage – it saves a huge embarrassment for them and makes everyone enjoy the show more.

          For people doing the show, it doesn’t have to do with exposure. It’s being a part of an amazing experience that they’ll remember for their life.

          • DCL

            Your parents must have paid for your training. Mine didn’t . I stocked shelves at Kroger for minimum wage and a Banquet TV dinner, and no one’s getting it for free. I’ll sit on it before I give it away

          • Phil the Tremolo King

            Good for you! And I think you hit it on the head.

        • http://www.facebook.com/thomas.vaccaro Thomas Vaccaro

          “We have a talent very few people have.”
          Oh please, I’m sorry to say it, but the reality is musicans are a dime a dozen. Why do you think it’s so easy to crowdsource you guys and she’s having no difficulty getting volunteers? (aside from the fact that her fans LOVE her.) Anyhow, When you can spin and eat fire, THEN you can talk to me about a talent few people have.
          Furthermore, you said yourself that you see no value in performing for Amanda Palmer and demean her as someone without credibility… If this is the case, not even sure why you’re bitching or care in the first place. With your attitude, I doubt she’d want to work with you either, even in a world where you were paid. I’ll say one thing for her system; she saved herself a HORRIBLE experience by putting out an ad with money, because then she’d get someone to work with who has a rotten attitude, someone who was doing it all for the money and didn’t give a damn about a good experience, who just saw it as another job. Someone just like you.
          What you should have done is read about the opportunity, evaluated your standards (which are “no money – no go.”) and moved on. Simple as that. This gig was never meant for you, so don’t be bitter just because you lost another soulless gig to somebody who cared.

      • DCL

        Yeah dude . It’s about networking . Yeah man. I just might be the next Garfunkel to her Simon . Or her Florence to Diana. Endless possibilities , except pay.. Aah, yes, I forgot about the pizza and the CD

      • Phil the Tremolo King

        Look…we’re not talking about a struggling musician who works as a barista and saves up her tip money to rent a car and hit the road. This is someone who has plenty of resources to actually PAY people. The most disgusting thing is that, obviously, someone on her team has decided to calculate ‘free labor’ into the budget as a money-saver, rather than do the right thing and pay musicians. It’s one thing to do something for free and for the love of it and the opportunity IF THE MONEY ISN’T THERE. But in this case, it’s abundantly clear that the money IS there. This is just exploitation, plain and simple.

        • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.bean.735 Lisa Bean

          Maybe you should actually go LOOK at her budget. She posted it, about 400K BEFORE she stopped the fundraising. She even has a section for what she will do with it if it tops a mil. Go figure. Accountability. Something you don’t know about. Just like what it’s like to have a fanbase, apparently…

    • http://www.facebook.com/hotrod213 Chris Ellington Long

      go create a career for yourself the way Amanda did.. stop your whining bullshit

      • CHRISELLINGTONLONGISATROLL

        OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS. OBVIOUS TROLL IS OBVIOUS.

      • yourmom

        How many times have you repeated the mantra the republicans that don’t want to pay taxes didn’t build their businesses themselves?

    • WiredRacing

      Wow, that’s a whole lot of sanctimony right there.

      I think people are over analyzing this whole thing, getting into her kickstarter campaign and such. She’s got some songs, that will benefit from additional instrumentation. A little extra something-something for the cities that pull it together. So you know, for once, when you go to a concert the artist is providing something a little more unique than “HELLO “.
      I think the likelihood here is, the musicians in question (NOT TOURING MUSICIANS), you think should be paid a “fair wage”, are more than likely going to be fans, and more than likely amateur level musicians. They can play, but they don’t play professionally. So… lets say for instance, I played guitar and I was a fan of Jack White and I was presented the opportunity to get on stage and play with him and his band. To attend a practice session. To play in front of my home town, to play in front of a capacity crowd. I would bring THEM beer. It’s a huge opportunity for the 10’s of thousands of musicians in major cities who aren’t in a band, or will never get that opportunity for whatever the reason is. That is far more valuable than whatever you think 1 of the half dozen or so instrumentalists she’s looking for for each show to play a few songs is worth. I mean really.. what is that musicians share of a $26 ticket (using Toronto as an example).
      Also, said musician has half a shot at meeting other musicians or having some people actually see them perform. This could easily be a lifelong remembered event for the individual. They sure as hell don’t care about the $50 they may or may not have gotten. You volunteer for the love of it. I volunteer to provide my services as a performance driving instructor, CONSTANTLY, to further the sport, to teach someone new about my passion. I really don’t see this is THAT different. (it is, but it also isn’t)
      How is this different than asking people from the crowd to come up on stage to dance? Should they be paid a wage to perform in front of a crowd? Hell no. They’re ecstatic to be on stage, to share a moment.
      Another scenario. Preservation Hall in New Orleans. I’ve been there twice. Both times, a random tourist, who’s a musician has gotten a chance to play a standard with that band. I assure you the guys were not paid, and did not want to be paid. They were fans, they love the music and they were ECSTATIC to be able to sit at the piano and play with some brilliant musicians. I bet even if they were professional musicians, they were very happy to play without pay. They did it for themselves. This should be the same situation with the people Amanda Palmer is looking for. She’s not exactly playing standards, so rehearsal is necessary.
      I get what you’re trying to say, but you’re missing the other side of the coin and because you’re not putting yourself into the other peoples shoes, just looking at it from your own perspective and frankly, blowing it a bit out of proportion, you’re doing your argument a disservice.

      I don’t care if it’s a publicity stunt.

      I don’t care how much she funded on kickstarter.

      I’m not even a fan (though I am liking what I’m hearing). If I played something more than Rock Band Expert Pro Drums, I would be there. It sounds like a blast. Beer? Free t-shirts. Perfect. I have a day job. I’m not a professional musician. It would be ideal.

      I’m trying to think from the position of the person you think is being exploited for 20 minutes 1 night at a live music show in their hometown.

      No one is holding a gun to anyone’s head. They don’t assemble, she doesn’t play those songs, or those songs aren’t as big/grand as they could be. Whatever. Who cares?

      • Robin Deanna Lee

        EXACTLY. Thank you. I feel like all of this negative feedback was simply one person’s comment, followed by someone who just thought, YEAH. Fuck that. And so on and so forth, until things just got way too intense. I think this whole thing is a lovely idea, and I wish she would come to Las Vegas for ONCE. I’d be there in a heartbeat with my ukulele, nor would I accept her money.

    • Coin Operated Boy

      You’ve never heard of Amanda Palmer, so maybe you should keep your mouth shut. I was at the show and these aren’t professional musicians. How about – I don’t know – going to a show and judging for yourself before firing off hundreds of words of uneducated, over-the-top drivel?

    • Palmer Fan

      Wow. Guess somebody owes me some money for all those years I played in the high school band. I did it for fun. I didn’t realize I should have demanded payment.

      • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.bean.735 Lisa Bean

        LOL! That totally made me guffaw! ^_^

    • Brady McCowan

      Chris,

      I don’t necessarily disagree with what you’re saying; in fact, much of it is a completely reasonable stance to take on the issue. However, at least consider this facet: young musicians like me who have never previously had “real” gigs may have a hard time getting their names out into the music industry in this day and age, and something like this is a great opportunity to do so and broaden our performance experience. I do realize that mindset could be considered playing right into the manipulative nature of the offer, but the fact of the matter is that I appreciate the exposure. Yes, I’m speaking from the naïve standpoint of a college student who has yet to enter the working world, and hence I face less of a disadvantage from taking the offer up. I respect your perspective; in fact, the more I think about it the more I agree with you and question AFP’s logic, but at the same time I ask you to take my situation into consideration.

      Brady

    • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.bean.735 Lisa Bean

      What total nonsense. You have been completely brainwashed by the industry, and have no true artistry in you, obviously.

      Go back and read a book, find out what it was like to be a “touring” musician just a hundred years ago. Then thank your lucky starts that you are able to play any crap for any money. Most of you pieces of shit shouldn’t be making music anyway.

      It’s not true artists like Amanda you should be mad at, it’s the crap artists pulling in BILLIONS for the record industry and then taking home millions and still underpaying their back-ups that you should really be mad at.

      but then again, if you had to actually deal with your own impotence, you might actually have to, like, do something about it. god forbid.

  • m rubin

    stick your merch and your sanctimonious blathering where the sun don’t shine. How dare you ask musicians who spent years of study and expense to develop their craft to play for you for free.

  • a true musician

    HEY Amanda!
    I am having a bash at my place you should come play for free! I will hit you back with a beer and a high five….
    You raised a million dollars! I know that does not go far, but please… Hire your musicians, DO NOT ASK FOR CHARITY, this is disrespectful.
    If you were doing this show as a non-profit, then it might be reasonable to make such a request. BUT YOU ARE PROFITING FROM THIS VENTURE. HOW CAN YOU ASK OTHERS TO PERFORM FOR FREE WHEN YOU ARE MAKING MONEY FROM THIS????

  • HappyHappyJoyJoy

    Only hippies get paid with hugs and high-fives. What kind of fake punk rock is this?

    $35,000.00 for seven professional-“ish” musicians to play 35 shows? Wow, barely a living wage for 1 person for a year.

    “Here’s your beer and t-shirt, dumb-f*ck”

    Poseur.

    • pitbullgirl65

      Fake is right. Far from sticking to the man, this is more like joining their ranks.

  • David Cavan Fraser

    Hey Amanda,

    In your defense you’re at least leaving the harsh criticism up here for everyone to read. That takes balls. Or in your case awesome fallopian tubes, so good on ya. Although I tend to agree that you will get what you pay for and that professional should be paid, I get where you were coming from. Maybe you could toss everyone who plays a token $50? I think that would appease the militant Union teamsters who are coming to “take you to Jimmy Hoffa” while at the same time upgrading the calibre of the show AND wouldn’t break the band ($50 X 4 peeps is only $200 a show, that’s a cost sure, but it’s not going to break the bank). Also admitting you may have made an error in judgement ALSO takes mighty fallopian tubes :)

  • AJL

    You seriously aren’t going to offer even a token amount of money for the musicians you’re recruiting? Sure, it might be a great time and a great story for them, but don’t you think that there’s also something just a little bit exploitative about the overall picture? For 35 tour dates, with a half dozen volunteer musicians at each one, with each person giving several hours, that’s something like 500-700 wo/man hours of volunteer musicianship across the entire tour. That means that–thanks to the goodwill of your volunteers–you’re hoping to save yourself between several thousand and tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the normal wage scale of the musicians (recreational/semi-professional/professional). Using volunteers for one or two performances, as a kind of participatory thing, would be pretty nifty. Doing it systematically for every date on the tour has an unavoidable exploitative overtone. I sincerely hope you simply hadn’t thought it through completely, and that you’ll now offer at least a token amount to each person in recognition of the fact that each one of them also is an aspiring musician.

    • ECN

      And here’s the flip side of that coin. 30 tour dates x an average of $25 per ticket (not including Ticketmaster fees etc.) x 800 tickets sold/date (a conservative estimate — venues appear to average around a capacity of 1000) = $600,000. Yeah, some of that goes to venue rental, travel expenses, whatever. But it’s not like there’s not plenty left over to go around.

      It’s like the bogus argument that “it takes $1.2 million to record and produce an album.” Yeah, that’s what it costs if you choose to spend $1.2 million to record and produce (less than 25,000 copies of) an album. You could also do it just fine on $100,000, and where did we hear that figure before? If fans want to subsidize an inefficient process, that’s their decision. If you’re demanding that professional musicians subsidize another process, that’s on you. (And them.)

      If you can’t afford all the expenses of the tour you planned, you can’t tour on the scale. If you have to stiff your employees to do business, that’s not a business, that’s a con.

  • Frank

    I think the knee jerk reaction of the unionized musicians out there is pathetic. It’s bad enough that artists have to deal with the recording industry, now they have to deal with an anachronistic guild system too!

    Power to you Ms. Palmer! Don’t be intimidated by these echoes of the past,

    • Origami_Isopod

      Same rhetoric being used against the Chicago Teachers’ Union.

  • Non-musician

    I don’t think it’s a bad idea, I’m sure there are a bunch of high schools musicians who would love the chance to play a rock show. If you’re not paying anyone, you could maybe hand the merch out free to your fans, or play all your shows for free, you know since you wont have the expense of actually paying your ‘orchestra.’

  • Flint

    I hope this tour bankrupts you and is the end of your band. How dare you ask people to play for you for free? Hugs & Beer don’t pay the rent and nobody gives a fuck about a stupid t-shirt.

  • Ruder Than You

    Hey everyone, good news! PG&E now takes hugs, high-5’s & t-shirts as payment.

    Now, if I could only pay my phone bill with kittens, unicorns & rainbows…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Curtis/501617371 Michael Curtis

    Where do all these people get the idea that Amanda was handed a million dollars by people on Kickstarter and it’s just sitting in the bank for her to spend on her tour if she chooses. NO. People paid a certain sum of money for a certain product, be it a digital download, CD, Art Book or whatever. So for a start there isn’t this ‘million dollars’ laying around. Most of it was spent on making the stuff people paid for. Secondly, wtf has Kickstarter got to do with the tour? Kickstarter pledgers bought a product and in my case I’ve got a beautifully packaged, great sounding CD and I’m happy with the price I paid. If you go into a dealership and buy a car, do you then feel you have the right to tell the dealer what they ought to do with any profit they make from the sale?

    • Smelldon

      ” Most of it was spent on making the stuff people paid for. ”

      Wildly incorrect. Do you know how much it costs to manufacture and ship fewer than 25,000 copies of a CD or vinyl record? It’s nowhere near what she raised. It’s near what she was asking. She raised more than ten times what she was asking.

      “wtf has Kickstarter got to do with the tour”

      The title of her Kickstarter.com campaign does say “TOUR” at the end of it…

    • Smelldon

      ” Most of it was spent on making the stuff people paid for. ”

      Wildly incorrect. Do you know how much it costs to manufacture and ship fewer than 25,000 copies of a CD or vinyl record? It’s nowhere near what she raised. It’s near what she was asking. She raised more than ten times what she was asking.

      “wtf has Kickstarter got to do with the tour”

      The title of her Kickstarter.com campaign does say “TOUR” at the end of it…

    • Smelldon

      ” Most of it was spent on making the stuff people paid for. ”

      Wildly incorrect. Do you know how much it costs to manufacture and ship fewer than 25,000 copies of a CD or vinyl record? It’s nowhere near what she raised. It’s near what she was asking. She raised more than ten times what she was asking.

      “wtf has Kickstarter got to do with the tour”

      The title of her Kickstarter.com campaign does say “TOUR” at the end of it…

      • Luci
        • ECN

          Exactly. She overpaid for a bunch of stuff and pocketed a bunch of the rest of it. Just because it went to pay off personal debts doesn’t make it not pocketed. If you owed Jim $20 and I paid you $25, and then I asked you how much I paid you, you wouldn’t say “$5, because the rest of it went to pay Jim.”

          And there’s nothing wrong with that — if you’re a successful musician, you should make a profit on your work. But if you’re a successful musician and you’re not willing to pay your employees… well.

  • jefferson

    Grand Theft is pretty accurate, but Sycophantic Assfucked Whorchestra has a nice ring to it, eh?

  • Zak Claxton

    On behalf of all independent musicians around the world, I kindly request that you fuck right the hell off. Your unabashed ego that tells you it’s okay to ask musicians to play for free, after you begged for funds to create your album and tour, makes you the epitome of hypocrisy in the arts. Honestly Amanda, this makes me sick, and it’s embarrassing to think that we share a profession. I hope no one takes you up on your offer to exploit their talent. Better yet, I hope they all do, and then not show up for the gig. You deserve that and more.

  • Ted

    You’re just like the big record labels that you dismiss. Just pay the band already! Attempting to take advantage of musicians, just to give them the “honor” of appearing on stage with you, is a crime. You’re just like all of the local bars that offer to hire young, unsuspecting bands but claim that you can’t afford to pay them. However, they’ll “play to a big crowd and get a lot of exposure.” And they can sell all of the merchandise they want. You disgust me. I fart in your general direction.

    • Luci

      …She does pay the band. To quote someones comment from a blog:

      “I went and read Amanda’s blog post and she’s allowing fans to jam with the band on stage for a couple of songs, NOT asking them to BE the BAND.”
      But you didn’t read the blog post you’re commenting on? :/

      • JC10

        Asking them to come to a rehearsal and learn specific music is not jamming. That’s being a band.

        • Luci

          and to quote another comment from the same blog:

          “This was a request for horn and string players to volunteer to sit in on a few songs and add to them. She has a band.”

          • ECN

            And perform the entire opening set. Of someone else’s music, no less.

  • musical respect
  • Eduardo Van Heflin

    Hey, Amanda! Can you come to my house and clean the cat litter box, scrub my toilet, do my laundry, and clean out my garage? I can’t afford to pay you, but I’ll give you a hug (before you start, not after because I’m sure you’ll smell bad), one of my old t-shirts, and a CD. I’ll even invite all of my friends to come over and watch. You’ll get some great exposure, and it’ll be great for your career.

    Seriously, everybody boycott this stupid cunt’s shows and her requests.

    • Origami_Isopod

      You know, I would have uprated you, but I don’t uprate assholes who use misogynist language.

  • Ben phelps

    I really liked what you were doing to shake up the music business model. But this is a plane step backwards and is very discouraging.

  • http://www.facebook.com/benphelps Benjamin Phelps

    So, raise 2 million on kickstarter, and there’s not 35k for live musicians at each show? That’s 1.5% of your fund raising! I guess that’s the value placed on live musicians by our society.

    Sad.

  • http://twitter.com/lukeoneil47 Luke O’Neil

    AMANDA PALMER EXPLOITING SWEAT SHOP CHILD LABOR TO STITCH TOGETHER CHORDS OF NEXT SONG. ROCK GAME MITT ROMNEY. Y DO YOU HATE AMERICA AMANDA? STEALING FOOD OUT OF BABY’S TUBAS. http://bullettmedia.com/article/amanda-palmer-crowd-funds-touring-band-becomes-rock-game-mitt-romney/

  • Alex

    By way of response to the commenters suggesting that it should be an honor for her fans, that the experience is worth it, etc etc: I understand where you’re coming from, and some of you make valid points. Here is where we professional musicians are coming from: This is not the first time we’ve been asked to play for free. It actually happens a lot; between being low-balled on wedding gigs, acquaintances wanting us to play their house parties/office parties/etc. “for the exposure,” to being asked to session on other peoples’ recordings, there is something of an epidemic of assuming that musicians just want to play because we love it. And we do, but just like you we have mortgages, power bills, groceries to buy, and cars that run on gasoline and not hugs. Additionally, a gig is not just the gig itself. It is the time I spend prior to the gig rehearsing to make sure that your wedding processional is note-perfect. It is the rehearsal time of my quartet. It is the years I spent in college and graduate school learning how to be a musician and a professional. It is maintaining my instruments (yes, they break down!) It is purchasing the music so that your dream of walking the aisle to “Canon in D” played by a clarinet-trombone-guitar trio can come true. It is the gas for my car to make it to your party in the mountains. Sadly, a beer and a hug does not purchase these things. Yes music is what I love; that’s why I chose to do it for a living. Everyone else I know gets paid to do their job, and the assumption that musicians should and would be thrilled to do THEIR JOB for free is a slap in the face.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=603895219 Bex Van Koot

      You know who else has bills to pay? Every fucking artist ever. No one is offering me money to sit down and write for a few hours hoping it’ll all turn out okay, are they?

      • Alex

        False equivalency. Your writing time is like my practice time. Would you publish a piece without being fairly compensated?

        • nzlemming

          “Your writing time is like my practice time” ??? REALLY? I don’t think so and, if you do, you know very little about writing.

          • Alex

            Really. Writing time=preparation for the finished (published) product. Practice time=preparation for the finished (performed) product. I know enough about writing to know that when you sit down and hold a pen to paper (or hands to keyboard) what comes out is not the final product. Same with practicing my horn. Maybe you know very little about musicians.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=603895219 Bex Van Koot

            Writing isn’t preparation for a published product… brainstorming is. Writing is the creation of the final product. And yes, there are hundreds, if not thousands of publications which expect writers to receive only the notoriety that comes from seeing their name in print.

            In the age of self-publishing, writers write because it’s what they do. Then they publish their work and they hope other people like it and give them money. That’s how it works.

      • Xtina Schelin

        This genuinely makes no sense to me as an argument at all.

    • http://www.facebook.com/waxenwings Alexander Lu

      Okay, here’s my problem with the arguments being made by musicians on this issue: she’s not demanding anything. She’s asking for volunteers. No one is forcing anyone to perform. She’s simply giving people the opportunity to play with her if they happen to admire her and want to be a part of the show. She’s being very upfront about the fact that she’s not paying. She’s not trying to weasel anyone into performing under false pretenses by twisting her words and she’s certainly not lying to anyone to get them to play for free. I’d understand if you were mad about being promised pay and then never receiving it, but this sounds more like you’re peeved about not getting a paid job opportunity you feel like you’re somehow entitled to (donating to the kickstarter only entitles you to what rewards were listed at the time and NOTHING ELSE).

      Making a record and touring around the world is expensive. I don’t know how much it costs. I’d venture to say most people commenting here don’t have a clue how much it costs. 1.2 million is probably pocket change to a major label. Don’t just assume she can pay a whole group of musicians to travel with her everywhere just because she got 1.2 million from a crowdsource where part of the money went towards creating rewards for all the people who donated.

      • Alex

        Because “asking for volunteers” causes other people to think it’s OK to “ask for volunteers” for their wedding/party/record/event/ad nauseum. It’s a precedent that hurts our industry and livelihood in the long term.

        • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

          That isn’t true. I think people can see the difference between a touring rock show asking for some fans to jam on stage for a few songs and playing somebody’s wedding.

          What if you asked a friend to take some pictures of you? Should you be paying them because photographers (pro or not) should be paid too? And if they donate that time willingly, does it really denigrate the entire system of being paid for services? Of course not.

          My friends and I like to get together and eat. Should I be demanding payment from them when I cook (whether I am pro or not) because it makes all people assume that chefs in restaurants need to work for free?

          • ALex

            I think you’d be surprised how frequently this type of thing goes down in the real world. Just last year I had a bride expect me to drive 2 1/2 hours each way to play her wedding in exchange for dinner. And why? Because I was friends with her sister’s husband. There is no universe in which you could possibly consider that a fair exchange. And Amanda isn’t asking people to jam, she’s asking them to learn her material, systematically, at every date on the tour. And I personally would never use someone’s PROFESSIONAL services for my own purposes, friend or not, without fairly compensating them. Taking some snapshots or cooking dinner with friends is worlds apart from a professional obligation. Surely you can see that?

          • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

            1) She’s asking folks local to the area (or who’re willing to travel there for a show), not for a group of people to jump on the tour with her.

            2) You could always decline the wedding gig, just like people could decline this one. For others who decide to accept it, it’s up to them. There’s nothing wrong with that.

            3) She’s asking for people who are competent. Some are pro’s, some might not be. Either way, it doesn’t matter. In the example I was giving, you could even make that a group of pro chefs. It doesn’t change anything. Do you read blogs? Many of those are written by PROFESSIONAL writers who aren’t getting paid. They’re doing it because they want to, for exposure, because they enjoy it or whatever other reasons they want, it doesn’t matter. Fact is, that’s up to them.

          • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

            1) She’s asking folks local to the area (or who’re willing to travel there for a show), not for a group of people to jump on the tour with her.

            2) You could always decline the wedding gig, just like people could decline this one. For others who decide to accept it, it’s up to them. There’s nothing wrong with that.

            3) She’s asking for people who are competent. Some are pro’s, some might not be. Either way, it doesn’t matter. In the example I was giving, you could even make that a group of pro chefs. It doesn’t change anything. Do you read blogs? Many of those are written by PROFESSIONAL writers who aren’t getting paid. They’re doing it because they want to, for exposure, because they enjoy it or whatever other reasons they want, it doesn’t matter. Fact is, that’s up to them.

        • Emma Lysyk

          People ask their friends to do stuff for free all the time. What makes this different? (Hey, I’m a Graphic Designer, and I get my friends asking me to build complex websites for free.) I’m actually thinking of brushing up on my violin and trying out. It just sounds like a lot of fun. Plus, offering merch makes this a barter trade.

          • Alex

            I feel like I’ve already explained my reasoning. And personally, I think if you agree to work for free you’re a sucker. Know why your friends ask you to design for free? Because they know you’re a sucker too. If they didn’t know you they would HIRE someone else.

          • mark

            “Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, “What’s in it for me?” –Brian Tracy

          • Alex

            And successful musicians can help other musicians by helping spread the word that yes, we should get paid to do our jobs. I once had a student tell me “if you really loved kids you’d teach for free.” Somehow the world at large assumes we can pay our bills with horn solos. Sorry kids, we have to eat too.

          • http://tekhedd.com/blog/ tekhedd

            Fascinating quote. Until this moment, I had thought of Ms. Palmer as somewhat successful.

          • saxophobe

            I never ask my friends to perform their trade for free. The musicians at my wedding were paid, they didn’t work for free.

        • mark

          If you don’t want to do volunteer work, then simply refuse to do volunteer work.

          • https://twitter.com/#!/libbyking punksocks

            that this got negative points means there are zealots in the house …. run for the hills!

        • http://www.facebook.com/waxenwings Alexander Lu

          To put it simply: you don’t have to volunteer. The world could ask you ad nauseum to do something for free but if you’re not interested then you don’t have to do it. Find something that you want to do, whether it is for money, merch, food, whatever. You can do whatever you want to do. No one is compelling you to work for free and before you say it: no, you’re not going to lose job offers because people start asking you to volunteer to play.

      • saxophobe

        But she’s asking for “professional-ish” players. Any professional I know, myself included wouldn’t do this gig on principle alone. Sure, I’ve done free gigs….for good causes. Her “dream” is not a good enough cause for me to sacrifice my time/effort/talent/skill.

        Also, in the spirit of the crowd choosing to be a part of her dream, she also made a choice to go on tour to present it. Tours of any size cost money. If margins are really this tight, I question whether she should be on tour at all.

        Someone else brought up the fact that she does a lot of shows for free. Is she doing ALL these shows for free? Unless she’s doing them all for free, I don’t think she has an argument here; traditionally, part of ticket sales, however little, has gone to the band performing.

        • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

          Asking “professional-ish” doesn’t change this. I’m a pro musician and I’d be happy to donate my time because it’s fun and I’d like to hang out with her. Shouldn’t that decision be between me and whoever I decide to lend my time to?

          • Luci

            Yes.

          • Walnut

            Didn’t you say you were a photographer?

          • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

            I wear many hats, though I don’t do photography as a living any more. I’m a musician, author, promoter, booking agent, and manager for bands. I also write articles for musicians to help their careers for sites like Music Think Tank, ASCAP Daily, places like that.

  • cheapskate

    hey I need my house painted.. .could you come over and take care of that for me? I’ll give you snacks too..

  • AmyVSHorn

    A written letter and thoughts:
    http://amyvs.weebly.com/1/post/2012/09/letter-to-amanda-palmer.html
    http://amyvs.weebly.com/1/post/2012/09/more-to-ponder.html
    This is an amazing opportunity to make a difference, Amanda! We are only upset, ’cause we’re your fans and thought you would give back given the chance. There is still time. Let’s come up with a solution!

  • http://www.facebook.com/travis.hartnett Travis Hartnett

    Love the new record, not liking the details of the tour budgeting model.

    Given the extensive planning you did for the initial Kickstarter project target budget (which was quickly exceeded due to fan enthusiasm), it seems doubtful that you forgot to budget for the necessary backing musicians for the tour, so one can only conclude that you decided that you could find sufficiently skilled backing without actually paying them, even after significantly more money was made available by your supporters for the project–all of which seems to have been happily applied to lots of things that aren’t musicians’ wages.
    Of course, record labels have been shorting their musician employee-serfs for years–offering the chance to chase their dream without actually getting paid, but after all the complaining you did regarding Roadrunner’s unwillingness to fund Dresden Dolls videos, tours, webpages, etc., this seems a bit rich. But now, you’re the record label.
    New Boss = Old Boss.

    • mark

      You should really read the breakdown of where all of the Kickstarter money is going.

      • nonya

        and you see review how much extra she got that she never ever expected or needed.

        • shrug slash sigh

          Everything above her goal amount wasn’t just “free money wheeeeeeee!” It still went toward backer rewards. Be more specific for a meaningful discussion. Where are these super secret financial records that you are privy to that the rest of us are not?

  • eflash

    I don’t know where all this anger down here is coming from, but you guys (and gals) need to step back and get some perspective. What you’re reading here is a call for FANS who also happen to be musicians to come see a show for free, party with the band, and get up on stage to play in front of an adoring audience. Let’s not lose track of why we became musicians in the first place.

    • Origami_Isopod

      “We love playing so much, we’ll do it for free!” Yeah, because love of something means you’re somehow selfish for wanting to be fairly reimbursed for it. Same crap the Chicago teachers are hearing. And “hiring” fans takes jobs away from musicians who, both literally and figuratively, have paid their dues.

    • Stop_yelling_everyone!!

      Totally agree with you. The thing is, she herself plays gigs all the time on the street that if she sold tickets (even at just a house venue or something – no startup costs) she’d make money from but she does it for fun. Reading these comments, I understand the sentiment, but I don’t understand people’s real sense of entitlement…it’s almost like they think because they have studied hard (which yes it’s great) and put in the time (again, great), that this personally entitles them to be called up and used in a gig. Some people said that there will be musicians in every city who can be hired…yes, but maybe she would prefer to use people who really want to be there. And that’s the point..the only people who will show up are ones who REALLY want to be there. Who are you to say they can’t do it?! That wouldn’t happen in any other industry…we are in a free country and people can choose to do what they want!! It’s really winding me up reading all this…

      • Origami_Isopod

        “People’s real sense of entitlement” – you mean, like, AFP’s?

        Also, I don’t see people “yelling.” Are you one of those people who describes any justified anger as “yelling” and “incivility”?

        • stop_yelling_everyone!!

          Of most of the people on here, I think your comments are the most personal in an aggressive way towards people you don’t agree with. it’s really not great.

      • ECN

        Actually, that would happen in EVERY other industry. Are you familiar with union scale contracts? Are you familiar with federal minimum wage? And so on, and so on.

        • stop_yelling_everyone!!

          I meant that in any industry at all you are entitled (if you want) to give your time at any point for free and I don’t think a whole bunch of other people would be so angered by it. I have worked in a variety of industries for the last 15 years, but I feel that I’d like to be able to make a choice about anything to do with my own self and how I utilise my time, without loads of people saying it shouldn’t be allowed. Also, not all industries are unionised btw.

          • ECN

            A lot of industries are, though, The ones where it’s possible for an everyday performer to make a living without hustling and scrounging are.

            And no, in most industries, if you hire people to work and don’t pay them minimum wage at least, you are violating labor laws. Union or no union.

            Keep in mind also that there’s a big difference between unions in America and unions in the UK — from your spelling of “unionised,” I’m guessing you’re in the latter.

  • TANSTAAFL

    I expect this kind of crap from local venues: “Come play my open mic night while I sell beer; I’ll sell you one too!” “Your country band is invited to open for a national touring act playing our place for $18 a head. We’ll sell lots of beer, and we’ll sell you one too. You don’t get paid, but it’s great exposure!” “Come do a set of original music at my coffeehouse for tips and a cookie! You can put out a tip jar. Bring some friends along to tip you, because if you don’t this place will be as empty as a church on Tuesday!” Seeing this horse manure from someone who I presume considers herself a professional musician is what inspires me to spend precious minutes of my life ranting here.
    I don’t know who you are, but you don’t make a very good first impression. I have spent thousands of dollars and decades of my life learning to play. You just added your voice to the bastards who tell me that it has no value.

  • Durham_lass

    She’s only asking, and if people want to do it they’ll do it and if not they won’t. People get together for a jam with other musicians all the time if they are into the music, and sure I guess it can be seen cynically as she is getting ticket money, but on the other hand she has offered free download of her new album if people decide not to pay. Really think people are just enjoying some Amanda-bashing here….

    • Origami_Isopod

      Amanda can do no wrong in the eyes of her whacked fanbase.

      • Durham_lass

        why are you even reading this or contributing to this thread ON HER WEBSITE?! you can very easily just go back to pretending she doesn’t exist, cos she doesn’t have to exist to you…you won’t bump into her every day on the bus, or at work…just live your life!!

        • Origami_Isopod

          Because it’s an ethical issue, and anyone who is concerned about ethics has every right to post about it. It’s a public webpage, meaning that it’s not just your little fannish lovefest. And AFP is a public figure. Suck it up, fangirl.

          • Durham_lass

            I actually don’t think you know anything about social interaction. I have made a comment saying that people can do what they want, and you have changed that comment into your interpretation of me which is entirely wrong just because you don’t think that people should be allowed to think differently from you. People can have an alternative view from yourself and not be ignorant; just have an alternative view. It’s not that I don’t UNDERSTAND your point, it’s that I don’t happen to agree with it, and you are very aggressive with it. It’s really interesting that you would have to pretend to know anything at all about me just to get your point across.

          • Luci

            Yes…the internet is public and she’s a public figure, but she’s asking *from her fanbase* via her blog, which does contextualize the ethical issue somewhat.
            Certainly her for volunteers is part of AFP longstanding fannish lovefest – along with asking for food and lodging on tours as it both makes economic sense and allows her to connect with the fans on a personal level.
            You can certainly claim Amanda Palmer is exploiting her fans by asking them to volunteer if you wish. But I doubt they would see it that way; not neccesarily because her fanbase is “whacked” but because she does things like performing free ninja gigs for people who couldn’t afford shows, and makes her album free to download.
            As such help from fans becomes ‘reciprocal’ and not ‘exploitative’…but the large influx to this blogpost seem unaware of the nature of the fannish lovefest they are commenting on.

        • Origami_Isopod

          Because it’s an ethical issue, and anyone who is concerned about ethics has every right to post about it. It’s a public webpage, meaning that it’s not just your little fannish lovefest. And AFP is a public figure. Suck it up, fangirl.

  • M

    Here’s hoping you get what you pay for, asshole.

    • ROO GATSBY

      HIGH FIVE ME UP & DOWN

  • disheartened long time fan

    I used to live in Boston and I dj’d at one of the goth clubs, you might have frequented it, I have no idea. There were nights where I’d play a 1/4 room and still get paid for my time and my (questionable) talent. I would’ve done it for free, but honestly I would’ve felt pretty used if the manager had been essentially handed $1.2MM and didn’t offer to throw us at least $50. Sometimes that money made the difference between ramen or real food.

    I’ve been a fan of you since you first started with the DD, even though your bitching about “disabled feminists” hit a little too close to home after the kind of failed cojoined twins art piece fiasco, or how you posed as if you invented the idea of close artist/fan relationships or selling stuff for cheap on bandcamp, or how you ignored how Neubauten were some of the first innovators in that field.

    But really, seeing this is just disheartening as hell. You are becoming exactly what you hated about Roadrunner. You’re using people’s fandom to -your- benefit and screwing them out of any hard earned cash. Asking people to pick up song parts in a day is no small feat, and as a musician you should know that…and yet here you are, after raking in a ton of money though kickstarter, asking people to do more for you. It really makes me wish I could get a refund on the money I donated to your “cause”

  • Chris M.

    Simple solution. If you don’t like the compensation for a particular gig, don’t take it. If you don’t want to volunteer for something, don’t volunteer. If this kind of a gig doesn’t meet your expectations (as well intentioned as I’m sure they are), let it go. No one has a figurative gun to the prospective violinist’s head…

    What bugs me most about the trail of comments is that the people complaining the loudest, know NOTHING about what the gig entails (no one does really). As spelled out above, it’s something that can be done in a quickie rehearsal with a group of musicians essentially playing off the cuff/sight reading. That said, it probably doesn’t require classically trained musicians to accomplish it. That does not take away or diminish your abilities in the slightest, but rather may say that you are overqualified for it if anything.

    Also, it’s one freaking night… It isn’t like anyone is being asked to play night after night… If this one gig comes to town, and you don’t do it, your life will go on.

    To be honest, it isn’t your band, so who the hell are you to tell other people how to run theirs? What a lot of people are describing here is an employee/employer relationship… why can’t it be a couple of friends coming together to play some music? I mean how is it fair for you to tell other people how to create their art? If you disagree with how Amanda chooses to do it for her own purposes, then don’t use that model with your band, but telling someone else how to run their is ridiculous.

    As for my own credentials, I’ve been playing music for 15 years, and I’ve toured extensively through the USA and abroad in both my own bands and other people’s as well. I can tell you that no matter where you go, there will always be a band out there willing to play for beer. There will always be a band out there willing to sell tickets to their classmates in 3rd period to open for “flavor of the month”, while talented bands will continue to toil away in obscurity waiting for their “break”. It isn’t fair, because you’ve worked HARD damnit! I know, I’ve been there and done that to, but at the end of the day that’s just what it is. Having the idea that musicians are artists and that artists should be paid for their time and effort is a great goal to strive for. If we were living in a perfect world that would be the case, but at the end of the day, for better or worse, we are not. There comes a point where you have to do the best you can to work in the world you have.

    So to any musicians interested in this (I might be interested in one of those boston dates in november), keep your expectations clear. Expect a cool can of beer and some good times. Mingle, network and do a solid job. If something comes from it, great. if not, oh well, you had a good time for free.

    • disheartened long time fan

      but how can you not see the hypocrisy in not getting paid for something that Amanda is obviously making money off of?

      • Chris M.

        How can you not tell the difference between paid employees and volunteers? If people want to donate their talent for a few minutes (and lets face it, this really is a few minutes of work) and play for beer and hugs, who are you tell them they can’t do it?

    • Alex

      The more of us that are willing to work for free, the more of them will be willing to ask/expect us to work for free. Vicious cycle, and the only way I know to break it is for musicians to refuse to work for free.

      • Chris M.

        @Alex You’re entitled to your opinion. And a younger me would have agreed with you 100%. That said I think it smacks a bit of naivete. As far as getting your “fair value” for your talent, I can tell you that you’d be MUCH better off using your time to make your music the best that it can be. I wish you luck in your future musical endeavors.

    • Allie

      The problem here is that everyone and everything else has been budgeted for. This is about breaking the vicious cycle of our time and talent being assumed to be free because we enjoy what we do.

      I think that you are underestimating what it will take to get 16 people to basically sight read a show. Amanda Palmer will ultimately end up getting what she pays for. If the unions don’t shut these gigs down.

      • Chris M.

        I don’t hold any illusions that it wont be perfect and Amanda will undoubtedly get exactly what she pays for. Then again, there’s always the potential for happy accidents and the flavors that an eclectic group of musicians will bring to the table that make each gig a slightly different and memorable experience too (gotta love those happy accidents :) )

        I’ve played plenty of gigs where I walked in armed with nothing more than an mp3 and some notes ive scribbled or some sheet music and played fine. Been part of groups who did just that for a song, a recording, a parade, a public access tv show taping, etc of all kinds of sizes. Given her fan base I think there will be plenty of people who will be up to the task.

        As far as how difficult it will be, well that’d depend on a few things (access to materials, lead time before the event, difficulty of the tunes, etc), but I doubt that most people in the crowd will care so long as its close. If you want perfection, you can buy perfection. Then again, sometimes you have to be rational about how you budget things, and that is a very subjective topic…

        Being able to love what you do and make a living is a great thing. You are lucky if you can make a living as a musician. Congrats and good luck!

    • Origami_Isopod

      “If you don’t like the compensation for a particular gig, don’t take it.”

      “If you don’t like getting paid less than a living wage, don’t take the job. If your boss is sexually harassing you, just quit.” The same libertarian shit that has driven the global race to the bottom for the last 40 years.

      “To be honest, it isn’t your band, so who the hell are you to tell other people how to run theirs?”

      It’s not about how she “runs” her band. It’s about not taking advantage of people. Anyone should feel free to speak up about someone else’s bad ethics.

      • Chris M.

        I’m gonna say its a HUGE leap to equate donating one’s time and playing for a few minutes (because, this is probably all that it amounts to) in exchange for free beer and a chance to support an artist you like to keeping a job when you’re being sexually harassed… I mean seriously? Also to fling the label “libertarian” around w/o knowing ANYTHING about the person you’re criticizing (In terms of political affiliation, mine reads radical leftist thank you very much)… I get that you must have majored in music in college, but did that come with a minor in drama? I mean sheesh…

        I shudder to think at what you’d say about Green Day doing pretty much the same damn thing… for pretty much a decade now…
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqlpK4UAANY (there are literally dozens of videos of them doing this…)

        I mean look at those poor exploited kids sitting on stage backing Billie Joe Armstrong! For anyone not in the mood to watch a 9 minute Green Day cover tune, they play Operation Ivy’s Knowledge and they pull a random drummer, bassist and guitarist from the crowd. So what’s the difference? The volunteers love it. The crowd digs it. Green Day obviously dont have a problem with it as there are videos from as recently as 2009 doing it all over the world (i only skimmed a couple of pages of youtube results).

        I’ll lay this out there one more time. This is a WORLD tour. Do you understand that carting an extra crew of 8 people
        (String quartet + 4 brass players) around the world is a significant expense? Especially when what they need to do may be to play a single song? When you break $35k down, that’s $1000 a night… between paying/housing/transporting/feeding 8 people… per night. You have to take a long hard look at what you’ll be using them for… It could very well be that the horns/strings will play only a couple or a part of a couple of songs. $35K for what could be less than 10 minutes of work a night over 35 nights may just not be practical. For some people a hug from amanda palmer and free beer will be more than worth the $40-$50 they would have made after expenses (lodging/transit/food/taxes/etc). I’ve seen people blow more money on much less personal rewards/good times. Others may not and will let it pass.

        You have a right to your opinion. I just think that your opinion is extremely narrow-minded, biased and frankly self serving/inconsiderate of anyone that does not share your highly specific world view.

        That said I applaud Amanda Palmer for finding an interesting way of interacting with some of her talented fans.

    • Origami_Isopod

      “If you don’t like the compensation for a particular gig, don’t take it.”

      “If you don’t like getting paid less than a living wage, don’t take the job. If your boss is sexually harassing you, just quit.” The same libertarian shit that has driven the global race to the bottom for the last 40 years.

      “To be honest, it isn’t your band, so who the hell are you to tell other people how to run theirs?”

      It’s not about how she “runs” her band. It’s about not taking advantage of people. Anyone should feel free to speak up about someone else’s bad ethics.

  • c norman

    dear amanda palmer,
    how about creating a kickstarter campaign specifically to pay the supporting musicians? i’m willing to bet that you have enough of a fan base to make it a success.

  • morethanproish

    this is the worst idea EVER. So much for supporting musicians. So much for DIY. Amanda Palmer is the Spotify of DIY.

  • OrbitalAtom

    Harlan Ellison can answer this. Substitute “musician” for “writer” and see if it applies. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj5IV23g-fE

    Why is it that it is so acceptable to ask musicians, writers and artists to work for exposure? Why do people try to explain and justify it as “a valuable volunteer opportunity?” Valuable to whom?

    This cheats everyone. It cheats the musicians who deserve to be paid for their work. When you ask musicians to exhibit professional level skills and send audition tapes; when you want them to commit to rehearsal, you’re no longer asking for “volunteers from the audience;” you’re asking for professionals who will take it seriously.

    It cheats the audience who paid to get in and will be stuck listening to amateur hour…since it is highly unlikely that professional musicians will be amused about this and show up. Since they need to, you know, eat and pay rent, they will probably be at their paid jobs.

    It cheats you, Amanda, because it makes it seem that you don’t value your colleagues and peers enough to pay them what they are worth. That’s saddest of all.

  • Wow this is some thread

    Oh my gosh…she’s trying to get FANS who happen to play music involved…no one will be forced to play music for free against their will. It’s all about getting people WHO WANT TO BE involved, involved in the show (and it sounds like only for a couple of numbers). She’s asking fans to contribute photos which will be used in the show too…I presume you people complaining wouldn’t say that this is outrageous and that only paid photographers can contribute?!?! Get over yourselves…even if you have a point to an extent, you are coming across so filled with hatred and entitlement that it is very off-putting.

  • Not paying to see this farce

    Hypocrite… Do the right thing or you’re a money grubbing hypocrite period

  • Not paying to see this farce

    Hypocrite… Do the right thing or you’re a money grubbing hypocrite period

  • Abe Biermen

    Im a professional cellist in Dallas. Id be happy to play with you guys in Austin and Houston. I normally charge $300 a show(including as many rehearsals as you want, within reason) for freelance work. However, for you I will charge $250 since you seem to be on a shoestring budget. Lets work something out.

    If you cant pay your musicians then dont expect to have any. I really hope your paying your original band members… otherwise, this is utterly disrespectful to musicians worldwide and seems almost like a joke. IS IT A JOKE?!

    If its not a joke, you just lost a lot of listeners… hope you dont end up getting a disgruntled musician that feels like sabotaging your show and making a point… because that is a total possibilty.

  • jonparkes

    jesus this is some clueless bullshit.

  • James

    I can’t believe Jherek is going along with this. I know he knows better. Jherek…seriously.

  • Alexis B

    Wow, Amanda, you sure are one cheap bitch. Maybe if you had to work for the money for your tour rather than take from strangers on Kickstarter you might understand the importance of paying people for their work. But how could you understand that, when you’ve managed to get paid without doing a god damned thing?

    I have experienced shows where musicians play for fun or some “higher purpose” without getting compensated. But the method for recruiting those artists was done differently and with different motivation. You aren’t asking people to perform for art’s sake. You are asking people to perform for YOUR sake. And, sorry…you just don’t seem worth it.

  • Alexis B

    I just re-read your blog and noticed the first line includes ”
    the GRAND THIEVING IS UNDERWAY.”

    At least you’re honest, Amanda.

  • amandatoilet Plunger

    Wow.. I decided to check out your music after hearing about you ripping off fellow musicians. Your music is as terrible as your attitude.

  • timtooltime

    this says it all about miss.palmer and his fraud :
    http://imgur.com/qzUf8

  • Petr Bruegel

    Shame on you, each of you paid and in the / a union. How could you not protest louder than you play to the clueless corporate promo schmucks who dreamed this one up? And how long ago were each of you ‘Playing real good for free?’

  • N14

    I was sitting at work today and someone said to me, “hey, did you hear that Amanda Palmer fucked it up again?”

    Really, Amanda, you can be appallingly, frustratingly, head-deskingly tone deaf and stupid. It SO disappointing for those of us who otherwise admire your spirit and work ethic and really want you to succeed. After the debacle around That Other Stupid Project, you seemed to really have learned, smartened up, grown, figured it out. But no, here we are again.

    So, to clarify: it’s one thing to recruit folks to “come on up” and donate their professional time for fun and pleasure when you’re on tour supporting your indie projects, in exchange for some exposure and a beer. Distasteful and debatable, but whatever, you’re one of a common group thumbing their noses at the Big Labels and helping each other out.

    But here’s the thing with this particular project: we already gave. We, collectively, have _already_ donated $1.2 million. We did it so that you wouldn’t have to beg, borrow and steal what you needed. We did it so that you’d have everything you needed to give us an awesome show. We gave what we have to give, and were happy to do so. We held up our part of the bargain already. We’re done.

    So, you see, you cannot, simply cannot ask any of us to dig a little deeper and toss in a little more without expecting serious outrage. It makes our donations a lie. It makes everything we thought you were doing a lie. And it makes everything you said about ‘pioneering a new business model’ an absolute lie.

    More disappointingly, this whole things probably means any one or both of the following:

    (1) You are a bad business person, and are appallingly disorganized. You did not properly budget the money we trusted to you and now find yourself scrambling to fill holes in your budget for which you did not properly plan. You’ve now demonstrated that you need a business manager with the power to reign you in.

    (2) You value pyrotechnics, sets, publicity, costumes and such – i.e. the hype and marketing – over the people who actually make the music. Just like the big music labels.

    Yep, Amanda, you fucked it up again.

    • Wayne

      please stop saying “we” … you don’t represent everyone who backed the kickstarter … don’t make it out as if you do

    • Mark

      Sorry. Kickstarter is not a donation website. It is a crowd-funding website. You get something for what you pay. Don’t act as if it is charity.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/libbyking punksocks

      I think this was rude.

  • Marin

    Others have spelled this out for you better than I need to try doing again, but as a musician and a human, you have shown yourself to be a selfish, self-centered pig. You want a grander show that makes your vision on stage come to life? Yeah? Well than find a way to pay for it. With your million or so, that would work.

    You are the one getting paid for this idiot show, and you are the one who is going to get the credit, so asking others to make it happen, with no pay is nothing short of exploitation and with that, you are an ass.

    It is clear though, that you don’t actually know anything about music yourself, so in essence what are you? -a business woman, big surprise, selling your image. I am thankful that you brought the pathetic mistreatment and difficulty that working musicians are going through right now to the public discussion. You are the new face of exploitation of musicians. You should slap yourself and then quit.

  • http://aaronjshay.net/ Aaron J. Shay

    I have been consistently inspired by your speeches and blogs about musicians making it on their own, but neglecting to even offer your accompanists a pittance is an act that flies in the face of your apparent core principles. If this request were completely open to all skill sets, that would be fine; Beggars can’t be choosers. So if you want to be a chooser, Amanda, don’t beg.

  • Nimeni

    So if I go on craiglist and there’s a person looking for a photographer to take pictures of their engagement party for free, then:
    1. I should conclude that’s unethical because it takes money away from professional photographers and
    2. if I am a professional photographer, I should point out it’s unethical publicly and loudly because this is all going downhill and soon all work will be free.

    Money is a medium of exchange for stuff that you want. I really don’t know a lot of bands that let their fans play with them, which means you literally cannot buy what Amanda is offering here with any sum of money.

  • PH

    I’m curious if plummers clean your pipes for free, just for the honor of smelling your shit?

    Find that insulting?

    That’s how I feel about your cute little post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robotliliput Anita Perkins

    You had me at “Coin Operated Boy”. Unfortunately, with this, you lose me. It would cost all of 3% of your kickstarter money to pay union scale, and engender good will among your fellow musicians. Instead, you totally devalue what we do, and “slam the door behind you”, as our first lady said so eloquently, recently. Honey child, I have a conservatory education in the tens of thousands, and a “good student” instrument with a replacement value equal to 5 times that of my car. I can’t pay those loans back with beer. Let me tell you what I’m afraid of: I’m afraid the people you will attract to play your gig will be “good enough” but not “great”. I’m afraid that “good enough” will be all that will be left, soon, as the best and brightest of the professional-type string-y folks look around and realize, after years and years of their fellow musicians giving it away for free, that there’s just no future in it. Thanks for putting another nail in the coffin of professional musicians. As if the recent bad news from Atlanta and Indianapolis wasn’t enough, you had to go and kick us in the teeth. Oh, by the way, can I steal your albums? I can’t afford to pay for them. xoxoxo, The Surly Violist.

    • Amy

      You CAN download her album for free. Legitimately.

      • Luci

        “Oh, by the way, can I steal your albums? I can’t afford to pay for them. xoxoxo”
        Yep! http://www.amandapalmer.net/shop/
        “If you’re broke – take it. If you love it, come back and kick in later when you have the money.”
        also it’s not like she hasn’t done free performances in the past. I don’t find it surprising that people would be willing to play for free in return.

  • jables

    OK. Yeah. I hate this. but I’d do it for Bjork. even without the t-shirt. then I would hate myself.

  • carloscarlos

    why not just ask them to pay you for the honor of playing with you? You could also charge them for their photo on the same stage with you with a surcharge if the photo is used on facebook(the only reason why they’re doing it anyway…). total missed opportunity here.

  • Chris Buono

    What a DB.

  • Kevin

    To be fair, Amanda’s Kickstarter campaign was not intended to fund a whole tour; her “back of the napkin” breakdown of costs related to producing the album and related items clearly stated the following:

    “…a LOT of our income for the next year WON’T COME from this kickstarter. it’ll come gradually, over the following year: from the touring show, from the merchandise we sell on the road, from money we get in donations when i make the tracks available online, from the money i get from iTunes from the people who are sometimes lazy (like me), and so forth. it’ll be a slow burn, like it always is.” (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/amandapalmer/amanda-palmer-the-new-record-art-book-and-tour/posts/232020)

    Consequently, mentioning the $1.2 million dollars raised through Kickstarter is a red herring—with one exception (sort of).

    That said, I do think that AFP should be paying the people who decide to participate—and not just beer, hugs, and merchandise. After all, being “professional-ish” and capable of sight reading (I did spot sheet music during the webcast, no?) indicate an advanced level of competence that by itself should qualify the participants proper payment. Add to that the time involved in applying for the gig, showing up for rehearsal (quickie or not), being at the venue for the duration of the night’s show, AND playing on stage with folks who ARE actually being paid, and not compensating them beyond beer, hugs, high-fives, and merchandise seems grossly unfair. In fact, it’s exploitation, and that’s not cool. Even if the folks are being exploited willingly, that doesn’t necessarily make it right.

    Here’s where the exception to the Kickstarter red herring (sort of) comes in: One of the items mentioned during that cost breakdown is “tour equipment”. Granted, that was for only six shows (in conjunction with the art shows), but it’s fair to assume that said equipment is still being used now that the proper tour has begun.

    Thinking ahead to the tour proper, if hiring a horn section and string quartet was beyond the scope of the initial budget, then it would also be fair to assume that this budget shortfall would have been anticipated well ahead of time, and the necessary studio time and/or equipment needed to create samples that could be triggered from one of the on-stage keyboards or laptops would have been arranged for as part of the “tour equipment” section of the album budget—thereby making further expense unnecessary as part of the actual tour budget.

    Now, during the NYC show webcast, AFP addressed this matter, making the point that the musicians should be able to decide for themselves. To an extent, that’s perfectly reasonable.

    But, as the cost breakdown referenced above indicates, the designers and artists who created the artwork and designs for the album didn’t work for beer and hugs, nor did her band, the recording studios, the producer, and so on. These things were all budgeted for, as were videos, manufacturing costs, labor, and so on.

    So, why weren’t all the necessary expenses related to staging a world tour budgeted for? Either ticket prices could have been adjusted accordingly (I’m guessing most AFP fans wouldn’t have objected to spending, say, an extra $5 for their tickets), the itinerary could have been adjusted to make hiring the additional musicians feasible, or (and I’ve actually seen bigger bands do this) the use of horn sections and string quartets could have been limited to certain shows, with keyboards and/or samples replacing them for the rest of the dates.

    The bottom line is that AFP is basically asking people with real skills to work a professional gig for next to nothing. If horns and strings (and opening acts!) are that important, pay for them. If not, do without.

  • http://twitter.com/Pray4Brain Mustafa Stefan Dill

    leaving Kickstarter out of this for a minute, as that allegedly went for the recording, then the question is the economics of touring.

    If youre touring with that big a show and youre not a) making the draw or b) commanding the guarantees or c) selling enough merch at shows so that a+b+c is equal to or greater than the cost of the tour, then why the fuck are you doing it? If youre not cutting it , then you just don’t have the fanbase economically that you think you do – and at that point, with all this fancy artsy product and show (which ain’t cheap to lug around), youre just a well funded vanity project.

    That’s scenario 1. Scenario 2 is that you are in fact making enough at the shows but you just a) have poor tour budgeting skills and didn’t plan for all the labor to move this stuff around and now realize youre short, but are too vain to sacrifice or scale down aspects of the show to actually pay people, or B) you just really want to pocket it.

    If youre honest and are concerned about giving fans value for their money, then you owe it to them to give them a performance that has professional players and is well rehearsed. If you’d rather have a big set and mega show instead, that’s a choice, and maybe fans would rather see that than hear a well oiled horn/string section.

    But if youre collecting my money at the door, you owe me a good performance and fair business practices. That’s what I’m expecting for my money and time. If I know that some people in your production are being paid and others not, that just makes you cheap and exploitative like so many other corporate institutions.

    And its the height of hubris and contemptuous gall to say as you did in NYT, “If you could see the enthusiasm of these people, the argument would become invalid,” she said. “They’re all
    incredibly happy to be here.” That’s ego run amok.

    If its truly the case, then invite a few folks for an encore, no harm done. But to expect musicians to donate their time to contribute to any portion of your planned show without proper payment except their “happiness” is contemptible. Either cut those tunes out of the show, or pay people.

    Shows can be boycotted, and the Musicians Union in every city should shut you down.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AndrewFoxMusic Andrew Fox

    Hi Amanda –

    I’m a longtime follower who’s really admired the way that you ditched the label and took your work into your own hands following the rebellyon. I’m also a professional musician, and the majority of my friends are too. I get why you thought this was a good idea – after all, we’ve all done for-fun gigs and we’d all jump at the chance to work with someone we admire.

    You really should’ve stopped before you posted, though, because this doesn’t just result in zero pay and a cool time for the musicians who show up for your work. It results in more and more people – your fans, and anyone familiar with your business model who sees you get away with it so publicly – thinking that musicians, good ones, don’t need to get paid, even when working on substantial projects with big names. When you do this, it weakens everybody’s power in every single negotiation they make with artists, with clubs, with producers. You know when there’s a union factory, and some factory boss opens up a non-closed house elsewhere that eventually puts the entire town out of work? You’re that guy now.

    I’m sure you thought you were just giving some decent low pay to some workers, but really you’re stripping a bunch of other people of their earning ability down the line.

    I really wanted to hear the record, and I wanted to be able to go back to telling everyone I know how awesome it was the way I did when Who Killed Amanda Palmer came out. But I won’t be purchasing anything you create ever again, nor will I participate in your crowdfunding efforts, however much I respect your work. Because your public flouting of decent pay for EVERYONE on your tour has likely contributed to making it that much harder for my friends and colleagues to obtain reasonable pay for good work.

    I don’t care how happy those musicians are to be there. If Elvis Costello wanted me to arrange for his next record for free, I’d shit my pants with joy the whole time and sell my kidneys to make rent. But he’d be wrong to offer work without pay, and he’d be especially wrong to ask it publicly. Doing so would disrespect every single professional he’s ever associated with.

    Don’t be The Bad Guy.

    Andrew Fox

  • J.G.

    I think what it comes down to is that Amanda Palmer had a SURPLUS of funds. Even by her own egregious standards for what it takes to make an album (and all the other things that she promised). Now, she is saying she does not have “ENOUGH” to pay a band. This simply does not make any sense. It does not add up. I think there’s just something fundamentally offensive to have more money than it takes to achieve your stated aim (more money than most people will ever see in their lives, by the way) and then say “this is not enough. I need more help.” Helping other musicians is a beautiful thing, it’s part of being in a community. But sorry to say, that $1.2 million came with a cost: you don’t get to pretend that you are struggling to put things together on a shoestring budget anymore. It’s just fundamentally gross to anyone who works within their own means; not just “professional musicians”. Not just artists. This is just a human issue. For me it really comes down to someone who clearly just seems to be pushing what she thinks she can get away with, while insulting concepts like “community!” and “everyone pitching in!”. If she really cared about organically connecting with her “fans”, she could offer some variation of this idea AFTER hiring a proper backing band. (And let’s not kid ourselves: finding the musicians is a BASIC thing to do when putting together a tour. It’s not an “oh darn, I ran out of funds! issue). The thinking here seems to be: “hey! this “new economic model” thing is pretty sweet! I get to charge people twice (donate and door price) and cut corners on the show I offer!” Anyone who’s ever played in an independent band (hell, any kind of band) knew the economics of her original Kickstarter were fishy. But you know, “what do we know”, etc. I personally just sort of let it go. But I honestly believe, this is a case of someone abusing the trust of her fans to continue to see what she can get away with. It doesn’t matter that people will do it. I have no grudge against people who decide to participate. I get that impulse. (And I also respect the comments on here which have painstakingly pointed out why it’s a potentially damaging idea). This isn’t about the fans. It’s about someone who was given so much, more than most people will ever have, and is still trying to take more, using high-minded rhetoric (“new business model!”) and happy words (“hugs!”) to trick people. It’s actually a painfully familiar story.

    • Luci

      Hi. She’s been pretty transparent with where the kickstarter money went.
      http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/amandapalmer/amanda-palmer-the-new-record-art-book-and-tour/posts/232020

      • J.G.

        Fair enough, but those are her estimates of what things cost. So we’re going off her word. For starters, she dedicates $250,000 of the money raised to “debts”. That’s not exactly transparent. Secondly, she estimated $100,000 left over. That seems to be enough to pay the band, when you consider that the tour is a profit-making venture. Especially a tour of this size, given her stature right now. For most bands, this is the only profit making side of the band ever: tour and merch sales. So to slip it in as a “hope we ‘break even’!” is disingenuous. The tour makes money (the album sales will generate profit for her as well) So, the break-down is more of a list of “how could I potentially spend all of this $1.2 million” ignoring that the capital is being re-invested in future profits.

        • ECN

          As stated before, the tour is probably making $20,000 to $25,000 a night in ticket sales. That’s not including Ticketmaster fees. It is including the share of the money that goes to the venue/staff/etc. It’s not including merch sales, venue drink sales, etc.

          If this tour is operating on such a razor-thin budget that they can’t peel off $500-1000 a night to pay the backing musicians/openers, it’s a dumb idea to do the tour to begin with. Tour on a scale you can actually support.

          But I doubt the tour is operating on that budget.

  • player

    Unbelievable. You simply have no idea do you?? It’s like you are so incredibly self-obsessed that it’s not even worth trying to set you straight. God I hope it all tumbles down around you… sooner the better

  • Quen Took

    Cross-posted from her Facebook page.

    I’m a big fan of Amanda Palmer’s work. I’ve admired the ethics behind her work, the honesty in her music, and her dedication to art for a long time, even if her ‘disabled feminist’ comments, as a disabled feminist chap with a disabled feminist sister, made me cringe. I try to ignore the negative press, and concentrate on wearing out my Dresden Dolls CDs. But this issue has become unavoidable to me, and I’ve spent the morning reading comments about it.

    My feeling is that the request for professional artists was a bad one. If the call-out was for amateur fans, then I think it would be great – a wonderful opportunity for the fans to meet the star, and get some stage time as well. But like many people have said, it doesn’t show respect to professional local artists to expect them to turn up for free and watch everyone else get paid, as much as I’m sure it would be brilliant to play with Amanda.

    Some people seem to think this is an ego thing – that
    Amanda believes it’s honour enough to work with her that she doesn’t need to pay her band. Others think she’s ‘part of the 1%’ and cutting corners to fund her elaborate shows. Whatever her reasoning, though, I still think it’s extremely unfair to imply that Amanda’s riding off into the sunset with two fat suitcases stuffed with our kickstarter money.

    I gave fifty dollars. For that, I will get a beautiful vinyl album and an art book, which from many artists affiliated with big labels would probably cost around fifty dollars EACH, forgetting the added frills.
    Everyone who has donated more than a dollar has been given a copy of the album (with bonus tracks) and so to call the money ‘donations’ is not entirely accurate. We’ve paid for our copies of the album. We get our copies of the album. Of course Amanda can expect to make a profit – all artists hope for that – and the profits go to make the album and fund the shows.

    That being said, it would be really nice if some of those profits could go to pay the artists, if you do want to have professionals on your stage. Personally, I honestly don’t think that Amanda’s done this with malicious, greedy intentions. This is an artist who lives for her art. We know that. She knows we know that. So I really hope that Amanda is going to turn around and say, ‘you know what, guys, thanks for the wake-up call, I’m going to give these musicians some money and show them I really value the work they’re doing for me.’

    Please, Amanda? I’ll give you hugs, high-fives, and beer if you do.

    TL;DR – Amanda’s not a Bostonian Fagin, but she still ought to pay her musicians.

    • michelle

      omg shut up

  • Mike

    “The Grand Thieving is underway” – you said it. Expecting people who’ve practiced for years to hone valuable skills to work for you for free? I’ve never seen another musician show such blatant disrespect for fellow artists. I wonder if it had been made apparent upfront that the proceeds of your Kickstarter campaign would be going to a greedy, shameless tyrant who doesn’t think musicians deserve to be paid for their work, that you might not be $1.2 million worse off?

  • sethgodin

    This is an old debate, and getting older by the day. TED asks the professional speakers of the world to get up and give a speech for free. Crosby, Stills and Nash ask the unprofessional hand-clappers in the audience to clap (in unison) for free. Bloggers blog and commenters comment, often for free.

    So why pick on Amanda, the one who’s trying to shake up the system? Instead of complaining that Amanda is offering a semi-pro or an amateur the chance to be onstage with a rock star, why not start your own gig and become your own rock star?

    If you pick yourself, you get paid. The reality going forward is that cameras, keyboards and guitars are, more than ever, in the hands of amateurs, and the only way to make a good living going forward is to have a tribe and lead the way. Or to be the one we can’t live without.

    Shouting down someone who’s trying to organize the amateurs isn’t going to work very well, and it just makes you hoarse.

    • Drew

      Because she’s not trying to shake up the system. She claims she wants to not be a cog in the machine, and she’s honest there; she wants to run the fucking machine. She wants to exploit, and take, and take some more, and be the biggest fish. And that’s just shitty.

    • Jerome Sabbagh

      I know at least one of the people who played with her in the horn section at Webster Hall two days ago was. He is not an amateur. He is a jazz musician who posted that he was playing with her before the show on Facebook. He thought he was going to get something out of it in terms of career and/or connections, obviously, or he is really into the music, I don’t know. Whatever the case may be, I think it’s a terrible idea, and a terrible precedent for all working musicians. Amanda Palmer, in this instance, is not shaking up the system, she IS the system, i.e she is trying to get as much as she can for free, and doesn’t care that she is screwing other people.

    • Leonardo

      Apples and oranges, false parallelism. TED is something totally different in its pathos and ethos; hardly anyone who speaks there is a “professional speaker,” they are “professionals” in something else, be it artists, authors, scientists, or “thinkers.” A true “professional speaker” would be a spokesperson, and I doubt there is one that would do their job for free in a similar situation. As for the “un-professional hand-clappers” and bloggers…*sigh*.

      “Professional-ish” musicians are not amateurs. This kind of language and condescending tone in her post are clearly aimed at redressing her devious move.

    • ECN

      Because most of us have seen how the actual industry works.

      As I stated above, I’m a stand-up comic, and that’s an industry that has gone down the tubes because enterprising/unscrupulous venue owners and promoters realized that, rather than hiring a professional with talent and paying him/her a fair wage, you could get almost as many people by booking half a dozen unqualified amateurs, who are in no position to say no. Meanwhile, said amateurs have the bright idea to start shows in bars and whatnot, generally not charging anything, diluting the talent pool further and making it harder and harder to demand a fair wage.

      The endgame is predictable: you have a couple dozen comedians at the top of the food chain (but still not making much — unless they leave the club system and book shows in theaters), you have maybe a couple hundred people schlepping across the country 9-10 months out of the year just to barely keep a roof over their heads, and after that you have… nothing. You have plenty of good comedians, really good comedians, comedians with the potential to be great — but virtually nobody gets paid at all.

      This is not a model to follow.

      And yeah, taking orders for your album before it’s recorded is not “shaking up the system”. Plenty of musicians do that. Cut the rhetoric out, and that’s all it is… a musician taking pre-orders (and managing her money incredibly poorly.)

  • Will Martina

    Can’t imagine what the musicians who ‘volunteer’ for you shows will get now that this has blown up. Anyone who participates is going to be branded the worst kind of sucker and can kiss the prospect of enjoying a decent-paying gig goodbye.

    • getting out of hand

      Really?! That means that you are effectively taking away their right to choose for themselves what they wish to do. i think this is getting way out of hand.

      • Will Martina

        Well, actually no, I’m not. But I am saying that one’s choices and actions have consequences, which I think you’d be hard-pressed to refute (why do I need to explain that to you?).
        What I said wasn’t a threat, but a statement about the pretty obvious ramifications of establishing this kind of precedent for oneself.

        Game it out.

        • getting out of hand

          I”m not being confrontational here, but I actually don’t know what ‘game it out’ means. Is it an insult?

          • Will Martina

            Not an insult! It’s an expression that means to anticipate the consequences of one’s actions. A causes B which causes C.

            I could be wrong about all this, but once someone openly plays for free, it’s fair for others to assume that musician doesn’t consider their skill to be of much monetary value, and will pay them accordingly.

          • getting out of hand

            Ah. Well, yes I do actually see everything you’re saying and understand it. And respect that opinion. My opinion is that in the context of this request, I don’t think she meant it like that and I also don’t think that a musician choosing to do this is letting the rest of you down, only because (not that she is ‘just so great’ that people should be honoured) she would do such things herself and has done many times. Her music is available for free, she plays free street gigs, she gives people exposure who would otherwise not get it (by playing her unknown friends’ songs sometimes at her gigs and crediting them, and I am sure that she would hop up on stage for any artist she respected and not ask money. That’s all I think, so we disagree, but that’s fine.

  • interpretations

    I would like to be able to write something without getting blasted by the majority of people on here, who appear to have a homogenous view of this. My interpretation (and it is that, the same as yours is an interpretation) is just a little different, as I think that she is doing this as a way to get people involved and that the gigs could just as easily go ahead without the additional musicians but she is giving people (who want to) the opportunity to be involved and have some fun doing something that they enjoy doing, rather than just deciding that she needs musicians but will not pay for them. After all, she does have a band already that could just do the gig. My other point, however, refers to people posting on this thread, and that although everyone seems happy to blast Amanda as their view is the majority view, when someone says something different, they get dismissed as a ‘fan’ rather than an intelligent person with a valid point, even if it differs from your own. Also, when anyone mentions Amanda herself playing for free many times, or more importantly, offering download of her album to anyone for free on an honour system, no-one responds to this bit of the thread and just acts like it’s never been said.

    • mike

      You’re not a musician.

      • interpretations

        because every musician has to feel exactly the same as you and none are entitled to think differently?

        • mike

          If you’re a working musician, most likely. What is it that you do for a living?

  • Rudi

    Amanda – I have always been really interested in your music and artistic statement. Based on your lyrics, though, I would have assumed you culturally and socially aware enough to realize that asking for FREE WORK from fellow musicians is incredibly disrespectful. I am a Juilliard graduate who makes very little money, and as much as I would LOVE to play with you and meet you, I cannot and will not be supporting your endeavors if you insist on ASKING YOUR FANS for free money (Kickstarter) and then claiming you are unable to offer $35,000 of recompense TOTAL for hard-working, literally starving musicians like myself.

    Grand Theft Orchestra, indeed.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.dundas.96 Matthew Dundas

    This is such an abuse of Kickstarter and a mockery to the rest of us. You’re using kickstarter to build personal wealth which is very different from its intended purpose. Someone who sells out Webster Hall is doing just fine. You can afford pay working musicians with a $1.2 million windfall.

  • Mike

    Yes, grand thieving is definitely underway. I wouldn’t play in this piece of shit outfit if you WERE paying.

  • Mike Herriott

    Next time you go to the dentist, ask him if he’d like to volunteer his services because you’re so amazing and famous he should think it a privilege and an honour.. not to mention the great exposure… that he’ll get from doing it.

    Or maybe your next taxi ride (do you ride in taxis? with all the money you’re making, I would guess a private car service is more your style..), you can tell the driver how amazing you are and that you love when people volunteer their services so you can pocket as much as possible (wow… sorry.. that almost sounded like I was accusing you of being republican like the person below.. surely, you value the contribution of musicians more than that… what am I saying…).

    Here’s the thing… and I’ve traveled A LOT with shows, bands, etc…. Yes, it is expensive. If you cannot afford to do it properly, then don’t do it.

    The other point that I should add here is that, as a professional musician, I would never consider doing something as stupid as giving it away to someone else who is making a ton off my back. If you’re doing a benefit for a worthy cause, count me in. I know that most of my colleagues (all of them) feel the same way. So that begs the question: who is going to be dumb enough to get suckered in to this? The answer: people who cannot get anyone to pay them to play.. in other words, they’re going to be hobby players who probably don’t have much experience no matter how hard your little horn section leader tries in the “quickie rehearsal”… and they won’t know how to play in tune… so you’re band will sound crappy. That is unless you don’t plan to have them in the mix and have them there just for show. (In which case, please don’t… that’s just an insult to all sorts of musicians and people in general).

    The arts in North America is suffering enough already with MBA graduates making artistic decisions and favouring the pocket-book over the music. Please make yourselves part of the solution and not part of the problem.

    Mike Herriott
    professional trumpeter

  • luganman

    you hopeless twit. and rank amateur , asking people to work for nothing to prop up your mediocre ass is beyond crass and selfish. i know what i’d do on your gig I’d play nothing but clams, which unfortunately you wouldn’t even notice

  • Jon M

    So, Amanda Palmer will literally pay you as much to perform in her band as a college student would pay you to help move a couch. Minus pizza.

  • Ryan

    What a shame.

  • Damo

    hey amanda! i know it’s immature to bash people on their looks, but you’re obviously a fucking idiot so you deserve it. you’re a dirty skank faced mole who’d probably look better if i doused your face in kerosene then lit it on fire. fucking slut. die.

  • Jerome Sabbagh

    You should be ashamed of yourself and all the horn players who volunteer for this should, too. I happened to be at you show at Webster Hall two days ago. Tickets were $25, it was packed, live over youtube, and you can’t afford to pay musicians? Please, give me a break. This is everything that’s wrong with this country: greed gone rampant, even in the name of “art”. All this while having a supposedly “stick it to the man attitude”? Truly appalling.

    Jerome Sabbagh

  • Suzanne Barbieri

    The ‘opportunity for exposure’ in being an unpaid opening act could possibly be viewed as such if the musicians were performing their own material, thus promoting their own careers to a new audience. If they’re playing someone else’s for free, it’s nothing more or less than exploitation.

    They can dress it up how ever they want to, but if a professional production is paying others but not you, the reason is that they consider your contribution to be worthless.

    Artists and performers should bear this in mind before accepting unpaid professional work. And we can only stop this happening if we all stand up against it. DO NOT WORK FOR FREE.

  • musicmarkiss

    I just got asked to play a friends wedding for free! A few songs during the reception and I reluctantly agreed to do so. Now I know that gut feeling I initially had was the right one and I will graciously refuse to offer my services for free. If they (the newly weds) feel slighted by my refusal I will direct them to this website and they will soon understand why I cannot perform for free. Having worked in this industry for 2 decades and change, I felt physically ill when I read your request for ‘volunteer musicians’. But upon reading how you raised over a million dollars on Kickstart I puked. I wish you were playing Winnipeg, Canada so I could ignore the fuck out of your show and inform friends who were going of this fiasco. DO THE RIGHT THING!

  • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

    Haters gonna’ hate.

    Since when did asking a few fans to come up on stage to jam and be a part of the show for a few songs become such a criminal thing?

    Personally, I think it’s a cool and brilliant way for people to be a part of the show. It’s all up front, it isn’t like you’re twisting peoples arms or giving them the impression that they’ll become famous or paid for the gig. If they want to do it and can donate a few hours of time to hang out, it’s up to them. I don’t hear people railing against soup kitchens for not paying their volunteer cooks or servers. People ask fans to come up on stage all the time, should they be receiving some kind of pre-determined pay for their time?

  • Justin

    I wonder if being brow-beaten is enough for you to realize what a clown you are. Chances are good that your whole thought process is crap because this clearly points to some kind of deep ignorance and lack of personal integrity. You must not be a professional musician. You must have gaping holes in your musicianship if you are failing to respect other musicians. That said, who wants to go see an amateur act like yours let alone participate for free? If you managed to fake it and whore yourself out enough to get a following with some catchy repetitive songs, great. I hope you realize that by setting the bar so low for this tour, your shows will sound incalculably worse because the band you get is likely on your level. bad news bears, a weak band can not contribute to covering up the problems inherent in your own playing. Flaunt it baby, flaunt what a thoughtless talentless fool you are; underline that shit with red ink.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=715068565 Sma Wise

    Amanda, you’re loved. These people are angry because a lot of them support you and feel betrayed in some way, and love being so close to hate, this is what happens.

    You did what you did most likely for reasons you felt were good and right, so don’t let the hate pull you down. Look at the feedback as objectively as you can, and understand this rage about the music industry/artist not being paid is anger toward the starving artist complex as a whole, you’ve just copped a fuckload of shit from other people’s previous negative experiences from not getting paid. Nowhere did you offer pay – no one was forced to come along. You can’t make every motherfucker happy. Yeah you may have messed up, or maybe none of these people know where you’re at – just ignore the bullying and see the truth.

  • MusicMan

    I used to see Amanda Palmer posters all over my neighborhood in Boston. I never went to one gig, and I’m glad to admit it. I’m ashamed that colleagues of mine have performed with her. We’ve all seen this greedy little songbird type before, it’s all TAKE TAKE TAKE!!! ME ME ME!!! She’s been given 1.2 million and she just wants to keep taking. How about GIVING SOMETHING BACK, BITCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.briner Tom Briner

    Great scam! I have been a professional musician since the 70s and I had never heard or you until this stunt! Chris hit it on the head in the last post, so I can only add “you get what you pay for.” You probably only need lip-synchers anyway. Please OD soon!

    • Luci

      “Great scam! I have been a professional musician since the 70s and I had never heard or you until this stunt!”
      Indeed. It’s become increasingly clear from the comments that many other posters also know nothing about Amanda Palmer – particularly when coming from the stance of “well you raised a million!” (it’s spent and was raised for something else) or “well you wouldn’t play for free!” (she has, and her album is downloadable for free)
      I can understand rage at asking professional musicians to work for free but you lack context. She tends to be grass roots and has no problem herself doing things for free and also supporting other projects and musicians (see Tristan Allen) and reaching out into her fanbase in other ways – for food, lodging etc. She is extraordinarily close to her fans and it’s a two way street.
      This is an extention of this fairly unique relationship (please note she’s asking her fanbase from her blog) and isn’t an exploitative one.
      I assume you’re all being linked here from an outside source that has a slightly different spin on things?

      • AK

        I’ve said this already and no one listens. They just call you a ‘whacked out fan’ and ignore the context and ignore the fact that her album is being ‘sold’ for free if people choose not to pay. As you say, obviously people have a lot of pent up anger over many other things and are being re-directed here from another site/article. It’s getting really personal and nasty though and no one actually listens to anything which is not an exact replica of what they personally believe.

  • Nathan Madsen

    On behalf of professional musicians everywhere: SCREW YOU! Don’t ask us to play for free on a tour like this. Not only will I never consider playing a tour with you I’ll now never support you or your music. Bad move. You really should pay the people that work with/for you at least something!

  • http://twitter.com/WhiskeyT Patrick Hayes

    Geez what a bunch of babies coming here to complain. Clearly most of you came here from a news link just to bitch about AP doing this.

    Did you not read her blog post? She is obviously paying plenty of musicians to tour. It’s not like she is setting out on her own and constructing volunteer bands along the way. Augmenting the already present set of musicians with a few people from each city is a far cry from exploiting professional musicians to make a tour work. C’mon folks, ease up.

    It’s worth noting that Neil Finn did a similar thing a few years ago. He had his set band on tour and had a few FanMusicians join him at each stop for a few songs. Music industry didn’t collapse in the wake of that tour and I suspect the same will be true here.

  • Angelo

    Here’s a quote form Amanda’s own bio: “Being a musician or rock star seemed like the most obvious ‘real’ job that would line up with that dream,” she muses. So, for Amanda, it’s a “job” and she gets “paid”, but for the rest of us, we can live on a “hug”, some “merch” and “beer”? Wow…………:(

  • Pay Your Employees

    What an unprofessional self-entitled dick.
    Pay your fucking employees.

    (for what it’s worth, I was very excited to see the success of your Kickstarter)

  • Billy

    Eat a dick

  • http://twitter.com/Birds_Use_Stars Matthew Jamieson

    I don’t think it’s entirely out of the realm of acceptability to donate a LITTLE bit of time to play a little bit of music. I know it’s a sensitive issue for a lot of people, but maybe people can lighten up a little bit.

  • Anmorata

    I find it somewhat hilarious that you all seem to think that Amanda just has $1.2 million dollars just LAYING around, waiting to be spent. You clearly did not read the breakdown of how that money was pre-planned and allocated. The album was recorded BEFORE the Kickstarter even occurred, and debts for that were already in place. Amazon & Kickstarter themselves get a very large chunk of those funds, too, don’t forget.

    http://www.amandapalmer.net/blog/where-all-this-kickstarter-money-is-going-by-amanda/

    She made this VERY clear back in May – all contributors essentially paid for existing debts and the line items listed in her blog post. This was made public, no hiding. This should not come as a surprise.

    And for the record? Those of you that are now all disgusted over this and are not going to attend the shows? That’s fine. The rest of us will enjoy the show regardless. If I were a professional musician, I would have no problem spending a day and a show on stage for a song or three with one of my favorite music artists. I’d consider it an honor.

  • Don Godwin

    Really disappointed to read this. Amanda Palmer, you have many friends, current and former collaborators, peers, folks who have helped you along your way to your hard-earned success who are paying VERY close attention to this. This could very well be the point where you’re sabotaging your career, so I would suggest to proceed very carefully though this time. I don’t wish any ill-will upon you, I just think that you should spend some time considering the consequences of what you’re asking here, and of your justifacations in light of the uproar around all this. I’ve operated in the DIY scene for decades, and to me what you’re asking for reeks of exploitation, as does your defense. Hope this discussion reaches you, I will be talking about it personally to many who are close to you.

    Don Godwin
    Brooklyn NY

    • stop being so nasty

      wow, threatening! (I’m not being sarcastic, that iS kind of threatening!!)

      • ROO GATSBY

        It is more fun to blow it out of proportion,,

        • David

          Way to be a spammer Roo!

  • http://www.facebook.com/robzahnbass Rob Zahn

    To the idiots who are whining about the pro-musicians being greedy or unreasonable about this:

    Next time you have a fucking brain tumor, insist the surgeons and doctors cure you for free, out of love of helping people. See how far that gets you.

    I am a professional freelance musician and composer from NYC. I have spent many thousands of dollars that I didn’t have and countless hours of research, practice, and study to educate myself both formally and independently so that I can be the best, most knowledgable, most versatile performer and artist I can be. I own a 10,000 dollar double bass (that’s REALLY inexpensive as similar instruments go) and many thousands of dollars in other instruments and gear which I use for my work. I am not alone in this…and many of the people she is trying to con into this “gig” have similarly priced educations and gear.

    When amateurs and pros alike jump on gigs like this, they are being more than foolish and self-destructive. They are effectively sending a message to people like Amanda Palmer saying that they are impressionable drones whose time and effort is not worthy of payment. But it’s not just themselves that they are hurting. By undercutting prices and certainly by working for free, that means that professional musicians who depend on payment to live and thrive are fucked out of a job. It is not only personally self-destructive and pathetic, it is extremely damaging to your fellow musician who believes his or her time is valuable.

    Musicians get paid for their time and work, period. End of story. Just like doctors and lawyers and engineers and everyone else. Defending Palmer’s actions or attempting to downplay the message of us professional musicians is an insult and a disgrace to all creative artists everywhere and it only furthers the belief that people like us are lower on the food chain and that we don’t deserve the same basic rights that other people do.

    This is all fine…But don’t complain that “music these days just ain’t like it used to be” or that major US symphonies are being shut down for lack of funding or that your child’s music program has been cancelled to make way for some standardized test prep nonsense. One day, music will have deteriorated to a point where it’s no longer worth listening to, and you people who support Amanda Palmer and similarly exploitive acts will have yourselves to blame.

    Peace.

    -RZ

    • there is more to it

      I think most people understand the general point behind what you are saying, but it is to play along on a couple of songs, not to do a gig. Also, what about the fact that she has offered her entire album for free and often plays free gigs? Do you even know this? Surely it impacts on your argument, it has to?!

  • ROO GATSBY

    Oh My God I AM TOTALLY STOKED to PLAY in Your AWESOME BAND! I AM GOING TO ROCK ALL THE TRUMPET SOLOS SO HARD! THANK you so much AmAnDA pAlmer!!!!!! I SERIOUSLY AM like the MOST EXCITEDEST I HAVE EVER BEEN IN MY LIFE to be a part of this Spectacle !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t believe I am going to get my fifteen minutes of fame twice! Once When I AM ON STAGE w/ YOU!!! & then Afterwards! when i BLOW MY BRAINS OUT with a BAZOOKA… oh my god

    HIGH FIVE ME UP & DOWN

  • Missing the point

    I think people are missing the context behind this request, but that’s already been written about. What I did want to say is that everyone’s saying other people in other industries never would work without getting paid, but they do it every day in staying late at the office etc…either because they feel they have to (not great), they want to get ahead, or just that they WANT to cos they believe in what they are doing. I’m not even saying people SHOULD do this, just that it’s inaccurate to keep saying that no-one else works ever for free and the poor musicians are the only ones. This is ONLY a request for musicians (don’t have to be professionals) who WANT to do this.

    • ROO GATSBY

      It’s more fun to blow it out of proportion though.

  • Brian Adler

    Hello Amanda Palmer

    Look , I hate to be the bearer of bad news here. But you just made over a million dollars in DONATIONS for you and your band. You asking people to play for free is clearly a terrible thing to do. Asking your fans to join you for a song is one thing, but quite another asking them to play the WHOLE set and be the back up band for the opener as well. You are playing big theaters now. If you can’t afford to hire a backing band, PUT THE SONGS ON AN IPOD AND RUN IT AS A BACKING TRACK LIKE EVERYONE ELSE WHO CANT AFFORD IT.

    We don’t make money on records anymore so the last bit we got is getting paid to be your sideman. Man up. Pay some pros.

    • Roo Gatsby

      It’s more fun to blow it out of proportion tho

  • Mr. Anthrope

    Let’s do some simple arithmetic to see how much hiring pros would cost you: let’s say you pay $35/hr to each individual pro (give or take but that’s about average). A rehearsal would be about 2-3 hours long. That’s 70-105$ right there. Then, there’s the show, which would be an hour or two (I have no idea how long an Amanda Palmer set would be). That would add up to, at most, $175. It’s not much, of course, but it’s something. Multiply that by whatever the number of pros you hired is, let’s say 10: that’s $1750 per show to pay your musicians. You’re playing 35 shows so $1,750 x 35 shows = $61,250.

    Now, you raised exactly $1,192,793 for this tour. $61,250 would account for 5% of your total budget. I don’t know where all this money is going but I think you can afford it. In addition, considering that you raised $192,793 more than you expected, I think you can afford to even pay three times the average that I used above and have some left over.

    Now, with all that said, why aren’t you paying your horn and string players?

    • Roo Gatsby

      That’s more proportional. good job

    • Trying To Be Reasonable

      Hi,

      First, I don’t agree with the way she went about doing this and, being a professional musician myself, I’m frustrated by her actions. But your math is wrong:

      1.) Her Kickstarter campaign is taxable as a business tax. Corporate tax rates in the states are just above $113,000 PLUS 34% of your total taxable income. NY State corporate tax is 7.1%. All told, this comes to over $400,000 in taxes. Subtract that from the 1.2 mil.

      2.) She detailed her expenses for creating the album and publicity which she was using the Kickstarter money for (it was NOT solely for the tour), her expenses add up to over $250,000 just for publicity and album.

      3.) Many posters are calling for her to play union scale ever city she goes. Union scale is not even CLOSE to what you’re saying an hour. Check out this for an example:

      http://www.local802afm.org/frames/fs_wage.htm

      Your figure for paying musicians should be far larger using your hours and number of people. In fact, I think to say its safe to double it if union scale is insisted on.

      So in reality, she has far less than 1.2 million to work with. Yes, I still think she has enough to pay for a larger group (mind you, she DOES have her “orchestra” which IS paid for the tour), but we really don’t know how much.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Dalisair Robert Lee Andruszko

        oof. I don’t think she even LISTED the taxes on the quick break down. That is disheartening…

    • Dylan

      Why didn’t you look at the budget break-down that Amanda posted a while back? It says where all of the money is going, and how it is being used. The Kickstarter project was NOT 1.2 million dollars in donations. People were pre-ordering products, and helping to pay for the production and distribution of the album, and well as for the tour.

      I think the math worked out in a way that leaves Amanda with under $100,000 from the Kickstarter project, and now you’re expecting her to pay another $61,250 out of that. Go figure. Complaining that musicians have to make money. Apparently not if you’re AFP?

      • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

        Correct, none of the above projections even factor in taxes nor the fact that Kickstarter takes 10% off the bat.

        Additionally, these complaints are completely unfounded to begin with as these are individuals who are making the choice to agree to the terms. It’s stupid. As a photographer, if someone I admire or am friends with asks me to take a few photos for them and I agree to, people have no right to freak out about it and demand that I receive union wages, have bills to pay, etc. It’s absurd.

      • ECN

        Not counting the $250,000 dollars that she used to pay her album-unrelated personal debts. So yeah, she made $300,000 off that.

        And funding the tour is part of the cost for the tour, which is being conducted for profit, so you could call that income as well. Just because she re-invested it in another project doesn’t mean it wasn’t profit. Not that it’s bad that she’s making a profit.

        Of course, all of this is separate from the underlying point here — if you can’t fund a tour, too bad. Don’t tour on that scale. Figure out a way to make it work within your budget. In this case, you wouldn’t be taking the tour expenses out of the album Kickstarter budget — you’d be taking them out of the tour profits. $150 per musician times six musicians (it was stated elsewhere that 6 were needed, not 10) = $1000 a night, i.e. less than 5% of projected net ticket sales for the tour.

        And if these musicians aren’t important enough to the tour you want to do? If you can’t justify that expense to yourself? Figure out a way to do the tour without them, then. You don’t have the right to forgo ethics because you want to do something you can’t afford to do ethically.

        • Simon

          “if you can’t fund a tour, too bad. Don’t tour on that scale. Figure out a way to make it work within your budget”

          She has.

          • ECN

            An ethical way. I could quit my job if I robbed a bank. That doesn’t mean I just figured out a way to quit my job.

        • http://twitter.com/Pray4Brain Mustafa Stefan Dill

          Exactly, ECN, spot on.

          The elephant in the room in a lot of the arguments above supporting her IS THAT A TOUR SHOULD BE SELF -SUSTAINING. She’s not a new band with fire in the belly and a fanbase to build so you sleep in a van and just slog it out in bars to build a following.

          She’s artsy with a biggish budget, and at the level she wants to operate at , bands *are* making money, IF theyre good enough to support that scale or bigger. You think megabands operate at a loss? Go look at the balance sheet of any stadium act, or on the mid size circuit (casinos, etc). Theyre usually all financially viable operations.

          I know as well that tours are heinously expensive, but all the arguments supporting her stance and saying ‘tours are expensive” are leaving out the revenue part of the equation, which is an important point: if youre going to operate that big, you need to be good enough and established enough to command the ticket prices and fees to pay for it.

          Its really pretty simple: Ticket sales+merch sales+ any promoter’s guarantees should equal or exceed the cost of operations. If its not, dont do it, because you havent yet earned the right and the fiscal maturity to do it. In other words, youre not the star you think you are, and if you go ahead and do it and you have some money to back you, then thats just fiscally delusional and youre living a life not grounded in reality — youre just a well funded vanity project, as ive posted before.

          On a much , much tinier scale, Ive planned and scrapped tours or parts of tours (before anything was announced or locked in) because the math didnt add up (usually it was because a gig or two fell through, coudlnt fill the hole, and the cost of down time when youre not earning plus travel made it not viable). But I didnt shortchange a performance or stiff anyone involved to make it work. If i was irrevocably committed and had to take a hit, the hit was on me alone.

          Only 3 possibilities: a) shes just not as good or as interesting as she thinks herself to be and ticket sales are proving it, b) ticket sales are actually ok but she effed up the tour budget, or c), shes just being greedy and wants to pocket the expense. Whatever scenario you choose, her choice to resolve is it by not paying musicians is arrogant and the height of hubris.

    • Mike

      For the non-professional level of musicians she wants she could even just give them $50 each and they’d be happy (assuming they’re pretty much amateurs)
      That’s basically the cost of a ticket sale and a bit for each person she “hires” Easy to pay. Why she’s not, I don’t know.

      • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

        Most of the people who’re doing this would already be buying a ticket to go to her show anyway :)

        Other bands have done the same thing before (asking fans to bring instruments and join them on stage). Hell, my band has done it several times and asked people to show up during sound check to run through things. Everyone who is involved gets to have fun. People have cameo’s on our albums for fun too. Why? Because w’ere all a part of the music community and don’t mind supporting one another, especially friends or people who believe in.

  • dn

    A person who’s always given free gigs and free music asks if someone wants to do something that could be interesting and fun. I don’t see anything scandalous in this.
    It sounds to me more like “do you want the chance to play with other musicians for fun”, than “shit I’m out of money gonna beg from my fans.”
    She’s always been honest and open about what she would do with the Kickstarter money and all. Might be she’s not an oculate spender, or she needs a better business management. Or maybe the spirit of it was meant to be something totally different.
    I’m that kind of fan that always ponders, thinks and often criticizes. I see what bothers people, in this. Still, I personally don’t find it offensive or anything. And yes, I’m one of those people trying to make ends meet and trying to find a way to live with art, too.

  • disappointed

    I lost respect for you once your whored it out literally (no need to be nude, your new music is such a disappointment, perhaps deep down you realize this already, thinking if you ‘bared it all’ you’d sell? You aren’t poor, you raised a lot of money. You are an insult to artists. I used to look up to you for years, now I can’t even look at you

  • S is for Seriously

    Just to (voluntarily) join the chorus:

    Long-time fan here, Amanda, ever since the first time the Dolls toured Europe. I’m generally also an enormous admirer of your independence and your business model.

    But you have really, really screwed up here.

    Part of it’s the insistence on people who can “ACTUALLY, REALLY PLAY YOUR INSTRUMENT!”, and requests for audition tapes. If this was a massed-ranks of everyone who had an instrument, great. You’re clearly looking for professionals here, and that’s enormously disrespectful to struggling musicians.

    The other part is that you have raised over a million dollars, in a recession, and appear to have mismanaged it. Somewhere along the line, it looks like you didn’t budget for the fact that to come close to the sound of the album, you will need many more musicians on stage. Musicians who can actually play – professionally, under a conductor, with limited rehearsal time.

    People invested money directly in you. They didn’t donate it, they invested it in Theatre Is Evil. And it sounds a lot like you’re now saying, “I fucked up the budget. I need stuff for free this time if the whole thing’s going to work.”

    Amanda, you sound like the investment banks here. You sound like everything you were providing an alternative to.

    Please dig yourself out of this hole by paying whoever rehearses and performs with you on this tour.
    If you can’t afford to pay them all, get less of them. But pay them. Please.

  • http://twitter.com/agentphoenix Agent Phoenix

    Hey giiiiiiiiiiirl,

    I just wanted to let you know that if I were a professional musician (or even a somewhat decent one), I’d GLADLY play for you for free. I mean…c’mon? Why wouldn’t I want to do that? Money is bullshit. Give me hugs, beer, high-fives, smiles, and laughs any day of the week. I’d do it just to say I DID THAT. Life’s too short to be greedy. I know you give back to your fans, that’s why I donated $100 to KickStarter. I’ll gladly give you more. You give me music, happiness, words of encouragement, tit pics, art, inspiration, motivation…

    Keep it up, fierce lady. I’ll see you again in Amsterdam! (Can’t bloody wait!)

    xxxxxxx
    ~Agent Phoenix

  • Whatever

    Because none of us have ever done something for free, at any point in our lives, because it was a fun opportunity. None of you ‘paid musicians’ would be here without having paid free gigs in the first place. Quit with the self righteous bullshit.

  • Jean michel jarre

    I think this is fair enough. If you’re a fan and can play and want to have a fun evening then this is a cool thing to do. If you are a ‘struggling musican’ then you’re probably not good enough. And remember it was all this union bollocks that lead to the synthesiser and drum machine being invented and used so widely. No one forces you to be a musician so don’t moan when you don’t have enough work. If your attitude in work is the same as some of your comments you wouldn’t get a gig, even if you are a talented player. You’d just be considered a jealous, moany bitch and turned down on those grounds alone.

    PS – I’m surprised you union types managed to write such long comments in one hit. I’d have thought you’d have been entitled to a tea break.

  • Andy

    Let’s not over-think this one. It’s just a dick move. It’s not asking “friends” to jam out, it’s asking “talent” to give their time/skill for free while YOU make more money. Common decency is the precedent here.

    You should know better Amanda, maybe you were sick that week in kindergarten where we were all taught to share and say “thank you” (which in this case means you pay people…just thought I should spell it out for you).

  • Andy

    Let’s not over-think this one. It’s just a dick move. It’s not asking “friends” to jam out, it’s asking “talent” to give their time/skill for free while YOU make more money. Common decency is the precedent here.

    You should know better Amanda, maybe you were sick that week in kindergarten where we were all taught to share and say “thank you” (which in this case means you pay people…just thought I should spell it out for you).

  • Brian Troiano

    Here’s the deal, Amanda. If you can’t afford to pay these musicians, you don’t get to have them on your show. It’s that simple. If I walk into a restaurant and can’t afford a particular dish, I don’t ask the manager to give it to me for free anyway. If I need the legal services of a lawyer but can’t afford his/her rates, I don’t ask him/her to represent me for free anyway. Why don’t you get that? Why do you have such an obvious lack of respect for the skill that professional musicians have or what it takes to get that skill? You do realize you’re making a joke out of your reputation, yes?

  • http://twitter.com/_TeDiouS_ Tom Steiger

    Amanda has been inviting her FANS (NOTE: this is a post on HER BLOG, not an ad in Spin) to perform with her FOR YEARS. This is not some new “publicity strategy”; this is how she rolls, and always has. Now, suddenly, because she is a “millionaire” it is exploitation? Forcing musicians to play for free is wrong. Enticing musicians with false promises and then informing them they will not be paid is wrong. Amanda is doing none of this. She’s very up front about what the deal is so that everyone can make an informed decision.

  • srandy

    Can anyone confirm or deny that Amanda Palmer or Neil Gaiman are principal investors in Kickstarter?
    “Kickstarter reportedly raised $10 million funding from backers including NYC-based venture firm Union Square Ventures and angel investors such as Jack Dorsey, Zach Klein and Caterina Fake.” Source: http://allthingsd.com/20110317/kickstarter-fesses-up-the-crowd-sourced-funding-startup-has-funding-too/
    They have been very secretive about their investors and any priority given to her kickstarter campaign would reek of the same attention whoring and comeplete lack of ethics.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Trevor.Grimes Trevor Grimm

    Dear union organizers and protesters, i recognize that youre just trying to get your cut of what you see as a delicious and obtainable pie, but if youre not interested in Amandas artistry then feel free to not get paid playing at the top of your field in your studio alone. im disgusted by the union wags all bashing other players as if they were second class people because theyre not tied to a union and paying their cut. Amandas show is enjoyable precisely because youre not involved.

  • Hugo Burnham

    OK,
    so I have to weigh in (copied here from my fb page) now about the plethora of
    whingeing, whining, mostly ill-informed wankers going on about Amanda
    Fucking Palmer’s call-out to fans who play strings or horns to join her
    onstage on her current tour. THESE PEOPLE NEED TO STFU AND GET A LIFE.
    The high dudgeon is stultifying…and so much of it driven by simple
    sour grapes and a gross misunderstanding of the fiscal mechanics of
    recording, touring, marketing, promoting….and giving a ton of shit
    away.

    She is asking for for string players and two or three
    horn players in each city to join HER FULLY-PAID TOURING BAND to
    rehearse for an afternoon with said band and then come onstage to play a
    handful of songs. They will receive (approximate quote) ‘beer, high
    fives, and some merch.

    Fabulous! What a blast for AFP fans!
    The Nattering nabobs all over the ‘net are hanging her high because
    “musicians are trained professionals who should get paid”, because “she
    raised a million on Kickstarter and has lots of money”, and all other manner of stretched point-making.

    The reality is that 99% of (decent) trained musicians in this country
    are NOT professional/making a living from music. So many play out (if
    they even can) because they can, and because they want to…often for
    even less than ‘beer money’. Should ‘professional’ musicians get a
    better deal than most of them do most of the time? Hell, yes. I heard an
    NPR story on the plight of professional orchestras all over the country
    who are in dire straits and unable to properly pay their members AND
    keep going. And on, and on…but this is NOT the person to excoriate.
    She has played for free herself so often and for so many people; she
    gives away tons of music and art to her fans, she has built a fan-base
    that any other artist out there would give their left arm (or bow or
    mouthpiece) for. She exemplifies what most (popular) musicians who want
    to do it for a living should do to have a chance….the years of hard
    work, sacrifice…..OY.

    Enough from these wankers.

    Thank you….I just had to vent.

    • Dave Watson

      You’ll also notice she’s asking the string players to back up her opening act. Thus they should definitely get paid.

    • ECN

      Just to confirm, your argument is that the system of compensation for backing musicians is bad and exploitative now… so that excuses Ms. Palmer furthering the issue?

  • Sharise

    It was my understanding from the beginning that this was the whole premise of the band – they named it the Grand Theft Orchestra, and they would be seeking volunteers for the “orchestra” bits at each venue. This part, the crowdsourcing musicians part, is the part I have been most excited about. If she had wanted to hire professional musicians she could have, but that wasn’t the point. The point was that fans who are musically inclined are able to participate in the show. I’ve listened to the album – there really aren’t that many bits that actually call for the horns and strings. The call for “professional-ish” musicians seems to me to be an indicator that she needs people who can sight-read and perform in front of a crowd, more than a call for Julliard grads or people who are attempting to make their living by getting paid to perform.

  • andy

    Being a professional touring musician, I agree 100% that musicians should always be paid for their work. Admittedly I’ve not looked in to this thoroughly and frankly never heard of Amanda Palmer before, but from what I’ve seen on this blog post and some of the comments, it seems to me that she is just looking for some fans who can play decently to sit in on a few tunes. Participants get in the show free, drinks free, sit in on a couple tunes and be a part of the show. If I were a fan then I’d presumably be buying a ticket anyway, so I see this kinda like a barter. Keep in mind, she’s just asking for these folks to participate in a couple of songs, and to bring an additional say 8 musicians on tour for just a couple of songs would be a tough expense to justify. If she were looking for a free back up band every night for the whole show, it would be a different story for sure.
    People don’t always realize how expensive it is for an artist to be on tour. These days, most of us are not getting any tour support dollars from a record company. People are using services like Spotify to listen to music for free (Spotify pays an extremely low royalty, which is pretty much insignificant in the grand scheme of things for a band). That means the revenue that bands used to generate from selling recorded music is greatly reduced and shrinking exponentially everyday. For a solo artist, who has to pay ALL the bills (unlike a band situation like I’m in, that has 5 owners responsible for the expenses), money gets spent very quickly.
    Would it have been way cooler for her to add maybe $40-$50 per local musician to the list of perks? Yes, I think so, but I also think that people are (understandably) mistaken that this is some evil scheme to get musicians to play for free. I see it more as an artist trying to involve a handful of able fans in the show, and in return giving them tix to the show, some drinks and merch which like I said before is more like a barter as these items are worth something to her fans.
    That being said, I definitely understand why musicians feel weird about this, as I did when I first saw it. It is nice to see people looking out for the interest of the musicians. When I read the blog however, it didn’t seem as bad as I thought and I wanted to just share this point of view.

  • D

    Step #1 – Ask fans for money
    Step #2 – Ask fans to work for you and play for free
    Step #3 – Say it is because you can’t afford to pay
    Step #4 – Profit

  • Fred D

    Stick it right up your arse Amanda.

  • Dave Watson

    Amanda: Even if all your Kickstarter donations did go towards the new album (including already-incurred debts), that artbook and all the other frippery surrounding it, you surely should be able to pull $50-$75 per extra musician per gig out of the share of the ticket sales that don’t go to the venue and management to pay these extra musicians for their time and effort. Trust me, at this point and time, that’s going to be much cheaper in the long run than the fallout from all the negative publicity you’re getting for this. No epithets (not even any profanity), just telling you straight up, one musician (and a Dresden Dolls fan; have to check out more of your solo work) to another.

    • Dave Watson

      Amendment: Since you also plan to have the string players back up your opening act, Jherek Bischoff, they should be getting extra money for that.

  • Dvdglss

    I feel like the majority of these “professional” opinions are so uptight. This was posted a while ago already and people are only talking shit now? I’m sure the day this was posted, half of the naysayers said, hey that might be a fun thing to do for ONE FUCKING DAY.

    You’re not signing up for the whole tour. No one asked you to quit your day job. Big acts like Weezer or the foo fighters will have an audience member come up and jam with them, think they got paid?

  • Neil

    Hey Amanda.

    Your tour dates show towns that have some pretty affluent neighborhoods. Maybe ticket sales will be good? So why don’t you at least attempt to properly compensate the locals you hire?

    Musicians that are “up and coming” with some experience, or are at a money earning level, should be paid. I don’t care if it’s union or not, just properly compensate them for their time.

    I recall doing one show for $40 a night when I was starting out. And ya, sure. That was an “earn while you learn” gig. But that was a fair rate for an up and comer with the ability to sight read well and have enough savvy not to step in a hole. But that fee was decades ago. And you don’t even offer that?

    ‘Beer and high fives’ ? Are you kidding? Merch? What’s a ball cap or T-shirt cost to make? Getting the locals to wear that stuff only furthers YOUR cause.

    You wrote: “…. (a link to you playing on a real stage would be great, or a resume willdo. …..”

    Asking for a resume strongly suggests that you are seeking people who have likely already “earned their keep” or are very serious about their craft. Like they’ve been paid for their time on gigs because they have some skills. Asking for a resume and offering people no money is shameful.

    @ all the pro’s, “up and coming” or otherwise; don’t contribute to Amanda’s cause. Don’t fall for her BS. Bottom line; you will only be promoting her. If you do it for free, or near to that, you’re lowering the “scale” for all concerned. More importantly though, you’re lowering your own worth as a working musician.

    Neil Nicholson.

  • casey

    you’re a dildo

  • Dylan

    So many people here clearly don’t understand what the term ‘volunteer’ means.

    If I could actually play an instrument, I would jump at the chance to play live with you for beer and hugs and merch, or just the hugs. :P It’s about the experience, not about how much money I could make.

    Here’s a quote for everybody.

    “Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, “What’s in it for me?” –Brian Tracy

  • Sean Winter

    Just By creating a non paying gig as opposed to a paying one you are hurting the musical community in every city you play in.

    How long exactly have you been a musician? Cause unless you suddenly just got discovered by some label and have complete plausible denyability you should undress stand what it is to be a musician. Struggling to make ends meet. Watching as others around you get chances as you go unnoticed playing your few not so glamorous gigs a month and dreaming of more.
    Don’t you remember those times?

    You are creating a reality for the people you play with where this is always going to be the case.

    And now everyone who has never heard of you gets the impression that you are of the type who does not wish to share her success with others.

    Great publicity lady.

  • Nichols

    Hey great publicity stunt! Maybe Beck can do the charts!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Dalisair Robert Lee Andruszko

    I’m sorry that people haven’t done research. They are jumping on the asking musicians to play for free bandwagon. Normally, it’s wrong. *sigh* In this case, you are offering the chance for people to jam with you who adore you, live, on stage, be PART of the show. And you’re getting slammed for it. Keep doing what you are doing. People who WANT to will, people who don’t, won’t. I’ll continue to do my art for free when I want to (hell, I essentially pay THEM sometimes) and demand pay when I want to. It is up to me.

  • TheVoiceOfReason?

    You do understand that this is not new, don’t you? Imogen Heap did this exact same thing on one of her last tours. Asking cellists in each city to audition to play onstage with her and her band. There were online auditions, a day-of show rehearsal, and guess what, no one was all up in arms, freaking out about it. They jumped at the chance. http://www.imogenheap.com/cello/ Check out the link it says it all.

    Amanda’s blog post says clearly she’s looking for musicians “to hop up on stage with us for a couple of tunes.” She IS paying her touring band.

    What I took from her blog post she is looking to create a fun, interactive experience for her tour, where people who are competent (they can actually play) musicians hop up on stage for a couple of songs. That’s what? 8 minutes of work for those keeping track. I think a beer, some merch, hanging out, and having an incredible night, more than compensates for 8 minutes of work.

  • http://www.facebook.com/The.misinformation.suggestion.brigade Wes Shelley

    This is ridiculously cheap/sad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/MidwestInstituteKalamazoo John Payne

    Dear Amanda Palmer, Thanks for being you, sometimes things shouldn’t be done for money, when that is I do not know. I do know that I love art and what you are doing & hate hate. Don’t have an answer but I love your art and if I played horns or strings I would be there for free! John

  • Jake A

    Stop bitching about this, already. As a musician, I would be more than happy to come on and play for any number of professional acts preferred by me for absolutely nothing. Hell, I wouldn’t even need a high five/hug, though I would feel good if said hug/high five were given. I’d still pay for my own ticket to see the show.
    More power to Amanda fuckin Palmer for bringing in those who otherwise wouldn’t even have a chance to perform in front of many people at all. They’re getting a free show (not mentioned here, but likely), free booze, free swag, and the ability to hop on stage with a pro, just for running through a couple songs prior to said show.
    This isn’t about ‘taking advantage of desperate musicians’ – although if one IS that desperate of a musician, one may not be that great to begin with, it’s about letting fans take part in the show.
    A kickstarter program may gross some hefty stacks of cash, but keep in mind costs of recording, promotion, touring, ACTUAL professional musicians for said tours and recordings, and a number of other things.
    Some people may think that a few million goes a long way in the entertainment industry, because they may be a part of it and are paid a scale – as most professionals in the industry are – and think ‘well golly gee, it’s cheap to keep me around for this long, so this business can’t cost that much’, or they’re completely ignorant of the industry and think, ‘well, if Kevin Smith can make a movie on a 27,000 dollar budget, so this can’t be too expensive.
    Either way, I don’t care if Amanda Palmer is just trying to save some of that coin, or if she can’t actually afford to pay the volunteers in the first place. Volunteers are exactly what they are. She’s not calling up desperate professionals, and saying ‘Oh hey, I can’t pay you but will you play for me?’ She’s offering fans a chance to play on stage with her, which is something that is priceless to them.
    If Ben Folds by some reason asked me to do a duet with him, or sing back-up for him on a few songs when he happened to be playing in my area, I wouldn’t immediately respond with ‘So what are you paying, me?’. I’d respond more along the lines of ‘FUCK YES I WILL! Wanna get drunk prior to or after the show!?’

  • JoeB.

    Duh. If you don’t want to play for free then don’t. Personally I think it’s kind of a fun deal and I know lots of players who would jump at the chance just to be on stage. All of you complainers sound to me like Musicians Union thugs.

    • ECN

      I’m a stand-up comedian and TV/film actor.

      That means I work in a business where there are so many fly-by-night amateurs willing to undercut qualified professionals, and so many venues and promoters willing to let them do it, that it’s virtually impossible to make ANY money doing it, let alone a living wage. I’ve been doing comedy for a little less than ten years, and I’ve been quite successful at it — I’m a regular at numerous top Los Angeles clubs, I’ve been invited to perform at major national festivals, and so on. And in that time, I’ve made maybe enough to pay three months’ rent.

      I also work in a business where an effective union makes sure that I get paid a fair price for my work, a price comparable to what other employees doing the same work are making.

      I know which of these systems is functional, and which is inherently fucked.

  • Professional-ish Musician

    There should be a documentary film about this. Oh wait, it’s called, “Standing in the Shadows of Motown.”

  • Chip Christian

    Shoot. I stopped after the 12th grade, and my horn is in Pennsylvania.

  • Arnoldpalmer

    You should either pay the musicians or do this.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gz1y2LWLSjs&feature=related

  • matt

    it’s called “volunteering.”

  • @spookyheath

    Having taken part in two (ish) of these things as an unpaid musician ,im probably in a good position to comment!
    Crowd-sourcing fan-musicians is all well and good to promote an awesome feeling of inclusion – i volunteered as an open suggestion to play back in 2009, way before any of the grand theft stuff and (as i put on twitter earlier today) i honestly had the time of my life! I got to share a stage with my idol and i will NEVER forget it!
    Fast forward to 2011 and i applied once again and was accepted to play as part of a show. £100 in travel costs and a VERY short runthrough later and we’re told we’re being replaced by a different horn section. Ouch.
    Yes it was a huge show, yes there was a lot at stake but i will never forget that show for the sad reason that we werent deemed good enough. My point? If you want Real Professionals (which i believe is the familiar point made in the blog), pay for them.

    Im glad the chance to get this off my chest came up, its been breaking my heart for a year. Yes i funded the kickstarter, i will always admire you and follow you, but as for seeing another live gig, i cant. Havent played trumpet since.

    H xxx

  • Lloydie77

    Uh, so, I guess that none of the commenting professional musicians have ever sat in and played a couple of tunes with a band in a club, and didn’t get paid for it? I’ve been a professional musician for close to 20 years, and I know better. If I had only played when there was money involved, I would have never gotten gigs that DID pay. Good for you if, from the first time you played, you got a check. But for the rest of us who paid dues with a lot of free shows, this is alright with me!

  • Dave Kellan

    If people wanna do it… Let em do it lol

  • Heather

    Having taken part in two (ish) of these things as an unpaid musician ,im probably in a good position to comment!
    Crowd-sourcing fan-musicians is all well and good to promote an awesome feeling of inclusion – i volunteered as an open suggestion to play back in 2009, way before any of the grand theft stuff and (as i put on twitter earlier today) i honestly had the time of my life! I got to share a stage with my idol and i will NEVER forget it!
    Fast forward to 2011 and i applied once again and was accepted to play as part of a show. £100 in travel costs and a VERY short runthrough later and we’re told we’re being replaced by a different horn section. Ouch.
    Yes it was a huge show, yes there was a lot at stake but i will never forget that show for the sad reason that we werent deemed good enough. My point? If you want Real Professionals (which i believe is the familiar point made in the blog), pay for them.

    Im glad the chance to get this off my chest came up, its been breaking my heart for a year. Yes i funded the kickstarter, i will always admire you and follow you, but as for seeing another live gig, i cant. Havent played trumpet since.

    H xxx

  • aleria

    looks like there are specific parts to read and/or learn; looks like you care about whether the players can play. i get that it’s groovy to invite friends and fans up for a couple songs. i see how that could be fun. thing is, these folks are auditioning. then, they’re rehearsing. then, you’ve got them going away until showtime — not even offering dinner or hang time with the band, or a little something for city parking …

    quoting paul simon, “that’s worth something, when you think about it, that is worth some money.”

    you really oughta rethink this hug-and-a-beer thing. you really oughta pay your guest artists something for their talent, time, and travel.

  • Filhix

    My 2 cents, worth every penny.

    1 – If you haven’t been ripped off or exploited you’ve never worked in the entertainment business.
    2 – This isn’t a ripoff because the payout is right up front. Merch, hugs, and a few minutes onstage in a tour. Anyone who doesn’t take the deal has one less memory to share. The rate is waay below scale, but it’s a rate. :-p

  • Wow.

    Disgusting… any professional musician with a shred of decency would 1) not ask musicians to play for free, and 2) NOT do this show. Can’t believe you even asked people to do this for you. You’re cheap and COMPLETELY unprofessional.

  • http://twitter.com/RiotPoofFairy Melanie

    didn’t asking people to come play music with you used to be called “jamming” would it have made people feel better, if she just worded the whole thing differently. “Come Jam with Amanda Palmer” do we forget concerts like “Woodstock” where musicians just got together and played some fucking kick ass music. I don’t understand why Amanda is getting so much negativity about this, she wasn’t asking for first born children. People can choose if they want to play with her for free or not to play at all. Amanda I am sorry that people don’t always get what you are trying to accomplish. But you will prevail and it will be an amazing tour. anyway…hope this stress gives you needed creative juices to write some fantastic songs. Much Love

    • Good Lord

      She’s not inviting them to jam, she’s asking them to come to a rehearsal and learn her music. It’s not the same thing at all.

      • ECN

        Also, in what universe did the musicians who played Woodstock not get compensated for performing?

        • Good Lord

          They played for hugs, obviously. Any musician who wants more than that is a greedy jerk. What kind of shitty artist would try to get compensation for their work?

  • http://www.facebook.com/hotrod213 Chris Ellington Long

    GREAT IDEA AMANDA! Giving struggling musicians the chance to join a world class performer on stage- treating them like royality and giving them an awesome addition to their resume- as well as dinner merch free tickets to the show and huge amounts of hi 5’s is an amazingly innovative idea. Don’t let the ball busting over how much money you raised on kickstarter get you down…. i doubt ANY of those breaking balls even remotely understand the finances involved in touring OR have the class to understand that a recording budget is different than a tour budget. I LOVE YOU and how you are showing established musicians that there are other options besides major labels and deals with Wal-mart for distribution. KUDOS to you!

  • Sad…

    sad, just sad Amanda. So disappointed. You know better. Ironically, by you trying to save money- you just lost the ticket sales, merch sales, and respect of alot of people…

  • Stephen Campbell

    Some of the best music I have ever heard has come during the after show parties. Usually in someone’s kitchen or hotel room. The energy is off the charts when the chemistry is working, even after a long night in the middle of a grueling tour. Great artists are always looking for inspiration and shows are usually just recitals of the familiar to please the fans. The opportunity for inspiration is limited in this setting. Amanda, it seems to me, is just trying to share with her fans the pure joy she gets from those after hours interactions with complete strangers. Unpredictable, tense, fun, exciting and entertaining. Not just for the fans- but for the musicians who agree to play with her. (There is a reason they use the word play when describing what musicians do.)

    If Chris Siebert has been a touring musician for 23 years, I am sure he has been around many of these unofficial gigs and has probably played for ‘free’ at least a few times in his life. Just for fun. Musicians do not play for money. They play because they have to, it is who they are. If they can get paid to do it, all the better, but the vast majority of musicians do not get paid. Amanda is not reaching out to professional musicians. She is reaching out to all those musicians who play for their families and friends. Musicians who play only for the joy of it and who would get a kick out of playing a few tunes with her.

    Amanda is simply looking to add joy to her shows. If you don’t understand this Chris, I suggest you spend a few more nights in the kitchen and try to rekindle some of that joy.

    • Good Lord

      This isn’t anything like an after-show party. This is not a free concert. This is a tour that Amanda is making money from. She’s not there for the joy of it all, she’s getting paid to show up. She’s asking for players for specific instrument parts, and asking them for resumes and audition tapes. This is a professional gig. There’s no way around that. She wants skilled performers, but she doesn’t want to pay for it. It’s embarrassing.

      • Stephen Campbell

        Of course she is there for the joy of it! What musicians have you been hanging out with? If Amanda is wrong and no one wants to come and have some fun with her they do not have to. This is a free country and people can do what they like. I am betting she is going to get a bunch of people who are going to show up and have a blast. I would also be willing to bet that most of the musicians will not be full time professionals, but rather competent players who moonlight in various ensembles and bands on the weekends.

        I find it sad when I hear people equating everything to money. The value proposition doesn’t always have to be about money. You may not value what Amanda is offering, but that doesn’t mean there is no value to others. If the only way you would take the gig and not feel ripped off is if she paid you, then you are not who she wants. This is her tour, not yours, she is the taking all the risks. I think it is clear what she wants from the musicians and I think she has also been very clear what she is willing to give back.

        Far from being embarrassed, I think everyone involved will have a good time and go home happy. That, of course, is the object of the game. Everything else is just crap.

  • Good Lord

    I know a lot of people keep referring to Amanda’s post explaining where the Kickstarter money went, but get real. That wasn’t exactly a detailed expense report. The tour was one of the things the Kickstarter funds were supposed to cover. If she really doesn’t have the money left to pay for all the musicians she thinks she needs for this tour, then she’s a terrible businesswoman. Which wouldn’t be surprising considering just how badly run every pre-sale she’s ever held has been. Every moneymaking/saving venture Amanda has come up with has been poorly thought out and incredibly tacky.

  • Luci

    ok. I think this is going to be my last comment on this and then I’ll walk away as i’m tired of repeating the same stuff over and over.

    this link is the one I end up having to keep posting for people complaining that she has a million in the bank. she doesn’t, so for anyone interested this is where the kickstarter money went:
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/amandapalmer/amanda-palmer-the-new-record-art-book-and-tour/posts/232020

    (and in fairness, if I hadn’t been following the project and had read the headlines that her kickstarter made a million, I would have assumed that was profit and money she could spend too).

    Basically…

    She wasn’t talking to you. I know that sounds rude, but she wasn’t. You’ve all come from some new york times article or something. I don’t know what they said but geez…so much rage and hate and so much misdirected. Yup, it’s the internet, yup anyone can see her plea for volunteers and it’s public. But the people who are going to be following her blog are her fans.

    Longstanding fans of Amanda Palmer are used to offering help and being asked for help. In your screams of “exploitation!” you haven’t noticed that Amanda’s fanbase is essentially a very intimate community who help eachother – Amanda helps them, they help Amanda, and they help eachother.

    The bloggess had commented that “…Loud noise & crowds are anxiety triggers, but something tells me
    it’ll be an understanding crowd if I need to hide under a table.” One comment was “@thebloggess If you feel overwhelmed, @amandapalmer will have the crowd sit down.” She probably would. And they probably would.

    Need a place to stay with a piano to practice on before a gig? Fans have provided it. Need homecooked food brought to a gig? Fans have provided it. It does not surprise me at ALL that fans would be willing to provide extra instruments on some songs – it’s in line with what they’ve been doing all along – I realize you’re all very cynical, but it genuinely is all a “fannish lovefest.”

    Can you rage at Amanda Palmer for depending on her fans too much? I don’t think you can, no. Sure it’s not standard practice, but then, she isn’t a standard ‘rock star’. Her recent album you can download for free if you can’t afford it. She’s done free gigs for people who couldn’t get or afford tickets. And yes, maybe by not charging people she is undervalueing herself and music in general – you can make that argument. But if people genuinely couldn’t afford it, she wouldn’t have got that money anyway – and people will tell their friends. And they do. And so it grows.

    She isn’t expecting anyone to do anything for her that she hasn’t done for them.

    So that’s the “from a fan of Amanda Palmer perspective” because most of you don’t seem to get that this doesn’t function like a normal consumer relationship – people do things for other people for free here. Including Amanda.

    Now from the “what the hell is going on and who are you people and where have you suddenly come from?” perspective. I can’t remember who it was, but someone said that any fan of Amanda’s joining that stage and playing an instrument was a scab who should be punished by the union. Double you, Tee, Eff, Eff. A scab? Where are the strikes? Where are the picket lines? Punished by the union?! For wanting to be involved with something you enjoy and care about?

    As I’d read all this frothing hatred, my fiance came back from work. Boggled, I turned to him and said “I’ve never been more ashamed of the hard-left in my entire life.” “…Waa?” He asked, confused. I don’t like putting things into the right/left binary, but if those are the terms we have to work with…I’m fairly left. Waay left. “The unions are supposed to protect the workers, not punish or persecute people!” I fume. We had Thatcher and the miners strikes – seriously, I am so not anti-union, so to see this…this *bullying*…

    Not just of Amanda, where there’s abuse and threats to boycott or close her shows, but also of anyone who might actually want to join in playing at her shows?

    “Oh.” He said “Yah. American Unions aren’t like our unions. They aren’t like a bastion of socialism like here. It’s more like the mafia over there. And they have a closed-door policy.”

    He went through and listed some of the more powerful unions and musicians were amongst them. I honestly had no idea. I thought you were cool, man.

    Of course, I may be speaking entirely out of turn as I know very little about American unions and had just assumed they were like ours. But then again, that’s ok, as I’m not pretending to be an authority on the subject. It’s not like I’ve gone on a union forum or blog to criticise them or anything.

  • Luci

    ok. I think this is going to be my last comment on this and then I’ll walk away as i’m tired of repeating the same stuff over and over.

    this link is the one I end up having to keep posting for people complaining that she has a million in the bank. she doesn’t, so for anyone interested this is where the kickstarter money went:
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/amandapalmer/amanda-palmer-the-new-record-art-book-and-tour/posts/232020

    (and in fairness, if I hadn’t been following the project and had read the headlines that her kickstarter made a million, I would have assumed that was profit and money she could spend too).

    Basically…

    She wasn’t talking to you. I know that sounds rude, but she wasn’t. You’ve all come from some new york times article or something. I don’t know what they said but geez…so much rage and hate and so much misdirected. Yup, it’s the internet, yup anyone can see her plea for volunteers and it’s public. But the people who are going to be following her blog are her fans.

    Longstanding fans of Amanda Palmer are used to offering help and being asked for help. In your screams of “exploitation!” you haven’t noticed that Amanda’s fanbase is essentially a very intimate community who help eachother – Amanda helps them, they help Amanda, and they help eachother.

    The bloggess had commented that “…Loud noise & crowds are anxiety triggers, but something tells me
    it’ll be an understanding crowd if I need to hide under a table.” One comment was “@thebloggess If you feel overwhelmed, @amandapalmer will have the crowd sit down.” She probably would. And they probably would.

    Need a place to stay with a piano to practice on before a gig? Fans have provided it. Need homecooked food brought to a gig? Fans have provided it. It does not surprise me at ALL that fans would be willing to provide extra instruments on some songs – it’s in line with what they’ve been doing all along – I realize you’re all very cynical, but it genuinely is all a “fannish lovefest.”

    Can you rage at Amanda Palmer for depending on her fans too much? I don’t think you can, no. Sure it’s not standard practice, but then, she isn’t a standard ‘rock star’. Her recent album you can download for free if you can’t afford it. She’s done free gigs for people who couldn’t get or afford tickets. And yes, maybe by not charging people she is undervalueing herself and music in general – you can make that argument. But if people genuinely couldn’t afford it, she wouldn’t have got that money anyway – and people will tell their friends. And they do. And so it grows.

    She isn’t expecting anyone to do anything for her that she hasn’t done for them.

    So that’s the “from a fan of Amanda Palmer perspective” because most of you don’t seem to get that this doesn’t function like a normal consumer relationship – people do things for other people for free here. Including Amanda.

    Now from the “what the hell is going on and who are you people and where have you suddenly come from?” perspective. I can’t remember who it was, but someone said that any fan of Amanda’s joining that stage and playing an instrument was a scab who should be punished by the union. Double you, Tee, Eff, Eff. A scab? Where are the strikes? Where are the picket lines? Punished by the union?! For wanting to be involved with something you enjoy and care about?

    As I’d read all this frothing hatred, my fiance came back from work. Boggled, I turned to him and said “I’ve never been more ashamed of the hard-left in my entire life.” “…Waa?” He asked, confused. I don’t like putting things into the right/left binary, but if those are the terms we have to work with…I’m fairly left. Waay left. “The unions are supposed to protect the workers, not punish or persecute people!” I fume. We had Thatcher and the miners strikes – seriously, I am so not anti-union, so to see this…this *bullying*…

    Not just of Amanda, where there’s abuse and threats to boycott or close her shows, but also of anyone who might actually want to join in playing at her shows?

    “Oh.” He said “Yah. American Unions aren’t like our unions. They aren’t like a bastion of socialism like here. It’s more like the mafia over there. And they have a closed-door policy.”

    He went through and listed some of the more powerful unions and musicians were amongst them. I honestly had no idea. I thought you were cool, man.

    Of course, I may be speaking entirely out of turn as I know very little about American unions and had just assumed they were like ours. But then again, that’s ok, as I’m not pretending to be an authority on the subject. It’s not like I’ve gone on a union forum or blog to criticise them or anything.

    • Good Lord

      Musicians’ unions are notoriously weak and the music industry is famous for exploiting them. The biggest response the unions have made in this case is to tweet how much they think this situation sucks.

      Generally, musicians are the last to be paid. Managers, lawyers, accountants, producers, venues all get their money before musicians see a dime. In this case, all those people will be getting paid, while these skilled performers will not be compensated. Can’t you see how frustrating this is for a musician?

      • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

        As someone who the local musicians’ unions have tried to recruit several times, I can tell you that they don’t always have the interests of the musician in mind. They want me to pay $160 per year for this kind of nonsense? I don’t think contributing that much to have them tweet and complain against a hardworking musician who is supported by her fans a good investment.

        You write ”
        Generally, musicians are the last to be paid…” That has nothing to do with this here. Asking for some local fans to join her for a night on stage is a cool, unique experience. She’s not asking them to ditch work, leave their families to tour, or anything of the sort. She’s asking for a few hours of their time to be a part of the show. That’s different than bringing all of the other battles that we musicians face on a day to day basis. No need to drag that into this when it isn’t related. When my friends’ bands that are on tour ask me to fill in for guitar for the night, I don’t go nuts on them, demand union wages, and complain how they are devaluing musicians in society. I either do it because it’s fun and I want to or I don’t.

      • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

        As someone who the local musicians’ unions have tried to recruit several times, I can tell you that they don’t always have the interests of the musician in mind. They want me to pay $160 per year for this kind of nonsense? I don’t think contributing that much to have them tweet and complain against a hardworking musician who is supported by her fans a good investment.

        You write ”
        Generally, musicians are the last to be paid…” That has nothing to do with this here. Asking for some local fans to join her for a night on stage is a cool, unique experience. She’s not asking them to ditch work, leave their families to tour, or anything of the sort. She’s asking for a few hours of their time to be a part of the show. That’s different than bringing all of the other battles that we musicians face on a day to day basis. No need to drag that into this when it isn’t related. When my friends’ bands that are on tour ask me to fill in for guitar for the night, I don’t go nuts on them, demand union wages, and complain how they are devaluing musicians in society. I either do it because it’s fun and I want to or I don’t.

        • Good Lord

          My comment was really about the creepy, union-busting rhetoric being used. If you don’t want to be part of a union, fine, but it’s not appropriate to compare them to the mafia and act like they control the US. Especially when the person who posted that admitted they didn’t really know anything about it and were getting all their information second hand from someone else.

          • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

            I suppose my main beef with most of the complaints about here is related – if you don’t want to be a part of Amanda Palmer’s show by playing on stage on those terms, then fine. But it isn’t appropriate to unfairly characterize her as someone who is exploiting poor musicians who have no choice in the matter or act like she is harming the music industry by asking for people to join her band for a night. Especially when the people posting the complaints don’t really know anything about her, her relationship with her fans, or are only getting this slanted information from a NY Times article.

        • Just No

          I haven’t seen anyone say Amanda shouldn’t hire non-union musicians, only that she should pay all her musicians. I think that is a perfectly reasonable position to take.

          • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

            Not really the discussion we were having there, people were just bringing up union wages and a lot of the resentment seemed to have been perpetuated by some unionized ideas

    • https://twitter.com/#!/libbyking punksocks

      Nicely said.

    • Just No

      You are speaking out of turn, and I find this incredibly offensive. To liken American unions to the mafia is right wing garbage that’s so offensive even Mitt Romney wouldn’t go there. Your fiance hasn’t got a clue if he listed musicians among the powerful unions in the US. They aren’t even a powerful union within the entertainment industry. They are so weak that the union scale wage hasn’t been raised since the 60s.

    • Thanks

      This is great, and written very eloquently, and people are still not going to pay any attention because they are not listening, but it makes perfect sense. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/KTenpas Kate Ten Pas

    everyone has the right to disagree about something.

    but do we have to be so insulting in the process?

    just sayin’….

  • Vnend

    My wife was asked to play at the White House during the Clinton administration. When she asked about compensation she was told “Oh, we don’t pay people to play at events. What would we pay Yo Yo Ma or [xyz] when they play here?” She wishes she had answered “Union scale?”

    (Yes, she played anyway, and enjoyed doing so. Parking in D.C. and wrangling her instrument in and out of the White House, a lot less so.)

    So, all you ‘pro’ musicians can forget about playing the White House (well, I was told it was still true under Bush; I haven’t spoken to anyone who has been asked to play for the Obama administration).

    One thing that most, if not all, of the folks up in arms about this seem to be forgetting: this wasn’t posted in Variety, on Craig’s List or any other advertising medium. It was posted on her blog and mailed to her fans.

    You seem to have missed that point, so I’ll repeat it:

    She was inviting her fans up, not Random Musician who had never heard of her before.

    For the folks it was targeted at who qualified, the equation has to include: play a couple of songs (with a band I follow) equals free entry to rest of show, momentary high while doing so and the envy of other fans who don’t play my instrument. Is there a group out there whose fans *wouldn’t* love to have that opportunity? How many bands give it to them?

    This isn’t AFP+GTO ripping off musicians. This is Amanda interacting with her fans and that is what pushed the Kickstarter over a million.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/libbyking punksocks

      AGREE: “This isn’t AFP+GTO ripping off musicians. This is Amanda interacting with her fans and that is what pushed the Kickstarter over a million.”

    • Good Lord

      Were the Clintons making money off your wife’s performance? Otherwise, it’s absolutely nothing like this situation.

      • Nimeni

        How is it not? Isn’t that taking money away from professional musicians as well?

        • Good Lord

          If no one is getting compensated, then absolutely not.

          • Nimeni

            Ah, so it’s not about taking jobs away, it’s about her making money and another musician working for free. So really any unpaid internship is unethical? In fact any volunteering event organized by an NPO is unethical because the NPO employees are getting paid. Is that a correct parallel, would you say?

          • Good Lord

            Actually, unpaid internships are considered unethical unless they are for college credit. Amanda Palmer isn’t an NPO and to try to compare them is absurd.

          • Nimeni

            Because she’s an artist and artists have unions to protect their interests? Why is the comparison absurd?

            If unpaid internships are unethical then there are tons of ads you should be commenting on before coming here. Seriously, what’s really absurd is arguing about how someone runs their business when Apple sells

            The world owes you, me, Amanda, and everyone else exactly this much: zero. If person B will do person A’s job for free, then person A is out of a job.

          • Good Lord

            ” If person B will do person A’s job for free, then person A is out of a job.”

            If you really have no idea just how awful this statement is, then I don’t know what to say. This goes way beyond Amanda and it speaks to the basic indecency that workers all over the world deal with everyday. I’m flabbergasted by some of the comments here and I wonder if some people would be embarrassed by the comments they’ve made if they were talking about someone other than Amanda Palmer. If someone defended Apple, Nike, or Coca-Cola with that statement, I cannot imagine everyone would just let it slide. Take Amanda out of the equation and really think about this for a minute.

          • Good Lord

            ” If person B will do person A’s job for free, then person A is out of a job.”

            If you really have no idea just how awful this statement is, then I don’t know what to say. This goes way beyond Amanda and it speaks to the basic indecency that workers all over the world deal with everyday. I’m flabbergasted by some of the comments here and I wonder if some people would be embarrassed by the comments they’ve made if they were talking about someone other than Amanda Palmer. If someone defended Apple, Nike, or Coca-Cola with that statement, I cannot imagine everyone would just let it slide. Take Amanda out of the equation and really think about this for a minute.

          • Nimeni

            I think you may have misunderstood me. I am certainly not saying this is the way things should be; I am saying that’s the way things are.

            I program for a living. If Google (or Microsoft, or Apple, for that matter) invented a computer program that could do my job, i.e. take vocal commands from business managers and implement software to their specifications, then companies the world over would license said program and pretty much every single programmer would go jobless instantly, without passing Go or collecting $200. It’s pretty horrifying but that doesn’t make it any less true.

            How does that make my statement awful?

          • Good Lord

            If Amanda were using a backing track instead of free musicians, no one would say anything. We’re talking about actual human beings deserving a fair wage. Right now, there are people world wide who are working without fair compensation. They are being exploited and it isn’t right or decent. It isn’t ok for anyone to do it, not even Amanda Palmer. Just because it happens, doesn’t mean we should shrug our shoulders and pretend there’s nothing to be done.

          • Nimeni

            You are comparing people in third world countries who work for less than $1 a day because it’s their only choice to fans who can play with Amanda or choose to do something else with their time.

            Are you getting paid for the time you spend arguing for other people’s rights? Or are you doing it for free because it’s something you believe in?

          • nzlemming

            Actually, I do think that unpaid internships are unethical. So, no, I don’t agree with your parallel. But I also don’t agree with the semi-organised union campaign evident through the talking points used against AFP in the comments on this blogpost.

            I’m not against unions, been a member for many years. But no-one’s being asked to scab, here. It’s not about pro musicians being asked to be paid for free. It is about fans connecting with their idol.

            But most of you won’t care about that because you’ve “never heard of Amanda Palmer before” but you’re entitled to make a living because you spent all that time practicing, and hey, you had to pay union fees and stuff. Newsflash: you are only entitled to the *opportunity** to make a living – you are not entitled to a living. This is not your opportunity. Move on.

      • Vnend

        Yes.

  • Dan Lehner

    According to her blog post about where her
    Kickstarter money went, Amanda Palmer said about “20-25k” went to visual
    artists whose art was used in installations on her tour. The artists
    got to keep their art; Palmer was essentially renting. She said, AND I
    QUOTE “I feel very good about about giving them all that money” In the schematics of her fundraising goals, she could allot 5 figure sums for an “art party” and pay the visual artists fair wage for their work, but she couldn’t do that for guest musicians?

    If you raise 1.2 million via crowdfunding for album and tour expenses and a paying a horn section and string players ISN’T in that budget, then you’ve done something wrong. If she truly can’t pay the $35,000 that she quoted, then she or whoever managed her finances did a poor job.

    Yes, I know it was aimed at her fan base. I put myself in a fan’s shoes: If Sufjan Stevens asked me to play trombone for him, I’d be ecstatic. Like, keep-me-away-from-an-open-window ecstatic. But if I found out he wasn’t paying, I’d at least ask why. I’d at least inquire what funds are and aren’t available for my time and years of craft. And I may very well leave the gig if I though my principles were being infringed on.

    I don’t think AP is greedy, I don’t think she’s malicious. I think she’s making a poor business decision that resonates WAY too deeply into the things that have ghettoized performing musicians for years.

    • Nimeni

      You realize that you don’t have to be a full-time performing musician to take this gig, right? And that whether you are or not, no one is forcing you to?

      I’m having a yard sale. I’m inviting a local guitarist to provide ambient music and will offer him only ice tea as payment.

      • Dan Lehner

        1.) Of course not. But what’s insulting is she requested “professional-ish” musicians for amateur pay (aka, beer and hugs). Professional, BY DEFINITION, means one is compensated for their time and effort. She wants it to be of a specific quality, but she won’t (and I’ve proven above, it’s not that she “couldn’t”) pay them for that quality. It’s not going to hurt me that badly, but it does make a bad impression overall and it reinforces the idea that music is not a profession where your talent is rewarded. It’s just the semantics of the matter, which DO, in fact, matter. I suppose the visual artists didn’t need to be full-time visual artists either. But they got their cut.

        • Nimeni

          It’s possible that it was indeed a bad business decision. I also think there can be debate about whether the wording of the ad was adequate. However, the backlash this earned is ridiculous and frankly points to a terrible waste of time on everyone’s behalf (including mine).

          She’s asking for “professional-ish” musicians so she and her band can worry about their own playing instead of a guest artist keeping up with them.
          Everyone complaining about this has to realize that while AFP needed help from others to record and publish the album, she needs no one else for a show. She could walk out on stage with a ukulele every single gig and do the entire show like that, without any other artists. I would not feel the least bit cheated. In fact if there is a lack of local artists in every single town she visits she will still do the shows and everyone will still be perfectly happy.

        • Nimeni

          It’s possible that it was indeed a bad business decision. I also think there can be debate about whether the wording of the ad was adequate. However, the backlash this earned is ridiculous and frankly points to a terrible waste of time on everyone’s behalf (including mine).

          She’s asking for “professional-ish” musicians so she and her band can worry about their own playing instead of a guest artist keeping up with them.
          Everyone complaining about this has to realize that while AFP needed help from others to record and publish the album, she needs no one else for a show. She could walk out on stage with a ukulele every single gig and do the entire show like that, without any other artists. I would not feel the least bit cheated. In fact if there is a lack of local artists in every single town she visits she will still do the shows and everyone will still be perfectly happy.

  • gv

    Amanda Palmer… well, well… you just got interesting.

    • https://twitter.com/#!/libbyking punksocks

      you win the best double post awards!

  • http://twitter.com/TrustMeScience TrustMeI’mAScientist

    To be fair to Ms. Palmer, I am a big fan of volunteerism.

    I volunteer for public radio stations like WNYC and WFMU, and I volunteer for an alternative arts venue called Vaudeville Park. I even run a volunteer magazine called “Trust Me, I’m a Scientist.”

    But there’s a meaningful distinction at play here: These are not-for-profit entities, while Ms. Palmer’s tour is a for-profit expedition; and a cash-rich one at that.

    On top of her $1.2M Kickstarter campaign, Ms. Palmer’s CDs and downloads have been selling briskly, and so have her concert tickets at $30 and $60 a pop.

    There are certainly times when volunteerism is noble. Many of us should do more of it.

    But is it noble to volunteer for a cash-rich for-profit enterprise? Especially when taking the gig means you’re taking food from the mouths of people whose day job it is to play these kinds of high-pressure, high-profile concerts and to ensure that the audience isn’t let down?

    Is it noble to devalue the role of musicians by suggesting that their years of training and tens and thousands of hours of dedicated practice is worth little more than a beer?

    Is it noble to support musicians only with “exposure”? Exposure for what? So that they’ll be selected to play the next cash-rich tour for free too? Or are we talking about the kind of “exposure” that musicians will be subject too when they can’t pay their rent because they aren’t being fairly compensated for the valuable work they do?

    Let’s not make false equivalencies in this debate. It’s important to remember that we’re not talking about a friend of Ms. Palmer’s jumping up on stage to play a guitar solo or sing backup on a song.

    Rather, we’re talking about musicians who are expected to learn material in advance, and arrive punctually for a high-pressure rehearsal and then again for a high-profile performance in which they will be an essential part of the impact of many of the songs.

    This kind of work deserves compensation — even if its just a token sum from an artist who can not afford to pay a more traditional rate.

    But at this point, it’s worth remembering that Ms. Palmer can afford it. Remember the $1.2 Million, which was a full $1 Million above her budgeted goal? Remember all the Amazon downloads and ticket sales in the past two days alone?

    The way Palmer is playing her cards here, it’s hard for even a well-wisher like myself not to be convinced that she is falling deep into hypocrisy.

    Palmer is paying her promotional team and her management team handsomely, but not the musicians? By doing this, she is becoming the very thing that she has told us she has been railing against.

    If a concert stands to make no money at all, or if the proceeds are
    meant to go to a humanitarian cause, then perhaps playing for free is a
    noble thing to do. But it’s important to remember that Amanda Palmer is not a
    charity. She is now running a significant for-profit entertainment business.

    When I did sound for Ms. Palmer’s Kickstarter party, I was paid, and deservedly so. It was hard work with long hours. I accepted the gig even though I knew the pay was far less than it should have been, because I believed she was trying to do an interesting thing and I was told she had a “DIY” budget (although in the end, that term turned out to be a little misleading.)

    But I was paid. I’m an audio engineer, and a pretty good one. But compared to a good musician, I’m practically a leech. It’s the musicians who make my job possible. And even more than that, it’s the musicians who make my whole life possible. Without them, I would be lost emotionally as much as I would be lost professionally.

    If I’m worth my keep, then so is a reliable, capable and spirited violinist, cellist or trombone player.

    Amanda Palmer: Compensate your musicians like your compensate your publicity team and your managers and your tech people and your accountants.

    The musicians are the ones who are doing the most important work of all. The rest of us are just in the “support” business.

    I’ve heard you do a lot of talk up until now, and I’ve worked hard to be supportive of you in the past. I’ve even written articles about your work that have been read by many tens of thousands of musicians across the globe. But now is the time to put your money where your mouth is.

    Do what’s right.

  • Duane Hitchings

    Amanda – PLEASE don’t forget where a huge majority of musicians and artist have moved to in the last 7 years – NASHVILLE !! Yep ! Nashvegas is not JUST country anymore – not that there is anything wrong with GOOD country music ! I love it and was brought up on it … and Chopin. In Nashville – Jazz, R&B, a GREAT Symphony Orchestra and Ballet company , Electronica ( Skrillex is putting on a huge concert here “on the river” downtown next month – traffic cops are going to have a ball !! )plus a healthy crowd of people of all arts ! COME ON DOWN GIRL and bring the gang ! HINT: Alice Cooper played the old Grand Ole’ Opry ( now the Ryman Auditorium ) 2 years ago and sold out in about in hour, You haven’t lived until you have seen a family of four – dad, mom and 2 kids. all wearing jeans, boots, Hank William’s Jr’s T-Shirts, AC-DC hats —– with ALL of them wearing Alice Copper eye makeup, screaming “SCHOOLS OUT” ! OH and to you musicians that are “complaining” about playing for free – AIN’T GOING TO BE FREE FOLKS — You are getting about .. oh …. $10,000 to $20,000 worth of publicity plus every agent in Nashville checkin’ your asses out !! Bob Lefsetz is right on his post today. ADVICE: from an old fart who has been on the bottom and top – An artist/musician has to go through the ears and the heart before the money goes into his/her pocket ! For those that will play/sing. whatever for free – PLAY YOUR ASS OFF !!! ps. I betcha some of the million is going to disappear with all the places she is going to travel. Hope she comes home with 5 bucks !!
    Duane Hitchings
    Captainhit@Comcast.net

  • http://twitter.com/leo3375 Shannon

    I could understand if the request said something like “Hey, any fans that are musical hobbyists or played a horn in high school want to come down and hang out, have a drink and get a T-shirt?” No, she asked for “professional-ish” which to me indicates that she consciously made a decision to solicit players of a certain caliber. That could handle reading charts and perform with only a brief rehearsal. That requires skilled musicians and that to me means compensating them for their time and abilities, whether they are fans or not. It doesn’t have to be union scale. You could throw $20-$50 their way and you wouldn’t be getting the shit storm on this comment board that you are getting.

    A local dinner theater in my town staged a production of “The Music Man” when I was 15. They put the word out that they wanted 76 trombone players to play the song “Seventy-six Trombones.” A mix of pros and high school and college players showed up to play the one song. Guess what? We all got paid!

    Palmer strikes me as more as the “Artist/Dreamer” type that didn’t really pay her dues as a working musician. To answer the question “Isn’t there a player/idol that you would KILL to play with?” Yes there are, but they are bandleaders who started out as struggling sidemen, and wouldn’t dream of asking young players to “volunteer” their time.

    Next time the pipes burst in your house, put a post on your website asking if any of your fans are plumbers who will fix the pipes in exchange for a T-Shirt and hugs. Is the the wife of Neil Gaiman really that hard up for money, or does most of their cash go to the Church of Scientology?

  • boneman

    I’ll play for free if you let me fuck you.

  • Frankie D

    Why the fuck would any decent horn/string player want to go near Amanda Palmer without being paid shit loads of money. Her music is the biggest load of pretentious wank going. I’d like to know what her (presumably paid) rhythm section/backing band feel about this. Do they give a shit, or have they just had to go along with it because they need the gig that bad ?

    • http://twitter.com/SimonTheTam Simon (Young) Tam

      You’re a douche canoe. If you don’t like someone’s music, then don’t buy it. But don’t be an idiot who makes stupid comments like that.

      • Frankie D

        Bollocks !!

  • Good Lord

    I’ve followed Amanda’s work for about 8 years now, and I think I’ve
    finally hit my limit with her. She’s done things in the past that I’ve
    been offended by, but I just can’t justify being her fan anymore. I understand the desire
    to defend her and I can understand that people can disagree on this particular issue, but this is it for me. If this were the first time she’d done something I thought was ethically/morally suspect, it would be different. But this is the last straw for me. I just want people to realize that not everyone who is criticizing Amanda here is trolling or was never a fan.

  • http://twitter.com/Janekgwizdala Janek Gwizdala

    Hey Amanda, I too have been a professional touring, recording, and generally happy music making person/musician for many years… First off rock and fucking roll! I think what you’re doing is awesome. If I played a horn or a violin I’d gladly come join you guys on the road wherever you were at. Might have to accept water instead of beer, but hugs and high fives would work, and supporting some music I dig would be a pretty cool experience.

    I read a few of the comments here from disgruntled musicians who seem to think the world owes them a living and how dare anyone go and work for free. To them I think we should say “wake up and get with the program”. Since when has music been so selfish? Of course we have to make a living if this is what we chose to do, but I think we also have a duty to help our fellow human beings and invest time in things we believe in. Helping someone comes back at you 100 times more powerfully than sitting at home and bitching about someone else’s concept.

    Why people think that getting paid is the ultimate goal, and why they can’t see that their lives might be better off in the long run for performing with you, I have no idea. Always the short sale/quick buck, and never the bigger picture with musicians.

    I think it’s a transitional period right now. There are some of us who adapt and innovate, there are the bitchers and moaners, and there are the people who just completely miss the point. In 10 years it’ll be a thing of the past and pointless discussions like this won’t exist. We’ll still be around having fun playing music, helping enhance people’s lives and making a great living, and they’ll be onto the next public forum to complain about something else. Probably the electric car, or the rising cost of water.

    Musicians, those who aspire to be touring sidemen and work for other people their entire lives, pretty much suck when it comes to the innovations the music business is seeing these days. I run into on a daily basis with my blog, my book, and any clinics or lectures I give…. “give music away for free…?!?!!” people say, shocked that I would entertain this notion… not realizing that making great art is pointless if no one is going to hear it and it’s going to sit on a digital shelf collecting digital dust with a price tag on it for the most part unless you do give it away on some level. Not exactly the same topic as you asking musicians to come out and play with you, but right there in the same movement in terms of where this business is going now.

    I’m glad there are people in the world like you with a high enough profile to be heard and seen while you make these innovative changes to our industry. And I hope you know that there are many of us with far less of a profile, but no less determination, to carve that same path forward.

    Thanks,

    Janek

    • http://twitter.com/dogunderwater KO

      It’s interesting that you say, “Since when has music been so selfish?” because this move feels selfish to me on her side. She’s someone who has the means to do a bombastic tour and potentially hire some up and comers for her show, but doesn’t. Unions and asking for money and all that aside, she doesn’t seem to be taking the opportunity to pay it forward, as it were.

  • Rob Hurns

    It’s simple: If she’s making money, everybody some be paid….but, If she just wants to make a stink by doing something controversial, she’s a genius.

    • Rob Hurns

      now, if trying to type on 4 hours sleep were so simple….

  • Wha?

    I am getting the idea that things are a lot different in the US to how they are in England. I’m not sure I understand how the Union thing works in the USA, as I thought we were pretty into Unions in England, but I have never heard such anger, hatred and sense of entitlement and the fact that people think they have a right to speak for everyone in their whole industry. It’s really strange and upsetting to read so many people who don’t seem to take into account context and just jump on this bandwagon of hatred. The worst thing is when people hate on fellow musicians who may decide that they actually WANT to play with Amanda …which as many people have already said, is something SHE does many times, as well as offering her music for free..(blah blah blah how many times does it need to be said and ignored by people who just want to hate…?)

  • http://twitter.com/Pray4Brain Mustafa Stefan Dill

    another thought comes to me…

    The “no ones being forced to play so theyre not being exploited” argument by her defenders is specious. No one forces you to join a cult, either, but there’s plenty of exploitation once youre in.

    I think that a close personal relationship with the fans is a good thing,but when you take advantage of that for your own gain and benefit and comfort, then youre abusing and exploiting that relationship. The more i look at the AP phenomenon, her relationship with the fans, their intense support, the narcissism, the more this seems to function like a cult. If she didnt have the performance art/theatrical element to her show, this wouldnt be as successful, because a cult needs that theater, that ritual experience. Just playing tunes wont have the same effect.

    if you’re a musical act, then all the arguments others and I have made here hold: If youre genuine and want to have the fans participate, then give a 10 minute jam as an encore. Or if you want to offer a more ingrained experience, pay them. But dont give me the “she’s offering it for the fans to participate and have the experience” argument when she herself claims she cant pay them. That people make defenses on her behalf that even she’s not making is a sign of way too much KoolAid.

    If youre operating as a cult, to include them as part of the planned show with the only compensation being the Joy and Honor of basking in Her Presence and a shirt and beer, then that seems par for the course as cult ritual.

  • Jacob “Fucking” S

    jesus what a cheapskate. thats some real audacity to even say high fives instead. rub elbows with this artistic cunt for the cost of doing her slave labor.
    plenty will do it, so good for her for exploiting their talents.
    and if not everyone had heard of her after the recent kickstarter high $ record, this buzz will surely reel the rest in.
    That only leaves the one percent, which is covered considering her income for this year.
    Amanda “Big Business” Palmer, Bravo… save that money, buy a boat, add a tennis court to your commune, buy an American Apparel, or do whatever the fuck you want with your money. who am i to judge?
    oh wait…nvm

  • http://www.facebook.com/jasondesante Jason DeSante

    I’m happy I never heard about this person until I read about the controversy over this ridiculously dumb idea.

  • All of Canada

    Dear Amanda,

    you are a cunt

    regards
    all of Canada

  • TheVoiceOfReason?

    Amanda just posted a new note in response to al of this – http://www.amandapalmer.net/blog/20120913/
    I think it’s fantastic, long, but fantastic.

  • Thom

    What an awesome concept! It would be an honor to play with you. :)

  • Sharise

    It was my understanding from the beginning that this was the whole premise of the band – they named it the Grand Theft Orchestra, and they would be seeking volunteers for the “orchestra” bits at each venue. This part, the crowdsourcing musicians part, is the part I have been most excited about. If she had wanted to hire professional musicians she could have, but that wasn’t the point. The point was that fans who are musically inclined are able to participate in the show. I’ve listened to the album – there really aren’t that many bits that actually call for the horns and strings. The call for “professional-ish” musicians seems to me to be an indicator that she needs people who can sight-read and perform in front of a crowd, more than a call for Julliard grads or people who are attempting to make their living by getting paid to perform.

  • passing by

    Guys,

    I stumbled upon this, when following the story from a mail out newsletter, that I subscribe to. The one point that I wanted to make was that for all of the amateur / speculative economics and quotes from ‘professional’ musicians that I have seen here, the one thing that no one has mentioned is the notion that it could actually be illegal for Amanda to pay the musicians that turn up each night. For a business entity to ‘pay’ someone, then the same entity must employ that person with all that entails – workers comp, payroll, tax etc etc. If they don’t, then the entity AFP inc or whatever her business is called can be fined $15,000 per under the table offense. If Amanda did ‘employ’ someone and did it by the book then 4 musicians over 50 nights would probably take a book keeper a month, just to process. Also by being an employee, even if just for a few hours on any given day then the AFP entity can be wide open to be sued for any multiple reasons – local musician gets nervous, has a few drinks, slips in the backstage room through to more sinister, get rich quick overtones.

    The only way that Amanda can give non employee musicians money for performing with her is if they are independent contractors and consequently MUST be incorporated and provide their own workers comp insurance.

    How bullshit would it look if her page said ‘we need kick ass musicians to come play two songs with us every night for $100 each + beer and before you can get up, we need to see your workers comp cert and your incorporation papers. Rock N Roll – Come on!

    Take this for what it is – I have no doubt that this idea came up over beer and wine in a bar or somewhere else of the ilk, when the band and Amanda considered how cool it would be to have supplementary brass and horns every night on tour but there was no way to afford it and I have no doubt that this idea was born out of the excitement in keeping a show fresh and spontaneous, each and every night. It is incredibly exciting and a major honor to sit in with someone – did Tom Morello ask Bruce Springsteen to be paid when he sat in on Tom Joad a few weeks ago. Sitting in is something that is normally reserved for the elite with the elite and not the common man or woman. I don’t see what Palmer is proposing as ripping off musicians, I see it as making someone King For The Day with one of their idols. I think most people feel the same.

    The economics of touring are rough. If tickets are 20$ and a venue holds 1,000 people, the band are probably walking away with somewhere between 8,000 and 11,000 dollars in payment. For the venues that Amanda is playing, the average daily cost of touring would be around 10,000 (crew / buses / salaries / comms etc etc) for a normal 4 or 5 piece band. Her tour is far from that. I do this for a living and see first hand, way too often, that a lot of tours do not break even and if I had a penny for every night I walked onto a tour bus and saw an anxious band ask how much merch they had sold (as that was paying their rent) I would be a much richer man today. I would bet that Amanda is taking home merch profit and not much else…..

    This is not about fucking musicians or ripping people off, it is about a group of like minded people simply saying, wouldn’t this be cool? I am sure that if she had the money to do this, then she would simply hire horns and brass to accompany her on her whole tour. She obviously doesn’t and just because she made profit in other avenues DOES NOT mean that she has to spend it on a tour that should try and stand on it’s own feet. Adrien Granier probably flies in private jets when he shoots Entourage but he loads his own equipment and drives a van when he plays with The Honey Brothers, just because he has money from other sources doesn’t mean he has to spend it to tour his band – the same applies here.

    We can quote numbers for both sides of the argument for days months and years but ultimately she is asking local people in local cities to sit in with her – that is a compliment not an insult. It has been a very long time since I heard of anyone getting a million dollars upfront for a record from a label or any other source (not so long ago it was fairly common) so I am excited at the ‘fuck you’ness of all of this. Like it or not Amanda has made a bold move in the dichotomy of changing a stagnant and dying industry – more power to her, she might make mistakes and some think this is one, but so what – she is taking the power back and granting hope to thousands of erstwhile musicians that there is still a chance left and if by doing so, she offends 4 or 5 people in each city she plays by asking some new friends to jam, then so be it, the end still justifies the means.

  • Jonathan

    jesus fucking christ people… you know what all the hating sounds like to me? Jealousy… she has a product, a product that to these musicians is worth playing for free for, to be a part of the experience. That’s what she’s offering, a chance to be a part of the experience. Shit, as a guitarist/singer/piano player if she was looking for something I could do, I’d go do it in a heartbeat, and I haven’t played a free gig in years. But, damn, that would be fun and a great experience. You are all trying to tell her what she can and can’t do with her money, dude.. we gave it to her… it’s her money, she can do with it what she wants, we all got what we paid for and now she’s offering more!

    95% of the people hating on here aren’t actually fans of Amanda, they are just people pissed off they are not getting the same recognition, money, etc.

    It’s not about the money, it’s about the experience, but you’ll never understand that and you’ll never understand why we value her product so much to offer up our money, our time, our talent, etc to be a part of the phenomenon known as AFP. It’s not being a cult, it’s about being a Fan, probably like you were when you were young and following the Beatles, the Stones, the Beach Boys, Led Zeppelin etc… and if you can tell me you wouldn’t practically kill for an opportunity to jump on stage with them and play with them (and of course fucking rehearse, b/c you wouldn’t want to suck right?) and then maybe have the opportunity to drink, party, hang out with them you are a deluded liar or a mercenary.

    We have the Freedom to support our favourite Artists… and you have the Freedom not too..

    have fun with your Union wage, playing your sessions… leave this up to the Artists, the Songwriters, the real Rockstars…

  • Jud

    Geez, I had never ever in my life heard of Amanda Palmer, am here cos of the “controversy”.

    Sounds to me like this is just a fun idea, to have some fun.

    Lighten up, musos.

  • Jonathan
  • Mike

    Amanda, I`ve been playing for free for a good few years. They are always good causes. Yours isnt. I hope you get what you “fucking” pay for.

  • bza

    Wait… if your original fundraising goal was $100,000 (which I assumed was based on some sort of budget projection) and you then made over a million dollars more than that, how is it that you can’t afford $35,000 to pay some extra musicians? Sounds pretty sheisty to me.

  • Stephen Campbell

    I find it very interesting that this discussion seems to have two very opposite takes to it. There are those who believe that what Amanda is doing falls on to the creative side of the ledger and cannot be accomplished by simply hiring professional musicians. They believe what she is offering is a way to connect with her fans in a unique and interesting way.

    On the other side, there are people who believe she is just trying to avoid paying for services that she should rightly incur. That if she wants horns and strings she should contact the local union house and hire them or simply contract a few pros and take them on tour with her.

    This is a real left brain, right brain discussion. Creativity versus structure. Artistic expression versus rules of the game.

    Amanda is not playing by the rules and some people don’t like it. Really don’t like it.

    I think Amanda is right to play her own game, make up her own rules. Anyone who thinks she is somehow slighting them or injuring the business, or diminishing their profession is really missing the point. Amanda is the business, not them. She created the demand, she is the reason this tour exists and the reason her band is getting paid. There are no paying gigs on this tour without her. Her relationship with her fans is what drives ticket sales and generates revenue. It is from her sensibilities that all this exists. Her decisions, her vision, her creativity.

    Why would she listen to people who sit around waiting for the phone to ring so they can go and play someone else’s music? What have they done to build an audience? Who is going to buy tickets to see them? If these people were talented in this area they could organize their own tours and record their own music. I understand the effort professional players make to hone their craft and I truly appreciate what that talent can do for certain shows. But this isn’t one of them. Amanda is the creative energy here and it is rightly her decision who she plays with and how that relationship is structured. Amanda hired pros for the tour and she is inviting amateurs on stage every night for fun. Simple as that. Get over it and give her a break. She will generate more money to pay musicians throughout her career than all the so called pros combined.

    • Brett Bretterson

      Did you even read her post? She’s *not* looking for amateurs, she wants people who can “actually, really play” their instruments, even requesting resumes and footage of them playing. In other words, she wants professionals to play for free. It’s an arrogant stance in general and utterly obnoxious in light of her recent Kickstarter windfall.

  • Odd

    I’ve sent in an email and am hoping to be picked as a free musician. I am an adult. I have played professional gigs as a bari sax player. I’ve also spent more than I’ve made or played for free in other gigs as a sax player or in industrial bands.
    I understand and respect both sides of the debate.
    I think there is something being missed here though.
    For years Amanda Palmer has worked at bringing down that wall that gets put up between the performer and the fans. She has stayed with fans and accepted food. She has kept communication with people on her webpage and on twitter. So for her to ask one of the fans to play for free it feels more like someone you respect and have already shared experiences with asking you to join them on stage.
    I have bills to pay. I would love to support myself my various arts. The thing is that for that one night I think the experience would be worth more than any paycheck possibly could.
    That’s my opinion and it’s my right to it. Each person has one and a right to one.

  • Don

    Couple of points here: even if the instrumentalists are only “professional-ish”, they still warrant pay. Maybe part of their value is their localness, or maybe it’s the spontaneity that they offer for the performance. If a good show will still sell out despite shortcomings in the horns, they still deserve pay because the audience enjoys it.

    Secondly, amateurs that participate in the music industry without pay are akin to illegal immigrants in the US taking jobs at a lower rate. Well intentioned? Perhaps. Good for the business? Not at all.

  • Smith

    I can’t really put it better than this anonymous Craigslist user:


    Craigslist Ad:
    We are a small and casual restaurant in downtown Vancouver and we are looking for solo musicians to play in our restaurant to promote their work and sell their CD. This is not a daily job, but only for special events which will eventually turn into a nightly event if we get positive response. More jazz, rock, and smooth type music, around the world and mixed cultural music. Are you interested to promote your work? Please reply back ASAP.

    A Musician’s Reply:
    Happy new year! I am a musician with a big house looking for a restauranteur to come to my house to promote his/her restaurant by making dinner for me and my friends. This is not a daily job, but only for special events which will eventually turn into a nightly event if we get a positive response. More fine dining and exotic meals mixed with some ethnic fusion cuisine. Are you interested to promote your restaurant? Please reply back ASAP.

    Get it through your heads, people: Musicians have to earn a living too. They may be musicians for the love of it, but love doesn’t put food in their bellies, and I don’t think you’d expect a museum curator or a librarian to subsist on their love of historical artifacts or books instead of on food.

    Since record companies don’t pay musicians sensible wages, live performance is (in my view rightly) the best source of income available. If you’re trying to take that away as well then you should, to put it politely, be ashamed of yourself. It is an insult to both amateur and professional musicians the world over, and I am pleased that you are being torn to pieces for it both on your own site and in the media. Learn from your mistake.

  • Kaitie, Boston Area Bassoonist

    As a freelance musician, I often expect to be met with playing requests which include sentences like “We wish we could pay you, but don’t you love playing music? Don’t you want to share your joy with other people?” Although this irritates me (would you ask the florist doing your wedding to provide their services for free? The caterer for your dinner party?), I brush it off with a “thanks, but no thanks” because most people honestly don’t understand what life is like for musicians, they aren’t trying to be offensive. However, in this case, I am shocked and angry that someone who knows firsthand how much work it takes to be a successful artist is asking other musicians to work for her for free. If you can’t afford to hire musicians with a fair wage, then don’t use any. You can just as easily cover those parts with a keyboard player. To anyone who is thinking that they want to play for this tour anyway, please re-consider. By playing without being paid, you are undermining all of the other musicians in your city who simply want to earn their living.

  • Double G

    The “Sweatshop Orchestra”. Classic corporate model–“Keep labor costs down, keep the profits high”. I now see which side of Wall Street that Ms. Palmer has occupied.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mtplummer Matt Plummer

    Absolutely ridiculous. Palmer can obviously afford to pay her musicians. Sign and share this petition that the American Federation of Musicians put together: http://chn.ge/QYvh4j

  • ASB

    If Amanda can get musicians who want to play for free for whatever reason, why would that bother anyone? She can ask the question and people can either decide to join her or not. She should be able to do it without a public flogging. This is a free economy and we all have choices.

  • Per Vita

    How about some input from a volunteer? My string quartet is playing with Amanda Palmer one night on her tour. We are fucking excited.
    I get that people are angry that she’s not paying the musicians she has asked for. But, she asked for volunteers, to be paid in “merch, beer, hugs or high-fives”. It’s not as though she asked for musicians and pay was up in the air – I’ve had people do that to me already, and then ask if I’d do it for free, comp tickets, etc.
    Her intentions might be good, but the model is still exploitive and could set a precedent. Imagine, a future of bands that tour off of the desire of
    their fans. At the end of the performance, everyone would be happy,
    especially the volunteer band. However, what if behind the curtain, the
    musician actually thought of those people as naive sheep who just
    helped him/her make a huge profit?
    Hmm. Maybe other artists will follow suit, but they will also have fans that want to play with them and don’t care that they’re not getting paid in cash.
    As far as making money off of us, nah. The fans who are coming are coming regardless of a guest string quartet they don’t know. Sure, maybe we’ll earn her a few dollars for those who come just to see us, but who cares.
    The way we saw it, WE ARE GOING TO BE AT THAT SHOW ANYWAY. We like her music a lot, and this will be fun. I’ve heard the songs they want strings on, and it’s nothing too intricate that would require practice (nor can it, since we are meeting the day of the show).
    Our quartet has played tons of things, weddings, movie premiers, French soirees. All classical, all stuffy. It’s always, SHIT, I forgot my fancy black shoes… FUCK, I forgot my long-sleeved sweater so nobody can see that I have sleeve tattoos.
    We practice Faure, Beethoven, Haydn….. and then nobody listens to us anyway. We are, as Erik Satie calls it, “furniture music”.
    We know what we’re worth and (usually) get paid accordingly.
    We also know that if an opportunity to have fun and play music just for the fuck of it comes around, we are going to. This doesn’t happen much, for musicians who are heavily immersed in the classical culture. Every event we play, we usually come away with at least one or two referrals for another gig. This could be good for us.
    We’re not getting paid, so what. It’s going to be fucking fun, and a welcome break from mindlessly droning out Pachelbel’s Cannon.

    • Alex

      As long as you’re at the show, perhaps you could do also run the light show, and drive the tour bus. C’mon it’ll be fun. A great memorable experience. High five!

  • webviral

    Need some free photos of your gig too? Ask the kids in the front row with the iPhones……

    • Yup

      She will!!

  • Tek

    I understand that the artist realizes that a performance with her brand is “pay” in itself, and I understand a business wanting to take advantage of musicians that are willing to trade their time for the promotional value. I don’t understand an “artist” wanting to take advantage of her fellow artists in this way, understanding that they are not in the same economic condition that she is in. Not immoral, just not very nice.

  • Decksloft

    Should musicians play for free? Yeah sure if they want.
    Should an artist who received a record breaking 1.2 Million dollars on Kickstarter pay her musician?
    Absolutely, it’s a no brainer. You are being greedy Miss Palmer.

  • Dan Thorsen

    “The only people who think about money more than rich people are poor people”
    …and there are so many ways to be poor.
    These caustic responses have a tone of the selfish relatives of lottery winners.
    Would the response be the same if it were the Rolling Stones or Tom Petty or any legacy(rich for a long time) performer? Or a true starving artist staffing the band from the crowd 10minutes before showtime?
    Whats amazing to me is to think that implementing this idea on an extended concert tour will actually cost more in real time and money, than merely rounding-up and paying scale to local professionals.
    This was an offer on amandapalmer.net; It’s a fan club. And an offer made to her closest unknown “friends”, and none of them will see this as anything but a wondrous experience.
    True artists in any form create an experience…

    Dan Thorsen

  • Tottal

    Ms. Palmer, you are quoted in the New York Times as stating that bringing a full complement of musicians with you on tour would cost $35000. Why do you consider this figure to be so high that you are choosing not to compensate your musical artists financially?

    Certainly your performances will bring in significant revenue for you. You are, on September 26, performing at The Fillmore, a venue with a capacity of 1199 in San Francisco. Ticket prices are face value $25. Simple math dictates that the door will be (if your tour is successful, and if it is not, that is not the musicians’ fault) in the neighborhood of $25K, more if it is a sellout.

    How much of that would be your profit? What percentage would you think it appropriate to pay your musicians? I’ll tell you one thing, Ms. Palmer, it’s not 0%. Your tour has 35 dates listed. Did you really mean to tell the NYT that, with 35 performances, at venues of 1000+, that you could not clear $35000 to pay musicians?

    You’ll note that I don’t even bring up your Kickstarter. Congratulations on raising money that way in order to fund your album and plan your tour. However, the tour itself will rely on a different funding stream: ticket and album sales. There is NO reason why the musicians should not be compensated financially just as you will be.

    Again, I congratulate your success at raising money via Kickstarter. Both you and Mr. Gaiman are to be praised for your abilities. The musicians who assist you in making your tour a reality deserve to share in that success, financially, as well.

  • Ted Angus Warren

    Any self respecting musician (or friend to musicians) should boycott your shows. I imagine the “grand theft’ refers to the professionals you’re ripping off to do this. You should be ashamed.

  • Hugh E. Rection

    The songs on the page sound like they were done using GarageBand. Where did the 1m go? They are crap songs as well.

  • http://twitter.com/qatamari qatamari

    Musical performance is fun.

    People will do fun things for free.

    Performers can command a fee when the performance requires a high level of skill.

    Performing indie rock as the backup band does not require a high level of skill.


    Compensation for performance stems from the scarcity of adequately skilled performers.

    There is no shortage of adequately skilled performers for Amanda Palmer’s music.

    The musicians whining on this thread are amusing. You may be more skilled than the average hobbyist. But the Amanda Palmer gig does not require that level of skill. And many, many people like displaying their hobby for others.

  • nazz nomad

    Free beer and merch? Christ- that could be worth more $$$$ than actual cash- Plus, free admission to the show? Sounds pretty awesome to me.

  • Steve Mitchell

    Grand Theft Orchestra – how ironic…

  • Alex

    If Amanda Fucking Palmer were a record company, everyone would be up in arms about the fact she’s exploiting her fellow workers. For some strange reason, half of the comments here are applauding it.
    What’s worse is she is completely undermining musicians who are struggling to make a living, by insisting they work for free, and then hiding behind the old “it’s their choice,” mantra.
    “Play with me for free, or don’t play.” Not exactly a choice when you really think about it.

    And for those who say its an opportunity– If I stood on the street with my guitar I’d at least be making money. It’s not like the audience is taking resumes after the show, and even if she introduces the backing musicians who cares? So yeah in a once-in-a-lifetime way I suppose doing a gig for 400 people sounds like a big deal. But in a turn-this-into-a-profession, the way Amanda Palmer has? Apparently that’s asking too much.

    More importantly, as the comments and articles are showing, her short sightedness in saving a buck and getting cheap publicity this year, is most likely ruining the Amanda Palmer brand. Good luck with that.

    http://adland.tv/content/who-killed-amanda-palmer-s-career

  • Phil the Tremolo King

    Translation: wanted: talented, hard working, dedicated SUCKERS to get ripped off and make my crappy music sound halfway decent. Oh yeah, you’ll get a hug. But just a little one. Her royal highness does not like to get too close to you smelly scruffy musicians who don’t have a million dollar career making machine behind them.

  • Phil the Tremolo King

    it’s Grand Theft alright…

  • PaddyO

    Interesting commentary. I have a simple rule in my own band. If anyone gets paid, everyone gets paid. It may not work for everyone, but it works for me.

  • Sarrah

    My only complaint is that I don’t play horns or strings. Amanda, don’t listen to these grumps! Long live the grand theft orchestra, uniting fans and friends coast to coast, this concept is brilliant kind and historic. Canada is waiting for you! My professional cellist roomate applied for toronto, he is fucking pumped to apply let alone join you on stage!
    And if guitar or ukelele count as strings, bring it on, I would love to join you even without free beer.

  • skyscraper_soup

    This is just awful. In addition to everyone else that gets in line to exploit musicians, we now have musicians exploiting each other. Great. Amanda, you’re doing a great job at looking like the worst person in the world right about now.

  • judith Coker

    I’m a working professional, and I live from playing. If you want musicians, doctors, lawyers, gardeners, plumbers, electricians, etc. you need to PAY them. That’s how our economy works. And what is “professional-ish?” Who are you kidding?

  • Dwight Stone

    You have to be kidding… this isn’t even worthy of a reply…

  • Peggy J

    This is indeed grand theft of musical talent. If you want ‘qualified” musicians( I assume you don’t want rank amateurs), we belong to the American Federation of Musicians and we are fairly compensated according to Union wage scales for our services.

  • Dennis Sexton

    You people are insane.

  • Joel

    Have some class amanda, don’t be a cheapskate. Grand Theft Orchestra is a great name, because asking professional musicians to play for free is basically stealing.

  • Fred B.

    Quote: “you need to know how to ACTUALLY, REALLY PLAY YOUR INSTRUMENT! lessons in fifth grade do not count, so please include in your email some proof of that (a link to you playing on a real stage would be great, or a resume will
    do. just don’t LIE…you’ll be embarrassed if you show up for rehearsal and everyone’s looking at you wondering why you can’t actually play the trombone.)”

    As you can plainly see, Ms. Palmer wants someone proficient on their instrument. Some half-assed amateur is not going to be proficient. To put things bluntly Ms. Palmer, you’ll get what you pay for! I, for one, wouldn’t pay a dime to see a show like that nor support a supposed professional artist who asks this of musicians. As was stated earlier, it would be one thing if the proceeds were to be donated to some charity, but this is not the case. This is akin to a coffee shop telling a group they can play that night for the experience, and maybe a discount on coffee.

    You non musicians (and apparently some of you amateur owner/operators of musical instruments) don’t seem to have a clue about what it takes to be a working musician. The years (decades!!!) of study and practice. The sacrifice of not eating regularly or to be able to go out to enjoy yourself just so that you can spend those extra few hours in the day perfecting that musical passage you’ve been banging your head against the wall on for the past few months. I swear, it’s as though some of you truly believe that one can just pick up an instrument and “play it like a pro”. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but it only looks easy because we’ve busted our butts all these years just to make it look that way. Oh, and guess what…it doesn’t just stop there. In order to stay on top of your “game” you still need to practice daily, at minimum, in order to maintain your performance ability. Hell, if she had offered $50 for the rehearsal and 2 tunes she’d get the assistance she needs with much higher quality results and no one would be complaining. However, it seems that with a band named “The Grand Theft Orchestra” she’ll never pay a dime for local musicians. The “Theft” is in two parts…one for the concert goer who is deprived of true musicianship for their hard earned dollar, and the other is the local musician busting their asses to make a living in this economy.

    Oh and Ms. Palmer…. I CAN play the trombone and have for the past 42 years and have also been a working professional since I was 17…almost 32 years ago.

  • Gexx

    No, AFP, PLEASE do NOT contribute to the devaluation of art and artists! I contributed to your kickstarter because WKAFP got me through some serious tough times and I was SO EXCITED to have more music after opting out our your Evelyn+Evelyn project. You made SERIOUS money and showed artists that IF THEY’RE GOOD, THEIR FANS/PATRONS WILL CONTRIBUTE TO THEIR VALUE. And now you’re touring and asking other professionals to NOT get paid… very counter to your example.

    I’m very disappointed. :(

  • http://tekhedd.com/blog/ tekhedd

    It’s not just a mercenary thing. Money is respect. If you haven’t got respect, you haven’t got anything.

  • http://twitter.com/ihelpmusicians Scott James

    If something isn’tt worth it for you, don’t do it. If it is, do it. The market will dictate whether this offer is a success or not. Nobody is making anyone do anything against their will. Amanda Palmer is not your enemy. If Metallica or U2 was making this offer would it get the same firestorm? When Amanda raised over a million dollars on kickstarter, a lot of people had negative things to say and cited her status as a reason why they could never get those kinds of results. Now it seems people are looking at her as ‘one of their own’ who’s holding them down. You’re responsible for you own results – not Amanda Palmer. If this offer isn’t worth it for you then by definition you’ve got better things going on. So do them. That’s part of being a professional as many of you claim to be. Do what you do and do it well. You don’t have to play for Amanda Palmer for no money. You’ve got good things happening. If not then it’s on you to figure it out – not Amanda Palmer. If it is worth it for some people then be happy for them.

  • Coin Operated Boy

    This is much ado about nothing. Every city is home to thousands of former band geeks who rock their church orchestras or play free gigs at local blues clubs. I know lots of these people and, those who are fans of Amanda or just want to do something rad, would be happy to skip one evening of their geeky D&D playing lives and join AFP on stage for an epic jam session. Amanda isn’t asking Kenny G. or the Ahn Trio to join her on tour for free, nor is she stiffing her band (Grand Theft Orchestra). She’s simply letting musical fans have the amazing experience of rehearsing and jamming with her. I actually saw the show last weekend and the entire thing is localized and interactive. Fans contribute photos and writing that gets incorporated into the show – do we deserve kickbacks for that?! Honestly, I saw the free “musicians” on stage and what they did isn’t all that hard. Toot toot toot on your tuba for a couple of songs and you get to hang with AFP before the show instead of waiting in line for an hour for an autograph. If this sounds like fun to you – do it! If you’re a professional musician who can get paid for playing two songs then don’t do it! It’s not all that heavy.

  • SC

    Anyone who hates this idea doesn’t have to participate. Anyone who enjoys it for the purposes of making music, can. To me, this is music as an art form, not an industry, and I love it.

  • Horns

    This is clearly controversial, however, if you look at this as an invitation to ‘sit in’ then it is simply one of those gigs. Jazz, pop, folk bands/musicians do this for each other all the time. Not every gig is (or should be) a union gig or necessarily needs to be a paid gig – unless you deem it necessary for yourself. I’m all for a culture of paying musicians for what they produce, but in a creative field I don’t know if a *rigid* policy of no-pay-no-play does the industry any good.

    For better or worse we need to look at this as a deviation from the norm during a period of flux in the industry — and a possibility for collaboration (or at least experience) for emerging artists or more established players looking for an interesting night out. Should this become the new norm? No. That wouldn’t do anybody any good, either.

    I understand the frustration I see in the comments section below, especially in a time of economic strain. And if a musician wants abstain from playing a gig like this on principal, I would also understand. I’m offered “play for free” gigs often — sometimes I take them and sometimes I pass and allow amateur players, college students, or even high school players to take them. It can be a great experience for the players, but the band or organization gets a less-professional product. There’s give and take on both sides.

    In summary, when I get a call for a gig I consider the music, the money, and the hang. I rarely can find all 3 in the same gig. It is truly a bummer when the money isn’t there — but I’m equally upset when I take a gig (however decent the pay is) and discover the music -or director- is terrible or if I’m treated poorly by the other musicians or by the venue managers. (This kind of outrage, however, does not usually make comment boards.)

  • Horns

    This is clearly controversial, however, if you look at this as an invitation to ‘sit in’ then it is simply one of those gigs. Jazz, pop, folk bands/musicians do this for each other all the time. Not every gig is (or should be) a union gig or necessarily needs to be a paid gig – unless you deem it necessary for yourself. I’m all for a culture of paying musicians for what they produce, but in a creative field I don’t know if a *rigid* policy of no-pay-no-play does the industry any good.

    For better or worse we need to look at this as a deviation from the norm during a period of flux in the industry — and a possibility for collaboration (or at least experience) for emerging artists or more established players looking for an interesting night out. Should this become the new norm? No. That wouldn’t do anybody any good, either.

    I understand the frustration I see in the comments section below, especially in a time of economic strain. And if a musician wants abstain from playing a gig like this on principal, I would also understand. I’m offered “play for free” gigs often — sometimes I take them and sometimes I pass and allow amateur players, college students, or even high school players to take them. It can be a great experience for the players, but the band or organization gets a less-professional product. There’s give and take on both sides.

    In summary, when I get a call for a gig I consider the music, the money, and the hang. I rarely can find all 3 in the same gig. It is truly a bummer when the money isn’t there — but I’m equally upset when I take a gig (however decent the pay is) and discover the music -or director- is terrible or if I’m treated poorly by the other musicians or by the venue managers. (This kind of outrage, however, does not usually make comment boards.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/lynnster Wilda Lynn Garrett

    Wow, this sounds perfect! As with most musicians I know, my landlord takes high fives and hugs in lieu of rent! Wheeeeee!!!! :D

  • Kaiser Spacelard

    I’ll cry for the musicians when Palmer is holding a gun to their heads screaming “FUCKING PLAY!”… until then, everyone can say “no” just as easily (if not easier) than they can cry on the internet. You don’t like what she’s doing? Don’t do it. People will always be out to try and get a free ride off of you… it’s your call to get in the car or not, and that’s the only call you get. Make it or don’t, but don’t cry about it.

  • Kickstarter Blows

    Glad I never became a musician. Must suck to compete for a beer-paying gig.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWoFqbYBo6M

  • Steph

    I have never heard of you until today, and hope to never hear of you again. What you’re asking of professional musicians it totally preposterous. I can only assume that you are a singer, and yes you are the kind of singer that give others such a bad name Shame on you. This makes me almost physically sick. I hope for your sake you realize what an @ss you came across as, and start respecting musicians.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jdijohn Julie DiJohn

    1.2 MILLION dollars. Can’t pay the musicians, but can get some wicked stage wear. Truly Sickening. You should be ashamed of yourself, Amanda. Hugs, Julie

  • N14

    Another fuss? Sigh.

  • http://twitter.com/univluvinguy machoman

    To put things in perspective: Take for example, Justin Bieber.
    Lets say he is asking for one of his “belibers” to perform
    with him onstage during a concert. (for which he is getting
    paid).

    What do you think is the obvious reaction of the fans who performed with him?

    Do you think “I don’t get paid for performing with Justin Bieber?? BOO ”

    Or hysterical cries of happiness and then savoring the experience for the once in a lifetime opportunity that just happened to them?

    She explicitly said she wants “volunteers”. If you feel offended that she doesn’t want to pay for the musician, don’t “volunteer”. Strive to be a better artist then. Just don’t whine.

  • Killer Tofu

    Anyone that knows anything about AFP knows that she is not trying to rip off anyone. FU, haters. You don’t know what you’re talking about

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.bean.735 Lisa Bean

    Here to throw you my support. I invite anyone who feels you have been dishonest, or greedy, to take a world tour and gallery showing, around the world, put out an album, and still have several fully paid band members -all paid in an amount under your budget. :)

    To those that disagree, again I say, shame on you. Have a little personal responsibility. No one is asking you to get a goddamn abortion here. fucking whiny bastards. omg, I WANT A MILLION DOLLARS wahwahwah. They all make me sick, and I cannot find one of them who can argue an actual valid reason as to why they disagree with your actions other than, musicians deserve to be paid! robblerobblerabble. Yeah, when they are hired, not when they volunteer. Asswipes. It’s like arguing theism with a fundamentalist. Absurd, and completely rooted in irrationality.

    As an historian and audiophile, I applaud your return to fan based and driven
    artistry, and to the fans who have and will continue to support you. I
    much rather their influence than the industry’s.

    If you were touring closer to me, I would get a ticket in a heartbeat. Keep up the great work, even if I don’t always “like” it, I will ALWAYS respect your ART. I wish more people in this day understood what true art was. <3 you, AmandafuckingPalmer, brava.

    • Bob Stoufus

      ART” ??? Fucking idiot!

      RWS

  • nashville cat

    Playing with this chick would hardly be an honor. Just checked out her latest video. What crap. Have fun with your 2 minutes of fame/notoriety, Ms. Palmer. Already resorting to stunts like very publicly not paying your musicians for publicity. Yawn.

    If you understood how music grows and matures, you would understand that performing every night with the same group of musicians is absolutely the only way to reach the level of greatness that, well, “great” bands achieve. But you don’t. You’re a weak flash in the pan.

  • E

    When reading through her blog post about how she’ll use the Kickstarter money, I find it hypocritical that she talked about spending tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars to commission artists to create pieces for her art tour. How is THIS any different? She would have NEVER asked those artists to create anything for free, so why is asking musicians to play for free suddenly ok? It’s not. As a music industry professional, I only recommend my artists play free events for fundraisers, charity, etc. I’m ashamed of you, Amanda Palmer.

  • Jim

    You cheap cunts. Fuck off.

  • Jon

    This is disgusting. Pay your musicians you tight fisted profiteer.

  • Victoria

    if you can’t afford an orchestra for your show, then DON’T REQUIRE AN ORCHESTRA. This isn’t a “chance” for musicians because it isn’t as if they are so talented that they were requested to play with her, anyone who is “competent and professional-ish” could be so it diminishes they’re talented and lumps them together. The point of jamming with an idol is the dreamy part of it, the rarity, if anyone could do it, then how special is it?

  • A Person

    I know this whole thing happened about a year ago, but I only just heard about it; I guess I don’t have much interest in keeping up with the latest controversies in the music industry, but this story struck me as interesting. Anyway, your comment in particular stood out as bafflingly ignorant, so I thought I’d reply (even though you’ll likely never read this). Steve Albini had this to say on the situation : “Fuck’s sake a million dollars is a shitload of money. How can you possibly not have a bunch laying around after people just gave you a million dollars? I saw a breakdown about where the money went a while ago, and most everything in it was absurdly inefficient, including paying people to take care of spending the money itself, which seems like a crazy moebius strip of waste.” This is coming from a man who has been in the music industry for over 30 years, both as a musician and as a producer, so I think he might be a tiny bit more knowledgeable than you on the value of money. If he implies that it’s entirely possible to record an album, pay a band and run a tour on $1M, I’m inclined to think he’s correct over “Coin Operated Boy”. He has 30 years of experience; what do you have?

  • elsewhere

    good god, this is terrible.

    have you read this?: http://ianthal.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/nothing-but-trouble-amanda-palmer-and.html

    it describes another shitty time playing for Amanda Palmer, back then as part of the Dresden Dolls. You’re not the only one. Pure exploitation.

  • drone

    good god, seriously. your idolatry knows no bounds. she’s not in arrears. she can afford to pay people to play for her shows. capitalism means investment = returns. how much do you think she’s going to make? who are you people?