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    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012 edited
    @razrangel as I said, for ninja gigs & free events, this is a fantastic way to make shit happen and run around doing events in multiple cities. If this was an outsider busking at her concert thing so they'd get paid while also performing, cool. She is specifically calling for people to work for free while she does not have to pay them. Difference.

    PS: I'm out on business for the rest of the night (ok, drunk business). I look forward to seeing responses and continuing the dialogue but just wanted to clarify I'm not rage quitting, no matter how grumpy I sound in these posts :P I loved the way Argos framed this situation last night on twitter with me as a barter system for attending the events, which is an interesting perspective.
    Someone please continue this & play my role as a harumph-aphant.
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012 edited
    @glukkake: fuck. yes.

    My big issue with this is that it's not helping a friend who can't afford it. It's not an otherwise free or bare bones concert where no one else is getting paid and just doing it for fun. It's a situation where every single person in the room is getting paid except you, and for someone who is all for supporting artists and is expecting to get money out of this herself, that's a bit skeevy. It does come across very much like the "design our logo" contests big companies put up for designers, with the only payment being recognition.

    And my other problem is that the kickstarter was supposed to go in part towards the tour, with her promise of the more money she gets the more astounding it will be. Even with the deductions, people are still paying to attend these concerts. $35,000 is a good chunk of change for musicians, I agree. But if she knew that she needed those musicians I do feel that she should have budgeted for it.

    I agree with what glu said to raz. If this was a ninja show I think it would be a fantastic way to go about things. But this is a fully funded tour with ticket sales not factored in yet, not a free show with a tip jar.

    Also, there seems to be a view that people opposed to this are opposed to working for free in any case and I don't think that's accurate.
  1.  (10831.3)
    Here's a thing: one piece that quoted Albini's argument said the thing I suspect a lot were thinking and mostly haven't said out loud... why isn't Gaiman paying for this? he's, like, rich and stuff...

    Which is a fucking awful thing to say about a couple, IMO. The sheer presumption of it...

    At the same time, I agree with Robin & co - it's not out of keeping with her MO at all, but it feels like a big misstep. And I can't nail down why. I think it's something to do with the disparity of the huge Kickstarter followed by yet another call for freebies and fan support. Cognitive dissonance.
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012
    I'm pretty ok with the idea that we're not going to change any body's minds. There's the anti-opnion, there's the pro-opinion. There are opinions in between.

    But why can't any attempts be made to see this from the other's perspective. I totally get that the artist should be paid, and that it's weird to ask people to add in their skills for a better, more filled out show but at the same time not to expect to be paid in hard cash, like everyone else in the show. I can see that point of view and I get it.

    I get it at my theatre too - it kills me to ask for good quality work while expecting the ideal artist is a kid out of art/drama school who's talented enough to meet our expectations, but isn't yet established enough to command a certain price point. I would much rather have the cash to pay them. But at the same time the alternative is going without that work. When we can't find a good Web graphics person to basically work for free then the artistic director (who is usually also producing and sometimes acting in the shows) steps in, even though we all know that's not where his particular talents lie. I wish we had the money to always be able to hire someone talented and pay them what they're worth but we don't. But the alternative of skipping that step is just not doable.

    Why is it expected that people looking for artists must try to understand what the artists need but there is no attempt to see it the other way? It costs you nothing, you can still reject the gig, it's all good. But I'm just not seeing the people who are anti- cattle call for musicians make any attempt to see what the draw might be.

    Or is this just stating your position and pretending like we're having a conversation but really we're just posturing and clapping the people who agree with us on the back?
  2.  (10831.5)
    But if she knew that she needed those musicians I do feel that she should have budgeted for it.

    I'm not so sure that she needs them so much as she accepts that her touring band doesn't consist of them and knows that her fans love to be involved so she is offering fans a chance to get onstage, hang out with a band they like, party, and get some free merch. I can't the be the only one who thinks that as a fan (of music in general), that would be a fucking fantastic opportunity and a hell of a lot of fun. I just think she's offering folks a chance to be involved as fans not as hired help.

    Now, if she threatened to cancel the shows without support from free musicians that's one thing, but she's not. I remember in high school, a good friend of mine got pulled onstage to play guitar at a concert we were at and it was a great experience. I don't see it as a chance to beg for free help so much as an offer to give fans an opportunity for a unique experience to brag about.

    Of course, I'm also not a musician of any kind so this sentiment doesn't affect my "field" at all so I'm not as invested in it. I can see where others are coming from. Myself, I'm just a bit disappointed that the album didn't turn out very well (mebbe Albini should have engineered and produced it :P )
      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012
    @ Cat - I was JUST about to ask "Where's Neil?" I don't have a dog in this fight but I've worked for free (A LOT) and it sucks. It really sucks. Yes, you're just a "cog in a big wheel" and HEY! We "gave" you lunch and a "wrap party" and PLUS! you agreed to do it so what's the problem?

    She. Is. Married. To. A. Millionaire.

    She's not living a hard-scrabble life, in the back of a van, eating ramen noodles and day-old ketchup packets. SHE HAS FANS, people who will DO ANYTHING for her. AND! A millionaire husband, a house, a car, a bus, whatever. YES, touring is exhausting and expensive butthat's the life you've chosen, innit? And playing rhythm guitar for Amanda Palmer would look GREAT on a c.v. Know what'd be better? THAT and a few bucks.

    You want to tour? Great. Crowdfunding? L'Chaim. Get the fans involved? Sure, why not? NOT PAY THEM? Smart business decision (maybe) but fuck, man, that shit is reprehensible.
    • CommentAuthorFlabyo
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012
    I've read this entire thread and I can't find any issue either way to latch on to.

    Sometimes I feel like this entire forum operates at a level way above my mental capacity. This is one of those times.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012
    There's a huge difference between 'come and jam' and 'I expect a performance to this standard and you to do this, that and turn up here are this time and yadda, yadda etc 'sgotta be right how I want'.

    The first is 'okay, cool, if no other shit comes up, sure', the second is 'fuck you, pay me'.

    I'm not entirely sure which this is.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012 edited
    Okay, I'll add one more thing. And i'd like to stress that I'm doing this for the sake of discussion, because I think everyone's points are valid even if we don't agree.

    Amanda asked for help on her blog. This means she was targeting her audience, people who were likely already going to go see her, or wanted to see her, or whatever. She was targeting her FANS. Now, for someone who isn't a fan, asking them to do work for free does suck. But when you target your fans, it changes, it almost becomes a barter. I've been to big arena shows and sat in nose bleeder seats because that was all I could afford. But you know what other ticket options there were? $500 to get a ticket somewhere in the front ten rows, and go back stage briefly for a super quick photo with the band. For some FANS, a front row seat + photo is worth a whopping $500 dollars. Now let's look at Amanda Palmer, for some FANS, being able to hang out with her and getting some merch is worth their musical efforts. See how it changes when it's a fan helping out instead of a musician who couldn't care less for her music? She specifically targeted her fans (cos really, who else reads her blog?), she didn't post fliers around the town saying "musicians needed, can't pay."

    Again, I understand the argument that doing so still devalues someone's abilities, but I will even go so far as to argue that if suddenly people think it's okay to not pay musicians bc Amanda Palmer didn't, that's not her fault so much as it is society's fault. My eye doctor waived my retinal photo fee because i was a new patient. If I were to decide after that that I will only ever accept retinal photography if it's free, is that his fault? No, that's my fault for being a fucking cheap ass. My current masseuse gave me my first massage free as part of a promotion, which is how I got to know her. Is it her fault if I only ever accept massages for free after that? No, it's my fault for being a cheap ass. Same with the Amanda Palmer deal. I think that when people take this as a cue that it's okay to not pay artists, it's a symptom of an even deeper societal problem. Namely, that society as a whole is too much of a fucking cheap ass to not want to pay artists when they are able to. It's why so many people download music.

    I'll also argue again, that she's taking what help she can get, and not demanding service from people who only make a living off as a musician. I'm sure some of those people have to be people who make a living doing something completely different and just play on the side for fun (I knew many who did when I played clarinet. I was in a community concert band and I remember our lead saxophonist was a cop as his paying job, and did sax on the side for fun). Now, I'm not saying that just because someone plays primarily for fun that their skills are worth less, but arguing that in such cases, there are people who are financially comfortable enough to be willing to volunteer their services, especially for someone they are a fan of. Unfortunately, people are getting caught up in the fact that she asked for "professional-ish" musicians, when what she really meant was "be able to show up and play the music well after a brief rehearsal."

    As for the "this would be better if she let them get tips," maybe the only reason they're not getting tips is because no one thought of it? I haven't heard anything about her saying they're not allowed to ask for tips. I personally don't know, but just because they're not getting them doesn't mean she's not allowing them.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012 edited
    I'm not so sure that she needs them so much as she accepts that her touring band doesn't consist of them and knows that her fans love to be involved so she is offering fans a chance to get onstage, hang out with a band they like, party, and get some free merch. I can't the be the only one who thinks that as a fan (of music in general), that would be a fucking fantastic opportunity and a hell of a lot of fun. I just think she's offering folks a chance to be involved as fans not as hired help.

    That's how I'm seeing it. She doesn't need the volunteer bands, so she didn't budget for them. All she really needs is her keyboard, which is what her most recent tours have been. Then she got enough to keep the Grand Theft Orchestra for the tour in addition to the record. Then she thought "oh hey, wouldn't a string quartet and horns be really cool, too. Oh shit I can't budget for that, well, maybe the fans will want to get involved." Now, I realize I could be wrong, but being familiar with how she does things, it's my assumption that such is the case. It not much different than a kickstarter where someone goes "now that's a great idea, I would love to see it in action, so I'll donate." Only in this case it's "now that would sound really cool, and I was planning on being there anyway, and I want to see this in action, so I'll volunteer." And then the fan has an amazing time because they got to play with someone they admire.

    Now, if she threatened to cancel the shows without support from free musicians that's one thing, but she's not.

    Exactly. She's not demanding the service, just making a shout out and going "if people volunteer, cool, if not, we'll put on a great show anyway."

    and now i'm done for reals. I keep saying i'm done with this topic because i know I won't change minds, but I think somewhere I feel a need to explain why I personally think what she's doing is okay and how that doesn't make me a horrible person who doesn't support peoples' time, skills, and efforts.
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012 edited
    @raz, I think there's a difference here between the general concept of this, in which yes, many people here admit the benefits of performing for free and see the appeal in it. But with this specific issue I keep getting the impression of "if you're not an Amanda Palmer fan, you don't get it". Even Zoe Keating, who has worked with Amanda many times says "In her world it makes sense" and supports it. I'm not a fan of her work and this thread has educated me on her practices before. I'm just saying from an objective point of view it does look like someone saying "Hey, not only did I get the budget, but I got ten times the proposed budget but I'd still like you to work for free even though everyone else isn't". Like Cat said, after being more than successful in asking for money to help make something, asking for more fan support

    A lot of us here have worked for free. A lot of us have enjoyed it and didn't feel like we were being exploited in the slightest. A lot of us really haven't cared either way because it was fun. But a lot of us have also looked around at a room full of people being paid to work on a project that they have been an equal part of and wondered "wait, this isn't fair..."

    Generally I think we all agree with each other and there isn't any "pretending like we're having a conversation but really we're just posturing and clapping the people who agree with us on the back", but on this specific issue it's a bit off. A bit muddled.

    ETA: I'm also willing to accept that money hasn't changed her MO with getting things. Doing this when she had little money is what she does and there's a chance her mind hasn't changed with that pattern after getting a giant budget.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012
    Oh and more thing, for people arguing that she's always selling out shows and stuff.

    Her shows are by far the cheapest shows for someone of her fame that I've gone too. I've paid near $100 to see Motley Crue, or Rolling Stones, or AC/DC, Metallica, and many others. Her shows are something like, $20-$30 bucks per person. I remember once, a few years ago, some venue (I think in Australia) charged like $40 or $50 for the tickets, hell maybe it was even just $30, and she made a tweet apologizing to everyone because she had strictly told them not to sell above $20 and how sorry she felt about the situation. She really doesn't make that much money off of ticket sales, even when she does sell out, because she sells her tickets at such low prices.

    ALSO (one MORE thing :P), a few years ago a random musician went up to her in Boston and said "hey, will you come up to my dorm and listen to me play?" And she did, and she loved it, and then started a kickstarter for him and produced him and stuff. She really isn't one to heartlessly take advantage of musicians, and if anything tries to help them. Last time I saw her she had brought some unknown band with Australia with her so that they could get US recognition.

    I feel like suddenly everyone who is hating on her for this forgot that she has and does help unknown musicians and is targeting her as this heartless celebrity. (and to clarify, I don't mean anyone here. In the article oldhat tweeted yesterday, people had commented things like "That bitch Mitt Romneyed them," which I really thing was unnecessary and exaggerated).

    @Dorkmuffin - you know, i consider myself a fan and she sometimes gets on my nerves, too. I totally get your reasons for disliking her, and that's fine. But I still think that the criticizers are, as a whole, being more unfair than they need to be.
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012
      CommentAuthorCat Vincent
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012 edited
    @mister hex: I was married to a millionaire. She didn't fund everything I ever did, not by a long chalk, for reasons I prefer to keep private. It's crass to assume Neil would/should or even could (finances may not be liquid, funding the run may offer bad tax issues etc) - all this above and beyond the very distinct possibility that they just keep their finances separate, which is the impression I get from them.

    It's a bad idea to assume the financial arrangement of couples you don't know. It's a far worse one to assume that because one half has wealth that there's a moral obligation for him to fund her work. Some marriages just don't run that way.
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012
    Any time money enters the equation the issue gets muddled. Some radical...radicals... of radicalism ...once postulated that any time a person works for money they make themselves into prostitutes.

    It's the basic discomfort of selling your talent.

    If the situation were the established situation with a record company fronting everything and then the band paying back the company we wouldn't feel at all muddled. We would understand the paradigm, even though we've come to understand that set of circumstances is hugely fucked.

    Amanda Palmer isn't exactly trying to establish a new paradigm or even experiment really, she's just trying to put on shows. Bully for her. The issue is, however, is it worthwhile to musicians to volunteer their time and talent to help her put on the show? I don't understand why the question keeps going back to whether it's ok for a headliner to simply ask. If the answer is "no I won't work your shows for free" and it turns out she won't get other pro-ish musicians in for free either well, fine.

    As a stage manager I have to ask actors do things that they didn't always expect when they signed on to the show. Sometimes it's even asking them to waive the stipulations of their union contract. I ask them with the faith that they're mature enough to answer me honestly, and I ask that they consider that I will be perfectly comfortable if they turn me down. It's a bad faith situation if I'm not even allowed to ask.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012 edited
    @Oldhat, I'm not saying that only Amanda Palmer fans get Amanda Palmer, rather I am arguing that fans of anything, as a general rule of thumb, are willing to pay money to the thing or person(s) of which they are a fan. It's my view that for the people volunteering, they are getting into the show for free, and getting merch, in exchange for musical services, rather than paying for the show ticket and the merch. Like I said, given that she made the post on her blog, she is reaching out to people who were likely already going to be at the show or wanted to go but couldn't bc they can't afford a ticket or it sold out. It's less "hey, take time off of your paying projects and make the time to come help me" and more "oh hey, you're gonna be here anyway and were gonna pay for a ticket? How does playing for me to get in for free sound?"

    But a lot of us have also looked around at a room full of people being paid to work on a project that they have been an equal part of and wondered "wait, this isn't fair..."

    For a FAN, getting in for free, and getting merch, and getting attention from the person you are a fan of IS the pay. It's why people are so willing to pay outrageous sums of money for a concert ticket that includes a photo-op with the band. And I understand that not everyone thinks this is acceptable, and that some people don't care for getting photos with celebrities, but people who do care about that do exist. Just because you don't think it's a fair trade, doesn't mean there aren't people who think it is (again, namely fans who were planning on being there anyway).

    And agreed with Raz that I don't think there's anything wrong in simply asking "Hey, is anyone willing to help?" It's not like she only ever plays with musicians who will work for free. She is simply asking "is anyone willing to?" and then accepting what comes. Not once have I heard her say anything negative about the people who were unwilling to play for her for free.
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012 edited
    hey argos, you know what? you actually did kinda change my mind. when framed in the aspect of posting on Her blog to Her fans 'hey you guys, ill let you in the show in your town for free and you get a tab and shit!' i suddenly dont really care anymore. yeah its kinda weird but whatever. id go sing for INDECISION for a few songs for the same in trade. hell, i HAVE gone to a show to move equipment/work merch/etc and shit to get in free and have a couple beers out of the cooler, so maybe i shouldve thought about this a bit more

    dont worry i still have other issues with the kickstarting and the tour and such. im not all agreeable now eh :)

    edited: a part where i was totally not making the point i wanted.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012 edited

    ie:throwing around how cheap her shows are, they arent.

    I was just trying to argue that her $20 shows have always been easier for me to afford than the $100 Motley Crue shows I've been to. The price of her ticket for the San Diego show later this month is a whopping $22 to see her at the House of Blues (which i'm not actually going to because I didn't like this album as much). But i can see how comparing an arena show to her venues is apples:oranges.

    edit: your edit made me chuckle :P
  3.  (10831.19)
    her $20 shows have always been easier for me to afford than the $100 Motley Crue shows I've been to.

    Oi...stop mentioning Motley Crue....they're not going to help you at all. Seriously.

      CommentAuthorPaul Sizer
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012
    I worked for over 2 years for my musical idol Thomas Dolby, and while part of my brain could have justified doing it for free because he is so awesome, I sent him invoices for EVERY scrap of work I did for him, and he paid them immediately. Period. I hung out on his tour bus. I drank and ate dinners with him. I got his home phone number. I got into any of his shows for free, full backstage passes, all access. Jane and I were treated like family. And I charged him for all the work I did, and he paid me for all the work I did.

    There's a lot of interesting angles on this discussion, but my baseline is that work=pay, and I'm very fortunate that I was able to work with someone who was just as insistent on that point. Trust me, my inner music geek wanted to do it all for free, but my professional side refused to be quiet, and I don't see that as a contradiction. Dolby is VERY well off financially (developing polyphonic ringtone technology currently in 3 billion phones seems to be the trick), but he funded ALL of his concert tour, album production and promotion. He is a very savvy business person, and is air tight on the business end of things. Hence, I didn't over or under charge him because of this; I charged him a fair rate, and he was happy to pay, and was very happy with the services I provided.

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