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      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012
    @ Cat - I AM CRASS and that's just how God made me. And like I said, I don't have a dog in this race, I ain't gonna go see her show OR help her out, monetarily or otherwise. And there's millionaires and then there's MILLIONAIRES and dear Neil, god bless him, is likely in the scond category, not the first. And they can do whatever they want with their communal money, their private money or any loose change they find in the couch. Methinks they don't argue over who's to buy groceries this week but whatever - maybe he spends all that Dr. Who money on Dr. Who collectibles, who knows? Sandman sells at a fairly brisk pace and he CAN'T POSSIBLY have spent all the Stardust money (not to mention the Coraline money) unless he clandestinely built himself a space station (which I wouldn't put past him). I can't speak to his finances but it IS conceivable that she could roll over in bed and at least ASK him. Rather than giving the fans "a chance to support me."

    And YES, I'm sure she's nice and all but a smile and a kind word don't pay the rent, yeah? As long as you know that, with your eyes open going in, then Vaya Con Dios. Play your fuckin' heart out. Knowing that IT MIGHT'VE BEEN POSSIBLE for you to play your fuckin' heart out AND! get paid but that never happened? Kinda stings and I see why.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012 edited
    And there is nothing wrong with that. I just don't see why there has to be only one right way to do it. I'm just trying to argue that for some people, one night's worth of artistic work is a fair trade for one night's entry into a show + merch (that they were arguably already planning on going to). It's a different matter to ask someone to go out of their way to do free work for you, and to ask someone who was planning on being at that show anyway to do work in exchange for entry + merch. (And I'll argue that we can extrapolate that she was asking for volunteers from the pool of people who were already planning on being there given that she did so via a blog post, of which the audience is her fans.)

    I'll give another example (no Motley Crue). There's a mini Burning Man camping event coming up in San Diego called decompression. Tickets are $120. If you commit volunteer 8 hours of your time & effort either before, during, or after the event, you get a reduced priced, $30 ticket. Clearly, this is only a worth while trade to people who were planning on going. I did it in 2010 because I was broke but wanted to go, and this year I am paying a full price tickets because I don't want to worry about volunteer shifts. I could bitch about how it's unfair to ask me to pay $30 to volunteer for someone, or I could go "oh hey, I'm paying for my ticket in money and time & effort instead of in just money." I think the situation is similar with the Amanda Palmer concerts. As a fan who was planning on being there anyway, I now have the option to get into the show by paying for the ticket + service charge, get merch by paying for it, and get beer by paying for it. OR I can get all that for my services instead.

    Is it just the case that this is never acceptable, and I don't realize this because I don't make my living through art? Has artistic skill become so sacred that its worth can only be shown in monetary value? And it's not okay to exchange artistic value for show entrance + merch even if the musician doing the work personally thinks it's a fair trade?

    edited to add: sorry, my arguments are getting lost within my arguments. I want to stress that I do believe that in cases such as the one Paul illustrated, where the person who is looking for a service is able to pay, that is the correct thing to do. However, taking that example, I don't think it would have been horrible of Thomas Dolby to ask for artistic services in exchange for concert tickets if he we unable to give monetary compensation (though certainly not two year's worth). I don't think it would have been okay of Amanda Palmer, or anyone else, to only ever offer concert entrance & merch in exchange for service as a way to cut costs. I do think it's okay to ask for help and offer that as an alternative compensation when monetary compensation is unavailable (whether it was irresponsible finance management or whatever). Again, this only works for fans, where concert entrance and merch would be compensation. Obviously if the person providing the service is not at all interested in the musician looking for the service, then that compensation is not adequate. Asking people to go out of their way vs. asking people who were already planning on being there and whatnot.
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012 edited
    I really feel like you can only justify this if you don't consider what the musicians/fans are doing work, but rather pleasure. Which is fine to a degree, but then why would you ever pay anyone who goes up on a stage and has a good time?

    Also, does anyone else find it strange how poorly written that whole kickstarter bloggy thing was for someone married to Neil Gaiman?
  1.  (10831.4)
    "Also, does anyone else find it strange how poorly written that whole kickstarter bloggy thing was for someone married to Neil Gaiman?"

    Depends, how is Neil's singing? ;)
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012 edited
    heh, there was actually a joke for a while that he couldn't keep a beat to save his life. Though she did finally get him to record a song, and he sounds quite good in it. Not sure how much editing was done to his voice, though (if any).

    I really feel like you can only justify this if you don't consider what the musicians/fans are doing work, but rather pleasure. Which is fine to a degree, but then why would ever pay anyone who goes up on a stage and has a good time?

    Because I don't think the two need be mutually exclusive. Again, personal views, and from someone who doesn't make their living off of artistic work, so I realize that might change the qualifications of my arguments for some people.

    I should really just shut up now, sorry everyone. For what it's worth, this is one of the most engaging discussions I've had in a while (hence my excessive run-ons and repetitions) and I want to repeat that I do respect everyone's view even if we disagree. But now I am tired and must let this go and get some rest and sleep.

    edited to add: Just saw this on the twitters. Her response to the whole ordeal. Fun fact from the post, the Dresden Dolls apparently lost money to tour with Nine Inch Nails.
  2.  (10831.6)
    I'm not sure how I feel about this. My beliefs about Palmer's music aren't positive, but she could be John fucking Lennon for all it matters to the question.

    First: This is pretty clearly aimed (unless there's other overtures we're not aware of) at fans, who may already be interested in the concert.
    Second: If merch, alcohol money and chilling backstage are going to be the compensation for "a couple tunes", well, how much merch and how many drinks are being offered here for how many songs? If it's 'a t-shirt and a single beer,' then that's a materially different compensation than 'a hoodie, a copy of all of the records that you don't already have and four drinks.' And if it's a t-shirt and a beer for one song, then that's a different kind of agreement than a t-shirt and a beer for five songs.
    Third: There's an easy way to get these folks paid, if paying them is a priority, get them a cut of doors or a cut of the guarantee.
    Fourth: Professional-ish is a sticking point. Maybe it's just a descriptor, maybe Palmer just wants to weed out the people that can't play, but whatever. She's asking for approaching professional quality here, from her fan base.
    Fifth: Like many other people, including Argos and Joe said, money isn't the only thing that can be exchanged.
    Sixth: Neil Gaiman isn't on this tour. He's immaterial to the conversation, except to cast aspersions on Amanda Palmer's character for not running to her rich husband when she needs money.
    Seventh: We're operating here under the impression Amanda Palmer's doing this in good faith. If she's not, then that makes this conversation much easier.
    Eighth: Amanda Palmer is not your friend. She might be super neat and says things you agree with and looks awesome on the internet, but this isn't a favor for a person you've had over to your house, yelled at, forgiven, worked next to, etc etc. She might remember you and think you're cool, but she's not your friend.

    And yeah. I still don't have a coherent answer for this question.
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2012 edited
    What I keep coming back to as I think about this is that I feel like, in this case, the fandom is being exploited. Yeah, I would like to hang out with people I admire, but I would hope that the people I admire would be willing to pay me to make art for them. At least when they can afford it. And I am not convinced Amanda Palmer can't afford it. If nothing else, she has money that will be spent on beer and merchandise that could just be a paycheck for people who are helping her make money. I wonder if the sense of community, as wonderful as it is in a lot of ways, could make people susceptible to being used.

    I'm not a huge Amanda Palmer fan, but I am a fan. I follow her on twitter and I've basically had the new album on repeat the last couple of days when I've been home. I gave what I could to the kickstarter, but all I really could give was a dollar. I sort of feel like this move is out of character, given how she's paid other artists she's worked with in the past. I do understand where you guys that are okay with it are coming from, but I disagree. Just because something is fun doesn't mean you should do it free.

    ETA: Reading over her blog response, yes it is a fun and cool way to go about things. But I still don't understand why the musicians that come in can't get a few dollars as well as the fun times. I really think the money management must've gone terribly wrong somewhere along the line. I've read her blog about where the money goes, but still. This is something that should've been in the budget to begin with.
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2012 edited
    @Fishelle -

    I'm not sure invoking fandom is helpful here. Fandoms also tend to feel like they are co-creators in an artist's work, feeling free to redistribute and create remixes and derivative works with it.

    If one is a devoted fan, one who has enjoyed Amanda Palmer's free music, or remixed them, or attended free shows but one who has not strongly supported the band by buying the merch or making donations directly - I think being given the chance to pay it back with a little sweat equity is not at all unreasonable.

    Certainly this isn't entirely how it was pitched, but it is one way to look at it and I'm sure at least a few of the musicians may approach it like that, as a way to make a donation to support the creation of the work.

    Would anyone feel differently if she had called them 'unpaid internships'...?
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2012
    @Mister Hex - Neil Gaiman's not super-rich because of his writing, but because he inherited a vitamin company. That said, we'd be having a whole different argument if he was funding his wife's tours and would be questioning her artistic integrity and if they weren't stupid, they'd not want to lose money on them, and therefore the ticket prices would go up if they put more money in in the first place.

    This seems like one of those scenarios where someone's painted themselves into a corner.

    The decent thing may be to offer to promote the people who play in some kind of extra way, as it seems like *some* kind of extra gesture, at least, is needed now.

    Fuck you, pay me, needn't mean pay with teh monies, but it should be something tangible.
  3.  (10831.10)
    @Paul Sizer

    Dolby is VERY well off financially (developing polyphonic ringtone technology

    Well I never knew that!
  4.  (10831.11)
    @Oddcult Not just any vitamin company, a gorram Scientology Vitamin Company

    Neil Gaiman paraphrased: "I don't have any ties to the church"

    Vitamin company sells exclusively to the "church" and donates hundreds of thousands of dollars to them most years. The vitamins are also questionable as to doing anything other than removing thetans or somesuch.

    Lost a lot of respect for the man after I found that stuff out. I like his stories, and he seems genuinely nice - but he doesn't seem entirely honest about his ties.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2012
    Alan Moore is largely responsible for the V masks and has voiced considerable support for Anonymous.

    Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman are good mates. They hugged at his wedding. I know, because I was there as well and saw.

    Amanda Palmer is also from a scientology background. They've, however, both got family still in, so have to be very careful about what they say in relation to it. You might feel little sympathy for them because; rich, famous, etc, but they're in a tight spot in regards to that stuff and the benefit of the doubt falls on their side.
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2012
    To me this seemed symptomatic of the relationship Amanda Palmer shares with her fan base.

    Being outside the fan base it may look exploitive but apparently Amanda has the type of fans who are happy to perform with her and to allow her to profit from their training/talent in exchange for the life experience / merch / booze.

    She also has fans who are happy to pay money to listen to Amanda perform with pro-am / potentially under-rehearsed musicians (even a slightly dodgy string or brass ensemble can be incredibly obtrusive so taking the risk of listening to this takes a lot of love or patience.)

    I don’t think this is so unique that it hasn’t been done before or couldn’t be repeated again. Her fans like her, trust her and if she fucks that up she’ll feel the consequences on the next tour or next fund raising effort.

    However, when I learned that she paid (and budgeted?) for strings and horns in high profile locations (New York for example) that made me feel like the whole thing is not in fact the circle of love she’d like to present it as.

    The fans going to see her in a high profile location get to see a tight, well crafted musical performance while fans in less high profile locations get an “experience” (good or bad).

    I’m sure a lot of her fans are in it for the “experience” but it seems cynical to me that she will serve AFP inc. when she needs to – that she judges her music should be preformed at a professional level for one night of the tour and at a less than professional level for another.

    I don’t think she’s being deliberately exploitative but I do believe she’s naïve and feels a maybe undeserved sense of entitlement due to her past efforts and her "redesigning of the music industry".
  5.  (10831.14)
    I'm a pretty sympathetic person, but I can't abide someone that sells out morality for cash.

    Such as quietly taking money from a despicable organization that exploits the weak-minded; while pretending it doesn't happen and disavowing involvement.

    That's the equivalent of being a gay CEO of Chick-Fil-A and not speaking up because the money is too good.
    • CommentAuthorSteve Toase
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2012 edited
    Just to be clear whatever else you think he has never denied links with Scientology. Also with half of his family still involved (he was born into a Scientology family rather than joining later in life) that is an incredibly difficult line for someone to walk.
    • CommentAuthorArgos
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2012
    wow, the things you learn. I had no idea Gaiman had inherited a scientology vitamin company.

    What I keep coming back to as I think about this is that I feel like, in this case, the fandom is being exploited.

    And to a certain extent that's not untrue. I will admit that, in a sense, this is not unlike that damned Penny Arcade kickstarter, where the rewards were things like "we'll follow you on twitter for a year" or "you can intern for us for a day." The PA kickstarter is one that I abhorred and still annoys me and I think was extremely exploitative of their fans, but, I do also realize that for the people who donated at those levels, there was in fact value in those incentives. I may not agree, but whatever if they feel it was worth it, so be it.

    ebullientsoul summed up the whole thing quite nicely.
  6.  (10831.17)
    I think from my perspective is that artists have a responsibility to say no. If venues are charging to play if local artists don't play there then the venue won't make anything. If publishing houses are charging to publish then if people don't submit to them and pay the fees then they will fold. If people don't volunteer to pay for nothing then Palmer won't have her extra musicians. End of.
    My day job is an archaeologist, a profession which has a large volunteer sector, and also a large sector who pay to excavate. Personally I have never, even on my first sites, paid to work because that's what it is.
    When I started writing I made the decision that I would have work published for free if there was a clear payoff, or get paid. I would never pay to have work published. That was, and still is, my baseline.
    It's alright talking about exploiting artists, but at the end of the day she isn't forcing people to get on stage, people are making those decisions themselves. If they feel exploited they have to take responsibility for accepting that work.
    Now if it was me I could see a clear payoff here. You get exposure, you get a huge attentive audience you can tap into. You get some potential contacts. You get to play in front of a bigger audience.
    Also I don't quite get why Gaiman should be expected to bankroll her tour, business and relationships just don't work like that.
  7.  (10831.18)
    @Steve - I agree with everything you just said.

    I imagine some folks would try their damndest to win a contest to play with one of their favorite musicians, even contests that involved "WHO CAN PUT THEIR GENITALS IN A VICE GRIP FOR THE LONGEST?"

    That said Ms. Palmer could have positioned it a bit better - instead of "I don't have the money, HALP" (negative) how about "WHO WANTS A CHANCE TO PLAY WITH ME? FAME, BEER, FANS! SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY!" (positive)
    • CommentAuthorandycon
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2012
    I want to echo the comments a few have made about working for free to support others, ect. I've done shows where I haven't gotten paid because the show was for charity and that's to be expected. The thing is though, in those cases EVERYONE worked for nothing/beer and hand-jobs because we knew it was for a good cause and we knew where the money was going.

    Here it seems like Amanda and x-amount of people doing the shows ARE getting paid and shafting the others under the guise of 'good-times' and fan experiences. That's bullshit.

    When I've run shows I have made it very clear to everyone involved that I don't get paid until they do. They get paid first and the only times one gets less than agreed upon is because the door was lighter than expected, which means after breaking even on the cost of running the show I will not be able to pay myself.

    If you can afford to pay yourself/someone else you can afford to pay everyone something.

    Also as far as 'fan interaction' goes justifying this:
    Eighth: Amanda Palmer is not your friend. She might be super neat and says things you agree with and looks awesome on the internet, but this isn't a favor for a person you've had over to your house, yelled at, forgiven, worked next to, etc etc. She might remember you and think you're cool, but she's not your friend.
    THIS One Million Times.
    You are a Mark and very little more to her. Until she offers to open shows for you for free/ lets you crash on her couch when you are in town she is not your friend.
  8.  (10831.20)
    damn, the shows ive run/booked/promoted, no one has EVER offered a handjob

    now im jealous

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