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      CommentAuthordorkmuffin
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2012
     (10831.81)
    INTERNING. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO that is all.
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2012
     (10831.82)
    Okay, I've just read this properly now. It's not just 'come and jam', it's 'I want pros, of this and that type, and them to turn up for rehearsals and shit too'.

    Fuck you, pay them.
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      CommentAuthorcity creed
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2012
     (10831.83)
    @oddcult
    if you wanted to see one of your bestest, favouritest artists play, would you be happy paying for a full-price ticket if you knew the artist had sent out a call for anyone who was interested to "come and jam" with them?
    I think I'd be a bit dubious about the absence of any kind of critical bar. It seems totally reasonable to me that she'd specify people who can actually play.

    @all
    Honestly, I'm kinda stunned by the amount of rage in this thread about an artist who is trying to do things her own way..?
    Personally, I'm all about the "make it work however you can" thing rather than the "make it work only according to these specific rules" thing.
    Frankly, the talk about Neil Gaiman's potential role here is (maybe only for me) ugly, distasteful and totally unnecessary.
    This has been the most active discussion on this board for months, maybe. And it is all about trashing an artist for some decisions she has made. Huh.

    Disclosure: Never listened to any of her stuff, have no idea if it's decent or what. No investment at all.

    I get that she is asking professional musicians to work for (basically) free. That's not a problem for me, really, if the musicians are up for it.

    Totally absent any musical talent myself, I still know and have lived with several musicians who make an actual living from their work. Most of those people would, I strongly suspect, be thrilled to play a gig with an artist they love. It is not about the money for them, it's about the music and the prestige and all that other complicated musiciany stuff.

    The only argument against this that I could even start to respect is the "she is changing the culture towards a point where creatives get zip". Even then, that seems so tenuous. I mean, how much influence are we imagining that A(F)P really has? Were things really oh-so-great for indie music creators before she came along?
    Yes, artists being paid for their work is a good and important thing. Does this situation really represent a threat to that?

    Seriously, and if someone can properly refute it I would be happy to admit that I'm talking out of my ass, this seems like a crazy thing to get excited about. I just don't see the harm in Ms Palmer getting some locals up to play with her each place she goes. In fact, I see more positives in that than negatives.

    I guess my question is: why are we even having this horribly negative conversation about it?
    Amanda Palmer seems to attract lovers and haters in nearly equal measure. Are we, WHITECHAPEL, now a place for vituperatively hating on artists whose methods we disagree with? Because I have some shit to say in that case, maybe I should start a new thread or two.
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      CommentAuthorglukkake
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2012
     (10831.84)
    I'm not entirely sure why there is such a backlash against people daring to criticize her methods. Especially when those of us doing so are explaining over and over why we feel that what she's doing is unethical. But disagreeing with what she's doing is not the same as hating her (at least, I haven't written entries disavowing all her future records and burning her old ones in effigy).

    And I don't know how many times I can say "if you're getting paid for something, so should everyone as an industry standard". But honestly, I'm a fan of her music, I'm a fan of the community she's built, and a fan of the way she's been changing the way things get done, but I still think this is a misstep and I don't see any reason why I shouldn't critique it. Because what she's doing is important and it is exploring and pushing boundaries for the future of how things are made. And I think that in analyzing what she's doing, where people are unhappy and where people are happy, a better method can come from it.

    Isn't it kind of a better thing to be able to hear both sides? Which is what we're getting. The Gaiman part is gross (he should just bankroll her projects instead of her trying to build something on her own? speculating into his Scientology connections? really?) and I hope we've all gotten over that.

    I think this is important as a new manner of making bigger things out of limited means - it's what Razrangel was getting at with her theatre productions and what I'm sure a lot of people will deal with in touring performance arts.

    Because where do we draw the line between volunteer work and salary guidelines? Is it OK to just open up crowdsourcing in all matters, no matter who you are, big or small? How do you decide who is "expendable" and who needs to be paid? Not to mention the difference between getting strangers to volunteer vs letting your friends volunteer? Does that then mean that the only people who can successfully do bigger productions are the ones who can monetize it or are the ones who happen to have the right group of talented friends?

    I feel like ignoring this and leaving it as "it's their business, let them do what they want and let me do it the way I want" is just kind of lazy. I'm not sure that she's going to level the entire music industry into musical creative contests (then again, I didn't expect that to happen for the illustration industry either). But I think it's worth analyzing. I think the "let people volunteer if they want, they're not being taken advantage of if they like it" argument isn't good enough. Because we have wage protections for other industries and I don't see why people are OK denying that for creatives in the name of "doing it for the experience". In both senses of "experience".

    It reminds of listening to people say how so much more could get done if only we got rid of that pesky minimum wage. Or if unions didn't have all those regulations about how to treat workers. Man, then we'd have such nice things.

    I do agree that my doom prophesies of "this will ruin the entire industry" is a hyperbolic, but at the same time, give some people an inch and they'll take a mile. I like stating my criticisms now so people can build better business models in the future rather than just "meh"-ing along complacently.
    • CommentAuthorandycon
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2012
     (10831.85)
    As a lot of us have said, our problem is the fact that she seemingly is blowing smoke up these people's asses by saying 'it's not about money, it's all about the music and love maaaaannnn' while still collecting a pay check for herself and her 'real' band.
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      CommentAuthorcity creed
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2012
     (10831.86)
    @glukkake - *bows*

    Because where do we draw the line between volunteer work and salary guidelines? Is it OK to just open up crowdsourcing in all matters, no matter who you are, big or small? How do you decide who is "expendable" and who needs to be paid? Not to mention the difference between getting strangers to volunteer vs letting your friends volunteer? Does that then mean that the only people who can successfully do bigger productions are the ones who can monetize it or are the ones who happen to have the right group of talented friends?


    These are truly important and relevant questions, and if there's a purpose to this thread, you have hit it square.
    Everything is worth analyzing, everything is worth critiquing. I don't mean to say that this thread hasn't been lively and provocative as well as shitty.
    It may have seemed like I was trying to pre-invalidate any critique of Amanda Palmer on principle, if so, I apologize. That wasn't my intention. There are definitely interesting issues to discuss here. AFP (can I haz lol?) is, in my extremely superficial interwebs-enabled experience, a pretty interesting and polarizing cat. If she has made a mis-step with her community of fans here (and I'm still not convinced she necessarily has) then she will have to pay the price for that anyway.

    I reckon I agree with most of what else you say, but I generally think you have to let artists make their own decisions and I naively think art is not mainly about getting paid, it's about saying something you have to say. Hammering artists for not adhering to some arbitrary monetary compensation system with their work is fucking bullshit, if you'll pardon my language.
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      CommentAuthorglukkake
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2012 edited
     (10831.87)
    I find it more insulting to be told that I should find some kind of fluffy soul happiness in getting to be creative and that my getting paid is not important. Because, y'know, this about "art". When really, I can't do art being paid in hugs and beer, no matter how much an alcoholic I am.

    Volunteering for non-profits, volunteering for your friends, bartering your hand made object for someone else's work with their hands, all fair game.

    But I stand by my original idea: Telling you that it's OK that I get a paycheck, but explaining that you should just settle for "being a part of the magic" is bullshit.
  1.  (10831.88)
    The Scientology thing has been something I've never really been able to get over. It's a duplicitous and murderous cult and Neil's on record as having donated as recently as 2009 ($35K IIRC) and co-owns the family bullshit Scientology vitamin business. The in-deep anti-Scientologists claim Amanda Palmer has family in Sea Org. and was the appointed replacement wife for Neil. I wouldn't be at all surprised if these people could find a Scientology thread in the Kickstarter funding.

    It's a pretty sad thing all around, from Palmer's request for free work in the smaller dates to L-Ron's tentacles in one of my early fave comics writers.

    ~R
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      CommentAuthorglukkake
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2012
     (10831.89)
    @Richard Pace - Scientology fears/conspiracies/gossip have no place in a discussion about new models of running performance arts. Please stop derailing.
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      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2012
     (10831.90)
    I've been following this discussion with lots of interest. I do not personally have a dog in the fight, but this has been really well argued on both sides.

    I'm jumping in now to take issue with this:

    but I generally think you have to let artists make their own decisions and I naively think art is not mainly about getting paid, it's about saying something you have to say. Hammering artists for not adhering to some arbitrary monetary compensation system with their work is fucking bullshit, if you'll pardon my language.


    Nobody is hammering anyone about adhering to an arbitrary monetary compensation system. They are insisting that, as professionals, artists place a monetary value on their work.

    I'm sorry but it really is terrifically naive to think that, for professionals, "saying something" for someone else who is not you and is asking for you to work for them without getting paid is more important than getting paid.

    If you are doing your own original artwork, you are working for yourself, on spec, and so of course you are deferring pay to accomplish saying something, but of course once you have said it you will then look for a way to get paid for having said it, if you are smart.

    That is entirely different than some other artist with their own work asking for you to use your talents to support their work to say their thing for which they will collect pay but you will receive none.

    Does that make sense?

    Look, the thing that to me is the most disappointing about what I've seen of the topic of this discussion, as well as the infamous Penny Arcade kickstarter campaign (that Argos also mentioned earlier, I think) is that Amanda Palmer and Penny Arcade are true up from nothing bootstrap success stories that came out of our culture. They are our age, with our backgrounds, doing things we love and they made it work. Legitimately, they built professions out of passions many of us share with them. They, whether they realize it or not, whether they like it or not, professionally, they are our role models.

    So it is so disappointing to see them having obtained genuine professional legitimacy and then turn around and make such amateur and unprofessional moves. You know? It's like, we thought they were the grown ups that we all helped to grow up, and we look up to them in the capacity of their success. We want them to keep getting bigger. But these moves are really small time stuff. They really seem diminishing.

    So that's disappointing.

    Also, and I am so sick of hearing this from people who don't do creative work for a living, but yes, money for us is good to, just like money you get for doing your job. Fuck this "saying something is more important" bullshit. You are talking about people who are doing work. Not playing. It is work. Also these people are biologically identical to you. They must eat, and exposure to the elements is detrimental to their health just like it is to you. They cannot buy food and pay rent by "saying something".

    They need to get paid.

    They should be proud to insist that their work has a monetary value.
  2.  (10831.91)
    The " Please stop derailing." suggests it's something I'm in the habit of doing. Having just slogged through the thread I responded to a few of the elements that stuck out. Nor is this a discussion of new models of running performance arts - -it's an old model of taking advantage of wannabe talent.

    On topic, then -- Palmer's excuses aside, it's bad optics after having raised such a large sum to cover a tour (among other things) and then to ask for essentially free work in the lower profile venues. Further, it sets the worst sort of example of how 'professional-ish' musicians can be treated. As a visual artist I know I have exhausted my patience for requests of free work towards projects that will generate income for other participants.


    ~R
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      CommentAuthorcity creed
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2012
     (10831.92)
    They are insisting that, as professionals, artists place a monetary value on their work.

    Yeah, I don't think that's ok. I'll have to leave this for now though.
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      CommentAuthoroddbill
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2012 edited
     (10831.93)
    Are you fucking kidding me?

    Edited to add: Seriously?

    Edited to further add: are you really sure you want to go on the record in a community that includes many creative workers and in many ways involves their work that you have some kind of problem with the necessity of them placing a monetary value on the product of their labor?
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      CommentAuthorglukkake
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2012
     (10831.94)
    @Richard Pace my apologies, I didn't check if you were the same person who brought this up in the past, but mostly, I just don't see a point in bringing it into the thread. So, I'm sorry if I was excessively rude.

    @city creed yea, that then goes down to a serious divergence of fundamental values between you and I.
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      CommentAuthoroldhat
    • CommentTimeSep 15th 2012
     (10831.95)
    I'm going to give a longer reply tomorrow after a good night's sleep, but...

    Fucking hell, city creed. I'd appreciate more of an elaboration on your part, but right off the bat I...jesus.
  3.  (10831.96)
    This is a very contentious issue and it seems to have brought up what seem to be blind spots in people's thinking about what kind of recompense creative people should get for their work. Some intelligent people have shown they don't quite understand the issues (I'm not just talking about on Whitechapel, but in other places this argument has spread). I'm interested in the discourse here and I'm going to bump along themes that have already been touched on elsewhere.

    That it's to do with personal feelings about Amanda Palmer, Neil Gaiman being anywhere near it or monetary worth of music itself are nothing to do with the argument. They're spurious at best, smokescreens at worst.

    The problem, in my eyes, is seeing someone who is set to gain financially from this tour and pay musicians who play with her regularly, to then turn around and ask professional-level local musicians to come along and play. For nothing. Or, if you want to take it further, to pay for the privilege of doing so.

    The hugs, beer and merch thing is immaterial in my eyes. I don't think that's good enough compensation for someone who has to pay the price of a ticket and then go to the expense of getting to the venue and who is a professional of any kind - 'ish' or not.

    Whether she's created this situation by design or otherwise, that's a different discussion again. However, the fact remains, she has and it comes across as sleazy and exploitative.

    With a few sentences she created a two-tier system of haves and have-nots. She and her band are getting paid for their work. The happy fans who get to drag their instruments along are not. It feels to a lot of the creatives who are watching this situation that she's aiming to get work out of people for close to nothing, while taking a cut and giving other people fair payment. This is an unpleasant precedent. After getting money in order to make her shows better she's resorting to pulling unpaid labour.

    It would be nice if the only thing about being a creative was getting the work out there, but that's not the reality we live in. Creative people have to eat, have to pay rent, pay to travel and pay for entertainment. Whether you like it or not monetary value is still a large part of value, especially to the person creating whatever they've spent time doing. The fact that Amanda Palmer asks for any kind of professionalism from the musicians she calling for, it means they've spent a lot of time honing their craft, paying for their equipment and possibly struggling to get work to sustain themselves. This sort of says, you're not important enough to pay - you're worthless. And that's an abominable thing to do someone who loves what they do. And just because someone loves what they do, doesn't make it any less of a job. Lots of professional people love their jobs, but you don't even dare consider what they do worthless. When a creative says they love what they do it's suddenly not real work. When another creative, by their actions, seems to have this attitude it's guaranteed to rightly get the creative community up in arms.


    Will
    •  
      CommentAuthorTF
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2012
     (10831.97)
    @ oddbill

    So it is so disappointing to see them having obtained genuine professional legitimacy and then turn around and make such amateur and unprofessional moves. You know? It's like, we thought they were the grown ups that we all helped to grow up, and we look up to them in the capacity of their success. We want them to keep getting bigger. But these moves are really small time stuff. They really seem diminishing.


    Thank you for articulating that
    • CommentAuthorOddcult
    • CommentTimeSep 16th 2012
     (10831.98)
    @citycreed - "if you wanted to see one of your bestest, favouritest artists play, would you be happy paying for a full-price ticket if you knew the artist had sent out a call for anyone who was interested to "come and jam" with them?"

    Depends on the venue, number of people there, time spent doing this compared to other stuff on the night, whether it was advertised as that or not so I could make an informed choice etc etc. Short answer; maybe, but probably.

    If the question were 'was one of my bestest, favouritest artists being a dick about paying musicians would I be etc?' then no, I wouldn't be happy paying and they'd probably stop being one of my bestest, favouritest artists.

    @glukakke - the scientology stuff is neither conspiracy nor outright fear, whether it's gossip or not is debatable. Gaiman and Palmer are both in a tricky position in regards to the Church of Scientology and it's one where they can't really comment much, for fear of losing contact with family members. It's a massive part of their backgrounds, sure, and may affect how people relate to their work.

    However, as I've already said, and this is @Richard Pace too, if Alan Moore, one of the most principled people around, to the level of quite literally turning down millions when refusing to simply give his blessing to the Before Watchman stuff, who is fundamentally linked to the anti-Scientology movement because of the V-masks and who has spoken out in support of Anonymous, can be extremely good mates with Neil Gaiman, he gets the benefit of the doubt.

    Why it's relevant is because, if people are worried about *that* aspect in relation to this, despite coming down on the 'fuck you, pay me' side, it's still possible and reasonable to reject that aspect of it.
  4.  (10831.99)
    I'm not a musician but art's where my soul lives. And music is just another type of art. It takes work to get good at it, and a lot of times it doesn't come cheap. The price of a good instrument can make me cringe.

    It makes me a bit wary when people don't think that artists (of any type) should not be paid because their work is creative and comes from the soul/heat/kidneys/spleen. You don't get good at anything by magic. And when you pay someone for their art, to me you're acknowledging the work they put into learning and mastering those skills. In my area, I've seen a lot of people use the 'do it free for exposure/fun" thing be used as a mask for "LOL its artz, why should we pay for it?" kinda crud; and instead of getting paying work, it's just lead to "Oh so and so does artsy stuff For Free! WOoo!"

    I don't mean everyone should get bucketfulls of money, but aknowlege their work and effort, yaknow? Sometimes getting paid in swag is fun. Othertimes it seems a bit... meh.

    The whole thing about everyone else getting paid but the 'fan' musicians does kinda rankle me a bit. You're asking to take the artists's time, and for however many practices as well. How much swag is that worth? Or is meeting AFP and the rest of the gang enough of a compensation? You'd have awesome memories, no doubt, but I have no idea how much that would translate to as far as finding future gigs goes.
  5.  (10831.100)
    The sad thing is, if Palmer just offered to pay the "fan musicians" even half scale, she wouldn't have seen this type of backlash. The smart thing for her to do at this point is to issue a mea culpa and agree to pay the musicians something, even if it's only $30, at the end of the night. It would at least pay for transportation. If this was for charity, I don't think anyone would have had a problem with Palmer's original offer.

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