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Kickstart my art (but the band plays for free)

Amanda Palmer's business model causes quite a "kerfuffle"

In the current Reader, William Crain penned an excellent Of Note which detailed the 1.2 million dollar Kickstarter campaign ex-Dresden Doll Amanda Palmer utilized in order to fund her new album, Theatre of Evil. On the Reader website, Crain adds a comment that the piece was written “before the controversy broke out over Palmer's volunteer musicians.”

The Onion A.V. Club detailed the original volunteer musician controversy here, http://www.avclub.com/articles/musicians-and-unions-brassed-off-after-amanda-palm,84867/. About a week later, Palmer’s change of heart regarding the matter was also covered by the A.V. Club in this piece http://www.avclub.com/articles/amanda-palmer-is-going-to-pay-her-crowdsourced-mus,85194/.

So what happened is this: Palmer utilized the fundraising website Kickstarter to pay for her new album, but ended up hitting the online pan-handling jackpot and collecting $1.2 million dollars in the process. A sum so outlandish for recording an album in 2012 that even U2, Beyonce and Madonna would probably admit it’s a bit much. Of course a lot of the money went towards touring and promotional expenses as well and even, apparently, paying off some, well a lot, of old debt.

I guess that’s okay as well. If people want to give you money on Kickstarter I guess you have the right to use it as you wish as long as it somehow fits into your project’s schematics. If I wanted to raise twenty dollars for “Dryw’s Wednesday Lunch Fund” via Kickstarter I guess it would be okay to set the goal amount at $20 figuring that $10 would be spent on a delicious half-chicken meal at Saffron, three dollars would go towards paying for gas, and seven would cover the minimum wage labor fee that would cover the actual driving, physical hardship of eating and the mental stress incurred whilst setting up the Kickstarter project. Now back to the Palmer chronicles, everything was fine and quite dandy until Palmer angered the Land of the Internets when she announced that she was seeking local skilled musicians to back her on her concert dates but that she couldn’t afford to pay them. Instead they would be compensated with beer, hugs, hi-fives and various other forms of non-monetary money. So it was easy for the Land of the Internets to envision Palmer as the former street urchin, who just months prior had sent out an urgent plea via Kickstarter that her plight was so dire that she needed all her supporters to chip in a lil’ in order to make her new album a reality. But low and behold, when this destitute artist is suddenly handed the worlds fattest Kickstarter check she turns around and transforms into Montgomery Burns. Delivering yet another urgent request to the internets that she is seeking local musicians to play for free, because somehow there is not enough money in the budget to cover a string section.

The most obvious solution would have been to simply start another Kickstarter campaign in order to fund the backing band. And then another Kickstarter campaign to pay for the backing bands meals, and, of course, a Kickstarter campaign to pay for your own meals whilst on tour, well that’s probably a great idea as well. Come to think of it, that tour bus doesn’t drive itself so we will need a Kickstarter campaign to pay for a bus driver as well. On the other hand, maybe we can just pay the driver with beer, hugs and hi-fives. Well…make that Red Bull, hugs and hi-fives.

But I digress. Palmer’s major folly was asking for fellow musicians to play for an extremely small amount of money, as in no money at all. An amount of money quite adverse to the trash bags full of hundred dollar bills which the Land of the Internets could easily envision clogging up all the open-space in her new mansion these days. In fact, the Land of the Internets became so angry at Amanda Palmer that she eventually relented and agreed to pay the revolving cast of musicians who will be backing her nightly whilst on tour. A brilliant maneuver on Palmer’s behalf seeing that musicians enjoy making money and that she suddenly has tons of it.

Amanda Palmer is playing the House Of Blues tonight. Tickets will be $25 at the door. That ain’t exactly a Fugazi show for five bucks. Thanks to the Land of the Internets, the backing musicians will be getting a piece of the pie as well. I guess it would be fine if the musicians just wanted to play for free. Like it or not, it really is their choice. The often overlooked and truest losers in this entire, as Palmer referred to it, “kerfuffle,” are all the fans who poured all that money into her Kickstarter campaign to begin with. Imagine the disappointment one would feel watching a band of semi-amateurs playing their first rehearsal, live, while backing one of your favorite artists. An artist for whom you went out of your way to actually fund his or her art, and then dropped another 25 bucks to see live. It would be kind of nice if that artist could actually drag along an actual backing band that actually practiced daily together and stuff like that. But alas, the old mantra apparently once again rings true “mo’ money, mo’ problems.”

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In the current Reader, William Crain penned an excellent Of Note which detailed the 1.2 million dollar Kickstarter campaign ex-Dresden Doll Amanda Palmer utilized in order to fund her new album, Theatre of Evil. On the Reader website, Crain adds a comment that the piece was written “before the controversy broke out over Palmer's volunteer musicians.”

The Onion A.V. Club detailed the original volunteer musician controversy here, http://www.avclub.com/articles/musicians-and-unions-brassed-off-after-amanda-palm,84867/. About a week later, Palmer’s change of heart regarding the matter was also covered by the A.V. Club in this piece http://www.avclub.com/articles/amanda-palmer-is-going-to-pay-her-crowdsourced-mus,85194/.

So what happened is this: Palmer utilized the fundraising website Kickstarter to pay for her new album, but ended up hitting the online pan-handling jackpot and collecting $1.2 million dollars in the process. A sum so outlandish for recording an album in 2012 that even U2, Beyonce and Madonna would probably admit it’s a bit much. Of course a lot of the money went towards touring and promotional expenses as well and even, apparently, paying off some, well a lot, of old debt.

I guess that’s okay as well. If people want to give you money on Kickstarter I guess you have the right to use it as you wish as long as it somehow fits into your project’s schematics. If I wanted to raise twenty dollars for “Dryw’s Wednesday Lunch Fund” via Kickstarter I guess it would be okay to set the goal amount at $20 figuring that $10 would be spent on a delicious half-chicken meal at Saffron, three dollars would go towards paying for gas, and seven would cover the minimum wage labor fee that would cover the actual driving, physical hardship of eating and the mental stress incurred whilst setting up the Kickstarter project. Now back to the Palmer chronicles, everything was fine and quite dandy until Palmer angered the Land of the Internets when she announced that she was seeking local skilled musicians to back her on her concert dates but that she couldn’t afford to pay them. Instead they would be compensated with beer, hugs, hi-fives and various other forms of non-monetary money. So it was easy for the Land of the Internets to envision Palmer as the former street urchin, who just months prior had sent out an urgent plea via Kickstarter that her plight was so dire that she needed all her supporters to chip in a lil’ in order to make her new album a reality. But low and behold, when this destitute artist is suddenly handed the worlds fattest Kickstarter check she turns around and transforms into Montgomery Burns. Delivering yet another urgent request to the internets that she is seeking local musicians to play for free, because somehow there is not enough money in the budget to cover a string section.

The most obvious solution would have been to simply start another Kickstarter campaign in order to fund the backing band. And then another Kickstarter campaign to pay for the backing bands meals, and, of course, a Kickstarter campaign to pay for your own meals whilst on tour, well that’s probably a great idea as well. Come to think of it, that tour bus doesn’t drive itself so we will need a Kickstarter campaign to pay for a bus driver as well. On the other hand, maybe we can just pay the driver with beer, hugs and hi-fives. Well…make that Red Bull, hugs and hi-fives.

But I digress. Palmer’s major folly was asking for fellow musicians to play for an extremely small amount of money, as in no money at all. An amount of money quite adverse to the trash bags full of hundred dollar bills which the Land of the Internets could easily envision clogging up all the open-space in her new mansion these days. In fact, the Land of the Internets became so angry at Amanda Palmer that she eventually relented and agreed to pay the revolving cast of musicians who will be backing her nightly whilst on tour. A brilliant maneuver on Palmer’s behalf seeing that musicians enjoy making money and that she suddenly has tons of it.

Amanda Palmer is playing the House Of Blues tonight. Tickets will be $25 at the door. That ain’t exactly a Fugazi show for five bucks. Thanks to the Land of the Internets, the backing musicians will be getting a piece of the pie as well. I guess it would be fine if the musicians just wanted to play for free. Like it or not, it really is their choice. The often overlooked and truest losers in this entire, as Palmer referred to it, “kerfuffle,” are all the fans who poured all that money into her Kickstarter campaign to begin with. Imagine the disappointment one would feel watching a band of semi-amateurs playing their first rehearsal, live, while backing one of your favorite artists. An artist for whom you went out of your way to actually fund his or her art, and then dropped another 25 bucks to see live. It would be kind of nice if that artist could actually drag along an actual backing band that actually practiced daily together and stuff like that. But alas, the old mantra apparently once again rings true “mo’ money, mo’ problems.”

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