Understand I speak about this from a purely outsider’s perspective, I am neither a fan of Amanda Palmer, nor a musician of any sort (well, I can play the piano if the song isn’t that complicated, and you give me a month to learn 1 song), so this whole thing could have just passed me by, if it weren’t for a musician I’m a fan of, and friends with, mentioning it on his twitter.
The only thing I know of Amanda Palmer is that she married Neil Gaiman, making me predisposed to hate her out of sheer jealousy. I tried to listen to her music and I wasn’t a fan, but again, predisposition to jealousy.
So I did a little reading about it, and I wasn’t too bothered by it at all, really. I always think it’s a great idea when celebrities reach out to their fans in a very real, and interactive way. When I was a teenager, if there had been an opportunity for me to make or do something, that, not only would Hanson be able to use in their music, but allow me to meet, hang out, and get to know them, even for a few hours, I would have jumped at that opportunity (admittedly I was so positive that I would marry Taylor Hanson, that I just assumed I’d somehow meet him and we’d fall in love. Providence would make it so that I’d run into him on the street, or faint at a concert, or… you know what, I digress)*.
So, let me go on the record as saying that “I have no problem with a celebrity calling out to their fans to help them in a very real, and physical, way.”
After all, celebrities exist, and are allowed to continue to exist, only because we allow them. When one of them says something like “Hey, fans, come up on stage and put on a show with me” it entirely acknowledges that relationship, and respects it.
But there is another side, the side of the professional musicians who aren’t getting hired, who won’t be getting paid, and who aren’t happy about this.
Do they have a right to be angry? I don’t know, b3cause they come from a place where they’re assuming the 1+ million dollars Amanda Palmer raised via kick starter will be going to the tour, and if she’s not using that money to hire the musicians (which, Amanda Palmer says costs $3,500 per show), then what is she using it for? They assume greed. But I’m not sure it is.
The kickstarter… well it’s hard to read. It seems very “stream of conscious”, if the stream were coming from the mind of a creative, slightly insane, person with ADHD. And (and I say this only going off of the type of characters that exist in nearly every Neil Gaiman book… not that I’m not a huge Gaiman fan, I am), that probably describes Amanda Palmer pretty well (except I don’t know or presume she has ADD or ADHD. I’m just being a jerk there).But this was the goal, taken from the kickstarter blog:
The goal of Amanda Palmer’s project was to release her new album…
There is absolutely nothing explicitly written about the tour there. The goal was to raise money for the album, that simple. But, yes. The tour is mentioned in her kickstarter, so since she raised well over her 100,000 goal, where is that money going?
Well… not to the tour I’ll assume, if she can’t afford those musicians. Does that mean she’s taking it for herself? I don’t know, but that’s the gist that some of the more angry commenters have suggested.
I don’t think she is, I think the money’s been/is being spent on producing the best possible product she can honestly.
But is it exploitative of her musically inclined fans? And what about other professional musicians who are now not allowed to play for her shows (you know, because they may not be fans)?
It is exploitative, she is exploiting her fan base for free labor. And I don’t know how I feel about that – a hug and a beer with a person you’re a fan of may be cool, but musicians put a lot of time and effort into a show. Not to mention all the time and effort they put into becoming musicians. In a time when people are having a hard time getting paying jobs. It’s like when a person is looking for a job but all that’s being offered is an unpaid internship (you know, you get the privilege of working in such a prestigious organization), and it feels insulting.
But, do I think she meant it that way? Heck no. She should have worded it differently, because people never respond well to a celebrity saying “I can’t afford….” because we naturally thing you’re lying. After all, celebrities all have tons of money right?
Amanda Palmer is unconventional, and asking fans to play with her seems like something she would do. Maybe she should have created a better narrative as to why she’s using fans, that would have appeased more people.
Also, Taylor Hanson, I’m still totally single. Call me.
*oh, there was a chance to meet and interview Hanson, back when MTV showed music. There was a show where the biggest fan of a band could submit a tape (yes. tape.) proving they were the biggest fan, and they’d get to spend a day with the band and interview them. My parents, not caring about my future happiness, said they wouldn’t let me rent video equipment to make such a video.