In the past few months Amanda Palmer has been showing the way for a new kind of business model in the music industry, using the service Kickstarter to fund her latest album project in return for favours of a various scale, and the knowledge that their favourite musician will be able to create new music for them.
Of course Palmer didn’t expect to get the amount of support she ended up with, pulling together a massive $1 million at the end of the campaign. But more recently she’s asked her fans once again for a helping hand, this time trying to crowd-source a horn and string quartet for her upcoming shows. She wants to invite any professional musician fans to join her on stage, but won’t offer hard cash in return.
Some people have thought this was going a little too far, considering the generosity shown in her previous campaign for help. But Palmer cites the experience as a “gift” to her fans, responding by saying: “If my fans are happy and my audience is happy and the musicians on stage are happy, where’s the problem?”
However, some people do have a problem, and the most outspoken so far is legendary producer, musician and pundit Steve Albani, who has called her out in a statement on his studio website:
I have no fundamental problem with either asking your fans to pay you to make your record or go on tour or play for free in your band or gather at a mud pit downstate and sell meth and blowjobs to each other. I wouldn’t stoop to doing any of them myself, but horses for courses. The reason I don’t appeal to other people in this manner is that all those things can easily pay for themselves, and I value self-sufficiency and independence, even (or especially) from an audience.
If your position is that you aren’t able to figure out how to do that, that you are forced by your ignorance into pleading for donations and charity work, you are then publicly admitting you are an idiot, and demonstrably not as good at your profession as Jandek, Moondog, GG Allin, every band ever to go on tour without a slush fund or the kids who play on buckets downtown.
Pretty much everybody on earth has a threshold for how much to indulge an idiot who doesn’t know how to conduct herself, and I think Ms Palmer has found her audience’s threshold.