Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer is no stranger to soliciting fans to help facilitate her musical endeavors — she raised a record $1.2 million via Kickstarter to finance her new album, Theatre Is Evil. Now touring behind that album, she is once again crowdsourcing for support. On 8/21, the Dresden Doll posted a blog entry titled “WANTED: HORN-Y AND STRING-Y VOLUNTEERS FOR THE GRAND THEFT ORCHESTRA TOUR!!!!” in which she requested horn and string players of “professional-ish” ability join her touring band on stage. By way of compensation, wrote Palmer, “we will feed you beer, hug/high-five you up and down (pick your poison), give you merch, and thank you mightily for adding to the big noise we are planning to make.” So, in case the Olympics didn’t make these distinctions clear to you: Professionals get paid, amateurs do not, and professional-ish people are paid in hugs/high-fives. Cool? Not really says Chicago-based musician-engineer-godhead / poker enthusiast / professional-ish crank Steve Albini. In a post on his own Electrical Audio board, Albini called Palmer an “idiot,” saying: “[If] 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.”

Albini wasn’t alone in his outrage; on 9/12, the Times ran a piece on the backlash resulting from Palmer’s request. But Albini, was — naturally — the only one to liken Palmer’s request to “gather[ing] at a mud pit downstate and sell[ing] meth and blowjobs.”

(Just gimme a sec to genuflect in silence over here.)

(OK, moving on …)

Palmer didn’t respond directly to Albini, but she did offer this in reaction to the general criticism (via NYT): “To me it seems absurd. If my fans are happy and my audience is happy and the musicians on stage are happy, where’s the problem?”

The problem, as I see it, is that I have LINED THE POCKETS of Neil Gaiman for TWO DECADES now. And since I’m not getting a refund on American Gods anytime soon (or the hour I spent reading its first few chapters before recognizing that it really wasn’t getting any better), I wouldn’t mind seeing some of that money going back into the pockets of professional-ish horn and string players for whom hugs don’t put formula in baby’s bottle. (Just ask the Bunk Antoine Batiste.)

Here’s Albini’s rant in full:

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.

UPDATE: Steve posts a clarification:

Well, since the new journalism is just re-posting what other people have lifted from message boards and twitter, there are probably going to be a hundred or so stories on the web with headlines like “Steve Albini calls Amanda Palmer an Idiot,” so I’d better make my position on that clear. I don’t think Amanda Palmer is an idiot, and it was rude and sloppy of me to make that impression. I’m sorry Amanda Palmer, the internet is going to tell you that I think you’re an idiot, and while that’s not true, it’s my fault.

I Don’t know Amanda Palmer, and don’t recall ever hearing her music, though I hear a lot of music. Full disclosure, my wife Heather once tried to contact her through her agents to see if she would play at a charity event, but I don’t know what happened with that other than nothing happened.

I have no problem with bands using participant financing schemes like Kickstarter and such. I’ve said many times that I think they’re part of the new way bands and their audience interact and they can be a fantastic resource, enabling bands to do things essentially in cooperation with their audience. It’s pretty amazing actually.

It should be obvious also that having gotten over a million dollars from such an effort that it is just plain rude to ask for further indulgences from your audience, like playing in your backing band for free.

Fuck’s sake a million dollars is a shitload of money. How can you possibly not have a bunch laying around after people just gave you a million dollars? I saw a breakdown about where the money went a while ago, and most everything in it was absurdly inefficient, including paying people to take care of spending the money itself, which seems like a crazy moebius strip of waste.

Comments (97)
  1. I’m not sure I can take seriously the opinion of someone who didn’t like American Gods.

    but also: I know they are married and a power couple now, but Neil and Amanda are separate entities, so how about just ranting about her decisions?

    • Sorry, was totally kidding about that — obviously I don’t expect Gaiman to finance Palmer’s music. I’m a HUGE (like HUGE) Gaiman fan when he works in graphic formats but I’ve consistently found his novels to be disappointing.

      • Stardust had charm, but American Gods and all the rest were lackluster. I’m amazed his novels get as much hype as they do. Sandman, on the other hand, is the bees knees and beyond.

      • Dude, I have to admit I had the same experience with American Gods. I brought it on a trip, made it through like three chapters and then had to find a different book.

        • For years, I’ve been looking for a support group for people who couldn’t finish American Gods but were afraid to admit it. Found at last!

      • By not finishing a book one also forfeits the opportunity to comment on its quality.

      • Your assessment of American Gods proves that you have spiritual access to universal and fundamental truths unavailable to most (excluding myself of course). From here on in I shall regard everything you write as sacrosanct.

      • It was a blatantly sexist thing to say, and I hope you realize that Steve Albini was specifically insulting you and your journalistic credibility.

    • I was immensely pissed off that someone would take it to the husband debate. She’s married to someone famous! That means he gives her all his money. duh!
      I like stereogum. But this author? What a fucking ass.

    • i know right. a lot of people on here are trashing the book, i for one though it was amazing, one of my favorites of all time

    • Amanda Palmer is a liar.

      The Kickstarter campaign donations were huge, like $5000.00 increments and none of them can be tracked or verified. They are most likely a Scientology scam. Scientology agreed to give Palmer money through Kickstarter and it’ll get paid right back into the cult.

      Billboard indicates that over 90% of (Amanda Palmer’s) 23,000+ units “sold” (which propelled her to #10 on their chart for day) came from digital downloads.

      EVERY person who ordered ANYTHING from her Kickstarter – 24,883 people — received a download code which, when you really look at it, indicates that not even all of the Kickstarter contributors bothered with downloading her album — and that in effect, for all of her controversy and promotion (by her and her and Gaiman), she actually didn’t get all of her fans to gin up her pre-ordered estimate and only sold some 1,700 ‘new” albums she and her team hadn’t already factored into her unit movement.

      Amanda palmer is a lie.

  2. Yo my threshold has been crossed when she disses American Gods. BURN THE WITCH.
    JK but seriously this is kind of like that time Robert Smith said that the pay what you want model discredited you as a musician.
    “The future belongs to the analog loyalists. Fuck digital.”
    Whoa grandpa.

  3. I’m not even sure what GG Allin’s “profession” was.

    Anyway, if I had a large enough following to be able to call on local musicians to take the stage with me in a city, I think that’d be an absolute blast. Kind of like how Bomb the Music Industry was cool with fans jamming on stage with them if they know the material. It’d be a great way to strengthen your bond with your fanbase. That being said, asking for a group of volunteers to spend their own money to tour with you is pretty naïve and borderline insulting.

  4. Can anyone confirm or deny that Amanda Palmer or Neil Gaiman are principal investors in Kickstarter?

    “Kickstarter reportedly raised $10 million funding from backers including NYC-based venture firm Union Square Ventures and angel investors such as Jack Dorsey, Zach Klein and Caterina Fake.” Source:

    They have been very secretive about their investors and any priority given to her kickstarter campaign would reek of the same attention whoring and comeplete lack of ethics.

    • Palmer would not be an investor – she doesnt actually have much money. The 1.2 million she made was mostly made up of “fan experiences” which would be a cost. Albini talks about paying the people to spend the money – these TWO people are ones that have worked with Palmer for years probably for free. Do they not have bills to pay too?

      At the end of the day, I think all this has been taking out of context. The people who will do these shows have the CHOICE to do them, its their problem if they do it for free. I dont think they need Steve Albini to stick his two cents in.

      • you clearly have no clue what your talking about, she must of plenty of money, money that she has made over the years, money that have been given to her

      • You’re right 100%. Amanda also does a ton of unpaid work for activist and charitable causes so she’s not raking in the dough 24/7. Both her and Neil are incredibly generous and humble people who are NOT rich. No musician is making millions off their work right now (unless you’re one of the very very top major label artists). The breakdown on the kickstarter money makes total sense – very little room for speculation there. Money managers are one of the SMARTEST expenses an artist can incur, I’m way more likely to work with an artist who has one in fact. Between than and offering her fans the once-in-a-lifetime chance to jam with her ON STAGE – I think that speaks to why Amanda is actually one of the SMARTEST artist around right now, and in no way shape or form remotely “idiotic”.

    • Scientology is no doubt an investor.

  5. Over at Palmer’s blog the comment section on that particular entry is a pretty intense read with a lot of union musicians repeating Palmer is a thief.

    But I found a particular comment that I think makes a lot of sense from the camp of people that see things differently:

    It was made by user: Alec Toast Nicholson and I paste it here with a link to it at the end:

    “I’m not a full-time professional musician. I’m a music graduate who does both paid and unpaid work in theatre orchestra pits few weeks of the year. I love playing, and my main (also music-related) job pays the bills and lets me treat playing as a hobby, all of which suits me fine.

    Most of the people who play in the bands and orchestras along side me are very capable players, but also are doctors, teachers, students etc… people for whom playing their instrument isn’t their full-time day job but something they do because they enjoy playing.

    To all the people complaining about Amanda giving people like me an opportunity to do something we love –

    1) YOU DO NOT OWN MUSIC, it’s for all of us to do whenever, however, and for whatever renumeration we want (or are able to command…)

    2) There is a large middle ground between Itzhak Perlman and Little Johnny Who’s Just Had His Third Trumpet Lesson; stop pretending that if she chooses not to hire the former, the latter is the only remaining scenario: it’s patently false and is clutching at straws.

    3) Shame on you all for suggesting no-one should pick up an instrument except for money; the hypocrisy is unbelievable, since not a single professional musician EVER got that way without gaining experience first by performing without being paid – ie playing in school bands, University or Conservatoire orchestras & recitals, competitions, exams…

    4) As a wider issue, expecting other people to conform to your beliefs is problematic – “I don’t want to play music without getting paid, so you shouldn’t either” sounds (to me) a lot like “I don’t want to marry someone of the same gender as me, so no-one should be allowed to” or “I don’t eat meat from this particular animal so we should ban everyone from doing so”. Well… in a world of so many people, we can’t all have it all our own way.

    So by all means don’t volunteer to play for Amanda; don’t buy her albums or gig tickets if her attitude offends you; state your objections here or elsewhere; but spend a further moment reflecting on whether it’s more harmful to YOU for me to play for free at her show, or more harmful to US ALL for you to feel I shouldn’t be free to choose to do so if I wish.”


    I kind of agree with him while understanding the outrage….she asked for volunteers publicily, she is not trying to coerce musicians to play for free on a private room after telling them to play for her….

    Might seem sketchy but I think they are looking for people like the guy who wrote that…I don’ t se anything wrong with that.

    • I don’t really have a dog in this race but I think it’s important to point out why that argument is problematic. It’s more or less the same as asking graphic designers to do work on spec. When a professional-level craftsman does professional-level work for free — regardless of the ways in which it will or could eventually benefit him individually — it devalues the work of all other professional-level craftspeople.

      • (COMMISSIONED work, that is.)

      • I completely understand that point , but I really think she is asking for fans that do not make a living of playing music but can actually play. Just like a website might ask for followers wich are good at graphic design to help them with a logo or art….it is problematic, that is true, but it can be done.

        • It’s a fine line. Your hypothetical website is probably a labor of love to begin with, in which the proprietor isn’t making any money (or is making just enough money to pay his server costs). Nothing wrong with volunteers seeking other volunteers. But if a for-profit website solicits unpaid labor, it falls on the wrong side of a few ethical and legal lines. It exploits the unpaid laborer and marginalizes the professional who refuses to work for free.

          In New York State, newly amended labor laws demand that interns receive either academic credit or pay. For companies trying to cut corners, unpaid labor is very attractive, especially when that labor is enthusiastic about their work (because they see it as an opportunity to break into the field and eventually get paid). But that field shrinks when it’s populated by volunteers, thus making paid employees an unnecessary expense.

          • We do agree it’s a very fine line and an ethical mine field. Good thing to come out of it: we are having a good discussion about it in the middle of all the name calling….

            I don’ t want to come off as solely defending Palmer’ s actions, I just wanted to illustrate a good point from ” the other side.” In this case, skilled people that might be proffesionals but chose not to pursue a music career but are willing to volunteer for an artist they favor….

    • THANK YOU. Finally, someone presenting a reasonable counterpoint to this knee-jerk backlash. I’m not a Palmer fan, but if her fans (or any musician) CHOOSES to play for free (or for beer and hugs) then why the fuck shouldn’t they? As for the graphic design comparison, I think it’s a bit off. If a famous graphic designer, of whom you are a fan, came to you and asked you to help with a big project he was doing for free, some of you might be like ‘where’s the $’, but some might say ‘fuck yeah, I’m a huge fan and I’d love to work with you!’ Who are we to begrudge these people who are making THEIR OWN CHOICES.

      • Because it makes it harder and harder to earn a living as a professional musician!

        And if people who can afford to will work for free then people who can’t afford to live in New York on tips won’t be able to get started in the music industry. I’ve seen discussions of how journalism is now closed to people without the money to fund unpaid internships.

        • Amateur musicians aren’t responsible for making it easier for professionals to make a living! This was probably an awesome, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for some hobbyist musicians to play with an artist that they love. If it makes them happy, then they should go for it!

          Anytime a person volunteers to do anything, it makes it harder for someone else to get a job. However, it usually also makes the world a better place.

    • Thank you Ezequiel for sharing this as it saves me the time of having to type almost the exact same thing. Amanda Plamer is if anything guilty of one thing here and that is being cheap :) if anything at all, but Alec covers and creates a rebuttal in fail swoop to so many issues I currently have. You as the “consumer” or participate have the power to make the decisions of what you partake in.

    • “Most of the people who play in the bands and orchestras along side me are very capable players, but also are doctors, teachers, students etc… people for whom playing their instrument isn’t their full-time day job but something they do because they enjoy playing. ”

      I am one of these people and agree with you 1000%. I welcome getting paid to play if that happens to be the case, but it also is not my livelihood, and I rarely, if ever turn down an opportunity just to enjoy playing music with fun, creative people who also have the same love of playing. Especially if it was in front of a big, super pumped crowd. Holy shit yeah, I would do that in a heartbeat. I don’t belong to any unions or pay my bills with music mainly, and I sympathize with those that do, but some of us just like to play and don’t think about the money.

      • I’ll quote the Joker: If you’re good at something, never do it for free. The assumption that you can earn a living playing music for free is wrong. It just tells other people that you’ll work for free. Collectively, people (with rich parents) being willing to do this has destroyed the ability of people to work as musicians. This is why union rates were invented.

        Let me make a comparison: as a biochem major, I do evening private tuition in biology and chemistry. If my agency told me that I should work for free to ‘get exposure’ I’d burst out laughing.

        • That’s a terrible comparison. Biochem is your career, not your hobby. Of course you should seek to be paid.

          However, there might be another person out there who studies biochem as a hobby, and has become quite knowledgeable about it. This person might volunteer to tutor local students free of charge out of a love for the topic and a desire to help others. Should this person refrain from volunteering because it could make it more difficult for professional biochemists like you to find tutoring jobs? No, that’s crazy! It’s not this person’s responsibility to help your career.

          A professional should be able to offer top quality work backed by his/her experience and credentials, of a higher quality than what’s available for free. If a professional can’t compete with volunteers then it’s time for self reflection, not time for restricting others.

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  7. I don’t understand the hate… what’s the problem? Look at how many covers are put on youtube by fans, and tell me they wouldn’t jump at the chance to play with their favorite artists. How is this different than say, calling into a radio show you enjoy, or being the volunteer in a magic act?

    • Just because people would happily do it doesn’t mean it’s not a morally ambiguous thing for you to be asking them to.

  8. I can’t believe nobody picked up that “selling blowjobs and meth at a mud pit downstate” is a reference to Gathering of the Juggalos. Come on, people, you’re falling down on the job here.

  9. Steve Albini should just go back to talking about how he produced “Surfer Rosa” and the good old days of Shellac (it’s what he’s good at) and leave musicians, “professional” or otherwise, alone to do as they wish.

    • Jonathan Espeche  |   Posted on Sep 13th, 2012 +4

      Albini didn’t even think the Pixies were that good, brah.

      • Maybe so, but don’t think he didn’t still use it on his resume to produce other stuff, brah.

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          • Jonathan Espeche  |   Posted on Sep 13th, 2012 +10

            Yeah because I wasn’t using the word “brah” ironically at all, brah.

          • Steve actually prefers bands don’t credit him as the engineer in the liner notes of their records (he’s an engineer, not a producer; there’s a difference). Also, he doesn’t have a “resume”; he has a reputation for being one of the best recording engineers working in the industry. That reputation is why bands (like The Pixies, Jimmy Page / Robert Plant, Nirvana and 9000 bands you’ve never heard of) go to him to record their albums. It’s never been the other way around.

            Oh, and Shellac are way better now than they were 20 years ago, so there’s never been talk of “the good ol’ days of Shellac” by Steve or anyone else. I enjoy seeing them more now than I did 20 years ago. You look like you weren’t even alive 20 years ago, so, like most people who leave comments on webpages, you have no fucking idea what you’re even talking about. Way to go.

  10. Jonathan Espeche  |   Posted on Sep 13th, 2012 +14

    Raises shit ton of money on Kickstarter to “record album”. Records on Macbook for free with borrowed mics. Pockets the money. Sounds like a winner to me.

  11. Steve Albini is like, weapons grade “whiney bitch”, the likes of which would put Billy Corgan to shame.

    • Jonathan Espeche  |   Posted on Sep 13th, 2012 +4

      That’s funny you say that because Steve Albini and Billy Corgan have publicly expressed their disdain for one another in the past. We hate in others what we see in ourselves right? ha

  12. You can pay rent while spending your time not making money.

  13. i’ll donate a dollar is she never plays her worthless version of Karma Police ever again?

  14. Presumably she’ll be waiving her fee from each of the places she tours and will be playing for free/beer/hugs.

    • Hahahaha!

      Look, this is my problem. At first it seemed like she was ‘doing it for the fans’ and it seemed like an admirably naive idea by someone who’s been successful for a while and has a rich husband. But her backing down on the topic has got uglier. If she wants to jam with her fans she can do it at a charity gig, not one where people are paying $20 minimum a head.

  15. I have tickets to her upcoming show in Chicago ($25 each plus fees), and really hope that the musicians that play with her that night have the chops to pull it off. That said, how good will a show be by a band with no rehearsals, no experience playing together, and quite possibly many different levels of proficiency? My admiration for Amanda Fucking Palmer just dropped quite a bit, sadly.

  16. She is making her living — and raking in quite a bit of cash — off the backs of the passionate and talented volunteers and fans. The road to Amanda Palmer’s success is littered with the favors of a good many talented artisans who were compensated only in “Isn’t it cool?!” Tsk tsk.

  17. If she asks for something and then gets it, I don’t see a problem.

  18. Steve Albini is an intelligent, I might even go so far as to say important, voice in the music industry and has been for quite some time.

    That being said, it seems to me that he occasionally thinks too highly of his own vocabulary and ability to spin a good metaphor and thereby goes a bit overboard when using both to express his opinions. If dude would take a breath, re-read, proofread, he might not have to clarify his own statements as often as he does.

    Also, why is he still so angry about everything? I agree with part of what he’s saying, but I would challenge him to point out to me where it says, ANYWHERE, that Amanda Palmer is out of money. Asking local musicians, fans or not, to sit in with you, often for little (which she is offering) or no compensation, is an age old practice.

    Regarding how it’s going to sound, who says there won’t be any practice? They soundcheck every show, I’m sure. I’d be willing to bet they’ll take the time to do a run through with the locals and if they ‘don’t have the chops’ they won’t play.

    Lastly, she’s doing nothing on the backs of ANYBODY. She asked fans to VOLUNTEER their money and they did so, HAPPILY. Not only that, but what you got back for your donations was pretty damn awesome. Some of the best stuff I’ve ever seen for a Kick Starter campaign (and it included Neil Gaiman stuff). Prior to that she’s spent her entire career working within the same shitty system that everybody else struggles making a living with. So how about everybody pull their backlash panties out of their cracks and settle down a bit. Geez.

  19. His clarification in the Updated memo points out the part I found odd:

    If it was going to cost $35,000 to get people to play strings live… why not use part of the 1.2million you just received? Seems like 35k isn’t much at all when you received that kind of income from your fans already.

    If she’s already blown through $1.2 million than I WILL call her an idiot.

  20. The issue isn’t whether or not these people are going to tour with them, this issue is of paying these folks to preform. I’m sure they’ll need to sit in on a few hours of rehearsal time, unless it all going to be total improv, and then perform the show…I’m assuming at least another hour for that.

    Last time I was in a “professional” studio, studio musician scale was about $200.00 an hour. I’m sure its gone up since then. But to offer some free beer and a T-Shirt? Gimme a break.

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  23. Who the fuck is Amanda Palmer??

  24. “I Don’t know Amanda Palmer, and don’t recall ever hearing her music, though I hear a lot of music.”
    Implying Amanda Palmer is not important while sounding like a total douchebag is not helping anything Steve!

    • Not that I like Amanda Palmer, but I don’t even know why people get bent out of shape about the things Albini says. He even criticized Sonic Youth, with whom he is friends. Nobody has as much integrity as the great Albini! I remember that Thurston’s response was one of mild amusement, something along the lines of, “Oh? Did he say that? Yeah, he says a lot of things.”

      • I personally didn’t know too much about the guy’s personality, but he wrote “The problem with music” back in 1993 and that’s pretty groundbreaking. I thought he might have something interesting to say about the subject. Instead he is just very petty and maybe a little jealous at the singer who did something groundbreaking in 2012…

        • Albini is actually not a bad guy, which is obvious when you read bands’ comments on what it is like to work with him and if you read the message boards at his site, where he has spent a lot of time answering tons of questions about recording techniques and his experiences as a musician/producer. However, he can be very cranky and very critical, especially when it comes to the topic of music industry ethics. As for jealousy, I highly doubt it. He is a very driven and accomplished person who couldn’t care less about fame or money. He has worked with bands at every level and has his pick of whom he records because he is just that good and that respected. He could easily charge a ton of money for his services in the studio but instead has always kept his rates very reasonable. He also insists on not receiving royalties from albums he has produced. Not only that, but the guy is the primary creative force behind two critically-acclaimed bands, Big Black and Shellac.

  25. The only thing I don’t understand is why Albini cares about anything Palmer could say. I mean she’s a past star living on fans donations, she never really wrote a fantastic song (though I like some Dresden Dolls tunes), now her music is dangerously close to ridicule …
    Let her exploit her last fans, let her tweet all day ’bout her life, go make another Shellac album coz they’re always great.

  26. “there are probably going to be a hundred or so stories on the web with headlines like “Steve Albini calls Amanda Palmer an Idiot,”


    • It’s time for him to take back his taking back the claim that she’s an idiot.

      I’d sooner work for Mitt Romney: at least with him it’s honest what’s going on, and you get pay and a healthcare plan till he fires you.

    • It’s time for Albini to take back his taking back the claim that she’s an idiot.

      I’d sooner work for Mitt Romney: at least with him it’s honest what’s going on, and you get pay and a healthcare plan till he fires you.

  27. Palmer/Albini 2012

  28. I don’t know about “idiot,” but yeah, it’s not a cool thing to do. If she doesn’t charge her audience for the concert, then sure, whatever. As a trained musician who is seeking to make a living from playing music, I understand the outrage. While I was in school, there was this tacit understanding that people swap favors – I play your gig, you play mine. Which was awesome. But as soon as people *could* pay the band, they did. Even if it was just a few bucks at first. Because music is a very community-focused thing. And in the past, it always seemed like Amanda Palmer understood this.

    I think that that’s where Amanda Palmer ran into problems. She very publicly had an extremely successful kickstarter campaign. So she’s got the captivated audience that many musicians would die for. This puts her in the position to help out fellow musicians, just as I’m sure others helped her out back in the day. While it’s admirable to invite fans up on stage, it’s a whole different story when those fans are taking the place of people who could’ve (and in most comparable cases would’ve) gotten paid. A better way to go about it would be to have fans add to a (paid) string/horn section. I truly believe that it’s in an artist’s best interests and the best interests of music as a whole if, when people *can* pay their fellow musicians for their services, they do. Especially on tour, seeing as a good portion of an artist’s revenue comes from touring these days.

  29. Amanda has addressed Steve’s post direct in this story:

    Amongst many other things she says: “His apology wasn’t exactly an apology. I think his apology amounted to Amanda Palmer isn’t an idiot, she’s just a dick.”

  30. Albini should really mind his own business. Anyone’s opinion on the kickstarter, or AP, or this event, should not matter. The fact he started hatin is really the issue. I mean, come on, does NO ONE else see that just by him coming out and calling her out, he is a douche! And even giving a shit enough about it that he thinks his opinion matters, that is just sick. Selfish, BS, and way inappropriate. He must like big goverenment and fascist control, because that is like he acted with his opinionated, oppressive, and unnecessary viewpoint. You know what Steve Albini? You are a fucking idiot!

  31. UGH! I don’t think there is anything I hate , Hate more then “know it all musicians” Music is a free form art! I do not know why time and time again people try to pin it down to a way it should go or be.. I don’t care how classically trained or how long you have been playing or what you think you know about actually try to but a form or way on how something is to be run is the opposite of what I believe music should stand for. Idiot? I would more say brilliant, she is no longer ran a big time music label who takes half of her shit on top of telling her what she can and can not do …. Hand out? 80,000 of that went on making that record alone! and fan support is a wonderful thing, I don’t know how that qualifies as being an idiot, They were willing and supportive and show massive love like always at her wonderful and always entertaining shows.. Next thing… the musicians are willing to play for “free” or what they were offered … because there are some musicians that still do it for the love of it , and do not need a 6,000 dollar pay check. I for one would offer my services if not for anything but the ride and enjoyment and pleasure of playing. it sounds like this Albinis is just butt hurt over something.. or an elites who has forgotten the reason music was put here in the first place.. its not cheap to tour and what not with out a major label I feel like what she choose to do was a smart move, the people who paid for it and are doing it is happy.. so..its a win win.. again I say it is Brilliant and this Albinis is the idiot for thinking other wise.

  32. Full disclosure: I don’t know either of these artists, beyond “knowing of them,” but I think the debate is an interesting one. It seems to me that if person A asks the general public to do something for a set amount of compensation, which could be nothing in terms of money, and people accept, there is nothing wrong with that. It also seems like if other people are unwilling to do that thing for the same amount of compensation, they shouldn’t have to. As long as both of those things are the case, it seems a bit strange to complain. If a professional musician or graphic designer is not willing to work for free and others are, then the professional musician or graphic designer had better offer something that is better than what the people who do it for free offer. That is what makes that person a professional and not an amateur. Meanwhile the people who cannot get paid for what they do, or do not make that their focus, can do that thing for free or whatever other compensation they get. That is what makes them volunteers.
    I make my living as a writer and editor. I often can’t get work because people undercut me. I could whine about it all day, or I can step my game up and figure out that if this is the way the world is working now, I have to find a way to succeed, by offering better work or lower prices, or getting in somewhere else that I fit in. I don’t expect all other writers and editors to offer higher prices so that we can control things together. If a magazine I respected asked me to write an article for free, and then got paid off sales and advertising, I could choose to accept it or not.
    Amanda Palmer is profiting from these people’s involvement. If it is possible for her to pay them (as she now has decided to do) I think she should, and if she doesn’t, it does kind of make her not as nice as she should be, but it’s not necessarily unethical or evil. People who want to volunteer to play with her are also not necessarily idiots.
    Finally if a successful professional doesn’t like what another successful professional is doing, to the point that it seems an issue important enough to involve all of the fans in it, maybe just a phone call or email first would be cool? If not, it kind of makes that person a dick for airing everything out.
    I might check both of these artists out now, so if they just wanted some publicity, I guess they succeeded.

  33. i use to love her to death but within the past few years she have seemed to become a very greedy person

  34. So to counter your disappointment with the creative work of another what work have you created again?

    An album? A comic? Short story even?

    You can say you didn’t like it but when you confuse the subjective with the objective and to be quite honest start being something of a dick about it; it does make for tiresome reading.

    I mean if you want to carry on sniping at other peoples work rather than doing something worthwhile yourself that’s your choice; eventually you’ll find the people you spend time with reflect that. Not much of a life to be honest.

    • PS Martin: I’ve written and created quite a lot in my life. I would ask you the followup question as whether your blatant asskissing is just as much a waste of creative time as other’s sniping? And since when was valid criticism ever a waste of time anyway? Such poo-pooing of the “haters” has always been the province of such great “artists” throughout the ages as Richard Marx, Michael Bolton, and Justin Beiber.

  35. No earthly idea why Albini would back off of his claim. Amanda Palmer is a complete and utter idiot (albeit a cunning opportunist). Before she latched onto Gaiman (who over the past decade has revealed himself to be an egomaniacal blowhard in pseudo-humble sheep’s clothing) Palmer was throwing herself at Peter Murphy whilst interviewing him for Under The Radar. And she was actually so delusionally stupid as to think the backlash against her preschool level “poem” for the Boston Bomber (the cute one, of course) was because it was so profound. That she would solicit funds for a tour where she could have caviar backstage while her adoring “fans” played for free, and everyone foot the bill except her multi-millionaire husband, is just one of the many bonbons on Palmer’s giant idiot cake.

  36. I think Moebius Strip of Waste is going to be my next album title..

  37. sounds like a dumbass who just wants to get rich on other peoples backs. I bet her music is worth 1.2 million. *barfs into monitor*

  38. Well, it’s your valid opinion and all, but I have one question – what does “American Gods” have to do with “Theater is evil”? I know Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer are a married couple, but they are independent artists, and I highly salute their not-depending-on-each-other-financially when it comes to their art. Lots of artists I know are struggling these days, trying to make something great without any financial cushion. Sometimes it amazes me when people help via crowdfunding without getting anything really in return (except gratitude and a shoutout). So, I love it when people are willing to bring something into the world without getting paid. I myself occasionally do pro-bono translations for charity organizations, although I am a professional translator with university debts and everything.And I really do hope that the people I have been translating for for free are no idiots. ^^

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