Amanda Palmer

Our long national nightmare is over. After a week of criticism, rationalizing, more criticism, and more rationalizing, Amanda Palmer has announced that she will now pay money to the crowd-sourced musicians joining her band on stage who were previously being paid only in hugs, high-fives, and beer.

Today, Palmer took to her blog, announcing this decision, and explaining (at Proustian length) her decision-making process. Among other things, she wrote:

for better or for worse, this whole kerfuffle has meant i’ve spent the past week thinking hard about this, listening to what everyone was saying and discussing. i hear you. i see your points. me and my band have discussed it at length. and we have decided we should pay all of our guest musicians. we have the power to do it, and we’re going to do it. (in fact, we started doing it three shows ago.)

my management team tweaked and reconfigured financials, pulling money from this and that other budget (mostly video) and moving it to the tour budget. 
all of the money we took out of those budgets is going to the crowd-sourced musicians fund. we are going to pay the volunteer musicians every night. even though they volunteered their time for beer, hugs, merch, free tickets, and love: we’ll now also hand them cash.

That’s just the takeaway, of course. I sincerely recommend reading the whole letter, which includes a final shot at Albini, a shout-out to Pomplamoose (!), and the staunch declaration, “this is how we be the media.”

And with that, we can at last close this ugly chapter in our lives, and Steve Albini can finally update his resume, no longer leading with “the man who engineered roughly one-third of the best albums in the world over the past quarter-century,” but instead, “the man whose half-baked message-board rant inadvertently led to Amanda Palmer spending her fan-sourced money on compensating her fan-sourced backing musicians, rather than spending it on her music videos.” Congratulations to all.

Comments (31)
  1. Albini is deity.

  2. my management team?

  3. Oh thank god

  4. Finally, I can get some sleep.

  5. I’d do it for free. Ok, no. I’d do it for beer.

  6. Coincidence that this got resolved at the same time as the Chicago teacher’s strike?

  7. Id love to work with her, free or beer or not. Can’t wait to see her

  8. I love how she just half-apologize (or should I say “almost not”) in the middle of the letter
    We got from “I clearly can’t afford to pay extra crowdsourced musicians” to “Well I paid professionnals for some more important concerts like, you know, New-York gig …” to “I love your comments and the debate around all of it but I’m pretty sure I’m the smart one, the new media and all” to “Well I’m finally paying them cause I’m gonna be remembered as the bitch who prefers spending huge cash on ugly egotistic videoclips than respecting musicians who train and rehearse to play with me, also, Albini is still a douchebag”.
    She’s making it right, but she still sounds like an asshole.

  9. How she’s trying to look:

    How she really looks:

  10. Just rename the site Amandapalmergum already.

  11. And now people will complain about how much, or how little, or how she didn’t announce what she’s paying them. I say whatever to the entire bs and lost respect for her for not sticking to her guns. I was deeply immersed in the Bay Area free jazz/improvised music scene for many years. There are so many musicians who play for nothing (if not lose money setting up, promoting and getting to their shows) or make just a few dollars a night. Some of them are beyond virtuosic in their abilities. Some of them have released or played on MANY albums. Not a couple, not a few, but albums counted by increments of ten! They play music because they love playing music. There are plenty of people, obviously, who were willing to play with Amanda Palmer for the same love of music.

    Screw Steve Albini for sticking his nose in somebody else’s business. That’s not punk rock, it’s bitch rock. Amanda Palmer struggled under the weight of the system he USED to rail against for MANY YEARS. She asked her fans to VOLUNTEER their money and they were given something in return. What she does or doesn’t do with the money afterwards is nobodies business but hers. It makes me sad that Steve Albini has so little to be angry about that he’s now forced to attack people trying to do it their own way. It makes me sad that so many of YOU blindly jumped on his bandwagon of misplaced hate. Mostly it makes me sad that Amanda Palmer caved.

    • Damnit, when I saw the length of your post I thought it was going to be a continuation of your short story about a head. That was awesome.

    • I agree.

      • Sorry to disappoint. Not at all unexpected, though. Just like the down votes and 100% lack of intelligent response regarding anything I said. I know I’m right, and I know most everybody else is hating from a place of bandwagon jumping ignorance. In the end, it doesn’t make any difference. A bunch of people got to feel powerful and important (including Albini) by attacking a stranger on the internet without actually thinking through what they were saying any further than, “uh! bad!” Such is the way of the world. At least they’re starting to prosecute people for making violent threats online.

    • What’s that? You’re saying something thoughtful and eloquently written that also goes a little against the grain of consensus in the comment section? DOWNVOTE!

    • I completely agree with you, been watching this saga with a bit of bemusement as to why it’s been turned into such a big deal. If people want to play music for free then let them. To be honest all I really got from this is the opinion that Steve Albini is a bigger dick than I originally thought, with this position he’s put himself in as the self appointed guardian of credibility and authenticity, whatever those actually mean in music any more. If someone wants people to play music for free, and people want to play music for free, the problem is?

  12. I dunno the b excused her actions at first by saying she “didn’t have the money”, now she all of a sudden has the money? What the fuck brahs. Gimme a beaker. I mean a breaker. I mean, a goddamn BREAK. And then her goddamn album cost 1.2 to record? Huh? Whatsers? The musicians cost 35 K, take it from the money you almost certainly have left over after receiving 1.2 million bonez from people via kickstarter to record your album and call it a day. Oh, and legalize it guys! I’m rolling in it man! Think about the universe!

  13. Before this week I had no clue who this woman was.

    Damnit Steve…

  14. Guys, Alt-J is a good band.

  15. Can we now please focus on the music again, and not all the bs around it?

  16. In other news, the girl in the Levi’s add on the right of this article is pretty attractive.

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