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Crowd funding is a lot like crowd surfing
March 4, 2013 8:32 AM   Subscribe

"And I fell into those thousands of connections that I'd made. And I asked the crowd to catch me."  "When you connect with them people want to help you" - The art of asking by Amanda Palmer

"I painted myself white one day, stood on a box, put a hat or can at my feet, and when someone came by and dropped in money, I handed them a flower and some intense eye contact."

Bonus : Neil Gaiman talks about The Bed Song
posted by jeffburdges (128 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oddly enough, if you work in or around open-source software at all that talk is a must-see.
posted by mhoye at 8:45 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm afraid to look.
posted by tel3path at 8:47 AM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


There is a thread about her TED talk on her blog amandapalmer.net, along with a comment on Björk's cancelled kickstarter. And brainpickings.org has interesting article Amanda Palmer on the Art of Asking and the Shared Dignity of Giving and Receiving by Maria Popova.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:48 AM on March 4, 2013


For those curious, she (kind of) addresses at around the ten minute mark her initial unwillingness to pay crowdsourced musicians, something which sparked an internet furore summarised in this New Yorker article.
posted by distorte at 8:57 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


She is currently having a meltdown on Twitter as apparently her college piano teacher/mentor wanted to let her know that she always thought Palmer was full of shit, then and now, after seeing the TED Talk.

Ouch.
posted by Kitteh at 9:00 AM on March 4, 2013 [13 favorites]


She is currently having a meltdown on Twitter

Must be a day that ends in 'y'.
posted by kmz at 9:02 AM on March 4, 2013 [25 favorites]


Kitteh: "She is currently having a meltdown on Twitter as apparently her college piano teacher/mentor wanted to let her know that she always thought Palmer was full of shit, then and now, after seeing the TED Talk.
"

Looks like these were taken down.
posted by boo_radley at 9:10 AM on March 4, 2013


Looked back a full day in Palmer's feed, can't find anything about a meltdown or a piano teacher. Admittedly, Twitter has a terrible UI.
posted by DU at 9:11 AM on March 4, 2013


DU -- all of the meltdown stuff is <1 hr old right now.
posted by sparklemotion at 9:13 AM on March 4, 2013


Wow!
posted by HarlenW at 9:15 AM on March 4, 2013


I am having trouble finding it, too. Comments seem to indicate that the teacher [or someone] left a negative message about her on the TED site, and then it was deleted, which is what is being discussed on Twitter. So, we're discussing a version of Plato's Cave, with a text length limit and arm socks.
posted by Ink-stained wretch at 9:15 AM on March 4, 2013 [12 favorites]


I can't walk a block in downtown Seattle without some urchin "asking" me for change.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:25 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's weird... looking at her Twitter in Opera didn't have most of her latest Tweets, but Firefox pulled them up immediately. But then Opera updated after the page sat there for a bit. I've noticed weirdness in Twitter's caching before too.
posted by kmz at 9:25 AM on March 4, 2013


Aw jeez, one of her followers seem to have found the ex-teacher's Twitter handle and published it. C'mon, guys, be classy.
posted by Kitteh at 9:31 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, as I recall the problem was that she was using her fanbase as free labor and treating it like she was doing them a favor. This whole thing really, really rubs me the wrong way.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:40 AM on March 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Whenever either of these two do anything it seems to backfire and piss people off. They are kinda like Obama in that respect. Last time one of them did something, I defended them, but no more. Seriously guys, quit while you are ahead, just stop doing stuff, I'm not defending you anymore.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:52 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've had a few friends fawning all over the TED Talk on FB. I put it very simply for myself: I like Palmer's music, but I don't really care for her persona. I find it self-serving and egotistical. It would be nice if I were allowed to have that opinion, but much like Tori Amos/Radiohead/Ani DiFranco fans, you're either all in or you're against them. It's a weird fandom in that people who take a moderate-to-minimal interest in these performers aren't tolerated.

And it makes me sad that her marriage to one of my favorite writers is now constantly the Neil and Amanda Show.
posted by Kitteh at 9:56 AM on March 4, 2013 [28 favorites]


Still don't understand all the hate directed at this woman. Must be the weird eyebrows.
posted by spilon at 9:57 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


I love her music but can't stand the "art" she does.

Last concert I was at she read all these terrible stories. I guess she was trying to link the individuals in the crowd together to show we all have pain, but it just ruined the concert.
posted by zombieApoc at 9:58 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, I don't hate her. I just don't like her. Hate would be imply that I spend active amounts of time maligning her as much as I can. I do like the music, though.
posted by Kitteh at 9:58 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I may be reading too much into it, but it seems to me that a lot of the backlash against Amanda isn't because of what she is doing or how she's going about it, but because she is a woman with a non-"feminine", assertive, sometimes even aggressive personality and that tends to knock a lot of people off balance, and they start off with a chip on their shoulders instead of the more condescending, traditional and patronizing approach of "oh isn't she cute". You don't get to think of Amanda as cute, soft, sweet and non-threatening.

I say this as a person who is unsure if I've ever heard any Amanda Palmer songs, though I have certainly read about her exploits here and there. She seems to be a true artist, with all the pros and cons that come with that.

Honestly I'd like to be in her position. As an artist, I'd rather have large communities of people both loving me and hating me, sometimes with great vigour, than be basically unknown.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:00 AM on March 4, 2013 [18 favorites]


Felix Salmon had a really interesting post this morning pointing out ghat while philosophically Palmer and her Kickstarter and Andrew Sullivan and his pay wall may be in different businesses, practically speaking, they're almost the same... Interesting to think about whic works better as an economic model on the web.
posted by Diablevert at 10:00 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Kitteh And it makes me sad that her marriage to one of my favorite writers is now constantly the Neil and Amanda Show.

THAT! I don't think it can be described any better.
posted by zombieApoc at 10:01 AM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think it's great that those two try to do stuff together. Rock on, Amanda and Neil.
posted by Mister_A at 10:04 AM on March 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


There are a few artists (musicians, writers, actors, etc) who don't separate out their personal online presence from their professional. Amanda Palmer is one of them. It's certainly a choice they're allowed to make, but sometimes I wish they had friends who could explain to them that not absolutely every thought in their head -- even those about their careers -- needs to be put online.
posted by jeather at 10:09 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


INT - CIVIC CENTER

TED speaker: Crowd funding.

TED AUDIENCE claps, then begins to cheer and hoot. The applause continues, rising rapidly in volume. The seats and the stage begin to vibrate with the noise, then shake wildly. Glass breaks. The cacophonous applause of TED AUDIENCE rips the muscles from the bones of all in attendance, including TED SPEAKER.
posted by Ghost Mode at 10:13 AM on March 4, 2013 [28 favorites]


"When I was paying my fan musicians in beer and warm fuzzies it was real, but people ruined it when they suggested that the biggest token of respect I could give them was some of the 1.2 million dollars I raised!"

It's like a bizarre, twisted inversion of fans crying "sell out!" when their favorite artist makes it big.
posted by usonian at 10:13 AM on March 4, 2013 [14 favorites]


I confess I will be attending their appearance at Bard College in April. I told a friend that maybe seeing her doing her thing in person might move me towards the "liking her as her persona" camp, so we'll see.
posted by Kitteh at 10:14 AM on March 4, 2013


Sometimes people do things that I like. Sometimes people do things that I don't like. Sometimes it overlaps with what other people like.
posted by dobie at 10:24 AM on March 4, 2013 [11 favorites]


I don't like where you're going with this, dobie.
posted by Mister_A at 10:39 AM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Then excuse me while I have a twitter melt down...
posted by dobie at 10:46 AM on March 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


a lot of the backlash against Amanda isn't because of what she is doing or how she's going about it, but because she is a woman with a non-"feminine", assertive, sometimes even aggressive personality and that tends to knock a lot of people off balance,

Or maybe people kind of dig her aggressive persona, but don't like her habit of using other people's free labor to up her own bank account and public profile? That's another interpretation.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 10:47 AM on March 4, 2013 [40 favorites]


Here's what don't get about anyone saying they "don't care for" anything to do with Amanda Palmer, and it appears to be singularly her that I've observed this around, as I cannot think of any other performer who behaves as she does.

She is the one "celebrity" who doesn't act like a celebrity. She shares herself with her audience, utterly and completely. That bugs people to no end, it seems. You just aren't supposed to do that. It's rude. You should hide your shame and your feelings and being all open and friendly to strangers and believing that there are nice and good people out there willing to share their time and effort with you to do something fun, like perform music on stage, for the laughs and the fun of it, that doesn't jive with how people think the world should work. Or rather, that doesn't jive with how they have been told how the world works and they don't get to go do these fun things, so why should Amanda Palmer get to go do these fun things and have people bring her food and nettie pots and "work" for free and perform for free and stuff. It's not fair. How are other people supposed to do it if she's always doing it.

And of course the answer I come up with is usually something similar to that feeling you get when you see someone just not understand how myopic and blind they are, and how they are passing judgement on something because it makes them uncomfortable, instead of saying "I'm uncomfortable" and being willing to, well, just say that and let that be the end of it. They have to hate her, or malign her, or decide that what she is doing is wrong.

I'm just going to leave that there.

I like Amanda Palmer. I barely know her music (haven't heard her new album at all, probably won't), but I saw her and Neil shortly after moving to Portland and it was a very crowded, sold-out show, and I ended up having to stand for the whole thing and I have a bad back, but even after 2 hours of standing, leaning against a wall so I could see the stage, I didn't case, because I got to see some pretty damn awesome art and an amazing performance, and I got to hear Neil read his story about Ray Bradbury, and I got to share a room of 1000 strangers crying over a dead sci-fi author. That makes me uncomfortable. And I love it when someone can do that, and make me smile at the same time.
posted by daq at 10:47 AM on March 4, 2013 [12 favorites]


We covered the whole asking for free help issue previously, basically she thought about it and decided to pay em' because she had the money to do so.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:59 AM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


believing that there are nice and good people out there willing to share their time and effort with you to do something fun, like perform music on stage, for the laughs and the fun of it

People would have not had an issue with this had Palmer also been performing for free, say, for charity. Instead, she was expecting to get paid, and simultaneously she was expecting accomplished musicians to perform--and rehearse--for free. That is Not Cool, and I really think everyone should be able to agree on that, regardless of their feelings about Palmer otherwise. If we cannot agree on that, I think it says something quite disturbing about the way music-making is disregarded and undervalued today.
posted by IjonTichy at 10:59 AM on March 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


using other people's free labor to up her own bank account and public profile

I paid Matt $5 to contribute my labor to this very website, from which he makes enough ad money to hire several employees and up his public profile. What an asshole.

Oh, wait, no - I get community and content and even a few personal/professional connections that are an awful lot like exposure. The money keeps the conversation going. The conversation germinates more art and more ad revenue. Surely this is not the absolute worst thing in the entire world?
posted by Lyn Never at 11:01 AM on March 4, 2013 [7 favorites]


I have really mixed feelings about this. Really, really, really mixed.

I hate that "Amanda is rich, grar" stuff, because making all of those rewards costs huge amounts of time and money. (I just wrote a post this morning about my own Kickstarter and how little money I'll walk away with considering how much work the project is going to be.) So no, after all of those books and traveling to performances and so on, Amanda's not coming away a millionaire. It'd be super-interesting to calculate her hourly, when all is said and done.

But... I also absolutely detest taking advantage of my creative friends and asking them to contribute free work to a project I'll ultimately be making money off of -- or trying to make money off of, even. The work an artist does is still work and deserves compensation. I can see groups of indie artists where nobody is making a dime all falling together to share resources, but once one of you has more to share -- and I mean cash -- then it's your responsibility to do so.

But that's unrelated to this core issue of whether you should give your work away and ask for something in return later on. (Which... you know, Kickstarter is definitely not that in the first place.)

I'm a writer, so I'm not in a position to go on tour and couchsurf and have people bring me handmade samosas and sushi. And I have kids, so that's not a life I could live anyway. It's absolutely true that it's a thing that can work, Amanda's proof of it, but I reject the notion that it's the way things SHOULD work, in the same way that I reject the idea that a writer should always work in the same place or move around for variety or outline or not outline or whatever is fashionable today.

The things that work for one artist and their career are not universal truths, and we live in a world where there are a lot of ways to be an artist.

All I have to connect with someone is words on a screen, mostly, not hugs. I give away my thoughts for free, I blog and tweet and email, but is that the same kind of connection? Dunno. But I do have work behind a paywall, because there is no mechanism in the world for a writer to make a living except by selling access to words.

The things she says are beautiful and true and in some cases profound, but I don't think they lead inexorably to her conclusion. Experiences vary too much.
posted by Andrhia at 11:03 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I like Amanda Palmer.

I'm not a big fan of her asking for volunteer musicians on her tour.

On the other hand, if it bugs you, don't volunteer. She doesn't have press-gangs.

Unwoman, who I like and respect a lot (AND WHO PLAYED A SHOW IN MY LIVINGROOM EEEEEEEE), both volunteered and defended the practice.

OTOH, work is work, yay socialism, up the worker, and it's important to pay people.

Which she's doing now.

So ... maybe ... chill?

Regardless of any of that, the whole thing with her piano teacher being crappy to her is legitimately awful. I'm about the same age as Amanda, and I can only imagine having someone who was a big influence on me as a teenager tell me that I suck and always have sucked. I'd be shattered.

Amanda does tend to be high drama, sure, but just because someone's famous doesn't mean that they don't get affected by shit.
posted by Myca at 11:07 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love how that Palmer essay on Bjork wants to have its cake and eat it too. No one is saying Palmer or other artists can't start Kickstarter projects. It's not our company. We don't get to say yes or no to the project. We just get to decide to fund it or not, and we get to decide if we want to be critical or not. As she points out this is a democracy, though I'm not sure what that has to do with anything, but it's got to be important or she wouldn't have mentioned it.

One of the benefits of money and privilege is freedom. You get to do things other people only get to dream about. When you act like if it weren't for other people's money you wouldn't be able to create...disingenuous is the word that comes to mind.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:14 AM on March 4, 2013 [12 favorites]


I attended what's often referred to as a "ninja" gig a few years back when Amanda Palmer was touring Australia. At the end of her set (which was really good - the lady knows how to put on a show) she set down her ukulele case and made an impassioned speech about how as a performer, she still needs to eat, and how art is still work and worthy of being paid for. And that little gathering - many who were there because they weren't able to afford tickets to the show - opened up their pockets and showered her with coins.

So I have a great deal of disgust for her hypocritical desire to pay her back-up band in "love". I contributed to her Kickstarter, just like I threw what cash I had on me in that uke case at that gig, and once she herself told me, from her lips to my ears, in a little gallery back-room with maybe another hundred people, that artists deserve to be paid, I think perhaps there is room for her fans to be unhappy with her for not living by her own word. If it's not good enough for you, it shouldn't be good enough for them. Thankfully she has backed down on that, especially since I chipped in enough to earn a ticket to one of those Kickstarter parties. I'll be seeing her in September. I contemplated not going after she decided to mine her fans for skill and then not offer any remuneration. Beer and cuddles is just not good enough after your fans have given you all this cash to pay for your tour. To pay for little bands who need that same help. In this talk, just before she mentions the crowdsourcing of her backup, she mentions that it's often hard for artists to ask for things. So don't make them ask! If you've made it a thing to request remuneration, bloody well pay your band. She talks about the "connection" with the audience, the same connection she made a big deal about not being enough to keep soul in skin. It's not an "alien concept" to me, you bloody well told me yourself.

The thing with asking for help is that once you can give that help back, you probably should. Especially if you make a big deal about getting paid yourself.
posted by Jilder at 11:23 AM on March 4, 2013 [28 favorites]


Weird that this is the post that finally got me to plunk down $5, but hey...

Isn't there a valid position for people who don't like Amanda Palmer as an artist? I find her music mostly unremarkable, kinda contrived, and generally possessing of a level of cathartic emotionality that I don't feel it earns. This extends to her public persona, as well, there's sort of a level of "louder = better" and (in my opinion) not much room for subtlety or nuance. I don't think this is because I'm downplaying her as an assertive woman, or because I'm uncomfortable with the emotions on display, just that there's a sort of undergraduate-art-student lack of self-reflection and awareness in everything she does.

Sorry for the rant, people who are fans, go on liking what ya like. It just bugged me critiques of her art are countered with assumptions about how I feel about her as a person.
posted by Soultron at 11:25 AM on March 4, 2013 [50 favorites]


he is the one "celebrity" who doesn't act like a celebrity. She shares herself with her audience, utterly and completely. That bugs people to no end, it seems. You just aren't supposed to do that.

Amanda Palmer shares herself with her audience, utterly and completely. Yet at the same time, Palmer or her fans aggressively defend her from any sort of criticism or critique. I agree with cjorgensen - she seems to want to have it both ways. She wants to open herself up to her fans, as long as her fans are 100% positive and supportive. Since Palmer's art is, in part, herself, that means that legitimate criticism of her art can only be personal.

I think that there are definitely sexist attacks on Palmer, but that doesn't make every criticism an attack or every criticism sexist.
posted by muddgirl at 11:26 AM on March 4, 2013 [24 favorites]


Oh, and no matter what you think about her music, you gotta admire (or maybe loathe, or maybe both in equal measure) the level of constant self-promotion that's gotten her where she is. The lady knows how to hustle.
posted by Soultron at 11:27 AM on March 4, 2013 [15 favorites]


A million (or even $100,000) is not "making an album" money, it sounds more like "I need to maintain the mainstream music industry lifestyle to which I have become accustomed" money. Like somebody who can't conceive of the creative process separated from that kind of massive waste and profligacy.
posted by anazgnos at 11:29 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Still don't understand all the hate directed at this woman. Must be the weird eyebrows.

I may be reading too much into it, but it seems to me that a lot of the backlash against Amanda isn't because of what she is doing or how she's going about it, but because she is a woman with a non-"feminine", assertive, sometimes even aggressive personality and that tends to knock a lot of people off balance, and they start off with a chip on their shoulders instead of the more condescending, traditional and patronizing approach of "oh isn't she cute".

And of course the answer I come up with is usually something similar to that feeling you get when you see someone just not understand how myopic and blind they are, and how they are passing judgement on something because it makes them uncomfortable, instead of saying "I'm uncomfortable" and being willing to, well, just say that and let that be the end of it. They have to hate her, or malign her, or decide that what she is doing is wrong.

Yes, it clearly must be that (who says there's no such thing as psychics?) and not that Amanda Palmer has repeatedly done incredibly problematic if not just downright stupidly offensive shit.

And this is all way before the Kickstarter bullshit.
posted by kmz at 11:32 AM on March 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


She's couchsurfing and eating home-made goodies from her fans, anazgnos. How is that the "mainstream music industry lifestyle"?
posted by Andrhia at 11:33 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


From her blog entry on Bjork and Kickstarter:

here’s what i think: THE MARKET IS EFFICIENT. if ANYBODY wants to give a go at having the community help them with a project, that’s the ARTISTS prerogative. if it fails, then the interest wasn’t there.

I get a strong "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" vibe from her writing about the business of music.

Anybody who will write, in all-caps, about a market in which they are a participant, the phrase "the market is efficient" is bathing in unexamined privilege.
posted by gauche at 11:42 AM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


She's couchsurfing and eating home-made goodies from her fans, anazgnos. How is that the "mainstream music industry lifestyle"?

Because mainstream music acts aren't staying always staying at the Fairmont and eating at Morton's, either.
posted by muddgirl at 11:48 AM on March 4, 2013


Amanda Palmer shares herself with her audience, utterly and completely. Yet at the same time, Palmer or her fans aggressively defend her from any sort of criticism or critique. I agree with cjorgensen - she seems to want to have it both ways. She wants to open herself up to her fans, as long as her fans are 100% positive and supportive. Since Palmer's art is, in part, herself, that means that legitimate criticism of her art can only be personal.

I think that there are definitely sexist attacks on Palmer, but that doesn't make every criticism an attack or every criticism sexist.


This. Very much this.

I don't like that because I'm not 100% on the bandwagon then I must be The Enemy. I don't like that her fans posted the teacher's freaking Twitter account because She Dared to Malign Amanda. (Feel pretty sure no one did anything w/it, but it still falls under Not Cool.) And I especially don't like that because I have issues with her persona--again, I like the music a lot--that I must be Anti-Feminist and AFRAID OF HONESTY AND ALL THE FEELS.

Having a middle ground when it comes to artists of any stripe is perfectly fine. It's the devoted fanatics who froth at the mouth should someone utter an indifferent or unkind word that bother me.
posted by Kitteh at 11:50 AM on March 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Stick around Soultron, I like your style.
posted by whuppy at 11:57 AM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I really try hard to completely ignore the musician and just love the music. Sometimes this is impossible to do. I dumped Palmer in the same bin as Bono and Morrisey some time ago.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:01 PM on March 4, 2013


ONE DOES NOT SPEAK ILL OF MORRISSEY!
posted by Mister_A at 12:11 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's true, as he is perfectly capable of doing that to himself! :)
posted by Kitteh at 12:17 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


ONE DOES NOT SPEAK ILL OF MORRISSEY!

Unless you're Johnny Marr . . .
posted by KingEdRa at 12:18 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


One does not simply walk into Morrissey.
posted by gauche at 12:20 PM on March 4, 2013 [14 favorites]


THESE ARE REASONABLE POINTS, I WILL STIPULATE
posted by Mister_A at 12:20 PM on March 4, 2013


Because mainstream music acts aren't staying always staying at the Fairmont and eating at Morton's, either.

No, definitely they aren't, to be sure. But anazgos' comment seemed to intimate that Amanda is living it up luxury-style. $250K of debt for recording an album to cover a year of studio costs plus living expenses for (say) half a dozen people doesn't speak to me of mindless waste and extravagance, either.

Again -- I'm no enormous Amanda Palmer fan and for sure she's done problematic things, but that particular line of attack strikes me as misplaced.
posted by Andrhia at 12:22 PM on March 4, 2013


"And I fell into those thousands of connections that I'd made. And I asked the crowd to catch me."

WARNING:
If you aren't a beautiful, newsworthy, devilishly talented exhibitionist who hasn't worked nonstop for many years to develop a large collection of rabid followers, chances are you'll be unceremoniously dropped.
posted by markkraft at 12:27 PM on March 4, 2013 [11 favorites]


Again -- I'm no enormous Amanda Palmer fan and for sure she's done problematic things, but that particular line of attack strikes me as misplaced.

See, this is essentially where I am.

The hate-on that Metafilter has for folks who are, "y'know ... pretty good. Kinda problematic in some ways, but cool in some other ways," drives me, screaming, to their defense.

I never realized how much I liked Cory Doctorow until I saw Metafilter react to him.
posted by Myca at 12:35 PM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


I love how that Palmer essay on Bjork wants to have its cake and eat it too. No one is saying Palmer or other artists can't start Kickstarter projects.

I've been trying to work out what bothers me so much about that post, and it's still kind of wooly in my mind, but here's where I seem to be landing:

Nobody is saying that Palmer or Bjork, who have ample resources to pursue their own musical projects, can't start Kickstarters to fund their projects instead of turning to the other resources they already have.

Palmer herself uses the example of Lady Gaga busking, and whether or not she would be allowed to put down a hat while doing so. Her position: she would, duh, obviously.

I'm finding that a little facile.

Here's the thing about busking: it's usually where your literally starving artists quasi-debase themselves in order to scrape together enough cash to keep body and soul together.

So let's run with Palmer's analogy, but this time it's not Lady Gaga busking in a vacuum, it's Lady Gaga setting up shop right next to all the other buskers, with the lights and the soundsystem and the Lady Gaga fanbase Tweeting about it and Facebooking about it and telling all their friends about it.

And then Lady Gaga does pretty well at busking, so a lot of other high-paid professional musicians, who don't really need the money per se but wouldn't mind some extra clams to rub together, decide that they're going to busk too. So now, along with the up-and-coming musicians, the strivers and the strugglers, these musicians with their elaborate musical operations, intially propped up and promoted by major labels, are setting up shop next to the kids that can barely afford to re-string a guitar.

Guess who draws most of the busking dollars? If you think it's the art-school student with a used Martin and a dream, I applaud your optimism, but I suspect Busking Neil Young is going to pull down most of people's spare change. And there's limited spare change in those pockets, folks.

It's not illegal in this scenario for the pro musicians to suddenly decide they also want to monopolize the busking market. It's not unlawful for them to pit their long-honed, major-label-promoted, well-established sound against those of the younger, scrappier, unamplified kids.

So it's not illegal to throw your hat in the ring, even if the ring has limited resources and you've got a hundred other rings to throw your hat in. It's not illegal or forbidden or duplicitious.

But it's also not classy. In fact, it's kind of shitty.

Sure, you can blame the audience. They could choose to ignore the major-label buskers, right? And you can blame the city, for allowing the major-label buskers onto the streets. But airily claiming that just because it's allowed makes it perfectly okay is... I'm not sure what the word is. Disingenuous, maybe, or maybe I'll have to fall back on "kind of shitty" again to describe how this makes me feel.
posted by Shepherd at 12:36 PM on March 4, 2013 [45 favorites]


But anazgos' comment seemed to intimate that Amanda is living it up luxury-style. $250K of debt for recording an album to cover a year of studio costs plus living expenses for (say) half a dozen people doesn't speak to me of mindless waste and extravagance, either.

I guess it's an issue of perspective. $250k for the 'eight months' that Palmer wasn't touring prior to the Kickstarter is $31,250 a month. What she does with that money is a business decision, or an art decision, or a personal decision (as she says), but in any case it is a luxurious amount of money.
posted by muddgirl at 12:40 PM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


"I contemplated not going after she decided to mine her fans for skill and then not offer any remuneration. Beer and cuddles is just not good enough after your fans have given you all this cash to pay for your tour."

This is something that arguably came out of the core of The Dresden Dolls experience, however. The band has a core group of talented fans, many of whom are performers in their own right, who would entertain the crowd, occasionally be invited on stage to perform, etc.

I'm not against the ethos of encouraging people to be participants and not just an audience, but let's face it... Amanda has crowdsurfed on the adoration of her audience for a long, long time now, in one form or another. Indeed, her fans make her shows measurably better. But once things start getting about making money and lots of it, wouldn't you like to know and have some say in where that money actually goes?
posted by markkraft at 12:43 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Bonus : Neil Gaiman talks about The Bed Song yt

Speaking of Neil: Gaiman’s Next Book Isn’t Out Yet, But A Movie Version is Already In the Works
posted by homunculus at 12:44 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Let me put it another way - what if Palmer had only gotten the original $100k and nothing more? A lot of that money would still go to making the rewards, most of the rest would go to the album post-production as Palmer describes, and she'd still have the $250k debt that she racked up before the Kickstarter - presumably she would pay that off with future album/tour sales. By funding that $250k through kickstarter, rather than through future sales, she is actually coming out ahead. I think people can get legitimately irrititated when she tries to claim that somehow funding $1 million dollars on her Kickstarter isn't actually netting her any more money than if she'd only funded $100k.

Or putting it another another way, if all her art is personal, and all her business is art, then her business is personal and any criticism of either art or business is going to be overly-personal, too. It's sort of a catch-22 for people who want to talk about her art and her business without being haters.
posted by muddgirl at 12:47 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I guess it's an issue of perspective. $250k for the 'eight months' that Palmer wasn't touring prior to the Kickstarter is $31,250 a month. What she does with that money is a business decision, or an art decision, or a personal decision (as she says), but in any case it is a luxurious amount of money.

Just... bear in mind that Amanda doesn't just pay the bills for Amanda. She's got two full-time assistants who need to eat whether she's on tour or not, and a backing band with at least a few musicians who presumably also need to eat when not on tour. Given that ahead of the Kickstarter she'd already recorded her album, you'd have to add in studio time or equipment, session musicians and engineers, etc., which I'm led to believe can run into the many thousands of dollars per day.

I guess the only way to know for sure would be to ask Amanda for a full accounting of where that money went, but I certainly didn't get the impression that it was all debt she racked up, Lindsay Lohan-style, staying in a five-star hotel suite and drinking hundred-year-old Scotch.
posted by Andrhia at 1:02 PM on March 4, 2013


She's got two full-time assistants who need to eat whether she's on tour or not

I am going to just leave this here for people to contemplate.
posted by Shepherd at 1:10 PM on March 4, 2013 [22 favorites]


She's got two full-time assistants who need to eat whether she's on tour or not

As she says, this is a business choice that she makes. Having two full-time assistants is not like, say, raising two children. She benefits financially from having assistants (because she can be more productive, or more efficient, or both).

but I certainly didn't get the impression that it was all debt she racked up, Lindsay Lohan-style, staying in a five-star hotel suite and drinking hundred-year-old Scotch.

No one claimed this, and no one claimed that Lindsay Lohan is the epitome of the mainstream music lifestyle. Affording assistants is luxurious compared to musicians who can't. Being able to afford a full-time backing band is luxurious, to musicians who can't.
posted by muddgirl at 1:11 PM on March 4, 2013


I guess my point is that Amanda Palmer works her ass off and probably deserves all the good things that come to her. But that doesn't mean that she's a struggling, down-on-her luck artist who is living CD sale to CD sale, which is sometimes how her fans try to present her. She sleeps on people's couches because she chooses to spend her money on other things. She could still be a successful indie musician and stay at hotels instead. She has the luxury of that choice.
posted by muddgirl at 1:14 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, as I recall the problem was that she was using her fanbase as free labor and treating it like she was doing them a favor. This whole thing really, really rubs me the wrong way.

That was a storm in a fuckin' egg cup. I'm a reasonably pro Kiwi cellist, and I was very happy to play for what she was offering, or a bit of cash. Either/or.

There's a huge difference between turning up and sitting in, and actually going on tour. One is a neat experience that you'll remember for ages, the other is a job. And if you don't like it then don't do it. Was my strong feeling.

But anyway, water under the bridge. Sadly she cancelled the gig so I never got to play, maybe she'll be back one day.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:14 PM on March 4, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Guess who draws most of the busking dollars? If you think it's the art-school student with a used Martin and a dream, I applaud your optimism, but I suspect Busking Neil Young is going to pull down most of people's spare change. . . So it's not illegal to throw your hat in the ring, even if the ring has limited resources and you've got a hundred other rings to throw your hat in. It's not illegal or forbidden or duplicitious. . . But it's also not classy. In fact, it's kind of shitty."

Unless... it's for charity. Or it's good publicity. Or people like it..

Traditionally, most concert tours have been more or less a financial push for the artists involved. They did it to fulfill the label's contractual demands, because it would promote album sales.

But what if you're more-or-less self-releasing your albums, and the changing nature of the music industry essentially means that you're just giving it away?

I have no doubt that Amanda Palmer does well for herself, but the thing is, she's still the kind of performer who can generally fill about 600 capacity on a good night. That's not bad, but if she relied exclusively on traditional means of selling her wares, that's probably not a financially viable business model either.
posted by markkraft at 1:26 PM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Aspiring artists who can't fund their lifestyle "excluseively on traditional means of selling [their] wares" often have day jobs. Not that Palmer is wrong or evil to not have one - just another choice.
posted by muddgirl at 1:33 PM on March 4, 2013


In short, I suspect she would tell you that she does what she does because she feels justified in making money for her and her collaborators making the record, as opposed to just making money for and giving her creative works to a record label, until such point as she can't afford to go into debt in order to release another album.

If we're going to say she can't digitally busk because she has another viable option, it might be worth making sure that her other viable option is actually still viable?
posted by markkraft at 1:34 PM on March 4, 2013


I agree with Kitteh; Palmer has an unquestionable talent (all of the Dresden Dolls albums and her first solo album were really, really good...at least when I was in high school/college) but her public persona really turns me off and makes me not want to be associated as someone who listens to her music. I'm not talking about some sort of "her personality rubs me the wrong way" thing; she's very publically died on a number of ridiculous and frankly pretty offensive hills, and it's really offputting. The whole thing is like a VH1 reality show in dark eyeliner, and it actually kind of disturbs me because judging from all available sources she seems to have issues that fame has exacerbated in a serious way, and I mean that caringly, not pejoratively. I apologize for talking about Palmer like she's not in the room, since she's ostensibly a mefite.
posted by threeants at 1:38 PM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


I should love Amanda Palmer. All the ingredients are there. But I don't.

While she might be a lovely woman in real life, her persona rubs me as LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME AM I NOT EDGY? Even the tweets that people are mentioning are just so...grubby and attention-seeking. Is the woman really in need of 24/7 validation? And as others have pointed out, she spews a LOT of hypocrisy which makes me have a hard time really swallowing anything she says as genuine. She's a hustler and that's a great trait to have, until you get the feeling that while climbing up the pile the hustler aimed a few good kicks at those below.

And it bothers me that there are those out there that think if I have an issue with Amanda Fucking Palmer (the fact that is her own self-coined name grinds my teeth as well), it's a case of sexism or 'not getting it'. Look, I get it just fine. And the woman IS talented. But I can still find her persona, real or fabricated, loathsome.

I mean, I get hardcore fandom. I'm a Radiohead fanatic. But I am not about to hunt down people on twitter who talk shit about Thom Yorke. Have at it.
posted by Windigo at 1:49 PM on March 4, 2013 [16 favorites]


And man, for "alternative" Boston-area high schoolers in the first half of the 00s, Amanda and Brian were it. They were the local fucking Beatles for weird kids. Now, TED talks? Million dollar kickstarters? It's like a cautionary tale about how social media makes everything crappy, mercenary, and boring. (Or maybe more accurately how, thankfully, we don't have the same taste we did in high school.)
posted by threeants at 1:51 PM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Who is this Amanda Palmer?

Don't you mean Steampunk Kanye?
posted by R. Schlock at 1:57 PM on March 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


And man, for "alternative" Boston-area high schoolers in the first half of the 00s, Amanda and Brian were it. They were the local fucking Beatles for weird kids. Now, TED talks? Million dollar kickstarters? It's like a cautionary tale about how social media makes everything crappy, mercenary, and boring. (Or maybe more accurately how, thankfully, we don't have the same taste we did in high school.)

I have often made the joke to my husband if that AFP/Dresden Dolls had been around when I was in high school, I would have been an more insufferable Goth teen than I already was.
posted by Kitteh at 1:59 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know Brian somewhat well—we've worked together—and I just want to point out that he's not doing TED talks or kickstarters.
posted by Brainy at 2:01 PM on March 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yes, sorry, I didn't mean to imply such. Dude's a great drummer and doesn't appear to be implicated in monthly co-outrages with any rockstar fantasist spouses.
posted by threeants at 2:08 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


"her persona rubs me as LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME AM I NOT EDGY? Even the tweets that people are mentioning are just so...grubby and attention-seeking."

You're right. She's very successful at promoting herself and her career. And her husband is very successful at doing so, too. And they do it together, too.

Meanwhile, everyone else grumbles. Kinda annoying, isn't it?!

Attraction. Interest. Decision. Action.
posted by markkraft at 2:12 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Or putting it another another way, if all her art is personal, and all her business is art, then her business is personal and any criticism of either art or business is going to be overly-personal, too.


Palmer herself uses the example of Lady Gaga busking, and whether or not she would be allowed to put down a hat while doing so. Her position: she would, duh, obviously.

I'm finding that a little facile.


Well, this is why I found Salmon's post interesting.

It seems to me that what the Internet has done as far as content is dissolve the barrier between professional and amateur. There used to be a clear threshold, a whole system of baffles and barriers that were meant to filter out the quality (or at least the popular) creative content from the undifferentiated sea of amateur art.

You needed some luck and you needed some skill and you needed someone in power who believed in you, and only if you got those things were you able to step across the barrier that separates garage band from recording artists. Getting across the barrier is an explicit endorsement from the powers that be: This Stuff Is Worth Paying For.

But now, the barrier is gone everything is grayscale and fuzzy. Now, no one has to pay for anything, if they don't feel like it. Now, an artist who's commercially unviable in the traditional sense can, with great effort, sometimes manage to find and cultivate an audience of 10,000 people who really get them, and try and live off that. But the way you do that isn't the same as the way you get people to buy your record/novel/film in the threshold world. People are a lot more likely to give you money when they know they don't have to if they like you, personally. The question people ask themselves now is not, "how much will I like this work?" The question they ask themselves is "how good will helping this thing to exist make me feel?"

Andrew Sullivan's blog is one of the biggest ones out there; I think it's got something like a million monthly unique visitors. That translated to about 21,000 paid subscriptions --- 2.1 percent. A million people think his words are interesting enough to read. Only 2 percent of them think they're interesting enough to pay for. But those 21,000 subscribers raised over $600k, even though subscriptions were $20 a pop --- because so many of them were going above and beyond simply because they liked the blog.

To a certain extent it seems to me practically every successful content provider on the Internet is doing this in one way or another --- I think there's a lot more people paying $350 a year to the NY Times because the don't want the Times to die than people paying $350 simply because they think the Times provides exactly $350s-worth of infotainment to them in a year.

In a way, I wonder if sympathy bucks aren't taking over the support role that advertising plays for so many forms of media --- and in that case, Shepard's example of Lady Gaga or Neil Young sticking out the hat may be the future, because it's the only model that works on the web.
posted by Diablevert at 2:13 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


jeffburdges: We covered the whole asking for free help issue previously, basically she thought about it and decided to pay em' because she had the money to do so.
Dude, this is Metafilter. No amount of doing the right thing will ever erase the stigma of having done something that someone somewhere can view from a morally negative aspect. She once did something that she thought might be a good thing, but clearly wasn't by the omniscient and inarguable moral meter of Metafilter.

We must speak no more of her unearthly name. She is dead to us.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:16 PM on March 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


We must speak no more of her unearthly name. She is dead to us.

Definitely knocking the "insane, hyperbolic fan defense" charge for six then I guess
posted by ominous_paws at 2:19 PM on March 4, 2013 [9 favorites]


Kitteh: I don't like that her fans posted the teacher's freaking Twitter account because She Dared to Malign Amanda.
One fan posted it.

One shitty thing by a fan does not actually say much about "her fans". One fan of John Lennon was a bit given to violence. One fan of Arlo Guthrie resigned the US presidency in shame.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:22 PM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


You're right. She's very successful at promoting herself and her career. And her husband is very successful at doing so, too. And they do it together, too.

And I'm really sick of that, too. I stopped following Gaiman on FB when it became the Amanda Palmer show. Of course he's going to push her and be proud of her. But I felt the balence was way off.
posted by Windigo at 2:29 PM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


Her piece on Björk's (failed) Kickstarter leaves me a little bit conflicted. One one hand, sure, there's not reason why established artists should not use crowdfunding for their projects, and I hope that crowdfunding helps to get rid of the current gatekeeper/rentseeker system. On the other hand, when artists who already have the social capital (name recognition, network) to get funding through traditional channels are using crowdfunding instead, it may be at the expense of other projects that do not have such social capital (and for whom crowdfunding is a necessity), and money will flow to money once again. Of course this did not work so well for Björk, but what will happen when Joss Whedon starts a $400 million Kickstarter for The Avengers 4?
posted by elgilito at 2:31 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


muddgirl, I don't think you and I actually disagree very much. I was reacting to anazgnos, who (as I read it) suggested that Amanda Palmer spent a million dollars recording an album, which is untrue and unfair.

You can argue about good and bad business decisions, and being privileged enough to be able to make those decisions, etc., etc. But it's pretty clear that Amanda wasn't blowing a million dollars on three weeks of posh recording facilities, you know? Vast swaths of that money went to shipping product.

I find it incredibly dispiriting that we're emerging into a media landscape where you have to be at least as good at promotion as you are at art to make it. And the bigger you already are, the easier it is to promote. And the more people are promoting, the less any one message is heard. I've gone through mad Kickstarter fatigue where every game designer, writer, or filmmaker on my Twitters have had something funding and it's just exhausting to constantly feel under barrage by pleas for money.

There's also a nasty thing that happens where you feel valued (or not) as a human being based on what people are willing to shell out to you as a vote of confidence in advance of making your thing.

tl;dr making money and art is hard and complicated and depressing.
posted by Andrhia at 2:31 PM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


Andrhia: I find it incredibly dispiriting that we're emerging into a media landscape where you have to be at least as good at promotion as you are at art to make it.
I agree, yet I still think it's fundamentally better than the previous system wherein you had to be chosen by a major label or distribution entity to make it. They Might Be Giants were not really possible in the days when Dick Clark made superstars by picking a kid off the street as a gag, and labels paid DJs to promote their artists.

In a perfect world, yes... but we don't live in that world, and I really don't think requiring marketing savvy to make it in the business of entertainment is all that bad.
And the bigger you already are, the easier it is to promote.
It was ever thus.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:51 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


She's couchsurfing and eating home-made goodies from her fans, anazgnos. How is that the "mainstream music industry lifestyle"?

But anazgos' comment seemed to intimate that Amanda is living it up luxury-style.

I wasn't talking about personal luxury per se, but if people are now rationalizing "two full time assistants" as just one of those basic necessities for making music, I guess I would go ahead and call that luxury. I don't buy the idea that recording an album requires a production infrastructure akin to a Hollywood film.
posted by anazgnos at 2:57 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, if it bugs you, don't volunteer. She doesn't have press-gangs.

No, but she's contributing to a culture that devalues creative work and expects artist to work for free.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 3:09 PM on March 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


Perhaps she feels that not all musicians are artists. If she says that artists deserve to be paid, and that she was not going to pay musicians on her tour, then...
posted by dobie at 3:31 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wasn't talking about personal luxury per se, but if people are now rationalizing "two full time assistants" as just one of those basic necessities for making music, I guess I would go ahead and call that luxury.

I guess I'm not seeing it as the price of admission to make music at all, but the price of admission to make the scale of project she's talking about making, which strikes me as not an outrageous thing to want to do at this point in her career and development as an artist. Sure, you can make art with less time and money, but you can make art with more, too.

I agree, yet I still think it's fundamentally better than the previous system wherein you had to be chosen by a major label or distribution entity to make it.

I guess the nice thing is that both of those options hypothetically exist in parallel, at least for now. What you're hearing from me is probably a lot of defensive projection, to be honest. It's so hard to put yourself out there and promote and not feel super-gross about it. Which comes full circle back to Amanda's point that there shouldn't be shame in just... asking.
posted by Andrhia at 4:06 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Amanda is an alum of the high school my kids went (and one still goes) to.

A couple of years ago, she came to the school and worked with my daughter on a student-written production. She helped put the show together. She hung out with the kids and was an incredibly friendly, generous and giving person. Neil came. He brought coffee and pastries. He was adorable.

She stayed friends with my daughter. She helped her get into her dream college. They still talk and text often.

Haters can suck it.

Amanda Fucking Palmer is, hands down, one of the nicest goddamn people I've ever met.
posted by kinetic at 4:19 PM on March 4, 2013 [23 favorites]


Metafilter : We'll make you love Cory Doctorow
posted by jeffburdges at 4:26 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Her treatment of a recovering addict boyfriend is revolting.
posted by pxe2000 at 4:31 PM on March 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


i signed up for kickstarter to back amanda palmer. i have backed multiple projects for a total of about $300, not counting amanda palmer. as kickstarter broke down for other projects in their blog post, the blockbuster effect, big names bring more money in general into kickstarter, not just money for those big projects.

i backed her to the tune of $50 for a heavy, double LP with multiple 12x12 art prints. it came in a specialty box. it's probably the nicest vinyl package i've ever bought. if i saw the same packaging in a random store for any other band it would have cost the same $50 easy. preordering the product and proving that the fans will directly support that big of a project - that doesn't seem offensive to me. when i paid $30 for tori amos's double album 13 years ago, i don't remember anyone thinking they could critique her bringing her piano on tour or spending money on awesome makeup artists for her tv appearances. why does it change when you remove the levels of bs between artist and consumer? why do so many people (many who didn't contribute) think they get to play accountant?
posted by nadawi at 4:35 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


*sigh*

I don't disagree that people find putting on their accountant hat easy to do when they didn't contribute to the KS, and just heard about the end result and blowback. That's going to happen regardless of anything she does anymore. It's unfair, but that's how it is.

Now what is making me sad is that we've had a few people in this thread, myself included, who admit to liking the music foremost and the persona not so much. For myself, I don't "hate" her nor am I a "hater."

It is upsetting that this is now Palmer/Gaiman threads play out, but the immediate defensiveness is pinpointing precisely why the hardcore fans make me feel uncomfortable. I'm not allowed to just dig the songs; I have to like everything else and if I don't, somehow I'm the asshole.
posted by Kitteh at 4:50 PM on March 4, 2013


I think it's kinda funny when people get all wrapped up in some artist's life, how they live, who they hang out with ....

It's entirely possible to just listen to music and not even care about the people who made it except to go buy the album and wait for more. There was a time when it was all that way ... no need to wallow in all the intra-band fighting, no need to know who played what instrument. So just because we can wallow doesn't mean we hafta. So then: why?
posted by Twang at 4:57 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sure, you can make art with less time and money, but you can make art with more, too.

Truly her album is the kind that literally cannot be made without two full time assistants. You can hear the exquisite catering budget in every note.
posted by anazgnos at 4:58 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Amanda Fucking Palmer is, hands down, one of the nicest goddamn people I've ever met.

Tell that to her dead ex boyfriend.
posted by gcbv at 5:02 PM on March 4, 2013 [3 favorites]


i don't think you're an asshole, kitteh, but i also don't see anything in that comment that is directed at you. she collects the gleeful haters just as much (or more) as she collects the rabid fans. i personally find both extremes weird, but i don't let either decide how i feel about the art/artist.
posted by nadawi at 5:02 PM on March 4, 2013


if someone is in art school and in a relationship with an addict who offs himself, i'd bet they both had some fucked up art about it. some people really hate art school kids, and that's fine, but she's down right tame compared to a lot of the art kids i've known.
posted by nadawi at 5:04 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't have any reason to care about or dislike her personally, but I can't make it through 15 seconds of anything that I've heard. Blech.

Gaiman...well I slugged it out through Good Omens and American Gods and good god, I wish I had those hours back.
posted by malocchio at 5:12 PM on March 4, 2013


I do get frustrated with people like her or Cory Doctorow who happen to time the zeitgeist just right and have the moxy and self promotion to do so really well but fail to recognize that they are exceptional. I don't begrudge them the success (which they have worked hard for) and I think they have some useful things to say, but their lack of awareness that they're at the top of the heap and the tail is very long gets obnoxious. I think Radiohead's statements that they were glad that In Rainbows succeed brilliantly and helped shape the way music was supported in the future *but* that it wouldn't have worked if they weren't Radiohead was much more useful.

I know a lot of very talented musicians (and to a lesser extent writers) who have tried giving things away for free and asking and it rarely works out the way it did for Amanda.
posted by Candleman at 5:41 PM on March 4, 2013 [6 favorites]


I love anything that helps the idea of cooperation in art grow, regardless of who espouses the notion. Not a big fan of Palmer myself, for a variety of reasons, but kudos to her for bringing this message to TED. However . . .
I add my voice to to those who say it's a shame that many think an artist should be a hustler and a talented self-promoter. Old systems (20th century and older) had some way of occasionally bringing in voices and visions from people who were shy or awkward or outsiders or friendless. The talent scout, the DJ or the A&R man (and yes, they're usually men) looked for the art that could sell, valuable as long as it was from an artist who could produce it.
But, but, but . . . the AFPs and the Cory Doctorows are amalgams, they are their art as much as they make their art. The blogging and speechifying and promoting sets up the art, surrounds the art, and is arguably, therefore, the thing itself as much as anything else they do. Taken out of the context of their personae, I don't think they could be as successful as they are.
So, annoyingly self-promoting artists of mediocre content, or brilliant cultural-context artists? or something else altogether . . .
posted by pt68 at 8:02 PM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


I know a lot of very talented musicians (and to a lesser extent writers) who have tried giving things away for free and asking and it rarely works out the way it did for Amanda.

Back in the day (in the crazy explosion of Denton, Texas in the early 90s) I knew a lot of very talented musicians who couldn't get a record contract even when they really really deserved one because they were freaking amazing. The few who did got fronted $500K* to make one or two records and one or two videos and finance the front end of a tour and pay radio payola and buy a pile of coke and prostitutes for the middlemen, and then had to earn it out, via label accounting, before they actually got paychecks, and were completely reliant on label marketing departments for that to happen.

*Adjusted for 90s money, about what Palmer's got to work with after taxes. There's no payola, probably much smaller piles of coke and prostitutes and middlemen, and no label accounting but also no label accounting department to put in all the invoices and payroll and handle the venue insurance and book flights and trucks. Her dollar probably goes a little further than, say, U2s, but is that so wrong to be economical? She's neither paying for the services of nor dependent on a label marketing department. She has to ask and tell and be out there, and she doesn't have the same access to late night talk shows or corporate gig booking bureaus or the Pope like U2 does. But Bono still hasn't ever sent me a personally-constructed box set.

I'm not sure I understand how it's so much more unfair that one musician can make crowdsourcing work and another musician can't.

I wish that - and not Amanda herself - could be more of the discussion here. Because an undeniable (I think) point gets made at the beginning of her talk: Nobody, not in music or writing or movies/TV (oh god, movies/TV just TAKE MY MONEY) or software, is going to continue to make a sustainable living if they try to be Metallica vs. Napster. It's true, you need a wicked cult of personality to make it on crowdsourcing these days, and the unknowns can't do it. They never could. The ones who made it - if they were lucky - were the ones who could hustle and self-promote and were maybe willing to have lines cut on their asses.

The big kids can barely do it; Trent Reznor is back on a label with the new band and is taking the old band out of mothballs to go on what appears to be an albumless 18-month arena slog. It's probably not just because he adores the smell of 20,000 armpits. Two of those armpits will be mine, fuck yeah and pass the Degree, but his babies need shoes and private preschool tuition and paying for that probably smells pretty damn good. I still hope they play "The Great Below." I love that song.

How are artists supposed to make enough money to keep making things and not go get a job selling insurance or whatever? How should Your Favorite Band do it? What would you do or not do for them? It's a wide-open field right now. What would be okay and what wouldn't?

It's always been about the hustle. Your Favorite Band is just suffering in obscurity without the hustle. Pure talent doesn't rise to the top, it would be awesome if it did, but it doesn't. What's enough and what's too much? Are baby shoes not enough and private preschool too much?
posted by Lyn Never at 8:50 PM on March 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


fuck yes denton texas (although i was there more in the late 90s/early 2000s). and fuck yes to some of the bands (maybe not the very tippy top of the lot) getting those deals, and one or two making it work (and maybe some of those making moves that made us back home raise our eyebrows) - and the best are still holding up dan's silverleaf on the regular, some of them working day jobs. i get to send money that way via bandcamp these days. i like directly supporting them, but i wish more people saw how some of the best texas rock/country/blues/folk/porch-sittin-beer-drinkin-music is getting dusty on the counters of recycled books. alas, some people get famous and other people don't. the people who do are nearly always the better hustlers and every scene has a truck load of musicians who were better to certain people.
posted by nadawi at 9:15 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fugazi.

Thus I refute Amanda Palmer.
posted by bardic at 9:28 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure I understand how it's so much more unfair that one musician can make crowdsourcing work and another musician can't.

It's not that it's unfair, it's that the talented kid who gets called down during halftime and makes the lucky shot from the midcourt line who then turns around and says, "see, it's easy, just do what I did."

It's probably not just because he adores the smell of 20,000 armpits.

Don't underestimate the wonder and power of leading an audience that size.
posted by Candleman at 9:43 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Gaiman...well I slugged it out through Good Omens and American Gods and good god, I wish I had those hours back."

I got through the first ten pages of American Gods then threw it in the trash. Maybe his ideas are interesting (so I've been told) but on the plain sentence level the man cannot write. I don't need florid or purple prose, but I do need sentences that don't give me a pounding fucking headache due to their awfulness.

So anyhow, I can't think of two "artists" who are more deserving of one another.
posted by bardic at 9:49 PM on March 4, 2013 [4 favorites]


The most interesting comment here, to me, is this one:

She is the one "celebrity" who doesn't act like a celebrity. She shares herself with her audience, utterly and completely. That bugs people to no end, it seems. You just aren't supposed to do that.

I disagree entirely with its conclusion, but I think it gets at the crucial thing about Amanda Palmer: she's a big(gish)-name act that attempts to carry on as if she was a regular schmoe struggling-artist-and-cool-person, running Kickstarters, asking for volunteer musicians for fun community-based projects, getting into Twitter discussions, cooing over (and being cooed over by) her awesome husband. For some people, this is great and glorious, and for other people, this is precisely what they dislike about her. But the reasons for the dislike are more interesting than daq allowed for, and I think they say something interesting about the conflict between the old era of celebrity and the new one.

First off, it is patently untrue that AFP is the only celebrity who does this. If anything, she's fairly mild by modern celebrity standards. There're musicians and actors who make it a point to respond to EVERY tweet they receive – and how well they do this varies wildly from person to person. In fact, this is a pretty common dynamic online, and some people are irritated by how Amanda acts like she invented this idea of talking to your fans like you're a normal person. Lady Gaga does this, for Christ's sake, and Gaga is both a much bigger artist. She's been able to afford an entire separate social network for her fans to talk with her, even, which is kind of annoying in its own right but demonstrates that some artists aren't just "connecting with their fans" like Amanda is, they're doing it on a whole separate scale.

A common criticism of Amanda is that she's narcissistic in a kind of excited art student sort of way. And like excited art students, her enthusiasm is infectious for some people, and for other people it just makes melodrama out of not-super-interesting things, and keeps things at an ELEVATED LEVEL OF EXCITEMENT AT ALL TIMES!!! It makes sense to me that her fans are so dedicated to her, and so weirdly exclusionary in their fandom; you see this a lot in fans of artists who operate on Amanda's level (smart/interesting in some ways and fairly ordinary in others). Some people are turned off by the unusual bits and aren't fans; some people like the unusual bits but don't see enough to stick around; and for some people, the unusual bits are astonishing and worth a serious hardcore dedication. The latter group dislikes when other people attempt to place their particular loved thing in context, in part because a part of saying something like "Amanda Palmer is kind of like these seven other bands" is being somewhat apathetic towards each group being compared, and apathy is death to fandoms in general. We're seeing this even here, where some people are criticizing Amanda for things like business practices, and some people are responding with "But I love her music/she's really nice in person so fuck off!" There is a valid middle ground wherein you like certain things about Palmer and dislike other parts, but that middle ground will always sound too-critical to people who've decided to be in "the AFP camp" – which is irritating but understandable.

But this dynamic is exactly what I find interesting, and daq's comment gets at why that dynamic forms, and also at why Amanda Palmer is such a target of people's irritation. Amanda loves her fans, and seems awful fond of how many of her fans are convinced that, yes, she is a brilliant artist/voice of her generation. And she tries to be as out-there as possible so she can join in the enthusiasm and help spread it. She shares herself, "utterly and completely", and this powerful to people who feel they get something out of such a connection.

But the thing with being out there, utterly and completely, is that... well, that you've got to deal with the whole public, and the whole public is necessarily going to be a spectrum that also includes a lot of critics and skeptics and assholes and bigots and whathaveyou. Some of those people will have valid things to say; plenty of them will mean well. Others won't, or else they'll be too stupid to be worth bothering with. But these people combine to form a horde of negativity, as fierce as the horde of fans on the other end of the spectrum.

And Amanda, because she has this art-school enthusiasm, reacts pretty poorly to criticism. Writes essays about how much she hates negativity, tweets about how much she hates it, talks at live shows about hating it. She is deeply impacted by it. And she has a right to be, sure, but it's a little bit frustrating how little she acknowledges that this is what happens when you open up to hundreds of thousands of people: that is, that her approach to all this brought this on herself. And when she then turns and talks about how efficient the market is, how replicable her approach can be, how this is a viable path for artists... well, you get the sense that she hasn't put one and one together yet. That she won't talk directly about how the upside to her technique can't be removed from the downside. That the shitty things that drive her to Twitter rages are the only way she can keep herself aloft using her direct-fan-connection thingies.

There's a reason celebrities are traditionally aloof. There's a reason PR firms exist. There's a reason marketers do what they do. It's not because celebrities are assholes, PR people are evil, marketers are draining our souls. It's because dealing with crowds is really fucking difficult, it's an art unto itself, and learning to keep yourself detached from the individuals who comprise that crowd is crucial to keeping yourself sane.

Imagine you had, say, four people who made it their goal in life to hate you. Not fake-hate, the way we slowly come to despise certain coworkers or friends-of-friends or relatives, where there is some incompatibility along the line; I mean actual hate, as in they've seen enough of you to decide that they are opposed to your very existence, and they feel there's some good reason for them to voice this hatred, to you, to their friends, to random strangers. Just four. Those four people would be more than enough to overwhelm your life: they could ensure that you wouldn't go a day without hearing from each one of them, from having to talk about them or to them. They would make you utterly goddamn miserable, almost guaranteed. It is harder to shrug people off, much harder, than most people have to realize, because most people don't have to deal with direct, repeated, enduring hatred. Lucky them.

When you're a celebrity, you're dealing with something even trickier: a mass of people who like and dislike you for various reasons, each of whom has nuance behind their criticisms of you, but all of whom combine to form a Greek chorus of hating everything about you, seemingly indivisible because you only notice them when they're deciding to comment on you. The tricky thing is that these people aren't dedicated to hating you, but they'll dislike you more and more based on how you react to them. A minor criticism or irritation snowballs into a passionate dislike, not because your critics are all awful, but because oftentimes you simply don't understand where they're coming from, and your responses to them seem to ignore whatever valid points they feel like they're making.

What's even worse is that usually you're aware that things are falling apart. There's a kind of ringing-true that happens when somebody's negative response to you is valid: you're aware that something you said made things worse, even if you don't understand what the hell you did or why it did that. Blind hatred is easier to ignore than criticism from people who you suspect have a point, but don't have time to understand without devoting yourself to the cause of self-hatred.

This is all difficult. And this is why, traditionally, famous people stay far away from the people who love and hate and idolize and demonize them. It's not aloofness: it's an understanding that these people are not a part of your life. That treating them like they're people is fundamentally misinterpreting your relationship with them. And for a long time, the temptation to come closer to your fans and get to know them was a near-impossibility on any meaningful scale. Concerts are nowhere near the scale of Twitter, even the enormous ones – and it's not like musicians stop to meet every one of their fans after a show at Madison Square Garden. You couldn't talk to everybody there if you wanted to.

There is enormous potential in things like Twitter to forge connections between masses of people that simply couldn't have existed ten years ago. That's utterly exciting. But it's also dangerous, and it means that a lot of people like Amanda are learning the basics of PR on the fly, flinching at their every mistake, never detached enough from their own situation to understand what's going wrong. And it's even worse for Amanda, because she got started before the Internet era was in full-swing, and she didn't grow up learning all these lessons by heart. Compare her to somebody like Andrew Hussie, whose fans are a hundred times more fanatic, but who is an absolute pro at dealing with them with a mix of irony, authority, and vulnerability. Amanda's a hot mess, all twitchy reactions and impulse, whereas Andrew is so on top of his game that he can lecture his fans about their behavior in ways that make them like him even more.

This is all at the heart of why people find Amanda Palmer so bothersome. It's not just that she's irritating, it's not even just that her business practices are sometimes shady. It's that she's simultaneously taking advantage of Internet marketing and lecturing others about how to do it themselves, while it's pretty clear that she doesn't totally get it: she's not awful at it, but she makes a hell of a lot of mistakes, and she acts like she's a pro when she's not. To bring back the Lady Gaga comparison, Gaga is usually pretty great at addressing her fans but she occasionally slips up and says something stupid, yet she's so consistently good at acknowledging how utterly unprepared she is for her immense fan following that when she screws up it's a lot easier to forgive her. Amanda Palmer is arrogant, in her snarky way, and that doesn't make her any less awesome of a person or a musician but it means that once she rubs you the wrong way a little bit, you suddenly become aware of how many ways she sucks at handling all the people that're trying to connect to her, in a way that you're less likely to notice if you're mainly a fan.

I'll say that she's been aided in all of this by her considerable talents as a songwriter and a performer. She's not a favorite of mine, but she deserves to be where she is. I don't think that even the people who dislike her would deny that. In this case, it's not the music that's the problem, and it's not really even the person. It's the inability to handle thousands and thousands of people responsibly, which is a perfectly ordinary thing to suck at, but a thing which, if you suck at it, is by its nature noticed by thousands of people at once.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:27 PM on March 4, 2013 [47 favorites]


The Neil Gaiman hate makes me sad, though. American Gods was one of my favorite reads in middle school, and while his other stuff never quite clicked for me, I will always admire him for that one perfect read. It hasn't gotten worse yet in my rereads – held up better than Dean Koontz, anyway. Here's hoping the magic lasts for a little while longer. And he's such a nice man.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:29 PM on March 4, 2013 [8 favorites]


I believe the single most important feature of crowd funding usually get omitted from these discussions, namely that the consumers are fronting the money before production.

Amanda Palmer's label considered her music a flop because she only sold 25k records with whatever initial time period. Yet, a similar 25k people could back the entire production by paying in advance.

In an economic sense, the crowd funding system is vastly more efficient than borrowing the money because (a) the risks have been distributed not merely over 25k people, but over the 25k consumers most interested in bearing the risks for personal reasons, and (b) much less human labor was employed in the distribution process itself, i.e. no tallent scout, no loan officers, etc.

There is an enormous opportunity anytime you can bypass rent seeking industries like record labels and banks.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:01 AM on March 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think the arrogance that Rory mentions above will catch up with Amanda - mainly via the IRS in unreported income. I grimaced at every dollar she bragged about touching, every couched she fawned about sleeping on, every meal she appreciated about pinching since everyone one of them might be construed by The Man not as gifts but as Payment for Services Received, in this instance a musical art performance and now she was on TED telling everyone!!
posted by vonstadler at 6:04 AM on March 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


One thing that bugs me is the pre-paying aspect of the Kickstarter world ( I know that's the whole point of it, but bear with me) . . .
In the non-profit arts world (in which I often participate) the quality, and therefore the audience experience, is all over the place. The non-profit world is grant-driven, and the spoils go to those who are best familiar with the system, with the players, the rules, the lingo, etc. It favors insiders. And the quality-control mechanisms are inconsistent . . . the audiences would have to be aggressively non-passive to upset the apple cart.

In Kickstarter, the cult of personality is supreme. The artist (maker, entrepeneur, etc.) is not rewarded for their end product, but for who they are and for the anticipation of what they might do. The negative-feedback might come if their reputation changes or their next Kickstarter campaign fails, but that doesn't allow for nuanced response. You give money or you don't.

What bothers me in both instances is that, in trying to move away from the standard market model, we aren't necessarily getting better in terms of allowing real communication in the process . . . it's just different. It won't automatically improve anything, except, as AFP seems to be saying, making it easier for people to ask. There's no greater requirement of responsibility or quality built into it.

There are more ramifications in this rolling around in my head, but blah-blah-not-enough coffee- blah-blah . . .
posted by pt68 at 7:35 AM on March 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


"In Kickstarter, the cult of personality is supreme. The artist (maker, entrepeneur, etc.) is not rewarded for their end product, but for who they are and for the anticipation of what they might do."

Which is interesting, because for all it's nifty future-ocity it's arguably a throwback to the patronage system, albeit spread out over a bunch of people instead of one wealthy benefactor/chump.
posted by bardic at 7:46 AM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Rory Marinich, you really hit it right on the head. Your points are pretty much most of the same reasons I dislike her as a public figure.

Also, I just think she'd be fucking exhausting to be around for any length of time.
posted by Windigo at 9:04 AM on March 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd expect the kickstarter feedback cycle suffices since one kickstarter campaign funds only one project, although perhaps you could employ trickle funding through stuff like Flattr.

I'd agree that kickstarter requires more fervent fans support. And many talented artists inspire less fervent emotion or worse inspire only inspire only technical respect in other artists. Yet, acts succeeding via kickstarter might reduce this barrier slightly by reminding us where the funding comes from.

In mathematics, almost anyone who understand the grants process says we should switch to giving grants for completed work rather than grant proposals, meaning historical evidence suggests the negative feedback loop suffices there.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:11 AM on March 5, 2013


This is all at the heart of why people find Amanda Palmer so bothersome. It's not just that she's irritating, it's not even just that her business practices are sometimes shady. It's that she's simultaneously taking advantage of Internet marketing and lecturing others about how to do it themselves, while it's pretty clear that she doesn't totally get it: she's not awful at it, but she makes a hell of a lot of mistakes, and she acts like she's a pro when she's not. To bring back the Lady Gaga comparison, Gaga is usually pretty great at addressing her fans but she occasionally slips up and says something stupid, yet she's so consistently good at acknowledging how utterly unprepared she is for her immense fan following that when she screws up it's a lot easier to forgive her. Amanda Palmer is arrogant, in her snarky way, and that doesn't make her any less awesome of a person or a musician but it means that once she rubs you the wrong way a little bit, you suddenly become aware of how many ways she sucks at handling all the people that're trying to connect to her, in a way that you're less likely to notice if you're mainly a fan.

I think this analysis is wrong. Because if Amanda Palmer were better at PR --- smoother, more removed and distanced, slicker ---- she would no longer be authentic, no longer be as closely connected to the fans who do support her. The irritation of the non-fan toward the artist persona has an proportional relationship to the devotion of the fan. I don't know dick about this Andrew Hussie dude, maybe it's as you say --- but plenty of people hate Lady Gaga just as bad as they hate Amanda Palmer. Even under the traditional celebrity model, there are probably more people who can't stand Justin Bieber or One Direction than who adore them, and the vehemence of their hatred is spurred precisely by the mad devotion of the fan base.

That dynamic's always been there, but I think the difference with the Nouvea Celebrity model is that warts n all authenticity is an ineradicable component of the cult of personality you need to sustain. You must be willing to put yourself on a level with your fans to earn their trust. Once you start to get cagey, start to sound like a PR person, start to bullshit around the tricky stuff or only show the happy-clappy parts of your life, you cease to be real, and people no longer trust you. And that's death, because you're selling you, explicitly. Your words on twitter, your fuzzy filter camera phone shots on Instagram, your bitching about airline delays or excitement about your new kicks. Without that seasoning, a stream of info about tour dates a project-promos and cheerful pats on the back for fans is no longer interesting, because nobody gets the feeling they're really getting a peek behind the curtain, really seeing a piece of who you are.

Granted, some celebrities may not need to display as much intimate detritus to elicit sufficient monetizable affection from their fan base. Maybe you have actual physical products --- handrawn comic panels, animation cells --- that you can price at a low enough point and generate in sufficient numbers to provide an income stream. Maybe you don't need _that_ much money to do what you want to do. Then it's fine to keep your distance, a bit. But if you really want to tap that well over and over, they gotta really love you. You gotta let 'em kiss you on the mouth.
posted by Diablevert at 11:35 AM on March 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter : You gotta let 'em kiss you on the mouth.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:52 AM on March 5, 2013


She stayed friends with my daughter. She helped her get into her dream college. They still talk and text often.

Haters can suck it.

Amanda Fucking Palmer is, hands down, one of the nicest goddamn people I've ever met.


A common trope is for a villain to be shown appreciating the arts or being nice to pets or children to show that he's not all bad and has a human side. Think of Nicky in Casino making breakfast for his son after a night of murder or Dr. Doom's love for his mother. The fact that they love their kids or pets doesn't make them any less villainous. It just means they love their kids and pets.

While your story is very nice, all it proves is that Amanda Palmer is friendly with your daughter. That she sat on $1.2 million from a Kickstarter project and was originally inclined to pay musicians in beer and high-fives proves something else.
posted by Tanizaki at 3:10 PM on March 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


I doubt that she's either pure good or pure evil, but fortunately, it is not my place as a humble fellow human to judge the ultimate worth of her being.

There are a number of things about her approach to crowdsourcing that make me not want to follow her advice about it. It is good that she reversed her decision about paying the musicians on that infamous occasion. I still don't like certain things about her attitude. There are a number of things about her art that I also don't like - as in actually find objectionable, rather than that I just don't enjoy them.

I say this as someone who knows very little about her. I really only heard of her because of Neil Gaiman, who seemed for a while (maybe still does) to tweet only about her. I've seen enough of her actual work (Evelyn Evelyn? fake suicide/emotional abuse as "art"?) to think that the objections are justified and I do find them dealbreaking. Possibly I have her all wrong, but I'm not interested enough to keep looking. I've also seen enough to explain why she's such a polarizing person; I think the reasons people don't like her are substantial, not because she's a nonstereotypical woman.

Like I said, possibly I have her all wrong. Enough people have seen enough about her to admire, I doubt the good things are just a figment of their imagination, nor that she's the kind of grievous villain whose every action can be imputed to the worst possible motives and character.

Having said that, there's a definite type of person that inspires this kind of polarized reaction where people either love them or hate them. I tend not to want to be around them.

I tell you what she's not good at: PR. I barely know anything about this person and already I'm discussing her in a frame of ultimate judgement. I'm not of the school of thought that all publicity is good publicity. Rory Marinich is spot on.

Therefore, I don't think I'll be getting my information about crowdsourcing from her TED video.
posted by tel3path at 3:29 PM on March 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Look, I think it's fantastic that Amanda Palmer has built up such a devoted following by using social media and connecting with her fans; she's clearly savvy, smart, and talented. It's awesome that she's straightforward/no-nonsense/empowered/outspoken. I'm not super-familiar with her music, but I've liked some of the tunes I've heard by her.

Whether or not the album and tour used all 1.2 million dollars (or whether the money was spent on bathtubs full of caviar versus ramen noodles) is a bit of a red herring.

If she was touring in a broken down VW bus and paying her regular bandmates $25 a gig it would still have been tacky and exploitative to ask fans to play for free when she herself has said that art is still work and worthy of being paid for.
posted by usonian at 3:32 PM on March 5, 2013


A common trope is for a villain to be shown appreciating the arts or being nice to pets or children to show that he's not all bad and has a human side..While your story is very nice, all it proves is that Amanda Palmer is friendly with your daughter.

Dang; that's so cynical that as a snarky, native New Yorker I'm really jealous I hadn't thought of it first.
posted by kinetic at 8:18 AM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


By the way, all of my mild irritation for Amanda Palmer is nothing compared to my love for her songs Oasis and especially Sex Changes.

I only need about two Amanda Palmer songs in my life and I don't need them often, but I'm glad that they're there.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:18 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


As much shit as I talk about her, Coin Operated Boy and Girl Anachronism are both really great songs.

Sadly, it all ends there for me. That one Dresden Dolls album.
posted by Windigo at 1:23 PM on March 6, 2013


The Art Of Asking Why We Hate Amanda Palmer
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:11 PM on March 26, 2013 [3 favorites]


I agree 100% with that Rachel Edidin piece, the man of twists and turns, definitely a double standard here. Amanda Palmer isn't exploiting anybody. She's simply asking people who might profit emotionally or whatever. And here she simply explains her method, noting it's inspired by street performing.

There is no risk that Amanda Palmer becomes some new gatekeeper for young musicians. If you dislike here, then don't give her shit. If you like her music, but don't like her personally, just accept that paying-up-front via kickstarter is infinitely more efficient than paying rent seekers after the fact. It's more efficient precisely because her fans accept the risk that her next album might suck. By taking that trivial risk with her, they make it trivial for everyone involved and protect themselves from the music loan shark rent seekers.

As an aside, TED itself is the most problematic aspect of this post, and they just might become some gatekeeper, so we need a TED sucks post.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:26 AM on March 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


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