Yesterday I snarked hard in Amanda Palmer’s direction, commenting on the singer’s call for unpaid volunteers to fill out the live arrangement on her Theater Is Evil tour. Vigorous debate raged all throughout the internet following the original New York Times article as bloggers, fans, and world-famous producers chimed in on the situation. Now, one of Palmer’s volunteer musicians has published a thoughtful post on why she’s more than happy to play for free. San Francisco cellist Erica Mulkey, who performs as Unwoman, discusses how spending the day making music with one of her all-time favorite artists absolutely serves as valid compensation. She also questions the notion that performing music is always labor to be paid by the hour, no matter how much talent you may have. Says Mulkey:
The thing that bothers me the most about this debate is the people who guilt those who do work for free, as if we’re devaluing the work by doing so, as if we’re scabs. I am very firmly for labor unions, but playing a super-fun rock show is not at ALL the same as manual labor, or teaching. Or playing a corporate gig no one really wants to play. As soon as actual musical love and sparkly fame come into the picture, you’re looking at currency that’s not dollars. That currency is, in Amanda’s case, invisible to anyone who doesn’t love her music or want to play for her fans. But it’s real to us.
Head over to SF Weekly to read the full post–a healthy counterpoint to all the anti-Palmer vitriol that we’ve been hearing and spewing for the past day and a half. (Hat tip to Olga Nunes, who steered us in the direction of this article.)
Photo Credit: Audrey Penven via Flickr