Yesterday, the entire online world was in a fury over the revelation that Amanda Palmer is crowdsourcing many of her backup musicians on her tour and she isn’t able to pay them in hard cash. There was some clarification in order: Palmer does have a core group that she’s able to pay; she’s inviting musicians from the various cities she’s visiting to join her onstage, but she won’t be able to pay them, citing it as a “gift” to her fans. Palmer even responded to the kerfuffle, stating “If my fans are happy and my audience is happy and the musicians on stage are happy, where’s the problem?”
Well, some people still have a problem. We all knew he would weigh in at some point, because there’s no musical argument so inane that he won’t touch with his wisdom. Ladies and gentlemen, the one and only Steve Albini (via his website):
I have no fundamental problem with either asking your fans to pay you to make your record or go on tour or play for free in your band or gather at a mud pit downstate and sell meth and blowjobs to each other. I wouldn’t stoop to doing any of them myself, but horses for courses. The reason I don’t appeal to other people in this manner is that all those things can easily pay for themselves, and I value self-sufficiency and independence, even (or especially) from an audience.
If your position is that you aren’t able to figure out how to do that, that you are forced by your ignorance into pleading for donations and charity work, you are then publicly admitting you are an idiot, and demonstrably not as good at your profession as Jandek, Moondog, GG Allin, every band ever to go on tour without a slush fund or the kids who play on buckets downtown.
Pretty much everybody on earth has a threshold for how much to indulge an idiot who doesn’t know how to conduct herself, and I think Ms Palmer has found her audience’s threshold.
Honestly, I would have thought Albini would be on Palmer’s side since he’s all for cred/not selling out for money. But even he has to draw a line somewhere. [Stereogum]