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Amanda Palmer | The Dresden Dolls | Brian Viglione => General Discussion => Topic started by: Keatingface on September 12, 2012, 07:46:05 PM

Title: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: Keatingface on September 12, 2012, 07:46:05 PM
People are upset that horns and strings volunteers won't be paid in anything more than beer, high fives, and merch.
I know this isn't the greatest solution, but I want musicians to get paid, and keeping in themes of the kickstarter and AFP's ethos: How about fans pass around a hat of sorts to donate money to pay the musicians? It won't be a lot of money, but a few hundred fans giving $1 here, $5 there would be nice to show them how much their time and willingness to impart their musical ability means to us!

I'll be at the show in San Francisco, hopefully a few people can start doing this before then?
Thoughts?
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: Pope Totalfrog on September 12, 2012, 10:51:08 PM
That's a good idea. The Danger Ensemble did it when they toured with AFP in 2009. They did pretty well out of it too.
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: IrritableBaker on September 13, 2012, 12:30:14 AM
While there was no hat passing at webster hall last night, if there was, I would have thrown money in.

It annoys me to no end when people try to speak for others that can very well speak for themselves. If you don't want to work for free or volunteer your time, don't.

While I'm not a musician, I volunteered my time and money for the Brooklyn Art show. I'm a pastry chef, and I thought it would be fun and great to give back to a community I admired and loved. I reached out (and of course no one said no to free cupcakes and tiramisu) and they accepted.

I brought 700 miniature desserts to the gallery, set up and broke it down at the end of the night.

The best part? The entire band said thank you and appreciated it. The people there appreciated it. And months later at last nights show the band sang my praises again after the show.

I don't think for a second the musicians are undervalued or used because they show up for free. I think the band genuinely appreciates anything and everything people do for them and with them. I've seen it firsthand.

But I think its an individual choice, and it depends on how you want to get noticed or get your name out there. I think that applies to a lot of industries, whether you're an artist or a baker or whatever it is that you do.

I think if your passionate about what you do, you want to share it people, sometimes payment is a thank you and sometimes its a big fat check.

Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: NikosGr on September 13, 2012, 02:37:25 AM

I think if you' re passionate about what you do, you want to share it people, sometimes payment is a thank you and sometimes it's a big fat check.


my thoughts exactly!i don't understand why people can't ask for volunteers even when (or if) they have the money to pay for them anyway! I'm glad that fans of the band get to work with them and share that amazing experience. i would volunteer even to be a guy who just dances about on stage on Leeds United, or provides the back vocals on The Jeeep Song.
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: BHA/Sarah on September 13, 2012, 07:05:04 AM
People are upset that horns and strings volunteers won't be paid in anything more than beer, high fives, and merch.

but isn't merch worth money? (sometimes a Lot), beer is worth money too (unless it's a free bar)


I understand what you're saying, and it's great that people want artists to get paid, but like others have said it is their choice.
Personally I'd love to support and help out for these one-off events, not because I expect anything back, it would definitely come from a place of pleasure not business.
for those people whose main motivation is money, they can simply refuse.

passing the hat may be a nice compromise, but having talked to someone who had an issue about the volunteers last night, they said as long as the volunteer musicians were getting paid a single dollar then it's fine. And to me a single dollar would be more insulting than knowing straight up the appearance is voluntary. But I don't expect everyone to have the same opinion on this, however as IrritableBaker pointed out with their story there are definitely perks to doing things just because you want to.
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: Lace on September 13, 2012, 08:38:02 AM
I don't have a talent at any of the instruments they need, but honestly I would have jumped at the chance to be on stage and a part of the performance and jam with AFP and the GTO if I had done. Free booze and free merch would have come as a surprise and a bonus perk; the experience, for me, would be its own payment. I have to assume that if people want to be paid for it, they just won't volunteer.

Honestly I find the whole argument rather upsetting, and for this reason I haven't checked up on all the specific details. If the musicians were promised payment and not given it, I would understand the furore, but if they volunteered and knew the score... I mean are any of the musicians the ones protesting? I have the impression that this is just the same sort of thing she's always done, asking if people want to join in and help out in exchange for an unforgettable experience. She's been doing this for years. When the Dolls toured down under they got bass players from every city, all of whom were loudly praised and thanked, but I don't think any of them were paid and as someone in the audience I didn't expect that they would be.

She's such a generous person with her time and her love and her energy, and it's easy to be generous back with the same (and more besides, as we know from the success of the KS). It really bothers me that people are seeing this as AFP being selfish rather than generosity being met with generosity, people giving their time for an experience with an artist they love that they might never get again.

A friend of mine got so upset and had such a big row with people about it on Facebook that she wrote a song about it (http://chizchizchiz.tumblr.com/post/31458504852/hey-i-made-a-song-for-the-amanda-palmer).  :-X

And now I disappear from the conversation, lest I start hand-wringing.
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: citizenoftheplanet on September 13, 2012, 09:07:40 AM
I don't understand *at all* why people are complaining. Amanda is asking for volunteers - the same as she always has done. As an example, the Roundhouse DVD has about 10-15 audience members singing in The Jeep Song. Should all of them be paid? Is anyone kicking up a fuss about them? I read a comment somewhere that had it right - it's because Amanda has gained a bigger following now, she seems to be expected to do less voluntary/fan/love-based things, and do things "officially".

If you don't like the system she has in place, don't volunteer. She isn't forcing anyone to play, and she isn't berating the people who are choosing not to play. If you can play the instruments required, and are in the place you are required, but you want to be paid, then just don't volunteer. If other people are happy to volunteer and not be paid, then why the fuck is it any of your business?

In a way it reminds me of social justice warriors, getting offended on behalf of someone. Even when it's nothing to do with them, they'll complain that it's not right and it's unfair. But if the musicians weren't happy, they just wouldn't do it.

I saw someone on a facebook post complaining that it's 'insulting' that she's doing this, since people are trying to make a living through working as musicians. And that's great. But... so what? Amanda isn't stopping anyone from earning money. If you're trying to earn money, then continue earning money. You just don't volunteer, let someone else do it.

And, as others have said, I would fucking love to share a stage with AFP and the GTO. Alas, the only instruments I play are piano and uke, which Amanda has covered already. But if I played anything else, I would jump at the chance to get up there.
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: BHA/Sarah on September 13, 2012, 11:36:09 AM

A friend of mine got so upset and had such a big row with people about it on Facebook that she wrote a song about it (http://chizchizchiz.tumblr.com/post/31458504852/hey-i-made-a-song-for-the-amanda-palmer).  :-X


I want to give your friend a massive high five right now!
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: lucy on September 13, 2012, 12:25:45 PM
I seriously don't get why people are complaining about this. Sure, if Amanda was making false promises or betraying the musicians who play with her in any way I'd understand, but she's made it clear from the start that this is voluntary work. If a musician doesn't want to play for free, then they don't have to. It's not like she made professional musicians play for free, she asked if any of her fans wanted the opportunity to play with her. Plus, you get to meet her, attend the gig for free, get merch and whatever else. Seems like a good deal to me. Plus, it's not like Amanda can easily afford to pay a strings section and brass section for every show. Okay fine if she'd spent less on recording the album, manufacturing and nothing on the art then she could, but that's her choice to make. So many people online seem to have no understanding that most of the kickstarter money has been/will be spent on things directly related to the album. It's not like Amanda's just keeping it all to herself. And even if she could easily afford it, it is still her choice. She has the right to make money off of this record.

And passing around a hat for tips would be great, I'd definitely give the musicians some money. Like froggie said, the Danger Ensemble did it as well, and at least at the gigs that I attended people were very willing to help them out.
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: Keatingface on September 13, 2012, 02:29:33 PM
While I'm not a musician, I volunteered my time and money for the Brooklyn Art show. I'm a pastry chef, and I thought it would be fun and great to give back to a community I admired and loved. I reached out (and of course no one said no to free cupcakes and tiramisu) and they accepted.

I was at the Brooklyn art show and your desserts were amazing! Thank you so much for your time and effort, I definitely loved them!
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: Kovacs on September 13, 2012, 08:11:12 PM
I'm not sure the responses so far are grasping the point. I agree that the volunteers aren't being exploited, they're making their own choice and I'm sure they're happy about it. But the musicians that aren't being paid that would otherwise have had the job, that's who's losing out.

There's a very similar argument in photography. People get free photos all the time from folks who are either enthusiasts, or who are building a portfolio. With the increase in the badassness of digital cameras, it's possible to get decently high quality material for free relatively consistently (AP also gets this fairly consistently). Ultimately it hurts the photogs who are trying to make a living, which hurts the entire industry.

If she can't afford to pay musicians, then she either budgeted with the idea of spending <3 capital instead, or didn't budget correctly. Where the money went (back to her or into the record) doesn't really matter (personally I doubt she'd just keep it, it probably went to the record and/or touring).

But, lots of musicians make their living playing with bands that tour through their cities. This is hurting them directly. I'm not sure that can be disagreed with. And it's especially galling to see given such a large budget. You would think she would want to give back to the industry, and hire independent musicians.

I mean, right? Anyone can ask for volunteers, at any point in their career or life, regardless of finances. Ultimately it's the choice of person who decides to help if they do or not. But if you have the means, you should pay for it, to support your comrades. Like folks have supported her.

Right?
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: lentower on September 13, 2012, 08:27:50 PM
The NY Times article:
http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/12/rockers-playing-for-beer-fair-play/ (http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/12/rockers-playing-for-beer-fair-play/)
(It was published in the printed/paper edition on page C1 of the Art's Section on Thurs 13 Sept 2012.)
You can read the comments at the bottom,
& add your own.

Some of Amanda's responses:
* http://amandapalmer.tumblr.com/post/31464255930/poetic-placement-of-the-day-the-new-york-times (http://amandapalmer.tumblr.com/post/31464255930/poetic-placement-of-the-day-the-new-york-times)
* http://www.amandapalmer.net/blog/20120913/ (http://www.amandapalmer.net/blog/20120913/)

Other responses:
* http://vampirefreaks.com/journal_comment.php?entry=7905888 (http://vampirefreaks.com/journal_comment.php?entry=7905888)
* http://blogs.sfweekly.com/shookdown/2012/09/why_im_fine_with_playing_for_amanda_palmer_for_free_by_sf_cellist_unwoman.php (http://blogs.sfweekly.com/shookdown/2012/09/why_im_fine_with_playing_for_amanda_palmer_for_free_by_sf_cellist_unwoman.php)
* http://pitchfork.com/news/47845-steve-albini-slams-amanda-palmer-for-asking-fans-to-play-in-her-band-for-free/ (http://pitchfork.com/news/47845-steve-albini-slams-amanda-palmer-for-asking-fans-to-play-in-her-band-for-free/)
* http://www.negativland.com/news/?page_id=17 (http://www.negativland.com/news/?page_id=17)
* http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/index.php/archives/2012/09/13/the-amanda-palmer-kerfuffle/ (http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/index.php/archives/2012/09/13/the-amanda-palmer-kerfuffle/)
* http://kylecassidy.tumblr.com/post/31499894926/on-the-grand-theft-of-an-orchestra (http://kylecassidy.tumblr.com/post/31499894926/on-the-grand-theft-of-an-orchestra)



Comments I made elsewhere, to someone who felt Amanda should be paying
(I have not read this thread)

* Should ticket holding audience members who come up on stage at the request of a performer to help out in some way for a few moments be paid?

* Amanda gives these sit-in musicians free admission for themselves and a reasonable number of guests, an ALL-ACCESS pass including the refreshments in the green room, and time with her. All of those are compensation. They are on stage for only a few numbers, and get to enjoy the show the rest of the time.

* Being on stage with a well-know musician has value. Amanda names the people on stage with her. More compensation.

* Should a musician stop adding to her act, when she is out of budget? Especially when the point of the show is to have fun, entertain, as well as create and share art? Should that all stop, when the money stops?
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: lentower on September 13, 2012, 09:49:10 PM
from 2008:
http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/00016299.html (http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/00016299.html)
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: Mr. Leave Me Alone on September 14, 2012, 05:20:24 AM
I'm not sure the responses so far are grasping the point. I agree that the volunteers aren't being exploited, they're making their own choice and I'm sure they're happy about it. But the musicians that aren't being paid that would otherwise have had the job, that's who's losing out.

There's a very similar argument in photography. People get free photos all the time from folks who are either enthusiasts, or who are building a portfolio. With the increase in the badassness of digital cameras, it's possible to get decently high quality material for free relatively consistently (AP also gets this fairly consistently). Ultimately it hurts the photogs who are trying to make a living, which hurts the entire industry.

If she can't afford to pay musicians, then she either budgeted with the idea of spending <3 capital instead, or didn't budget correctly. Where the money went (back to her or into the record) doesn't really matter (personally I doubt she'd just keep it, it probably went to the record and/or touring).

But, lots of musicians make their living playing with bands that tour through their cities. This is hurting them directly. I'm not sure that can be disagreed with. And it's especially galling to see given such a large budget. You would think she would want to give back to the industry, and hire independent musicians.

I mean, right? Anyone can ask for volunteers, at any point in their career or life, regardless of finances. Ultimately it's the choice of person who decides to help if they do or not. But if you have the means, you should pay for it, to support your comrades. Like folks have supported her.

Right?

I don't totally disagree with you, but you're kind of making some assumptions here about what she would be doing if she wasn't taking on volunteers. If she seriously can't afford it (and let's be real, it's not that unlikely even if she did make a fair bit of money through Kickstarter, that is paying several different extra people for every show which would definitely come up to a LOT), it could well end in her just not having those extra people or asking friends to do it. We don't know.

I also think audience members going up on-stage is totally different because...you know...people don't really usually get paid for that kind of thing. It's not like they're professional dancers (unless they are, but this isn't a professional dancing situation). No one makes a living off of being invited on-stage with someone they admire in the middle of a show.
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: lucy on September 14, 2012, 09:20:03 AM
I'm not sure the responses so far are grasping the point. I agree that the volunteers aren't being exploited, they're making their own choice and I'm sure they're happy about it. But the musicians that aren't being paid that would otherwise have had the job, that's who's losing out.

There's a very similar argument in photography. People get free photos all the time from folks who are either enthusiasts, or who are building a portfolio. With the increase in the badassness of digital cameras, it's possible to get decently high quality material for free relatively consistently (AP also gets this fairly consistently). Ultimately it hurts the photogs who are trying to make a living, which hurts the entire industry.

If she can't afford to pay musicians, then she either budgeted with the idea of spending <3 capital instead, or didn't budget correctly. Where the money went (back to her or into the record) doesn't really matter (personally I doubt she'd just keep it, it probably went to the record and/or touring).

But, lots of musicians make their living playing with bands that tour through their cities. This is hurting them directly. I'm not sure that can be disagreed with. And it's especially galling to see given such a large budget. You would think she would want to give back to the industry, and hire independent musicians.

I mean, right? Anyone can ask for volunteers, at any point in their career or life, regardless of finances. Ultimately it's the choice of person who decides to help if they do or not. But if you have the means, you should pay for it, to support your comrades. Like folks have supported her.

Right?

I don't totally disagree with you, but you're kind of making some assumptions here about what she would be doing if she wasn't taking on volunteers. If she seriously can't afford it (and let's be real, it's not that unlikely even if she did make a fair bit of money through Kickstarter, that is paying several different extra people for every show which would definitely come up to a LOT), it could well end in her just not having those extra people or asking friends to do it. We don't know.
I was about to comment on that but you beat me to it. I get your (Kovacs) point and if Amanda would definitely have hired musicians instead of having these volunteers then I do agree with you. However, I think that if Amanda had not opted to get volunteers, that she wouldn't have the same amount of musicians performing with her. Maybe even none at all (apart from Michael, Chad and Jherek). I obviously can't be sure about this as I don't think Amanda has said anything about this specifically, but I think that if she would have chosen to pay the musicians who perform a few songs with her, that she would've gone for less musicians on stage, or having them play less songs, or even not having them at all. IF that is the case, than no one is really losing out, in my opinion.
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: BATTEREDxBRIDExLUVR! on September 14, 2012, 05:36:06 PM
I'm not sure the responses so far are grasping the point. I agree that the volunteers aren't being exploited, they're making their own choice and I'm sure they're happy about it. But the musicians that aren't being paid that would otherwise have had the job, that's who's losing out.

There's a very similar argument in photography. People get free photos all the time from folks who are either enthusiasts, or who are building a portfolio. With the increase in the badassness of digital cameras, it's possible to get decently high quality material for free relatively consistently (AP also gets this fairly consistently). Ultimately it hurts the photogs who are trying to make a living, which hurts the entire industry.

If she can't afford to pay musicians, then she either budgeted with the idea of spending <3 capital instead, or didn't budget correctly. Where the money went (back to her or into the record) doesn't really matter (personally I doubt she'd just keep it, it probably went to the record and/or touring).

But, lots of musicians make their living playing with bands that tour through their cities. This is hurting them directly. I'm not sure that can be disagreed with. And it's especially galling to see given such a large budget. You would think she would want to give back to the industry, and hire independent musicians.

I mean, right? Anyone can ask for volunteers, at any point in their career or life, regardless of finances. Ultimately it's the choice of person who decides to help if they do or not. But if you have the means, you should pay for it, to support your comrades. Like folks have supported her.

Right?

I honestly didn't get any of this until reading your post, and can now say that my position is significantly different. So, thank you.
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: Musings on September 14, 2012, 07:07:58 PM
I think the point that sticks with me bit is that Amanda is hiring musicians for some cities - where she doesn't want to take a risk, like New York.  If this was a true, I want to make this awesome "We are the media.  We are the orchestra.  We are all a part of the art." statement, there wouldn't be some cities where the artists are paid, and some where they are not.

It's almost as if a well established artist in NYC with ties to Amanda is getting rewarded whereas a lesser known artist who wants a paying gig in Minnesota gets screwed.  And the idea that an background violinist in a more rural, apparently lower stakes venue will get a great deal of exposure and publicity out of this is, at best, idealistic.  Which, of course, is not why the unpaid artist will play, in the end.  But it is also why some of the folks who worked hard for their talent will skip out on this and will bristle at the suggestion.
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: Miss Sahara on September 15, 2012, 04:59:34 PM
^ thats an interesting point. i also wonder, it seemed like amanda did really care to pay all the visual artists that contributed to the album/project properly and if i understand correctly, some of them were professionals and some were friends or other people that don't earn their living by doing visual art. so why is this different?
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: RoRi23 on September 15, 2012, 07:17:53 PM
I think the point that sticks with me bit is that Amanda is hiring musicians for some cities - where she doesn't want to take a risk, like New York.  If this was a true, I want to make this awesome "We are the media.  We are the orchestra.  We are all a part of the art." statement, there wouldn't be some cities where the artists are paid, and some where they are not.

It's almost as if a well established artist in NYC with ties to Amanda is getting rewarded whereas a lesser known artist who wants a paying gig in Minnesota gets screwed.  And the idea that an background violinist in a more rural, apparently lower stakes venue will get a great deal of exposure and publicity out of this is, at best, idealistic.  Which, of course, is not why the unpaid artist will play, in the end.  But it is also why some of the folks who worked hard for their talent will skip out on this and will bristle at the suggestion.

I think there is an important difference.
In those cases where Amanda approaches specific persons and asks them to play she offers wages.
In those cases where the band is willing to take a risk and offer unspecific fans the opportunity to be part of the band, these fans get the opportunity to play, beer and hugs.
Paying the people she knows is not too difficult, she knows their qualification and the usual rates. But what is the proper rate for a fan? Does it depend on how good they are? Do you wait until they've proven their worth?
To me her solution to offer them the possibility to be part of something they love for the love of it, seems a much better idea.

And yes, I understand that the band may want to play it safe in some places and be more inclined to take a risk in others. In my opinion this doesn't make the experience of the volunteers any less valuable.
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: Musings on September 15, 2012, 08:24:06 PM
From Amanda's blog:

Quote
you need to know how to ACTUALLY, REALLY PLAY YOUR INSTRUMENT! lessons in fifth grade do not count, so please include in your email some proof of that (a link to you playing on a real stage would be great, or a resume will
do. just don’t LIE…you’ll be embarrassed if you show up for rehearsal and everyone’s looking at you wondering why you can’t actually play the trombone.)

So... when I submit a resume or a piece of writing, and based on that resume and work I am hired, I get paid for it.  I am salaried based on my years of experience and other evidence of my skills and talents, and I am paid for the assumption that I can perform well based on the materials I provided.

You could actually look at her paying for the cities where she doesn't want to take a risk as a flaw in the reverse, too.  Surely NYC has a large enough and diverse fanbase that there would be players who would want to volunteer and get up on stage, and be skilled enough to do so.

On the other hand, professionals with established work and resumes in other cities other than NYC (which I use as the example solely because she provided it), who Amanda and her bandmates don't know personally but could prove evidence of their talent, are getting shafted.

Either it's all about the "fan experience" in which case, any Joe from any place (with even less than a 5th grade talent) gets to get up and play, just like people get pulled from the audience, or it's about encouraging talent and work and yes, financially and promotionally supporting the talent of the people who are currently lower down on the totem pole but working hard to move up.

Additionally, I was a little annoyed when I saw that Amanda tweeted the names of her bandmate, Jheref, her paid opener, Ronald Reagan, and even Adam from www.headcount.org (why do I know that address-- because Amanda tweeted it), but only named her "crowdsourced horn players".  At least do them the dignity of recognizing/promoting them the same way you're promoting your paid players, if not promoting and recognizing them even more.

Edit: I see now that she did finally get to recognizing them on her tumblr and twitter, so I retract that last paragraph, but will leave it in for archive's sake.
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: lentower on September 16, 2012, 01:45:35 AM
In the Dresden Dolls days,
should Brigaders who came on stage
(I believe some of this was set up before the shows),
have been paid?
(Perhaps it was paid for some brigaders at times. 
Most of this was before I was a fan. 
Please feel free to let us know what really went on.)


Beyond free admission to the shows, etc. - that is,
the same kind of compensation, the volunteer musicians
for this TiE/GTO show are getting?
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: NikosGr on September 16, 2012, 02:01:56 AM
so many artists benefited from Amanda's kickstarter. it's not like she had to save every struggling artist out there. there is the idea that people who need work and money are being replaced by unpaid volunteers but that could also mean that amanda wouldn't be able to pay for every show's musician and the horn and string section would be empty in some cities. i'd rather she gave an amazing show exactly in the way she envisioned it with volunteers who love what they do and don't care whether they're being paid or not (or maybe they even want to be paid in merch, beer, free entrance to the gig, playing on the same stage with their idol, etc), than do an incomplete show due to money restrictions.

also the strongest argument in favor of amanda, is that she's introduced her fanbase to some fantastic performers, bands, artists, that we wouldn't have known otherwise. and those artists got to build a stronger fanbase of their own.if i was a professional musician i'd love to have on my resume that i've played as part of amanda's band!

i'm so sad that this kickstarter success will follow her for the rest of her life, but in most cases will be used against her. she shook up the system on her own, but the well established system knows how to fight back.

i don't know why people fight volunteering so much. it would be despicable if they were promised money and never got them. but i really don't see what's the harm in this.
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: lentower on September 16, 2012, 05:06:44 AM
Most of you are probably aware of Diderot's "Breaking the 4th wall" in regards to theatre (incorrectly attributed to Brecht), and that Amanda likes breaking it.

Any comments about what this means for who gets paid, and who pays?
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: Musings on September 16, 2012, 07:36:31 AM
Re:NikosGr,

I think one of the biggest reasons that Amanda has be criticized is that she (for better or for worse, and certainly with good intentions) has been transparent with her budget, and some of those who are familiar with the music industry are concerned that Amanda is either budgeting too extravagently (i.e., paying for some things which are less important and not paying for others that are).  I'm not arguing too much on the basis of budget because I have no idea how musical tours are budgeted and so don't feel comfortable responding on that end, except to say, my gosh, what would this tour have been if Amanda only raised her goal amount of Kickstarter money?

Kovacs spoke more eloquently about the harm to professionals in the cities in Amanda's  tour, and I think his argument is far stronger than mine.  If we took his argument further, Len, the difference between Brigaders and professional musicians, is that Brigaders often did not get the main source of their income from playing with touring musicians, as professional musicians might.  Also, I would argue that Brigaders should have been paid in a similar fashion to as they would on the street -- hat at their feet.

My biggest concern is with the inherent inequality of the current system, of having some cities with paid musicians hired and others with unpaid musicians volunteering.  Perhaps it is because I teach 11 year olds, but I'm very tuned into "fairness" and that doesn't quite seem "fair" to me, especially to musicians who want a paying gig in the unpaid cities.

I'm also interested in why Amanda, who is usually resourceful, isn't doing a hat collection (or at least hasn't mentioned one yet) for her musician-fans, which worked out pretty well for The Danger Ensemble.  She's also one of the few people who could have probably opened a "Sponser the Horn Players, and We'll Sing Your Name in a Song and Video It" link and have people donate enough money.  Really, I imagine there are people attending concerts who would be more than happy to pay a bit to a talented musician, and all that needs to be done is a bit of lowering the obstacles to getting the money to them... and asking.
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: RoRi23 on September 16, 2012, 08:55:41 AM
In my opinion Amanda has answered all of these questions in her blog in the open letter to Amy.

Among other things she wrote that the whole thing is a work in progress and that they are paying attention to how the volunteers feel about this, how the tour develops and how their budget planning compares to the actual income.

But what struck me as more important is the fact that I understand why she'd rather play with amateurs who love to be there than with people for whom it's work.

It is my understanding the whole thing is not only about the budget but about giving fans the opportunity to be a part of something extraordinary.
To me that is a choice she has every right to make.
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: Musings on September 16, 2012, 09:18:06 AM
To me that is a choice she has every right to make.

Truth. 

And a choice others have every right to criticize.  I don't think too many people are arguing that Amanda shouldn't be allowed to do what she is doing, only that they disagree with it.  At least that's where I'm coming from. 

I do think that there is an interesting argument coming up about the place of power and relative success that Amanda is entering these days, and whether with that power comes more of a responsibility.  (Not setting a precedent that other artists will follow to expect instrumentalists to volunteer to pay for free).  Not many artists have that burden, but Amanda does phrase her Kickstarter and social media as a way she hoped the music industry in general would change.  However, maybe Amanda does want to shake up the system so that musician-fans can come and be a part of the show.  In which case, I disagree with the way she's implementing that.  That's all.

Also, this is all rather good publicity for the lady's CD and tour, if we go by the all publicity is good publicity motto, and that most of the fans who would have gone to the tour are not leaving in droves because of this incident, and hopefully others are discovering her rather excellent CD.

Quote
I'd rather be at a party where everyone's throwing at shit at each other than in an empty room.
- Amanda Palmer

Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: RoRi23 on September 16, 2012, 01:48:18 PM
And a choice others have every right to criticize.  I don't think too many people are arguing that Amanda shouldn't be allowed to do what she is doing, only that they disagree with it.  At least that's where I'm coming from.

Your criticism made me think which I always appreciate (as opposed to quite a few of the comments on the blog which made me cringe).

I doubt the precedence theory, though. I think that many artists have neither the same connection to their fans, nor are they willing to take the risk that asking volunteers to play entails.

It's difficult for me to imagine that it will be Amanda's example that'll be other musicians' ruin. I would assume that the inability to adjust to changing business models poses a far greater risk.

I have to admit to a good deal of ignorance as far as the situation of professional musicians is concerned, though. Are there so many of them, that they can't make a decent living?
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: CeeGBee on September 16, 2012, 11:24:52 PM
My two-cents-worth, offered for free as a voluntary contribution:

If Amanda is going to  be satisfied with  "amateur" playing at her show, then three cheers
for letting fans contribute their talents to the overall experience, and don't worry, I'm sure
everyone  in  the  audience understands, and the heightened fan/artist intimacy will more
than make up for any technical deficiency in the show.

If, on the other hand, she asks/expects a professional "product", she should
arrange for properly-compensated professional musicians.

How many of you have [like]-d someone's little Facebook meme that looked something like this:
(http://jordanmay.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/i-dont-work-for-free2.jpg)
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: Mr. Leave Me Alone on September 17, 2012, 07:44:09 AM
I'm pretty sure I've liked that picture or something very similar.
As an artist, I often offered people for things or really cheap if I like them and/or am really into their ideas. I don't make any more or less money than I did before I started doing that because I decide when it is appropriate and it has helped with getting more people to contact me for stuff. Partly because people go off and tell their friends and partly because I have more to show them when I ask.
Working for free occasionally is my choice, if I felt like I was taking work from someone else, I probably wouldn't. But I don't. A lot of my art goes to people around my age who have no money, people up to around 10 years older than me, or parents. Not huge art buyers. Because of this, I actually frequently offer people lower prices based on their situation if I'm aware of it (which I sooometimes am, because some of them have been following me and chatting with me since I started another project a while ago). I DO actually do pretty well with sales compared to a couple other artists I know who put out a similar amount of work each month. I don't make enough money to live off of, but fuck, even if I didn't do this I still wouldn't. Because I'm starting out, which is why it's important that people who might buy from me know that I'm nice and I will help you and I will enjoy painting something pretty for you.
Ultimately, I decide what I am doing and who I am doing it for and how much I want for it and sometimes that is indeed nothing. And if someone asks me to do something, I'll probably consider it. And that doesn't mean anyone else has to. A LOT of people disagree with me, but that is their thing and they don't have to do ANYTHING.
I mean, it's a TOTALLY different situation, but agreeing with that image doesn't necessarily mean never ever doing anything for free or because you love it.

Something a little closer to the topic that still ties in with mine: what about all the artists who submitted to the tarot deck? Sure, it didn't actually happen, but we did that because we loved the idea and wanted to do it and I don't know if anyone was paid, but I was directly asked to contribute and I wasn't.

(I know, super rambly. I just took my meds for the first time in a week so I'm feeling a little SPECIAL. I hope you can drag my point out of there and that it didn't come off as aggressive.)
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: Miss Sahara on September 17, 2012, 04:29:49 PM
so i was thinking:
Amanda is taking and has always taken donations in money form. (and sometimes A LOT it seems)
SO, if someone wants to give time or talent instead of money how is that bad? Are money donations allowed but other stuff isn't?? but if it is, the idea of collecting donations for the musicians from the audience makes no sense... in this context it seems like accepting money donations to pay for musicians and by that replacing the time/talent donations...
The tip-idea generally doesn't sit completely right with me, for the reason, that if i pay to see a concert i feel like...the music should be included. and asking for further tips feels kinda not ok (back to the budget-problem!). then again, the "tip-culture" in other countries might be different. also it's certainly nicer to pay less entrance fees and let people who can donate money so the musicians are payed, than to do it gaga-style and include everything in a €90 ticket. community orientation?!


EDIT:
re: Artists who volunteer voluntarily (haha)

i don't think the problem lies in the artists accepting free work, but in the offer itself. because artists do already have a hard time proving that their art is worth money (hence the facebook graphics!), and such offers reinforce this state.
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: Mr. Leave Me Alone on September 17, 2012, 05:22:57 PM
You might be right about the offering thing, but it's how I personally have always done things. I like making people happy and giving them things that they love (I also give away books and CDs like, constantly. It's amazing I still get things that I want and don't live in the gutter, but that's probably because people are nice to people who are nice to them). So I'm not about to stop because of this.
Not everyone has to agree with me either, though. Not everyone has to like it.

I'm clearly like, completely self obsessed and will stop writing about myself after this: I do actually not work mostly for free or anything. It's just that sometimes a request is so good and you want to do it even if the person can't afford to pay you for it. Or if someone has done things for you or things that you like and you want to return the favour or show them how much you appreciate what they've done.

I think there are good sides and bad sides to this whole situation. I mostly do not care about what is going on because I am not very 'with it' when it comes to things like this. I just wish that it could have been left at 'EVERYONE GETS TO DO WHATEVER THEY WANT.'
I was quite disappointed to read that some musicians in some cities are being paid. I DO think it makes sense to not be able to afford to pay EVERYONE but really, really want to work with certain people who will not work for free, but I also don't view it as 'fair'.
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: Reznore on September 17, 2012, 06:26:11 PM
I don't really care about the whole issue , i think internet just mostly like drama ...

But I did read Amanda 's "explanation" post , and well I can't say I agree with her 100%.

She hired some "professional" musician for show like NYC , and said she did pay them , they're friends etc...

On the other hand , she ask fans to "work "for her for free (OK they got hugs ).
She ask the people who apply to be somewhat professional , come for rehearsal etc...

I think my problem is some people get paid , some people don't get paid.
They basically do the same amount of work.

Even if those fan are happy to do it , I don't think that's fair.

She's not just dragging people on stage , to hit on a salad bowl and have fun .

Now I'm not saying Amanda did it with evil intentions at all , I think it was more of a party kind of idea.
But the truth is sometimes you abuse people generosity without wanting to .

It's like I need to paint my house , and for the front I hire professional cause i want my house to look pretty.
Of course I pay them.
Then for the back , I knock on my neighbor door , that guy who have a crush on me and ask him to paint the back , I don't pay him but hey I give him a beer and smile at him so the guy's happy.

 I would feel bad about that.Maybe that's just me.

Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: Musings on September 19, 2012, 05:12:26 AM

It's like I need to paint my house , and for the front I hire professional cause i want my house to look pretty.
Of course I pay them.
Then for the back , I knock on my neighbor door , that guy who have a crush on me and ask him to paint the back , I don't pay him but hey I give him a beer and smile at him so the guy's happy.

I like this metaphor lots.
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: Mr. Leave Me Alone on September 19, 2012, 06:59:07 AM
That is a pretty fantastic way to describe it.
I personally cannot argue with it but I do wish that I could.
I applaud you.
Title: Re: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...
Post by: Procrastinateher on November 17, 2012, 06:39:30 PM
I went to a Dresden Dolls concert earlier this year. There were paid musicians - support acts like the Jane Austen Argument, so perhaps not paid directly by AFP, but still paid nonetheless.
Then there was an unpaid volunteer, nominated by my friend via Twitter. He was wonderful, played a couple of songs and got the whole experience of being on-stage with the Dolls in front of an audience that probably wouldn't have heard him play otherwise.

I guess to some, the volunteer part would seem slack: "Oh, I forgot I need a musician for this tour, I'll go source one for free from the internet!" Most of us know that, like it or not, Amanda Palmer tends to just be that sort of spontaneous person; just look at all the ninja gigs.

But I ask you this: if you are an independent musician, hence don't have access to your record company's whole touring/promotion/organisation section (does Amanda even have a tour manager?), then how DO you find and organise a new musician for each gig in each city, AND settle on a fair payment reflecting skill etc. that gets to them?

Without spending hours/days/weeks/months out of every year doing auditions and all the rest of it for every single city, trawling through all the "pick me!" correspondence to find the right musician for what you want to do for that particular show... time that could be better spent creating and rehearsing.


I'd like to think that she is giving a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to some of the many musicians I know, who play the occasional gig at the local pub/cafe/music spot/local festival/youth centre car park when they can, returning to their other jobs the next day because on their busiest ticketed gig they'd be lucky to get $5000 spent on tickets (which then has to divided between the venue, other bands etc).


Compared to a corporate career, these volunteer positions are surely the unpaid internships/work experience of the music industry.


If Amanda did pay her volunteers, perhaps there would be some stagnation to her shows; the same people playing the same venues and instruments, so many people that aren't getting the opportunity I guess Amanda would have wanted when she was a street performer.