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Author Topic: So since there's this whole thing about Amanda asking for volunteers to play...  (Read 5512 times)

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Keatingface

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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?
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Pope Totalfrog

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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.
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IrritableBaker

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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.

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NikosGr

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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.
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BHA/Sarah

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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.
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Lace

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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:-X

And now I disappear from the conversation, lest I start hand-wringing.
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citizenoftheplanet

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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.

BHA/Sarah

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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:-X


I want to give your friend a massive high five right now!
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lucy

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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.
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Keatingface

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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!
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Kovacs

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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?
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lentower

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The NY Times article:
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://www.amandapalmer.net/blog/20120913/

Other responses:
* 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://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://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



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?
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lentower

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Mr. Leave Me Alone

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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.
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lucy

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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.
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