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Author Topic: The Grand Theft Controversy  (Read 8611 times)

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thestrand

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The Grand Theft Controversy
« on: September 13, 2012, 11:49:43 AM »

http://www.webinknow.com/2012/09/entrenched-music-business-hates-free-content-again-blasting-amanda-palmer.html

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/12/rockers-playing-for-beer-fair-play/?hp


What does everybody here think? As a non-musician (but still a quasi-professional artist), I agree with Amanda's point exactly. This is for one night, and it's more about giving your fans an amazing opportunity to play onstage with their hero. Everybody's happy, everybody gets beer. What's the problem?

(I also made the mistake of reading some of the comments from the prefix article. So hateful!  :'(
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N.U.

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2012, 12:22:03 PM »

Anyone who bucks the RIAA mob-encouraged (seriously, look at the RIAA's tactics) system has to deal with this criticism, but so long as you know where it originates, there should be no issue knowing what the real issue is; RIAA losing power.
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NikosGr

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2012, 12:22:46 PM »

i wonder what these people think about the olympic games' volunteers. the games couldn't happen without them, there are thousands of them, and they are paid nothing. they're 'only' offered a chance to be part in something amazing that happens not so often. at the same time corporations, advertising agencies, etc make millions out of it without offering anything meaningful.
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citizenoftheplanet

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2012, 12:38:45 PM »

hahaha my favourite comment on the blog:

"Oh, by the way, can I steal your albums? I can't afford to pay for them. xoxoxo, The Surly Violist."

YES ACTUALLY YOU CAN DOWNLOAD ALL OF HER MUSIC FOR FREE.

BHA/Sarah

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2012, 01:05:10 PM »

i wonder what these people think about the olympic games' volunteers. the games couldn't happen without them, there are thousands of them, and they are paid nothing. they're 'only' offered a chance to be part in something amazing that happens not so often. at the same time corporations, advertising agencies, etc make millions out of it without offering anything meaningful.

I hadn't thought about the olympics but that's a really good point, and I'm sure anyone involved in that would be very quick to hammer home how it's a once in a lifetime experience which is totally worth it - so why should this be any different?
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BATTEREDxBRIDExLUVR!

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2012, 01:52:53 PM »

the grand THEFT orchestra... i mean, there is really no attempt to deceive anyone on amanda's part.
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A Needle Pulling Veins

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2012, 03:57:44 AM »

the lack of research on behalf of the naysayers into where the 1.2 million is going, and the fact that she was crowd-sourcing FANS as volunteer musicians for ONE NIGHT, is astounding. this debate is ridiculous.
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NikosGr

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2012, 04:54:53 AM »

this debate is ridiculous.
it is even beyond ridiculous, but i'm really hoping amanda doesn't lose any of her energy or enthousiasm in this.i hope she keeps enjoying these shows as much as we do. this is one of the greatest phases in her career and i want her to look back to it one day with nothing other than positive feelings
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Mr. Leave Me Alone

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2012, 05:02:50 AM »

So these people think they are somehow defending these people from the big scary Amanda who wants them as her slaves, when really they are criticising their decision to help her out?

It's reminding me of all that 'ART/DESIGN/ETC. COMPETITIONS ARE BAD BECAUSE THEY TAKE ADVANTAGE OF PEOPLE BY DISGUISING FREE WORKAS SOME KIND OF PRIVILEGE/ACHIEVEMENT' stuff that was around (which I didn't pay any attention to but a lot of people on my facebook feed posted about) and are these people assuming it's the same thing? Because Amanda isn't exactly going 'WOW, IF YOU ARE TALENTED ENOUGH, YOU MIGHT EVEN GET TO DO THIS!'
It's coming off more to me like 'can you help me do this?'

If I am making no sense, ignore me, I'm only paying the tiniest amount of attention to this because I think it's insane.
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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2012, 05:11:14 AM »

Amanda posted an open letter on her tumblr in reply to a musician who wrote to her against the volunteering thing.
I would post a link, but I'm on my phone so I can't, but it is a really good read, and Amanda makes a really valid argument for why she does it. Which probably won't change people's minds, but makes a good point.
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NikosGr

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2012, 05:18:05 AM »

here's the letter. it's on her blog too, and i agree it is a very good read.

i really liked Kyle's quote too

Quote from: kyle cassidy


    As someone who has worked, frequently, for free in the past and will do so many times in the future. I have this to say:

    You do the ones you have to do so that you can do the ones that you want to do.

    That’s the way it is; for every artist. You do the unfun jobs that pay well so that you can work for free on the ones that you believe in. And if you work hard enough and the stars align, the good ones bubble to the top and you make money.

    That’s just how it works.

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Morpheus Laughing

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2012, 05:28:33 AM »

Here’s a thought: Couchsurfing and staying at a fan's house.

Bed&breakfast businesses might be after her next...
   
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Cheddars Cousin

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2012, 02:28:50 PM »

Yeah.

Even though she stayed at my house "for free", ( i got passes, which technically cost her nothing), it cost me a lot of money to put the whole crew up.  I expected nothing in return, and was pleasantly surprised.

I would do it all again and still would expect no compensation.  No one is being taken for more than they are willing to give.  Have at it.

Mitholas

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2012, 05:30:24 PM »

This debate is silly and pointless, but it might ultimately fall under the "only bad press is no press" category.
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Miss Sahara

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2012, 05:57:56 PM »

Here’s a thought: Couchsurfing and staying at a fan's house.

Bed&breakfast businesses might be after her next...
 

well...i think there is a difference between such a business and a self-employed artist sturggling to make a living...

to all the people saying the discussion is ridiculous. i don't think it is ridiculous. i know quite a few well-trained musicians that are struggling to find payed gigs and i'm not surprised that they find it upsetting if a well known artist who makes money in a gig doesn't want to pay them if they are part of the gig. music is, after all, often regarded as a luxury and/or something fun so musicians get asked to do things for free way too much...and even if this might lead to better and bigger things, and payed things, it loos kinda rude to EXPECT people to show up for free to them. so i understand why many people make it a black and white thing to protect the rights of musicians. this is a bit like unpayed internships that make you believe it's for the experience when in reality they just want to save money. and the problem is, that even if you don't do the free thing because you can not afford it, someone else will do it...and after a while it becomes normal that these things are unpayed.
BUT in this case,  i think the problem is not really that amanda is asking her fans to help her out on a single night (everyone enjoys it, right? i also WISH i hadn't stopped playing the violin in 7th grade now!! ahh) but rather that other bands might start to do the same and make it a rule, but  WITHOUT grasping the special circumstances of amanda's case:
+ she's openly asking her fans to participate, mostly amateurs, but fans who love to be there
+ she probably wouldn't hire pro musicians otherwise so no jobs are lost
+ she herself gives her fans a lot for free, as well (her music, and her time...i think she hangs out after every show to talk to people while other musicians's fans sometimes pay hundreds of euros/dollars for a single meet and greet)
+ participants might not get money, but since they are fans, they'd probably would have bought a ticket, also some merch and drinks...and if all of that is free, they save probably about 60 euros or even more...
+ in an internship they lure you in for a vague experience and so you can do better things AFTERWARDS. everyone of the musicians here knows exactly what playing there entails and participants want to do EXACTLY THAT..not use it as a gateway to other things.
+ she always trusts that when people can, they help each other out...even if you can't pay for stuff. in the same way she encourages to download her music and pay later when you can. other bands and businesses don't work in that way.

she has quite a lot of media attention now, so i really understand the fear that other bands might imitate her. even if the other bands, however, want to have professional musicians to play with them who practice and perfectly play the stuff at shows, rather than (very) good amateurs who LOVE to be part of the spectacle and it hence might not even work for them to not pay them...

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Mitholas

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2012, 06:16:32 PM »

^I would respond to that fear simply by saying that we live in a sad world indeed when asking for volunteers in a joyful event (for all involved) is seen as 'the new face of evil'. If everyone started doing this, people would mainly stop participating because it's impossible to keep up with. It's hard to find musicians at just about every stop of your tour. It's also not possible to build up a consistent, good tour when you constantly have to rely on volunteers. The only reason Amanda CAN ask for volunteers, is probably because she doesn't actually NEED to use these musicians. Everything can probably stand without these people stepping up to participate, but when they're there, it's a lot more fun. That's what this is about, having fun experiences, meeting people, involving fans. That's what Amanda has always been about, no? Isn't that exactly what a lot of people respond so positively to? The fact that you can just tweet Amanda and she'll read it, often retweet or reply... That's not something a lot of artists do. And if they do, they hardly ever keep up (Imogen Heap used to be a big twitter fiend, but that seems to have decreased significantly recently).

The problem is that the world is money oriented and Amanda is oriented on good life experience. When you start to get into Amanda, or when you're researching her, it's super easy to pick up on that. Anyone who is complaining about this now clearly needs to look into what they're responding to, but I also think they might need to get their priorities checked out.

Metric would probably comment on this by saying: "Buy this car to drive to work, drive to work to pay for this car." Vicious cycle. You should always strive to do the work you want to do, not work because you have to. That's not self-evident, but I truly think the mentality of "I HAVE to go to work" is a large part of what's wrong with our current society. Do something with your life that you like and working suddenly won't feel like an obligation. If you want to own a business, work at someone else's and learn. If you want to be a lawyer, go to law school. If you want to be an artist, go to art school (or don't... no paved way to being an artist, I suppose), get to be good, get to be better and build your career. Set a goal and WORK toward it. It might not all be fun, but eye on the prize.
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Miss Sahara

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2012, 06:32:41 PM »

The problem is that the world is money oriented and Amanda is oriented on good life experience.

absolutely.
i think her being involved in recent "business model" and "1.2 m kickstarter record holder" talk might have confused non-fans.
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BATTEREDxBRIDExLUVR!

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2012, 06:34:48 PM »

^I would respond to that fear simply by saying that we live in a sad world indeed when asking for volunteers in a joyful event (for all involved) is seen as 'the new face of evil'. If everyone started doing this, people would mainly stop participating because it's impossible to keep up with. It's hard to find musicians at just about every stop of your tour. It's also not possible to build up a consistent, good tour when you constantly have to rely on volunteers. The only reason Amanda CAN ask for volunteers, is probably because she doesn't actually NEED to use these musicians. Everything can probably stand without these people stepping up to participate, but when they're there, it's a lot more fun. That's what this is about, having fun experiences, meeting people, involving fans. That's what Amanda has always been about, no? Isn't that exactly what a lot of people respond so positively to? The fact that you can just tweet Amanda and she'll read it, often retweet or reply... That's not something a lot of artists do. And if they do, they hardly ever keep up (Imogen Heap used to be a big twitter fiend, but that seems to have decreased significantly recently).

The problem is that the world is money oriented and Amanda is oriented on good life experience. When you start to get into Amanda, or when you're researching her, it's super easy to pick up on that. Anyone who is complaining about this now clearly needs to look into what they're responding to, but I also think they might need to get their priorities checked out.

Metric would probably comment on this by saying: "Buy this car to drive to work, drive to work to pay for this car." Vicious cycle. You should always strive to do the work you want to do, not work because you have to. That's not self-evident, but I truly think the mentality of "I HAVE to go to work" is a large part of what's wrong with our current society. Do something with your life that you like and working suddenly won't feel like an obligation. If you want to own a business, work at someone else's and learn. If you want to be a lawyer, go to law school. If you want to be an artist, go to art school (or don't... no paved way to being an artist, I suppose), get to be good, get to be better and build your career. Set a goal and WORK toward it. It might not all be fun, but eye on the prize.

Amanda Palmer is not some sort of tragic hero... and your response kind of seems like you're saying it just shouldn't matter what anyone thinks because her intentions were good. While I don't think this is some sort of evil thing going on, it does feel a little irresponsible to me, and I don't believe there is a realistic chance of anywhere near an equal outcome. Even if I completely believed she was "oriented on good life experience" as opposed to being "money oriented" like "the world," it still wouldn't change the world nor her knowledge of how it works.
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I do not want to live to archive my own life.
I see it everywhere around me, especially with the popularity of web diaries, forums, and cell phones that take pictures.
I do not want to fall into the subtle trap of truly believing I Blog Therefore I Am.
amanda, 2005-04-15

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2012, 06:44:20 PM »

Here’s a thought: Couchsurfing and staying at a fan's house.

Bed&breakfast businesses might be after her next...
 

well...i think there is a difference between such a business and a self-employed artist sturggling to make a living...


Many businesses are struggling businesses and I'd imagine that some of those will be B&B's that are essentially run by a couple of people who have opened up their house to travelers. My general point is that there are ways for people to bypass paying for services and the internet enables it. People can now easily arrange a carpool to a gig that could effectively prevent private taxi drivers from earning enough to make a living. This kind of situation raises interesting questions about obligations to others.
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Miss Sahara

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2012, 06:48:33 PM »

Here’s a thought: Couchsurfing and staying at a fan's house.

Bed&breakfast businesses might be after her next...
 

well...i think there is a difference between such a business and a self-employed artist sturggling to make a living...


Many businesses are struggling businesses and I'd imagine that some of those will be B&B's that are essentially run by a couple of people who have opened up their house to travelers. My general point is that there are ways for people to bypass paying for services and the internet enables it. People can now easily arrange a carpool to a gig that could effectively prevent private taxi drivers from earning enough to make a living. This kind of situation raises interesting questions about obligations to others.

true. but what if the taxi drivers also use the internet to couchsurf?

^I would respond to that fear simply by saying that we live in a sad world indeed when asking for volunteers in a joyful event (for all involved) is seen as 'the new face of evil'. If everyone started doing this, people would mainly stop participating because it's impossible to keep up with. It's hard to find musicians at just about every stop of your tour. It's also not possible to build up a consistent, good tour when you constantly have to rely on volunteers. The only reason Amanda CAN ask for volunteers, is probably because she doesn't actually NEED to use these musicians. Everything can probably stand without these people stepping up to participate, but when they're there, it's a lot more fun. That's what this is about, having fun experiences, meeting people, involving fans. That's what Amanda has always been about, no? Isn't that exactly what a lot of people respond so positively to? The fact that you can just tweet Amanda and she'll read it, often retweet or reply... That's not something a lot of artists do. And if they do, they hardly ever keep up (Imogen Heap used to be a big twitter fiend, but that seems to have decreased significantly recently).

The problem is that the world is money oriented and Amanda is oriented on good life experience. When you start to get into Amanda, or when you're researching her, it's super easy to pick up on that. Anyone who is complaining about this now clearly needs to look into what they're responding to, but I also think they might need to get their priorities checked out.

Metric would probably comment on this by saying: "Buy this car to drive to work, drive to work to pay for this car." Vicious cycle. You should always strive to do the work you want to do, not work because you have to. That's not self-evident, but I truly think the mentality of "I HAVE to go to work" is a large part of what's wrong with our current society. Do something with your life that you like and working suddenly won't feel like an obligation. If you want to own a business, work at someone else's and learn. If you want to be a lawyer, go to law school. If you want to be an artist, go to art school (or don't... no paved way to being an artist, I suppose), get to be good, get to be better and build your career. Set a goal and WORK toward it. It might not all be fun, but eye on the prize.

Amanda Palmer is not some sort of tragic hero... and your response kind of seems like you're saying it just shouldn't matter what anyone thinks because her intentions were good. While I don't think this is some sort of evil thing going on, it does feel a little irresponsible to me, and I don't believe there is a realistic chance of anywhere near an equal outcome. Even if I completely believed she was "oriented on good life experience" as opposed to being "money oriented" like "the world," it still wouldn't change the world nor her knowledge of how it works.

but that is partly the thing... she's experimenting on what can be done by avoiding money-dictated systems (or how to use them in other ways) and inviting everyone to join. of course she's not exempt from living in a money oriented world, but it's not like she'd accumulate millions herself by doing that, nor risk-free by any means.
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Mitholas

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #20 on: September 14, 2012, 06:57:15 PM »

Amanda Palmer is not some sort of tragic hero... and your response kind of seems like you're saying it just shouldn't matter what anyone thinks because her intentions were good. While I don't think this is some sort of evil thing going on, it does feel a little irresponsible to me, and I don't believe there is a realistic chance of anywhere near an equal outcome. Even if I completely believed she was "oriented on good life experience" as opposed to being "money oriented" like "the world," it still wouldn't change the world nor her knowledge of how it works.

Let's put it another way. People are responding to this as though Amanda is doing something wrong by asking fans to participate. Explain to me exactly HOW that's anything but positive? If some of her fans are musicians and they think having this cool experience, meeting and working with Amanda, who knows maybe even getting some sort of collaboration with her out of it down the line, is compensation enough, who exactly is she harming? Who is she denying something they have a right to? Point me in the direction of the great injustice unfolding before our eyes and I will stare at it until I understand, because I'm definitely not understanding it right now.
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Morpheus Laughing

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2012, 07:05:02 PM »

Here’s a thought: Couchsurfing and staying at a fan's house.

Bed&breakfast businesses might be after her next...
 

well...i think there is a difference between such a business and a self-employed artist sturggling to make a living...


Many businesses are struggling businesses and I'd imagine that some of those will be B&B's that are essentially run by a couple of people who have opened up their house to travelers. My general point is that there are ways for people to bypass paying for services and the internet enables it. People can now easily arrange a carpool to a gig that could effectively prevent private taxi drivers from earning enough to make a living. This kind of situation raises interesting questions about obligations to others.

true. but what if the taxi drivers also use the internet to couchsurf?
;D that could work.




 
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Mitholas

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2012, 07:17:01 PM »

This kind of situation raises interesting questions about obligations to others.

This is silly though. You're working inside a market that functions on demand. If there's no demand for your product, you need to get out and do something else. That's how the free market economy works.

There is no such thing as an obligation to others in that context (except maybe to 'play fair', but let's not get into that). If you don't have a use for their service, you don't use it and that's it. If you're going to put 'obligation to others' into play in that mechanism, you're essentially inviting governments to put legislation into place that forbids things like staying at a friend or relative's place, because that might just mean a hotel or bed and breakfast down the street has less business; or that you can't grow vegetables in your garden because that means your local farmers and stores get less business; or that you can't unclog your own toilet, because that means you won't call a plummer who you have to pay for that service. If you have an alternative to a service or a good that works better for you, you don't use a service that someone else provides and that's that. That's your right.

In fact, offering things for free is kind of an important part of the free market mechanism. Ever heard someone say "you gotta make money to spend money"? Well, doing things for free is kind of a way to spend money to make money. In all businesses. For example, if you DO decide to call a plumber to unclog your toilet, he might fix it for free if it's an uncomplicated problem, because he knows that people will remember being treated well and fairly and they will then be inclined to call your when you have a bigger problem that they know they will have to pay you money for.
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BATTEREDxBRIDExLUVR!

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #23 on: September 14, 2012, 07:38:25 PM »

Amanda Palmer is not some sort of tragic hero... and your response kind of seems like you're saying it just shouldn't matter what anyone thinks because her intentions were good. While I don't think this is some sort of evil thing going on, it does feel a little irresponsible to me, and I don't believe there is a realistic chance of anywhere near an equal outcome. Even if I completely believed she was "oriented on good life experience" as opposed to being "money oriented" like "the world," it still wouldn't change the world nor her knowledge of how it works.

Let's put it another way. People are responding to this as though Amanda is doing something wrong by asking fans to participate. Explain to me exactly HOW that's anything but positive? If some of her fans are musicians and they think having this cool experience, meeting and working with Amanda, who knows maybe even getting some sort of collaboration with her out of it down the line, is compensation enough, who exactly is she harming? Who is she denying something they have a right to? Point me in the direction of the great injustice unfolding before our eyes and I will stare at it until I understand, because I'm definitely not understanding it right now.

i can assure you that if i was claiming there was some sort of "great injustice unfolding before our eyes" that i would point you in the direction of it, but as i said, i don't think it's an evil scheme. i think it might be a little irresponsible, and that it's unlikely to have an equal outcome.
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I do not want to live to archive my own life.
I see it everywhere around me, especially with the popularity of web diaries, forums, and cell phones that take pictures.
I do not want to fall into the subtle trap of truly believing I Blog Therefore I Am.
amanda, 2005-04-15

Mitholas

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2012, 07:41:42 PM »

Amanda Palmer is not some sort of tragic hero... and your response kind of seems like you're saying it just shouldn't matter what anyone thinks because her intentions were good. While I don't think this is some sort of evil thing going on, it does feel a little irresponsible to me, and I don't believe there is a realistic chance of anywhere near an equal outcome. Even if I completely believed she was "oriented on good life experience" as opposed to being "money oriented" like "the world," it still wouldn't change the world nor her knowledge of how it works.

Let's put it another way. People are responding to this as though Amanda is doing something wrong by asking fans to participate. Explain to me exactly HOW that's anything but positive? If some of her fans are musicians and they think having this cool experience, meeting and working with Amanda, who knows maybe even getting some sort of collaboration with her out of it down the line, is compensation enough, who exactly is she harming? Who is she denying something they have a right to? Point me in the direction of the great injustice unfolding before our eyes and I will stare at it until I understand, because I'm definitely not understanding it right now.

i can assure you that if i was claiming there was some sort of "great injustice unfolding before our eyes" that i would point you in the direction of it, but as i said, i don't think it's an evil scheme. i think it might be a little irresponsible, and that it's unlikely to have an equal outcome.
Could you elaborate on the irresponsible bit?
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BATTEREDxBRIDExLUVR!

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #25 on: September 14, 2012, 07:51:47 PM »

Amanda Palmer is not some sort of tragic hero... and your response kind of seems like you're saying it just shouldn't matter what anyone thinks because her intentions were good. While I don't think this is some sort of evil thing going on, it does feel a little irresponsible to me, and I don't believe there is a realistic chance of anywhere near an equal outcome. Even if I completely believed she was "oriented on good life experience" as opposed to being "money oriented" like "the world," it still wouldn't change the world nor her knowledge of how it works.

Let's put it another way. People are responding to this as though Amanda is doing something wrong by asking fans to participate. Explain to me exactly HOW that's anything but positive? If some of her fans are musicians and they think having this cool experience, meeting and working with Amanda, who knows maybe even getting some sort of collaboration with her out of it down the line, is compensation enough, who exactly is she harming? Who is she denying something they have a right to? Point me in the direction of the great injustice unfolding before our eyes and I will stare at it until I understand, because I'm definitely not understanding it right now.

i can assure you that if i was claiming there was some sort of "great injustice unfolding before our eyes" that i would point you in the direction of it, but as i said, i don't think it's an evil scheme. i think it might be a little irresponsible, and that it's unlikely to have an equal outcome.
Could you elaborate on the irresponsible bit?

Amanda is a powerful, popular person, who holds a ton of influence over hundreds of thousands of people. She probably also, as she has repeatedly talked about wanting to, has influence over the music industry as well. It's one thing for a solo artist to relinquish their own compensation, but it's kind of scary to think of someone just playing an instrument being in that situation. I've always gotten the impression that she wants to set precedents and change the way the business works, and so it seems irresponsible for her to use her power to try to do that for these musicians who I see as a group she is not a part of.
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Morpheus Laughing

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #26 on: September 14, 2012, 07:55:32 PM »

This kind of situation raises interesting questions about obligations to others.

This is silly though. You're working inside a market that functions on demand. If there's no demand for your product, you need to get out and do something else. That's how the free market economy works.

That sentence was kind of left hanging there because the question is interesting (for exactly the same reasons you've expounded). If obligations existed unconditionally, it would result in an unmanagable absurdity.
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Morpheus Laughing

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #27 on: September 14, 2012, 09:16:52 PM »

In fact, offering things for free is kind of an important part of the free market mechanism. Ever heard someone say "you gotta make money to spend money"? Well, doing things for free is kind of a way to spend money to make money. In all businesses. For example, if you DO decide to call a plumber to unclog your toilet, he might fix it for free if it's an uncomplicated problem, because he knows that people will remember being treated well and fairly and they will then be inclined to call your when you have a bigger problem that they know they will have to pay you money for.

True in the pragmatic sense...

Some of the grievance that people have with others working for free is this: If you can afford to volunteer indefinitely, you'll wipe out the competitors who can't. The logic of the objection is that poorer and possibly more capable workers are written off or discouraged. I'm not saying this is a very big problem in terms of music; Music is a luxury when all is said and done and there are workarounds for the ambitious (at least around here). However, I do see this sort of thing as being problematic in areas that effect vital infrastructure.

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #28 on: September 16, 2012, 07:34:20 AM »

Music, and indeed art in general, sort of fall outside of that, though, since no one really gets into them with the intention of making a living, unlike with taxi drivers and the like. As a freelance film maker who has also volunteered at festivals etc, I've always been happy to do it for fun and experience, as have the other people around me. Some of these more business-oriented musicians may feel threatened by that, but of course not every festival or tour etc can actually afford to pay everyone, and if it comes down to a case of people volunteering or the tour/festival/etc simply not happening, I think it's unfair to hassle people in this way. There will always be people who do things out of a love for what they do if they are able to do it, anyway, and one night volunteering in a concert wont get in the way of a day job or anything like that. In summary, if people are happy to do it unpaid, then who cares, it's no business of the people who wouldn't be happy to volunteer.

Also, I could I just take this completely off topic moment to say to Morpheus Laughing - I've always found your posts to be really well-thought out and interesting. Sorry if my response above is a little off, I've been awake for about 23 hours and I'm starting to decline. Why is it that you don't often post around the lower boards? Is it because there's usually far less intellectual discussion down there or are you only really here for the music?
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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #29 on: September 16, 2012, 08:10:04 AM »

Music, and indeed art in general, sort of fall outside of that, though, since no one really gets into them with the intention of making a living, unlike with taxi drivers and the like.

Somewhere, an artist weeps.

Isn't the idea, though, to try to work towards a system where musicians and artists can make a living?  I mean, there was a time when violinists, and bards, and quartets, and poets, were hired for the kings and queens, and held in high esteem.

I mean, tons of folks (including Amanda... Zoe Keating also comes to mind) put tons of work into making music something that is a sustainable living, so they don't have to have it as a side job. 

I don't believe that it should be the expectation that musicians and artists are not paid for their work, and the romantic inclination that making art is not a living is a sad current state of things that should be changed, in my opinion.
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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #30 on: September 16, 2012, 10:38:55 AM »

I think the idea is that, to be a musician who can live off their art, you need to work towards that. Part of working towards that is doing things that pay little or nothing. You build a name for yourself. You are your own brand, and that brand is something you can monetize more and more as time goes by.

Amanda might not be a millionaire, but I don't think she currently falls in the struggling artist category either. Why? Because she worked long and hard to build her fanbase. Even if Amanda never has a song featured in a TV show to blast her onto the collective radar (like Imogen Heap had going on with Hide and Seek), she has a solid base of people who will buy just about anything she puts out. How did she get there? By doing a bunch of things, often for free, to build up a base of contacts to start making great music and get into clubs so she could promote their music and... I don't think I need to sum up her history as an artist.
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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #31 on: September 16, 2012, 01:20:27 PM »

Would Amanda have been employing "struggling musicians" if she had followed another "business model" I wonder? Or would it have involved the usual hierarchies being activated to bring in those already towards the top of those hierarchies? As usual it's vested interests complaining: you know this because they are the ones with most access to the media. At least when the Luddites wrecked machines at the start of the industrial revolution, it was because if they lost their livelihoods they would actually have seen their families starve to death in the streets, whereas when Metallica et al. complain about "theft" they are at risk of losing nothing but the loss of their baths that they can play baseball in, as the song says.
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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #32 on: September 16, 2012, 07:19:05 PM »


Also, I could I just take this completely off topic moment to say to Morpheus Laughing - I've always found your posts to be really well-thought out and interesting. Sorry if my response above is a little off, I've been awake for about 23 hours and I'm starting to decline. Why is it that you don't often post around the lower boards? Is it because there's usually far less intellectual discussion down there or are you only really here for the music?

Thank you. 

Your response actually describes my general view of arts and volunteering. I ended up with 2 years of paid employment because I assisted someone (who was also volunteering) to produce a promotional poster. It didn't even occur to me that I might get a job offer...

I don't post much in the lower boards because I know that I use the Internet as a way to procrastinate. I should really post much less on these boards too but I have a hard time resisting these types of topics because of the relevance to what I have done and might do.etc.

For instance, I'm actually going to be involved in a "hospital foyer" gig in a couple of weeks and at least one local musician will be paid to curate and participate in it. I'm actually volunteering for that (bass guitar). I can see that this kind of thing might eventually have more funding thrown at it if the scheme is shown to enhance the "hospital experience." I'd advise artists and musicians to look for opportunities in this increasingly popular idea of art/music as being therapeutic because charities and  government (UK at least) are starting to embrace it.     

Music, and indeed art in general, sort of fall outside of that, though, since no one really gets into them with the intention of making a living, unlike with taxi drivers and the like.

A taxi driver I know said that he decided to be one because he loves driving and likes the social interaction. It also promised a degree of freedom and flexibility that many jobs don't have. I was actually in a band with the guy and he gave me lifts to practice, which I thought was kind of amusing. I'd never say that he'd compare his enthusiasm (for the perks of the job) with a musician but I can allow myself to imagine that he might. I think Taxi drivers are different to musicians in another way though: the job is quasi-public service and plays a role that is not so closely tied to personal indulgence as the arts. A shortage of taxi's at fair prices would be disruptive and arguably even cruel for many in a modern society, which means that regulations for working conditions and wages becomes a necessity.
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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #33 on: September 17, 2012, 02:24:06 AM »

I don't believe that it should be the expectation that musicians and artists are not paid for their work, and the romantic inclination that making art is not a living is a sad current state of things that should be changed, in my opinion.
I don't mean to imply that it should be, but it is, and while it is, there are artists who would work without pay for things like Amanda's tour fairly happily. I agree with Mitholas, a lot of it is just building yourself up as an artist/musician/whatever, and being prepared to put yourself out there with more abstract rewards when you're new and unknown.

Morpheus Laughing made another good example where he got a paid job from something he volunteered for. I'm in a similar position at the moment where experience I got volunteering at a festival has helped me with a regular paid job I'm in the application process for (but have not necessarily gotten ;D ) which adds a whole extra layer to this in a job market where demand outstrips supply in most sectors. Being able to advertise yourself as a musician who played with Amanda Palmer and the GTO could be something to boast about when applying to play at all sorts of other things.
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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #34 on: September 17, 2012, 03:03:40 PM »

This whole controversy reminds me a little bit of something from The Simpsons:

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Here's a free tooth-brush! Keep those teeth clean!

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So you're saying I should do your job, for you, at home, for free? You wish!

Amanda Palmer has always offered an interactive fan experience. It's one of the reasons I love her. It's one of the only reasons I kept following her career for the past few years (apart from just a few songs, Evelyn Evelyn, Ukulelehead, and AP Goes Down Under never quite caught my interest).

I would never want her to do away with the interactive experience and crowdsourcing just because we already gave her a million dollars to fund her album and tour.
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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #35 on: September 17, 2012, 04:28:04 PM »

Being able to advertise yourself as a musician who played with Amanda Palmer and the GTO could be something to boast about when applying to play at all sorts of other things.

...this wouldn't be any different, if it was payed...

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Mitholas

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #36 on: September 17, 2012, 05:24:33 PM »

^Yeah... except that Amanda doesn't necessarily have the money to pay everyone. Meaning that if she HAD to pay everyone, she would end up not inviting people to join her on stage and therefore they wouldn't have that opportunity.
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CeeGBee

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #37 on: September 18, 2012, 01:10:34 AM »

^Yeah... except that Amanda doesn't necessarily have the money to pay everyone. Meaning that if she HAD to pay everyone, she would end up not inviting people to join her on stage and therefore they wouldn't have that opportunity.
Ummm...  Don't look now, but she raised ELEVEN TIMES her projected need....
I'm not after her to release her tax-returns or anything, but sorry, but somewhere
north of 5x, the "we can't afford that" argument starts to lose credibility for basic
touring needs like, say, musicians to play the music.
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Mitholas

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #38 on: September 18, 2012, 08:21:17 AM »

Ummm... Don't look now, but the girl also has to eat, drink, pay bills, pay loans, ... Traveling with half an orchestra isn't just "basic touring needs". Basic touring needs for Amanda has always been the few essentials required to play her music. She tours with an electric piano and some essential band and crew members. All of which already costs a lot of money. Adding a bunch of musicians to that, all of whom need to be fed and kept, would increase the costs immensely. Taking on that many people extra is a big endeavor and a financial risk. As she doesn't have a record label to back her up in any way, I think people need to stop assuming she has tonnes of green in the bank so that she can just do whatever and not have to seriously consider this stuff. I think people greatly underestimate what everything from recording to manufacturing to touring costs these days.
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CeeGBee

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #39 on: September 19, 2012, 01:17:51 AM »

Ummm... Don't look now, but the girl also has to eat, drink, pay bills, pay loans, ... Traveling with half an orchestra isn't just "basic touring needs". Basic touring needs for Amanda has always been the few essentials required to play her music. She tours with an electric piano and some essential band and crew members. All of which already costs a lot of money. Adding a bunch of musicians to that, all of whom need to be fed and kept, would increase the costs immensely. Taking on that many people extra is a big endeavor and a financial risk. As she doesn't have a record label to back her up in any way, I think people need to stop assuming she has tonnes of green in the bank so that she can just do whatever and not have to seriously consider this stuff. I think people greatly underestimate what everything from recording to manufacturing to touring costs these days.
She's always done all of these things... eat drink etc.  Managed to get herself, Brian (or the band)
from here to there, put some sort of roof over the collective heads, and food on the band's table,
and never with anything remotely close to the resources she has now.  What do you suppose she'd
planned with $100K? Surely  SOME SORT of tour, no?  Now add an additional $1.1mil above and beyond.

If it struck her fancy she could fly first-class to every show, put the band up in 5-star and dine on the
priciest vegetarian dish on the room-service menu every night on tour, and still not spend half that.  It's her
money to do with as she pleases, and I dare say she's earned it, but to say she can't pay these people
goes beyond credibility.  [edit: Now, if you SEPARATE the tour from the album, apply the kickstarter only
to the costs of the album and premiums, and try to make a tour that's profitable, or at least break-even
on it's own revenues.... THEN another $35-40K for backup musicians could be an unacceptable cost.]


-note on that edit: I wasn't thrilled with the original tone of that post, but rather than nuke the whole thing
and replace it, I added an addendum.  Still not exactly right, but closer...
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faninor

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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #40 on: September 19, 2012, 02:43:01 AM »

Even though the goal was only $100K, they realistically expected to get much more than that. If they had only raised $100k... I'm sure a tour still would've happened, but it would've been mostly or entirely funded by other means.
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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #41 on: September 19, 2012, 03:13:16 AM »

CeeGeeBee, you're still forgetting most of the kickstarter money was spent before it had even come in. 100k was about the most that would remain and with 4-5 videos made so far, it's doubtful that much remains. Her plan was always to reinvest all the money into promotion. Those gorgeous vids? Money turned into images.
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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #42 on: September 19, 2012, 05:11:31 AM »

Even if Amanda had planned on making 1 million dollars, she made over $200,000 over that.  I still don't know all the arithmetic, and don't claim to, but it seems, at the least, that all of the money she raised was not budgeted correctly or that she did not plan on paying musicians in her budget.  Taxes, Kickstarter items, videos, and yes, paid musicians in every city, should have been part of the budget.  I'm not sure what's worse -- not planning the budget to pay musicians in all cities, or not managing the budget enough to pay all of those musicians (except, of course, in cities like New York City).

What might have happened is Amanda planned an extravagant tour with costumes, with a full playing band, with many, many stops.
She made a great CD.
She commissioned beautiful artwork and inserts for the CD for Kickstarter products.
And house gigs.
And videos.
And merch.
And her regular staff.
And etc., etc., etc., all the things I don't know that you pay for in a music industry.

And found that she didn't have enough money to pay musicians everywhere.

Now, some people would argue -- count down on the stuff (some tour stops, some videos, even some merch), and pay the humans more.  Yes, this results in less products for us fans to enjoy, and less promotion of the album, but...

Humans.
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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #43 on: September 19, 2012, 06:54:42 AM »

Ummm... Don't look now, but the girl also has to eat, drink, pay bills, pay loans, ... Traveling with half an orchestra isn't just "basic touring needs". Basic touring needs for Amanda has always been the few essentials required to play her music. She tours with an electric piano and some essential band and crew members. All of which already costs a lot of money. Adding a bunch of musicians to that, all of whom need to be fed and kept, would increase the costs immensely. Taking on that many people extra is a big endeavor and a financial risk. As she doesn't have a record label to back her up in any way, I think people need to stop assuming she has tonnes of green in the bank so that she can just do whatever and not have to seriously consider this stuff. I think people greatly underestimate what everything from recording to manufacturing to touring costs these days.
She's always done all of these things... eat drink etc.  Managed to get herself, Brian (or the band)
from here to there, put some sort of roof over the collective heads, and food on the band's table,
and never with anything remotely close to the resources she has now.  What do you suppose she'd
planned with $100K? Surely  SOME SORT of tour, no?  Now add an additional $1.1mil above and beyond.

If it struck her fancy she could fly first-class to every show, put the band up in 5-star and dine on the
priciest vegetarian dish on the room-service menu every night on tour, and still not spend half that.  It's her
money to do with as she pleases, and I dare say she's earned it, but to say she can't pay these people
goes beyond credibility.  [edit: Now, if you SEPARATE the tour from the album, apply the kickstarter only
to the costs of the album and premiums, and try to make a tour that's profitable, or at least break-even
on it's own revenues.... THEN another $35-40K for backup musicians could be an unacceptable cost.]


-note on that edit: I wasn't thrilled with the original tone of that post, but rather than nuke the whole thing
and replace it, I added an addendum.  Still not exactly right, but closer...


I don't know if you saw it but $ 35K was actually the figure she mentioned in the NYT interview. When the Kickstarter started, she said it was also for touring ("Amanda Palmer: The new record, art book, and TOUR"). And she said, the more money she gets the more fancy everything would be. So to make the tour more fancy and include more musicians and then not pay them all is inconsistent, at least.
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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #44 on: September 20, 2012, 10:12:23 AM »

It DOES seem kinda odd to respond to the unexpected increase in funds by making everything fancier (even down to the thank you cards) without setting any money aside to adequately fund the tour.

As I said before, if people are happy to volunteer then I don't see a problem, but to say she -can't- afford to pay them just sounds like she either can't budget or it wasn't a priority for her.
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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #45 on: September 20, 2012, 12:36:28 PM »

Well, for the complainers: they've taken money out of other budgets, like the video budget, to pay the volunteers, indeed completely defeating the idea of volunteering.
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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #46 on: September 20, 2012, 02:30:54 PM »

complainers

I prefer the term "Shadowbox and blog commenter activists".

And... I think what Amanda did is awesome.  The willingness to change based on feedback is a sign of maturity and respect for the feedback you are getting (this is, of course, if the feedback is respectful on its own).

And actually, because folks volunteered without knowing the monetary benefits, it works.  I think, additionally, it doesn't diminish people who will sign up in future gigs -- Amanda and her staff were hiring based on applications, and I think they will be able to tell from the emails and the application whether the person is a good fit and their heart is in the right place. 

As Amanda storms into 10th place on the Billboards, it's great that the talk is shifting back to her success and her positive changes to the music industry.
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Re: The Grand Theft Controversy
« Reply #47 on: September 20, 2012, 10:26:32 PM »

Well, for the complainers: they've taken money out of other budgets, like the video budget, to pay the volunteers, indeed completely defeating the idea of volunteering.
This goes back to my original comment, and the sense I don't think I conveyed later:

If she truly wants "volunteers" - the kinds of friends, family and fans who've added to the spectacle
of DD/AFP shows (on-stage and brigading before the show) since before I heard of the Dolls - and
she's willing to accept for herself and her audience the occasional sloppiness that comes from that
sort of recruiting, then soliciting unpaid folks is just fine, and the show will be that much more "fun"
at the cost of some degree of "quality".

If she wants professionals though, who are going to come to rehearsals, start/stop where they're
supposed to, and hit all the right notes (but probably not have so much fun as the people in the
"Jeep Song" chorus a few years ago), those people have every right to expect to be paid, because
they're WORKING.

Clearly I haven't sat down and discussed this with Ms. Palmer, and I don't know what dynamic she's
looking for.  My concern is that everyone's on the same page - It's her band, her tour, but are the
guest-musicians (paid or unpaid) and the audience all sharing the same expectation of what's going
in and what they can expect to come out?
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