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back to article Work for beer, Neil Gaiman's wife tells musicians

Amanda Palmer, the artist who raised $1.2m from her fans on Kickstarter to fund a new record and tour, is now asking classical musicians to work for her for free. The money has been on lavished on studio time, a luxury booklet, and an abundance of expensive promotional material. But there's nothing left for the classical …

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Re: I need to lie down somewhere...

It does rather make one's head spin, doesn't it?

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Pint

Re: I need to lie down somewhere...

So I wouldn't go as far as say I actually agree with the article (there isn't really any opinion to agree or disagree with) - I just couldn't find anything fundamentally wrong with the article.

(beer icon - Orlowski can pay for good comments with "beer" - mines a Cider, and I'll be in the Haymarket Bar, Edinburgh from about 5:30)

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Re: I need to lie down somewhere...

> This is the first Orlowski article I've actually agreed with.

Indeed. If there's one thing that musicians really *should* be able to make some money from, it is live concerts.

How you can sell out at venues and still make a pittance is quite honestly a mystery to me.

I realise that concerts are expensive to put on, but one of the major costs are people. If you're not paying the people, then where is all the money going?

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Law
Paris Hilton

Re: I need to lie down somewhere...

"This is the first Orlowski article I've actually agreed with."

Usually I can tell it's an Orlowski article from the tone at the outset - but I didn't even know it was him until I read the final bit that said:

"Now we know what their vision of the future looks like. It's one where wealth never trickles down..."

So one artist (who I actually like btw - I have several Dresden Dolls albums and her solo stuff) turns out to be a bit of a douche and tries to trick musicians into supporting her for free - that doesn't equate to this particular scam she has pulled to being the model the anti-big-label gang are endorsing. Seems like a very odd thing to pull from all this.

She's also more likely well know than Neil Gaiman... so to name her as an anonymous wife in the title is a bit of an odd thing to do too. Having said that, thanks for pointing out what she's trying to do - because if I didn't know she was this big a douche I may have bought the next album in support.

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Re: I need to lie down somewhere...

I was with it up to the last line, when the hyperbole broke down into the fallacy of guilt by association. The fact that she's a grasping greedy little snit doesn't mean the people that she used for promotional purposes agree with that stance. In fact I'd suggest rather the opposite.

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Re: I need to lie down somewhere...

I do feel strangely moved to disbelieve it.

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@Law Re: I need to lie down somewhere...

I've read Gaiman.

I'd not heard of Palmer till this article.

I expect elReg knows its audience

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Re: @Law I need to lie down somewhere...

I'm very familiar with the Dresden Dolls and knew who Amanda Palmer is. I had no idea she was married to Neil Gaiman who I am vaguely aware of as a comic book artist.

Shame on El Reg. for referring to an established and successful female artist as "the wife of..."

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Law
Pint

Re: @Law I need to lie down somewhere...

I've not really seen much from Gaiman since the early 1990s - but I'd wager el-reg's audience is just as likely to include listeners of "current" music than graphic novel writers, if not more likely so.

My point about it was I just think it's needlessly insulting - the article has bugger all to do with the husband, yet he gets the title and she didn't even get named in the sub title.

Anyway - bugger it, it's the weekend and I need a drink! :)

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Re: @Law I need to lie down somewhere...

Gaiman is a writer not an artist he wrote Sandman - along with many novels and even some Doctor Who episodes. You were already sitting at a computer the ten seconds it took to search for him would saved your blushes.

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"She's also more likely well know than Neil Gaiman"

No, she's not. Gaiman has written for Doctor Who and several of his own books have been adapted for the screen; his global audience numbers in the millions.

Amanda Palmer should be ashamed. Compare what she's done to what Thea Gilmore did when someone in her £52-a-year subscription fanclub commented that she wasn't delivering any of what she'd promised apart from the private forum and the monthly exclusive song. Thea agreed, apologised, ditched subscription fees until she figured out how to get it all working again, and has carried on giving existing members forum access and the monthly song for free in the interim. I can't imagine that Palmer isn't in a position to make this comparison, either, as Neil Gaiman is one of Thea's fanclub members.

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Re: @Law I need to lie down somewhere...

"I am vaguely aware of as a comic book artist."

ehhhh.... And Nebula award winner, and Hugo award winner, and NY Times bestseller, and television writer, and had major films adapted from his books...

No?

Never heard of Stardust? Coraline? American Gods? No?

Amanda who???

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Re: @Law I need to lie down somewhere...

"Established and successful"...?

Never heard of the Dresden Dolls myself. Googling them, I see they managed two studio albums and one live album in a decade, and their act is *very* niche. They certainly haven't troubled public awareness to any great extent. And she's *so* successful that she can't afford to pay musicians on her tours...?

Neil Gaiman OTOH has been writing for over 20 years, and doing *very* well out of it. The "Sandman" comics were somewhat niche, sure. But his first novel "Good Omens" with Terry Pratchett did very well, and "Anansi Boys" went straight in at number one. He's won all sorts of awards. "Neverwhere" was a BBC series back in the 90s, before he adapted his own screenplay to a book. "Stardust" and "Coraline" have been filmed. He wrote the CGI film "Beowulf" a few years back (the Sean Bean/Angelina Jolie one).

So compare niche cabaret act with number one NYT bestseller author. Yep, "wife of" is about the shape of it.

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Boffin

From the horses mouth

You can find AP's response to the open letter linked above here:

http://www.amandapalmer.net/blog/20120913/

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Re: From the horses mouth

Wow... I suppose you could sumarise that response by "Amy, you just don't get it. Go away."

It's the little revelations in there, like how it's fine for her to do this because 'Beiber's fans would jump at the chance of supporting him', or 'David Byrne' once spent a few hours doing vocals with me', which shows how out of touch she is with peoples concerns. Like David Byrne is going to struggle to pay the rent by doing something for free for a few hours, and he'll probably get some good exposure to a different market by doing this, it's not like she's planning to introduce the all the supporting artists on stage.

But it's the 'for the big important shows, we've decided we have to pay people to do this, so we've contacted some professionals' that blows her entire standpoint out of the water. She needs these musicians, without them her show isn't going to work, and she acknowledges that she's going to have to pay for this on the big shows, but she just doesn't get how this is exactly the devalument that was discussed by Amy in the post which kicked this all off.

Sorry Amanda, it's you who doesn't get it. Now go away.

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Yuk

Palmer says it's a jam session with her fans. She can do one of those any time she likes, without the professional audience.

Though I'm sure there are Thatcherites who'll say unions are a barrier to getting anything done, they do exist for a reason, and this is the reason.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: From the horses mouth

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Yuk

No worries, apricot please.

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FAIL

The beginning of the end?

People have been saying for a while that it's only going to take one moron to duck with kick starter crowd source darlings before the trust bubble is best and confidence in the platform and method breaks.there was a brief scandal a couple of weeks ago. But this is wholly different, with mismanagement and hypocrisy at the firing.

I feel it is a bit harsh to judge boingboing here, as they were probably trusting her to not act like an idiot and betray that trust. You could label it foolish to trust someone asking for so much for what is essentially a vanity project, but there you go. No one forces people to donate.

It does make me wonder if kick starter has any protectionor contingencies in place against morally outrageous user of funds raised, or if there ought to be some other form of recourse for people who feel let down.

But one thing for sure. 35k is a small percentage of that total to save so you can get the best for what I would imagine is a fairly crucial part of the project and critical to its success. I guess exposure was more important to this clown than actually giving punters what they want (an awesome live show). Oh well.

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Gimp

"We will feed you beer, hug/high-five you up and down (pick your poison), give you merch and thank you mightily for adding to the big noise we are planning to make,"

Beer, hugs and big noises? What is that, an invitation to an orgy or something?

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Anonymous Coward

The question is - is it something worth learning to pluck or finger professionally for?

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Anonymous Coward

an invitation to an orgy or something?

you've obviously never been to an Amanda Palmer gig before....

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an invitation to an orgy or something

well, they are musicians

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One small thing omitted from the article...

...is that Ms Palmer's album can be downloaded for free via her site.

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Re: One small thing omitted from the article...

"One small thing omitted from the article is that Ms Palmer's album can be downloaded for free via her site."

Well then we can take it that she knows what her album's worth, now doesn't she.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: One small thing omitted from the article...

Which means she has even less money to pay musicians with.

Fails all round.

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Re: One small thing omitted from the article...

One small thing omitted from the article...

...is that Ms Palmer's album can be downloaded for free via her site.

But seeing as most musicians only make decent money from live gigs these days, she's still a cheapskate.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: One small thing omitted from the article...

"But seeing as most musicians only make decent money from live gigs these days, she's still a cheapskate."

Absolute nonsense. It's the other way around.

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Re: One small thing omitted from the article...

Well then we can take it that she knows what her album's worth, now doesn't she.

I wasn't commenting on the worth of the album, as you and the others below seem to think. It was a comment about sloppy journalism.

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"Absolute nonsense. It's the other way around"

Janis Ian, who has been recording for over 40 years and hence knows more about it than you, has stated that she's never received a royalty statement from a record company that didn't say she owed them money and that she makes all her income from touring.

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Anonymous Coward

Hmm...

So she's paying them only fractionally less than going session rates for playing with a big star who has a single name and a band you've never heard of...

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The cabaret singer ... put out a request for "professional-ish horns and strings"

Here you go.

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@Chris Wareham

On a similar (ahem) note, I think someone should do a Lisa Simpson on it. Bring along their saxomophone, do all the rehearsals and then on the night do the signature solo and swiftly exit off stage.

Well, probably not.

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What about the Portsmouth Sinfonia?

Has she tried conatcting the Portsmouth Sinfonia?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What about the Portsmouth Sinfonia?

Now that's a gig I would pay to go and see.

Is her husband the same Neil Gaiman who wrote a Doctor Who episode last year?

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Re: What about the Portsmouth Sinfonia?

'Is her husband the same Neil Gaiman who wrote a Doctor Who episode last year?'

Yup.

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Fitzgerald was right, Hemingway was wrong...

...apparently people from Planet Trustfund have brains that are just wired differently.

(which is why it's risky letting them into government)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fitzgerald was right, Hemingway was wrong...

All that financial security doesn't seem to stop them getting their snouts into more and bigger troughs.

Although, strangely, many seem to think the rest of us need to be starved and threatened into doing anything, or we will be 'too comfortable' to bother.

Perhaps they are too far up themselves to question their own sense of entitlement?

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$1.2 million crowdsourced and now she tells people that she won't put less that 3% of that towards paying musicians?

Bet she never mentioned it when trying to attract the funding?... moreover where exactly did the money all go?

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Re: Where did the money go

The studio time will probably have swallowed most of it, directly or indirectly.

Presumably she hired a proper studio and some professional musicians and then spent months there, working at the pace bands used to in such big expensive studios back in the 80s when profit margins were high.

On top of that, factor in all the money spent sending the tea boy out for food, drinks and whatever else took their fancy whilst watching TV inbetween takes (which can be several hours in my experience). Don't forget travel costs.

Promotional material will have swallowed the rest of it, unless she did it all herself in a pirated copy of Quark and had it printed in Walmart. Having an agency do it all will have cost tens of thousands if not over a hundred.

And people like this tend to give work to their friends (real or strategic) so that they can share the money around and earn brownie points & favours.

There's also things that had to be bought for the project... like a particular piece of equipment the studio didn't have, a nice new MacBook Pro, an iPad, a faster home broadband connection to send large audio files to and from the studio, etc.

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Surely, she can ask her hubby for a $35,000 loan to pay the musicians, and then get it back from the ticket sales?

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Well actually...

She specifies roughly where it all goes, without going to the extent of providing receipts

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/amandapalmer/amanda-palmer-the-new-record-art-book-and-tour/posts/232020

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WTF?

Very interesting

Given that she says throughout that her sums are based on a backing of $1,000,000, and she actually raised $192,793 more than that.

Last time I checked, $35k was less than $192k, and she'd still have $157k more than budgeted.

Unless of course the budget was simply wrong. However being out by more than $150k is pretty serious, enough to bankrupt many companies.

The odd thing is that she acknowledges that the designers and crew aren't going to work for free, yet she expects the musicians to do that.

I suppose the weirdest part is that it's usually the other way around in the UK.

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alternatively...

I guess they might be able to find a job in a different profession that's better paid.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Departures_(film)

Not meant to be taken seriously, of course. I just enjoyed the film!

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Who else can work for beer and hugs?

Maybe her drivers will work for ciggies and a big smile, or the guys who'll turn the lights on and off and the women who'll clean up after her gigs, and so on. I mean, what a privilege and what fun!

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Anonymous Coward

If a fan wants to volunteer their time, that's their decision. Some musicians occasionally enjoy playing music just for the fun of it.

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