The Price of Free vs The Price of Fame - hypebot

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zoso

You kidding right? Does GROWvision Studios pay the musicians it hires, or are they also doing if for the exposure and good time?

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Adam

Musicians aren't attacking her for thinking outside the box. It's hard to make a living as a musician/audio engineer when so many people undervalue your work. There are plenty of postings out there for people looking for musicians to offer up their talents and hours worth of work for little to no pay, but I think it's particularly insulting when a fellow musician (and one that is championing the DIY spirit like Palmer) is offering the same thing.

If you were a software engineer and you did work for Apple you wouldn't just work for no pay in exchange for exposure and to build your resume. That's just not how a professional business works. In the same way, I don't think a professional recording artist should expect to go on tour and make money and not pay their employees. It devalues what we do.

I personally do think Amanda Palmer had the best intentions and was just trying to get her fans involved in a fun way, but to say that musicians are 'self-centered and bitter at the failing of their own ability to get paid' and that's the reason for attacking her... that's just wrong. She is operating at a professional level and making money by doing these shows and not just doing this for fun and kicks, and I think that the musicians that back her should be compensated appropriately just as she is.

Suzanne Lainson

As I pointed out in another thread, the "problem" with Palmer is Kickstarter. People know how much money she raised. So they are now asking who gets paid, who doesn't get paid, and why.

If she is going to get credit for being hugely successful for raising so much money on Kickstarter, then it should be no surprise that she is now being asked why she doesn't have more money to spread around.

Chancius

I agree that I think that everyone should be compensated fairly for their time and contribution, but we don't live in a fair world. There are plenty of big businesses that have internships that don't pay. They offer real experience, connections, and the ability for their interns to list them on their resumes for future work in their respective industries.

When it comes to music, I remember a story an ex-band member told me... He used to play in a band with a guitarist who played with Bob Dylan. One of the younger band members asked him how he managed to snag that gig and he said that before Dylan was famous, the guitarist would play with him for free. When Dylan finally got to record albums, he remembered the guitarist and his previous generosity and offered to pay him for playing in the record and touring with him

Chancius

Too many musicians think that they are in limited quantity and believe they should be getting paid for their work. They don't realize that they have to pay their dues and really wait to get to the point when they can actually justify getting paid what they want.

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Suzanne Lainson

I'm a bit frustrated with the Palmer discussions. I don't think she did anything wrong for inviting people to play in exchange for some beer and hugs, but on the other hand, I don't feel the musicians who are asking why they should play for free should be written off as bitter or unrealistic.

How we compensate people and what counts as work is one of the core questions facing the global economy. If we have more people than we have jobs for them to do and yet if we expect people to work for a living, then we have a mismatch between reality and expectations.

I also think Kickstarter should bring to the forefront an examination of artistic collaborations and who gets paid for what. In the past, a lot of the industry was done as a work-for-hire arrangement, but I think Kickstarter now might push more people to think of projects as collaborations where all contributors get a share of the proceeds.

Palmer's approach of having fans play for free reinforces the old concept of a star and her fans. I think that concept is changing and that wall between star and fans will disappear. Everyone will be a participant at an event. Much less, if any, hierarchy.

david lowery

Robin Davey. again no one is attacking her for thinking outside the box. They just think a for profit enterprise/tour should not have "volunteer" musicians. And most of the people writing about this with the exception of steve albini have been incredibly polite.

So say you are a video director correct? Camper Van Beethoven has a new album coming out. Why don't you think outside the box and do the next camper van beethoven video for beers and hugs?

Gaetano

Suzanne,

I believe that even if Amanda published all her books at the end, regardless of how much she made, gave away or invested back into the project it would be insufficient for the haters. Why? because she's still more successful than them, and did she it her way.

I know you understand the logistics and costs involved with any endeavor of that capacity, the idea of the private shows alone (which actually made up a HUGE share of the campaign) when you look at touring costs will actually not leave her with that much per show (that's why she booked 20 or so)

Kickstarter is not about being a non profit, it's about funding a project and that people might be interested in, the more interest, the more potential return. She created demand, and is now supplying it in some tiers very efficiently.

She's done her time, she happened to marry a famous author, so she gets his services as well. That's just the way it is. It will NEVER be fair for some people, because it's not them.

And as we've seen, misery loves company, but furiously seeks it out....

Suzanne Lainson

I believe that even if Amanda published all her books at the end, regardless of how much she made, gave away or invested back into the project it would be insufficient for the haters. Why? because she's still more successful than them, and did she it her way.

What I like about Palmer is that she is far more transparent than most musicians and she has very insightful things to say about making a living as an artist.

If anyone is going to be pushed to explain all of this, Palmer is my choice because she will bring something valuable to the discussion.

I don't want everyone to brush this off as just a bunch of jealous musicians. The questions go far deeper than that and I hope we greatly expand what we talk about in terms of who makes a living at art, who makes a living at anything, and whether we should have stars and their fans or whether we should find more ways to turn everyone into their own star.

Suzanne Lainson

I believe that even if Amanda published all her books at the end, regardless of how much she made, gave away or invested back into the project it would be insufficient for the haters. Why? because she's still more successful than them, and did she it her way.

What I like about Palmer is that she is far more transparent than most musicians and she has very insightful things to say about making a living as an artist.

If anyone is going to be pushed to explain all of this, Palmer is my choice because she will bring something valuable to the discussion.

I don't want everyone to brush this off as just a bunch of jealous musicians. The questions go far deeper than that and I hope we greatly expand what we talk about in terms of who makes a living at art, who makes a living at anything, and whether we should have stars and their fans or whether we should find more ways to turn everyone into their own star.

Robin Davey

No I wouldn't do their next video for beer and hugs, but if they asked me to come up and play a couple of numbers I would jump at the chance. I have never viewed music as a job - its a fucking blast. Musicians who view music as a job especially ones who believe musicians should be paid for getting up and jamming are surely missing the point. If you want to do music and get paid what you feel is fair, then do advertising jingles or something.

Robin Davey

No but we do have interns. Some people do things for the experience and the long term prospects an as an education. Musicians like to think they know everything but there is no better way to learn that to get direct experience from those above us.

Robin Davey

Why does her decision affect audio engineers???? Audio engineers are not musicians - they are audio engineers.

Gaetano

I can appreciate what you're saying,

Though the conversation about why who gets to do what, and live how and why is one for the ages, and an extremely subjective one at that. At the end of the day, whoever plays with Amanda will do so because they love what they do, and would love the opportunity to do it.

The entire paradigm is shifting, and the vernacular can't keep up. Fans, stars, success etc. They already mean and meant different things to different people and now the language we used to even describe the concepts is become more and more outdated by the minute.

I'm sure Amanda will have something else to say about it, or she might just go out and do what she does best which is make her fans happy with the music she makes, being who she is most authentically.

Suzanne Lainson

I have never viewed music as a job - its a fucking blast. Musicians who view music as a job especially ones who believe musicians should be paid for getting up and jamming are surely missing the point.

I wish we'd finally get to the point where most people connected to music admit the primary purpose of music is to participate and express themselves. All the discussions about how it's a great time for musicians to make a living at music aren't being realistic.

People take photos all the time and few ever expect to make a living at it even if their photos are as good as what professional photographers take.

For whatever reason, hopes and dreams of a career in music are fed to people who won't be able to achieve that. Now, if we'd get to the point where we admit there rarely is enough money coming in from music to support oneself, let alone a family, then we can talk about music's value as a form of community and self-expression and leave the business talk to the few people interested enough in marketing to focus on that. And when we focus on that, we also need to factor in the world economy. If most people are trying to make ends meet, they aren't going to be going out supporting artists. The demographic who has money to drop at a concert or on high-priced merch is a very small segment of the world.

Adam

Jerry Casale said in an interview once that 'whether it’s a new cereal or a new band, art is now the business of art.' I think there's a lot of truth to that.

My point is that a lot of musicians do view music as a job and a career, and why shouldn't they? Amanda Palmer certainly does, as well as the countless other artists that we all grew up listening to. Paul McCartney wouldn't go on tour and charge his fans nothing, even though I'm sure he could afford to do that at this stage in his life. He loves what he does and I bet he'd still be playing music even if he wasn't famous, but as it stands he is a career musician and he takes his business seriously.

Adam

Her decision doesn't affect audio engineers. I was using it as an example of music and audio related skills being undervalued and under-appreciated. Even though musicians and audio engineers don't need to be 1 in the same, most audio engineers are musicians and contain both skill sets. Just take a look at Steve Albini.

Suzanne Lainson

Jerry Casale said in an interview once that 'whether it’s a new cereal or a new band, art is now the business of art.' I think there's a lot of truth to that.

Yes. The people who make a living at art are not necessarily the most talented. They have figured out how to charge for it.

Palmer, for example, isn't necessarily the most talented musician in the world. But she throws events that people enjoy and will pay to support. Palmer has written about the fact that she is not in the least bit embarrassed to ask for money. She's right to assume that she has fans who will pay for free because she already has years of experience having fans pay in one form or another to hang out with her.

And there is nothing wrong with that.

At the same time, there is nothing wrong with musicians asking if they want to play for free. It's such a relevant discussion. What do we do for income and what do we do for fun?

Robin Davey

when was the last time an audio engineer was asked to come up and jam on the master fader?

Robin Davey

I toured with Buddy Guy once and on the last night of the show he asked if my band wanted to get up on stage and Jam with him. Should I have asked him what he was going to pay me? Of course not - it was an absolute honor to share the stage with him. Clapton got up the night before for a couple of numbers as well - do you think he got paid?

Sometimes the experience outweighs the need for money.

Adam

Brian Eno started doing it in the 70's with Roxy Music. DJ's/Effects Wizards/valuable and talented live sound engineers have been doing it ever since.

LRTR

But if you were on tour with Buddy Guy, were you not getting paid for that gig? If not, I definitely understand your point and I agree with a lot of what you have to say. But if you were getting paid for the tour, your point is not relevant. Of course one would get up and play on the last night of a tour they were on and would never dream of asking for money for that set. But it takes money from someone; a label, investor, etc., to get to that point on tour or to get a tour at all! I think the plight is the age old question; do I perform for nothing or do I find money somewhere else or do I kill myself trying to find a middle ground? I agree that Palmer had the greatest intentions for her fans because I agree that sometimes...exposure is currency. But anyone who is currently making a living in music probably shouldn't put those down who are pro-pay for their talents. PS, I don't think Clapton was hurtin' for the rent payment.

Robin Davey

We lost money on the tour but paid for it with other shows that did pay money and by selling merch.

Suzanne Lainson

Here's something relevant.

Amanda Palmer's Million-Dollar Music Project and Kickstarter's Accountability Problem


When people raise money on Kickstarter, by doing so they suggest that they need the money. It's understandable, then, when potential donors ask how the money will be spent. And if significantly more money is raised than was asked for, those donors and others are going to be even more curious how the money will be spent. And then if they see that there isn't much money left over, they are going to ask how did that happen and was it mismanaged.

Sergiu

You're contradicting your own article here.

Robin Davey

hmmm don't think so

Judd

Dude, many directors make fanvids absolutely for free, and for the fun of it.
Some get discovered that way, they end up hired by producers and directing ads for real bucks.

But this is not even what it is about.
Nobody is gonna go play with AP to "get discovered". They're just supposed to read notes and play them on one song. No soloing or anything. So no one is getting "discovered".
It is obvious that those volunteering to do that are just in it for the fun of playing with a musician they like.

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