After raising almost $1.2 million for her new album and tour on Kickstarter, Amanda Palmer put out a call for "professional-ish" musicians to volunteer to rehearse and perform in her Grand Theft Orchestra. In return, Palmer says, "We will feed you beer, hug/high-five you up and down, give you merch, and thank you mightily."
Let's start with the obvious. Palmer raised $1.2 million in advance for her new album and accompanying tour, yet says that she can't afford the $35,000 needed to hire musicians. That doesn't pass the smell test.
With her request for volunteers -- three or four saxes and brass and a string quartet that "gets to BE the opening act" -- Amanda Palmer has shredded her reputation as a "groundbreaking" indie artist. She's become just another musician that achieves commercial success and profits off the dreams and aspirations of others.
And besides selling her fellow musicians (and fans) down the river, she has established a dangerous precedent and degraded pay standards for the thousands of working musicians that are hired locally for touring bands.
As AFM President Ray Hair said in a NYTimes article, "If there’s a need for the musician to be on the stage, then there ought to be compensation for it."
Or as commenter Chris Siebert put it, "Your request for free labor sounds like a promotional gimmick dreamed up by a corporate Republican who has no concept of the history of working people in this country."
Amanda Palmer: pay ALL the musicians you perform with -- and pay them a fair wage. Now.