Last week, it came out that indie musician Amanda Palmer, formerly of the Dresden Dolls, had been “crowdsourcing” backup musicians for her recent shows and paying them only in “hugs and free beer.” After a week under fire, Palmer has decided to pay her temporary supporting musicians and has sent out back pay for musicians at previous shows.
In a blog post, “What We’re Doing About the Crowdsourced Musicians. Also: We Charted at Motherf**king #10” Palmer explained her reaction in the wake of the “week-long fervid -– and at times vitriolic — discourse about the nature and value of art, energy, time and money.”
While Palmer has always paid her touring band a salary even when they aren’t on the road, she had taken to recruiting volunteer musicians for a few songs per night at each show. The volunteer musicians were paid in “hugs and free beer,” she said. But once this news broke, many in the music industry criticized Palmer.
One such critic was the noted producer and former Big Black guitarist, Steve Albini. Albini, who produced such classic albums as Nirvana’s “In Utero” and the Pixies’ “Surfer Rosa” condemned Palmer on the music forum Electrical Audio.
“It should be obvious also that having gotten over a million dollars from such an effort that it is just plain rude to ask for further indulgences from your audience, like playing in your backing band for free,” Albini posted.
In light of the controversy, Palmer has decided to pay any and all musicians appearing on stage with her for their efforts.
“My management team tweaked and reconfigured financials, pulling money from this and that other budget (mostly video) and moving it to the tour budget,” she wrote. “All of the money we took out of those budgets is going to the crowd-sourced musicians fund. We are going to pay the volunteer musicians every night. Even though they volunteered their time for beer, hugs, merch, free tickets, and love, we’ll now also hand them cash.”
In other Amanda Palmer news, her latest album, “Theatre is Evil” debuted at number 10 on the Billboard charts. The album was funded entirely by Kickstarter, through which fans donated $1.2 million to record and produce it.
Palmer herself seemed manically happy at the news, likening the debut to a revolution in the way music is produced and funded. Or, in Palmer’s own words, “in with the old, out with the new, on with the new, off with the old, up with the down, down with the mother**king up!!!!! whatever the f**k it means, we’re doing some SERIOUS DAMAGE, MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!”