Amanda Palmer defends herself over paying musicians with hugs and beer
The Amanda Palmer paying-musicians-with-hugs controversy rages on. Earlier this week, indie-rock icon and noted curmudgeon Steve Albini weighed in, saying that while he doesn’t think Palmer is “an idiot,” he certainly wouldn’t let her invest his funds. “Fuck’s sake a million dollars is a shitload of money,” he wrote on the Electrical Audio message boards. “I saw a breakdown about where the money went a while ago, and most everything in it was absurdly inefficient, including paying people to take care of spending the money itself, which seems like a crazy Moebius strip of waste.”
Now Palmer has taken to her blog to defend herself—albeit not directing her post to Albini specifically, but rather at Amy Vaillancourt-Sals, a musician and fan who posted a screed on her blog about how, while she respects Palmer an artist, she’s found that “volunteer opportunities have effectively lead to more volunteer opportunities,” rather than to “compensating gigs.”
Palmer’s own response, which comes in at a hefty 2,800 words, defends her position, saying emphatically that “YOU HAVE TO LET ARTISTS MAKE THEIR OWN DECISIONS ABOUT HOW THEY SHARE THEIR TALENT AND TIME.” Of course, all that is underscored by a section where she explains that, in “cities like New York,” she “wanted to make sure we had a 100% tried-and-true string corps,” so in that case, she actually paid to hire professional musicians. In other cities that are not New York, however, she's fine with throwing together some just-happy-to-be-there amateurs and paying them in beer.