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Amanda Palmer Asks Musicians To Play For Free, Pisses Off Musicians
It's an old story: Famous, beloved musician raises a crapload of tour money on Kickstarter. Said musician writes an enthusiastic blog post asking for volunteers to play with her on her tour. Professional musicians get pissed about the fact that a successful musician is asking for free labor. Controversy ensues.
Okay, it's not that old a story. In fact, it's happening right now. The musician in question is singer/songwriter Amanda Palmer, who recently raised 1.1 million dollars on Kickstarter to support her next tour, "Theater is Evil."
Palmer recently put up a casting call on her blog seeking freelance musicians—a horn section and a string quartet, specifically—from each of the 30-odd cities on her tour. Sounds normal so far, right? Big touring acts hire local players all the time, especially for "non-essential" parts like horn and strings, where it's easier for someone to just roll in and read the charts down without much rehearsal. Well, here's the catch: In this case, the players in question have to attend a soundcheck rehearsal and play the show... for free, paid only in beer and hugs/high—fives.
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Palmer responded yesterday, telling the New York Times, "If you could see the enthusiasm of these people, the argument would become invalid. They're all incredibly happy to be here … If my fans are happy and my audience is happy and the musicians on stage are happy, where's the problem?"
Palmer then pointed out that paying the musicians would cost her around $35,000, which is more than she can afford. That, of course, raised more eyebrows, given Palmer's fame, past success, and million-dollar Kickstarter.
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