After a tumultuous week, Amanda Palmer is now reportedly paying the string quartet and horn sections she previously was asking to volunteer to perform on her current tour.
The saga all began last week when the former Dresden Dolls frontwoman, now a solo artist, said in a New York Times interview that she would be giving a gift to her fans by inviting those who play strings, saxophone and brass to join her on stage during a tour. The only compensation being offered to them though was free beer and hugs.
The story sounds mostly innocent until you consider that Palmer raised an astonishing $1.2 million from fans through Kickstarter to fund her most recent album, Theatre Is Evil. Following the statement, eyebrows of skeptics were raised as it appeared on paper, at least, that she could afford to give these musicians a little more.
Two of those eyebrows belonged to the ever-snarling, elder statesmen of independent music Steve Albini. On the message board for his studio Electrical Audio, Albini said,
Pretty much everybody on earth has a threshold for how much to indulge an idiot who doesn’t know how to conduct herself, and I think Ms Palmer has found her audience’s threshold.
The whole episode has been rather exhausting but appears have now reached a happy conclusion. Yesterday, on her blog, Palmer wrote:
for better or for worse, this whole kerfuffle has meant i’ve spent the past week thinking hard about this, listening to what everyone was saying and discussing. i hear you. i see your points. me and my band have discussed it at length. and we have decided we should pay all of our guest musicians. we have the power to do it, and we’re going to do it. (in fact, we started doing it three shows ago.)
my management team tweaked and reconfigured financials, pulling money from this and that other budget (mostly video) and moving it to the tour budget. 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.
And once again, all was right with the world. Except for the fact that “kerfuffle” is a word people use, apparently.