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More On Amanda Palmer's Greed

We've gotten a lot of comments around our Amanda Palmer article. Seeing how this is a website devoted to advertising, our POV is that Amanda Palmer is hurting her "brand."

Now, thanks to a tip from a musician friend, we were pointed to an excellent post by a producer, mixer and audio engineer, named Justin Colletti. And surprise surprise, he thinks the same thing we do.

Oh. And it is also important to note that mr. Colletti has worked with Amanda Palmer as a live sound engineer, so he is in a better position to speak.

Most people don't read beyond the headline and their minds are already made up. For those of you who enjoy reading, here two passages from Mr. Colletti's post.

Let’s not make false equivalencies in this debate. It’s important to remember that we’re not talking about a friend of Ms. Palmer’s jumping up on stage to play a guitar solo or sing backup on a song. Rather, we’re talking about working or aspiring musicians who are expected to send in an audition tape, learn the material in advance, arrive punctually for a high-pressure rehearsal, and then arrive punctually again for a high-profile performance in which they will be an essential part of the emotional and aesthetic impact of many of the songs.

This kind of work deserves compensation — even if its just a token sum from an artist who cannot afford to pay a more traditional rate.

But at this point, it’s worth remembering that Ms. Palmer can afford it. Remember her $1.2 Million, which was a full $1 Million above her budgeted goal? And do you remember all the Amazon downloads and ticket sales in the past two days alone? She’s shot up near to the top of Amazon’s charts, and that’s taking all of her Kickstarter pre-sales out of the equation.

The way Palmer is playing her cards here, it’s hard for even a well-wisher like myself not to be convinced that she is falling deep into hypocrisy.

And then this one, which addresses the apologists who use the "they knew they weren't getting paid when they signed up," argument:

A final note:

Currently, the counter-argument from Palmer and her fans has been that if the musicians know what they’re getting themselves into — then hey — no harm, no foul, right?

Well, not exactly. Indentured servants and sharecroppers and sub-minimum wage workers and poor families signing on to sub-prime mortgages all tended to “know what they were getting themselves into.” But that doesn’t make these arrangements right.

It has taken hard work to end these abuses, and that hard work has paid off, bringing us things we take for granted, like the weekend, the minimum wage, the 40-hour workweek, and until they were repealed, financial regulations that were pretty darn good at preventing catastrophic financial collapses like the one we’ve just been through. Hard work and advocacy ended the kinds of devastating factory fires that killed hundreds of young girls, who were often about the same age as many of Ms. Palmer’s fans.

Whenever we don’t properly compensate and care for working people, we’re on a very slippery slope. I don’t say this to be sensational. I say it to be accurate.

Previously on Adland: Who Killed Amanda Palmer's Career?

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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Dabitch's picture

The Amanda Palmer banners currently appearing are quite funny in this context. She can afford banner ads.

Dabitch's picture

Music Tech Policy has a post on this as well.

The BYOB Kids Are Back With a Free Lunch and Hugs for Everyone

Another striking omission from the Oberholzer-Gee study, Amanda Palmer’s repeated emphasis on giving music away, and of course ORG’s efforts to promote Google’s IP agenda is that none of them mention that the sites that facilitate ”sharing” do so at a profit, frequently by selling advertising for major brands. The same major brands whose ad publisher agreements prohibit their ads from appearing on these illegal sites. And yet they do, as we have seen on the Wall of Shame.

So the files aren’t “free” and the sales aren’t “lost.” The transactions are monetized and those are not “free” or “shared” in any definition of those words that aren’t idiosyncratic.

Just because the users aren’t being charged a per-track fee doesn’t mean the transactions aren’t monetized. They are. Read the Megavideo indictment and you’ll get the idea. Read the Google no-indictment agreement and you’ll get the idea. Google’s being sued by its shareholders over drug advertising misconduct, read that complaint and you’ll get the idea (or the stipulation Google requested to keep their board members from being deposed).

It’s not that the sales are lost, it’s that the sales are lost to the artists. If the Megavideo case shows you anything, it should show you that people…ahem…are getting rich by profiting from “free.” There is no free. No discussion of this, though.

But free beer, that’s the point. And admiration, of course.