Beefs 2012: Steve Albini Labels Amanda Palmer an "Idiot" over Crowdsourcing Campaign
Published Sep 13, 2012This week, Amanda Palmer delivered her latest album, Theatre Is Evil, which was released through her own 8ft. Records, and funded by her generous fans. While the kitschy singer's Kickstarter campaign was a massive success, yielding nearly $1.2 million, not everyone is happy about Palmer's crowdsourcing ways. Infamous record producer/curmudgeon Steve Albini, for one, figures the cabaret-styled star's marketing ploy points to her being, well, "an idiot."
In a blog post, Albini critiqued the already successful Palmer for soliciting funding for her latest LP, as well as a recent move asking for horn- and string-playing fans to volunteer their services on her current tour. He noted that he doesn't frown upon the practice as a whole, but the devout D.I.Y. practitioner admitted he'd never "stoop" to doing it himself.
"I have no fundamental problem with either asking your fans to pay you to make your record or go on tour or play for free in your band or gather at a mud pit downstate and sell meth and blowjobs to each other. I wouldn't stoop to doing any of them myself, but horses for courses," he condescended. "The reason I don't appeal to other people in this manner is that all those things can easily pay for themselves, and I value self-sufficiency and independence, even (or especially) from an audience."
It should be noted that former Silkworm member Tim Midgett tried to help out Albini's Electrical Audio studios a couple of years back with a similar soliciting campaign, but the studio owner apparently wasn't that into the idea.
Considering Albini's famously stuck to independent promotion, he pointed out that appealing to fans for funds just means you're not very good at promoting your product.
"If your position is that you aren't able to figure out how to do that, that you are forced by your ignorance into pleading for donations and charity work, you are then publicly admitting you are an idiot, and demonstrably not as good at your profession as Jandek, Moondog, GG Allin, every band ever to go on tour without a slush fund or the kids who play on buckets downtown."
Palmer's recent call for amateur players to offer their tuneful services for free has also come under fire, with the Local 76-493 musicians union publicly decrying the move and tweeting, "@amandapalmer, please pay your musicians who 'ACTUALLY, REALLY PLAY THEIR INSTRUMENT!' a fair wage.Hugs don't pay rent."
Palmer has brushed off the critiques, noting to the New York Times that people have offered up coin and their services of their own will. With the musicians in mind, she stated that they are "all incredibly happy to be here."
"If you could see the enthusiasm of these people, the argument would become invalid," she said, adding, "They fundamentally believe it's worth their time and energy to show up at this gig."
Palmer just started up a North American tour, which stops in Vancouver on September 29. If you want to be a part of her band for the night, you can check out the details here.