Amanda Palmer’s unique approach to financing her career has met with admiration in some quarters. Not all though, as legendary producer Steve Albini attacked her plan to recruit unpaid musicians for her current world tour.
Palmer used the fundraising website Kickstarter to raise $1.2 million to launch her latest album Theatre Is Evil. Carrying on the DIY theme, she asked for horn and string players to volunteer to join her on stage. Instead of payment, Palmer promised, "We will feed you beer, hug/high-five you up and down (pick your poison), give you merch, and thank you mightily for adding to the big noise we are planning to make."
Albini, who made his name as the go-to producer for grunge bands, objected vehemently. "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, but I wouldn't stoop to doing any of them myself. If you are forced by your ignorance into pleading for donations and charity work, you are then publicly admitting you are an idiot. 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."
Albini is obviously not one to mince his words. Palmer responded in the New York Times: "To me it seems absurd," she said. "If my fans are happy and my audience is happy and the musicians on stage are happy, where’s the problem?"