Saturday, September 22, 2012

Friday Feature: Amanda Palmer

During my internship in London, I'd ask every day a colleague what their favorite song of 2011 was and share it on our Facebook page. One day when one of our bands were recording at the studio, I asked their front man Felix what his best of 2011 was. He surprised me by saying that he really doesn't know, since he really listens to only two artists (?!), of which the other ended up on our page and the other now on my blog.

I remember watching Amanda Palmer's Astronaut video and thinking how slightly creepy she was, although brilliant, but creepy. The song anyways got stuck in my head, as did many other tunes from her debut album. However, as usually nowadays, I didn't delve fully into the record, so it became one of those *play a few songs from it, when you feel like it on Spotify*. 

This continued until Steve Albini (big shot artist/record producer/music journalist) called Amanda Palmer an idiot. Those, who know this story are probably tired of it already, but in short Albini didn't like how Palmer wasn't planning to pay money to those professional-ish horn and string players she was inviting to play with her touring band on stage. Palmer then replied in a length, which is like half of my thesis, basically saying that it's no one's business how artists decide to share their talent and time. You go girl!

Though, this whole ping pong match ended in Palmer and her management deciding to pay the volunteers after all. Admittedly, I was disappointed by this. I mean, if I was able to play those instruments, I'd be the first to be on stage. You bet, I'd do it for beers, hugs, high-fives and merch. Hell, I'd do it only for beers.

Of course people are naturally concerned of "poor musicians not being compensated by the rich". But if you're so damn worried, then stop torrenting and get your ass into a record store or gig. And before you call me a hypocrite, yes I did download Palmer's newest album for free, but at least it was legal and I'll buy the album when I have the money, go see her show when I have the chance and buy merch if they're nice/affordable. Then of course spread the word by tweeting, sharing on Facebook, Tumblr and blogging here. She might hate my words, but at least they're out there.

Before this gets out of hand... Theatre Is Evil might be my favorite album of 2012. I've been listening to it for a week now, which is a lot, when nowadays the average listening time I give a new album is a couple of days. That shows quality. 

But still I didn't become a fan because of the music, but for her brains. I think the other half of my thesis will be quoting examples of how Palmer brilliantly uses social media tools to engage with fans. Some ignorant people call it exploitation(e.g. fans preparing food for the tour crew, it really isn't about "uuu free food, but hey not only do we save a bit in costs, but most importantly we get to spend time with fans who get to experience something unique with their favorite artist and buzz about it to everyone they know"). Why don't you try to have a music career with a positive budget, which doesn't really come from record sales, but from how you've successfully turned your fans into evangelists by simply spending time on/offline listening and talking to them. And still play music, sleep and eat too.

Get Theatre Is Evil legally for the price you want from here.

thanks to felix for recommending

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