“ROCKERS PLAYING FOR BEER: FAIR PLAY?”
By Daniel J. Wakin
Published Sept 12, 2012
Imagine that after you put in hours of work your boss pays you in beer. Absurd isn’t it? Not to Amanda Palmer, a rock musician, who in her recent tour had asked her fans to play for her as backup musicians on stage. On her website, she posted “Wanted: Horn-y and String-y Volunteers for the Grand Theft Orchestra Tour” (“Rockers Playing for Beer: Fair Play?” ) where she sought out people who played certain instruments. She asked her fans to show up for interviews and then lets them perform on stage. However, she promised only hugs and alcohol as compensation. This led to many negative comments on the singer’s Twitter account. Many believed that her actions were ridiculous and unprofessional while some believed that the situation was just sad. Despite all the negativity, she refuses to pay. She claims that the $1.2 million dollars that was raised from the sale of her album “Theater is Evil”—which some argued could have been used to pay these ripped-off musicians—“went toward recording expenses and the costs of promotion and touring.” I certainly do not believe that all that money went to those expenses, and Ms. Palmer is merely trying to save money by having her fans play for her. Furthermore, I certain do not see a point in why Ms. Palmer would harm her self-image by being cheap.
Also, Ms. Palmer believes that there is nothing wrong with what she is doing and she claims that if her fans are happy playing for her and her audience is happy then there is no problem at all. However, Raymond M. Hair Jr., president of the American Federation of Musicians, completely disagrees with this. Mr. Hair believes that “If there’s a need for the musician to be on the stage, then there ought to be compensation for it, Playing is work and there’s a value associated with it, and that value ought to be respected.” The argument presented here is that whether or not the fans should be paid in monetary means.
I agree with the fact that if Ms. Palmer’s fans were willing to play at the tour for free because they value the concert rather than the money, then there would be no wrongdoing for not paying them. However, I think music should still be appreciated. I believe that the fans should still be paid with money because playing for the tour is a professional job, and all work done should be compensated.
What do you think? Do you think that Ms. Palmer’s tour is so great that her fans would want to play for her for free? Do you think that it is just for Ms. Palmer to compensate her fans with beer and hugs? Since the fans are happy, does the work they put in have to have valued? Is Ms. Palmer being unprofessional and being a jerk for not paying the fans? Is Ms. Palmer doing what’s right? Do you think Ms. Palmer is keeping her profit and slurping off of these ripped-off musician fans?