Indie rock/social media goddess Amanda Palmer is making waves with her Grand Theft Orchestra tour. Palmer, former lead singer of the Dresden Dolls, is known for her creative approach to making and sharing music: she relies almost entirely upon her fans’ charity to survive (and she’s doing well: she recently raised $1.2 million dollars for her music on Kickstarter.com). The Grand Theft Orchestra tour has caused controversy because Palmer is soliciting the services of professional musicians across the nation to jam with her – but she is only offering “beer & hugs” as compensation.
While many musicians maintain that the level of exposure such a high-profile gig provides is well worth being paid in beer alone, others lament her embrace of the “economy of free.” Personally, I say more power to her. The industry is changing, and hard numbers like CD sales just don’t cut it anymore. Palmer is focusing on experience over product – happenings and communities over CDs and t-shirts – and insodoing, she is leading the sea change in how we create, consume, and share music.