So, how does a cult musician like that become a figure of popular sport? A lot of circumstances conspired to introduce her to the larger public, from a heavy online presence to her relationship with popular writer Neil Gaiman. But the turning point came when she broke from her label, took to Kickstarter to crowd-source funding for her next project, and raised — remarkably, unexpectedly — more than a million dollars. This constituted an actual general-interest news story, in which Palmer’s accomplishment could be touted as proving something important concerning “the future of music.” (That claim’s a questionable one: It’s been clear for a while now that artists with major-label histories and established audiences can gather fans around independent projects, at least the first time out. So?) And negative reactions to that press were merely warm-up for the main hating-Palmer event, which arrived when she, in the course of assembling a tour, asked fans to volunteer at various stops to play strings and horns as part of her band, unpaid. This was, technically, just another facet of that intimate connection with the audience — letting them participate in the music-making, a daydream-come-true for plenty of fans. But when you’ve just raised more than a million dollars from fans and sold them tickets to your show, it’s evidently poor PR to ask them to perform for free — and even more unseemly to claim, when criticized, that you literally can’t afford to do otherwise. It’s also an open invitation for curious parties to investigate your finances, and when other musicians did so, they tended to be baffled. Palmer suggested she was returning her Kickstarter windfall to fans in the forms of lavish gifts for donors; others saw her rough budget breakdowns as a festival of profligacy and unnecessary costs. There were also, as a matter of routine, those strangers who didn’t much care either way but found Palmer’s entire manner of being vaguely off-putting.
“In the old world, we did cumbersome things including teams of people wearing headphones and listening to thousands of hours of television and radio programming,” but had to use proxies for what was playing in places like bars and clubs, DeFilippis said. Now, ASCAP is very reliant on technology to insure proper reporting and payments.
But MRI’s Watkins said that even though his company ties data and technology together wherever it can, “we still have about 30 people doing copyright research,” however they can through the internet and contacting people. “You still need the human element,” he said.
Most people in the music business see a side of the music world to which fans are never really exposed. When a manager or an A&R person gets a demo from an artist they work with, there’s a thrill, a moment of true discovery. You’re about to hear something you’ve never before heard. You’re sitting on potential gold, or you aren’t, but either way you’re in.
And so my question is, why can’t the fans feel some of this too? Why can’t the fans be in at the same time as those who are making these records are?
About once a month, we get an email from a researcher, journalist, policymaker, or a student asking us a simple question: how many musicians are there in the United States? Given our work on Artist Revenue Streams, it makes sense that they ask us, but our answer is the same for everyone:
There is no reliable way to measure the real size of the US musician population.
There are three particular challenges in estimating the size of the musician population in the United States:
– There is no agreed-upon definition for “musician”, nor certifications or qualifying tests.
– There is no one organization that represents all musicians.
– The government’s statistics excludes a huge chunk of the musician population by their own counting standards.
Human collective behavior can vary from calm to panicked depending on social context. Using videos publicly available online, we study the highly energized collective motion of attendees at heavy metal concerts. We find these extreme social gatherings generate similarly extreme behaviors: a disordered gaslike state called a mosh pit and an ordered vortexlike state called a circle pit. Both phenomena are reproduced in flocking simulations demonstrating that human collective behavior is consistent with the predictions of simplified models.
I’ve used little strategies to get around the tiny biases. For example, I can get more favorable licensing terms by having a client negotiate via email with my pseudonymous male manager “Marc”. Or, on the occasion I’ve been made to sound like a viola onstage, I smile and subtly demonstrate that I understand acoustics by cheerfully mentioning to the soundman how quirky the cello is, that its lowest note is 65hz and that the notch for my resonant frequency should be very narrow because rolling off everything below 160hz will make a cello sound like a viola. Or, prevented by drinking laws from bringing my still-nursing 6 month old into my dressing room (where I needed to nurse him to sleep before going onstage), I just snuck him into the venue under my coat.
The fact that I don’t get the benefit of the doubt from you saddens me. There is no way I can make up this date. There isn’t a way. And for any of you that believe in me, please know we did everything we could to try to make it happen. Everything. It’s a logistical nightmare that is again, out of my control.
And guess what? I might actually get sick again on this tour. Can you imagine it? How dare I even think that? I have a two year old who is building her immune system by getting sick all over the place. And the fact that I even went on tour while being a full time mom is a miracle in itself.
The next time I schedule dates- ill have to say to myself- “if, God forbid I have to cancel one show, those fans will turn on me like rabid dogs and question the moral fabric of my character.”