Amanda Palmer has denied a suggestion from a fan that she is using donations given to her to make art to pay for her baby.
The cult musician and former Dresden Dolls singer once earned money by working as a living statue, used Kickstarter to fund her album (the most successful musical crowdfunding campaign to date) and has a released a book entitled ‘The Art of Asking’, which encourages artists to ask for donations in order to fund their work.
A few weeks before announcing her pregnancy, Palmer signed up to the crowdfunding platform Patreon. She now has over 5,5000 patrons on the site who collectively pay her $35,000 (£22,700) every time she releases something.
In a piece for Medium, Palmer said this funded a short animation using a found iPhone voice memo recording of "weird shit my writer husband says in his sleep", recordings of cover songs with her father and a film of "a piece of bizzaro living-statue performance art and book-drive" - and had not received any complaints.
However, Palmer said she received a letter from one fan who was concerned that her patrons had actually been duped into paying for her baby. The ‘Worried-but-still-devoted’ writer expressed concern that the steady stream of music she provided was dwindling in an email entitled: “Baby announcement right after joining Patreon?…Scam much?”
“You have a reasonably sized, and growing fanbase,” the author wrote. “There will always be people to buy your merch, your albums, tickets to your shows. You didn’t NEED to join Patreon, but you did anyway. Then you announced your pregnancy, after years of saying you didn’t want to be a mom. It makes me worry about what’s going to happen next."
"So, my question is, did you do this on purpose?
"Are your patrons paying for new music, or are they paying for a new baby?"
In her response to the letter, Palmer said such suggestions exacerbated her fears that she would be judged or perceived differently for becoming a mother, claiming this kind of letter was “a pregnant artist’s worst nightmare”.
She denied her crowdfunding campaign was a simply to get people to pay for her child.
“When you’re a crowdfunding artist, it shouldn’t matter what your choices are as long as you’re delivering your side of the bargain — the art, the music. It shouldn’t matter whether you’re spending money on guitar picks, rent, printer paper, diapers, college loans, or the special brand of organic absinthe you use to find your late-night muse…. as long as art is making it out the other side and making your patrons happy.
“The money we need to live is often indistinguishable from the money we need to make art. We need all sorts of stuff to make art with. MAYBE I EVEN NEED THIS BABY TO MAKE ART. Who knows?
“As to your question about the timing of all this…no, it wasn’t schemed. I’ve been intending to use patreon since it was founded two years ago, because I love the idea of giving my fans a way to just pay me whenever I actually release content, instead of relying on a tired, outdated system of making one big-old fashioned record every couple of years.”Reuse content