Amanda Palmer Estimates That Volunteer Musicians Would Cost $35,000

As the criticism continues to mount, Amanda Palmer is firmly defending her decision to court volunteer, unpaid, ‘professional-ish’ musicians on her current tour.

But the cost to pay for these musicians across all dates isn’t astronomical: in fact, it would be roughly $35,000, according to an estimate shared by Palmer with the New York Times.

“Ms. Palmer also said that she could not afford to pay the extra musicians she requests, a string quartet and three or four sax and brass players. The cost, she said, would be around $35,000 for all the tour dates.”

– New York Times writer Daniel Wakin.

One of the sharpest criticisms here is that Palmer is hoarding cash from her monstrous, $1.2 million Kickstarter purse, while also making additional money on the road. Palmer denies that she made any real profits on her Kickstarter campaign, though she also admits that the prize was immediately used to pay down $250,000 in debt.  But even with that debt, one reasonable, back-of-the-envelope breakdown suggests a pre-tax profit of roughly $400,000.

Meanwhile, Palmer isn’t flinching an inch on this one, while protecting her decision to pay high-quality musicians with ‘exposure,’ ‘beer’ and ‘hugs’.  The ardent defense effort is happening through lengthy blog posts and through comments like these (also to the Times).

“If you could see the enthusiasm of these people, the argument would become invalid.  They’re all incredibly happy to be here.”