Despite Pleas from Amanda Palmer, Morrissey Calls Crowdfunding ‘Desperate’ and ‘Insulting’

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Several months ago, Amanda Palmer penned an open letter to Morrissey, urging the singer to start a crowdfunding campaign and ditch the label system shackles forever.  Palmer outlined a plan that would give the label-less Morrissey $2.5 million in funding through $5 donations from 500,000 fans, more than double what Palmer earned on Kickstarter.

“They want songs. They want to hear, and feel. And this sounds simple, but it’s an important point: They want to help. Help me, and help you. Make music.”

So what’s wrong with freedom from labels, and direct donations from people that love you the most?  The answer is everything, according to Morrissey, whole barked this Spanish paper El País this week.

“It’s a desperate measure, and insulting to the audience,” Morrissey barked.  “They’ve already given us enough money.  What’s the next thing we’re going to ask them?  To brush our teeth?”


Image by Eduardo Zárate, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC by 2.0).


29 Responses

    • T. Cooke

      Yes. And, he; however, is good bait for news given his lackadaisical neck-speak buoyed by, well, he is a talented mr. ripley, and exudes confidence like a cocaine addict that is sure the next hit is always a good idea.

    • Rickshaw

      He’s actually correct. Crowd-funding is the lazy way for people to beg to the masses with little to no effort. It is embarrassing and takes away from being an artist.

  1. Amyt

    Morrisey is absolutely right. Besides, patronage is not a business model. At least not in the long run.

    • Ari Herstand

      Really? Amanda Palmer is getting $30,000 per release (of anything, music, video, art, blog) – ongoing. Tell me again how this is not sustainable?

      I thought we were way past the debate of “is crowdfunding begging?” (hint: it’s not). Only the musicians who enjoyed success from the old, label model (ie Morrissey) don’t understand it. But so many artists (even those from the old system) do. As proven by how many have run successful PledgeMusic campaigns. It’s not about “begging” or asking more from our fans. It’s basically offering pre-orders, exclusive content, VIP access. And CLEARLY fans crave this. Because it’s working. Morrissey needs to dig his way out of the rock he’s living under. Because, this has already been proven over and over and over again over the past 5 years.

      • Amyt

        It depends on the way it is presented. For most crowdfunding platforms out there, it IS patronage (or we could use your word: begging). This is the reason why Pledgemusic changed their wording etc. to include Pre-orders because more artists are comfortable with Pre-orders than with crowdfunding.

      • steveh

        There is definitely a stigma attached to “crowd-funding”.

        “Pre-order” does not carry the same negative baggage.

      • Chris H


        If you could show me several cases where the outcome was an Increased profitable venture at the end of the day, I would start to believe it.

        Thus far, all you hear is the front end numbers. I haven’t seen a case where a superstar artist, or even a high profile artist has come away from a patronage model and made it a runaway financial success. You might say “Well, that’s not what it is about”. If you do, you are wrong, that is ALL that it is about. This isn’t about sustaining the bottom of the barrel, it’s about investing in and creating ROI on the investment, even if the investment was a pledge.

        This is the music business, not charity. I don’t mean to be condescending, just stating fact. You can’t say it’s the “way of the future” if it can’t stand up to the results of the past.

        • GGG

          Often times crowd funding is used as a jumping off point, but probably can’t be repeated in the same “we have a month to raise $xx.xx! Help!” way. I haven’t used Patreon yet so not sure how well that actually works, though I can presume it doesn’t do shit unless you already have a decently sized fanbase.

          Having said that, I have seen a number of NYC bands raise quite a bit of money over the years. A Great Big World, before they were called that and signed, raised something like 20K a few years ago, which allowed them to record the album that had two songs that helped catapult them to where they are now. One of their friends, Julia Nunes, raised something like $85K on Kickstarter. Granted she had built a fanbase on YouTube for a couple years, but her initial goal was like a quarter of that. And there’s more. I’ve probably seen 15-20 bands I know and/or work with raise in excess of $15k. Maybe they’re all not profitable now (I know for a fact some are) but even if they managed the project wrong and ended up with $0 profit after delivery of goods, it’s still better to have cost of recording covered as opposed to being in a $15K hole.

          • Chris H


            I agree “something is better than nothing”, but when I hear “this is the new way”, it should work out for somebody in the normal way, even if it only went from say 85k raised, to SALES (Records, Merch, Appearances, SOMETHING) of say 500k.

            That low bar I have not seen any evidence of. When people can start showing that kind of progress, at the very least, then we can start to say it MIGHT be a model for the future, but at this point there is no evidence of that.

          • GGG

            Well, my point isn’t something is better than nothing really, it’s that crowd-funding is a way to pay for a record without getting into label recoupment. I don’t know the financials of all the bands I’ve seen, but it’s a fact that some of them have careers now after raising enough money to make a record. Sure you can argue maybe they would have made it anyway, but regardless, it’s an important part in growing as a band, obviously. A Great Big World is a perfect example, they raised that money before being signed to Epic. Their New Year song was pretty popular before that. The Christina thing might have happened after the signing, but still, she heard the song because it existed thanks to a crowd-funding campaign.

            Another band I know who raised about $20-25K in crowd funding has a few million streams on Spotify and I’m sure decent sales. I think a good 75% of bands I’ve worked with have used crowd funding either before me or while working with me, and they all still exist and make varying degrees of money (except one because the lead singer went into politics haha).

            I still haven’t really given Patreon a thorough study, but it seems like it’s closer to being a store than crowd-funding in the traditional sense. The people are still getting stuff, so it’s not like a tip jar. And as someone else alluded to, most of the money for crowd funding is people throwing down $10 for the album, so it is a pre-order with some goodwill attached. Not sure why that’s a bad thing.

            I get what you’re saying, trust me, but if people are more willing to part with money if they feel like part of the process, as opposed to buying a product after the fact, then who the fuck cares?

  2. Amyt

    And anyone who’s not comfortable with the idea of crowd-funding – they can always do the good old pre-orders. It still works very well.

  3. JTVDigital

    Thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign (we helped with setting things up), one of the bands using our services was recently able to raise 5,000 € which helped to finalize their EP, manufacture vinyl records with a beautiful artwork, have merchandising products, run a small PR campaign and secure new bookings in various cities. Just saying.

  4. JeffC

    She’s a grifter sucking her fanboybase for whatever they are willing to send her.
    Good for her.
    But to try and get others to grift is not an admirable pursuit.
    If you follow her story then you realize she created her own world modeled on the major label scheme:
    hire art directors, book binders, packaging designers, etc etc.
    The only difference was that she controlled the monies.
    Call me a hater – I’m fine with that, but she strikes me as an entitled spoiled self-important brat with the gall to tell somebody else how to run their affairs.
    Can we please stop talking about her?

  5. FarePlay

    Where this discussion gets blurred. Crowdfunding is a valuable addition to the options artists have to raise money. It doesn’t replace, nor is it a talking point in support of the discussion about the impact of interactive music streaming on an artists ability to earn a living. IF THEIR WORK MERITS COMPENSATION.

    It has been proven that we have a far larger pool of artists who can earn a living wage from their work when artists are able to sell their music. This can be accomplished, but it will require artists to remove their music from services that de-incentivize customers from purchasing music and laws that actually lessen internet piracy.

    The whole concept that the consumers demands free music is rubbish. The consumer has been handed free music from legitimate and illegal internet sources for far too long and it will take time to turn this around. You want something you pay for it. If it doesn’t matter to you, you won’t.

  6. Versus

    He’s right to reject it, but the reasons are wrong.
    His reason is that they have already given too much money; nice if that is his experience, but not the experience of most artists.

    The right reason to reject crowdfunding is that it comes off as begging.

  7. Anonymous

    Pretty sure Amanda Palmer has had a few fans brush her teeth. Just because she can. In more serious terms, I’m pointing out that she models a cult leader, and not a functioning musician.

    • Myles

      Exactly why it would be a perfect business model for Morrissey

  8. J.Twi5t

    “They’ve already given us enough money.” AIGHT! This broke-ass college student will take your money, apparently you have too much…

  9. superduper

    As much as I think that crowdfunding can be a good tool, I always like to think that there is more than one option for funding music aside from crowdfunding. In other words, I welcome it as one of the many options for funding arts in todays world, but I don’t necessarily think that artists should NEED to rely on it only and should have other sources of funding music.

  10. Adam

    You know what I find desperate and disgusting? A guy who takes fans’ money to play shows but then walks off stage at the smell of meat.

    I’m no Amanda Palmer fan either but Jeeze what a dick this guy is.

  11. DNog

    Maybe Morrissey knows he can’t flake out on his fans like he does every other tour if he is held accountable by a successful crowd-funding campaign.

    • Sarah

      Hmm…. he probably could still flake out if he were so inclined. Crowdfunding sites usually have very little accountability (or at least that was true the last time I read Patreon/Kickstarter terms). 🙂

  12. Mike Errico

    The fact that Morrissey has personal problems with a business model is a personal decision. Isn’t he allowed to steer his career in a way that feels good to him?

    Brushing the implied ageism aside, people far older than Morrissey have innovated in ways consistent with their own careers.

    Do you think Willie Nelson will be able to fund his next record with the proceeds of his own brand of weed? And doesn’t it feel ‘on-brand?’

    On the other hand, I’ve spoken with Amanda, and Kickstarter and Patreon aren’t fantasy worlds where money drops from the sky and the future is a quadruple rainbow of financial liberation:

    As I write, I’m sitting in a room with 17 guitars. I don’t rent them out, although I could. When I go on the road, I don’t put my house up on AirBnb. Don’t I know that’s the future? Don’t I realize how much money I’m leaving on the table?

    Or can I simply declare that I’m the only one who’s allowed to nick my Gretsches and fart in my own bed and that doesn’t make me Luddite?

    What’s truly arrived across so many industries is “choice,” and dogmatism either direction conflicts with the opportunity platforms like Patreon were created to offer in the first place.

    • Anonymous

      Amanda Palmer cares about getting her name in the papers – and lo, behold – it’s done!

  13. Concert Boy

    In a way, his concerts are already crowdsourced—the product is sold well in advance of its being delivered, and is dependent upon a significant number of supporters to participate else the project (i.e. the concert) is canceled.

  14. Tone

    I don’t know about insulting, but crowdfunding reeks of desperation. It’s kinda pathetic.