Remember a few months ago when Amanda Palmer (aka "AFP") made music industry heads swim by getting fans and artistic peers to donate millions of dollars in just a handful of days on Kickstarter.com so that she could make an album and tour to support said album? Well, she’s made that album and released it to the world, but she’s not done turning industry convention on its ear (like Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, and Nine Inch Nails before her did). Of course you can get the album, Theatre Is Evil through the usual outlets – Amazon.com, iTunes, etc. But here’s the clincher: If you go to the store at AmandaPalmer.net you can have it for whatever price you want to pay (minimum $1.00), or for free. One more time, that’s zero dollars, zero pesos, zero rubbles—you won’t have to use any of them.
Visitors to the site are greeted with the following message (that is edited, in part, here):
Dear Downloader of Music,
I firmly believe in music being as free as possible. Unlocked. Shared and spread.
I believe that in order for artists to survive and create, their audiences need to step up and directly support them. ... If you’re broke - take it. If you love it, come back and kick in later when you have the money. If you’re rich, think about who you might be karmically covering if you really love this record.
The store has TWO versions of the record. One is totally free, and one has a minimum price of $1.00 so that I can cover the cost of covering other artists’ songs.
Once you have it, SHARE SHARE SHARE! ... SPREAD THE EVIL! We are the media.
Not only is she giving the new album to you for whatever price you want to pay for it, she’s encouraging you to have other fans do the same, regardless of which version of it they want. Isn’t all of that exactly what the music industry lawyers want to stop? Mrs. Gaiman clearly isn’t finished making waves.
But, you ask, should I trouble myself, even if it is free? If you have followed AFP out of the remnants of the Dresden Dolls and tracked her creations in the interim – from her work with Evelyn Evelyn to 2011’s 8in8 supergroup project (with Ben Folds) to her self-proclaimed “ninja performances” across the Occupy movement – then the progression that has brought her to Theatre Is Evil is a natural one and this album won’t disappoint. If you were a casual fan of the Dolls and have not been following her growth and progression, the new album may not be exactly what you are expecting.