Amanda Palmer, Music Criticism and Sour Grapes


If you haven’t seen the Amanda Palmer TED speech I’m talking about, it’s here.

Sometimes Twitter really is the best medium for getting an idea across. So I’m not going to elaborate much on it here.

What I would add – now, after the fact / rage-blackout – is that I don’t necessarily dislike Amanda Palmer. Sure, there’s parts of what she does I find ethically questionable and parts I find unfortunate (I’m not a fan of her music) but the level of communication at work here can’t really be disputed. She speaks to her audience and to the TED audience better than most music critics speak to people who like music. Ask a friend. Use Google. Think about it. End of debate.

She’s visible, she has a message she’s selling and she’s willing to go for the weapons-grade schmaltz as required. She’s more narcissistic than most critics at the moment, more self-confident (at least in a public capacity, where it counts). And she has backing and resources, both reputational and capital, and at this point, Amanda Palmer is – without question – the most celebrated music commentator in the world.

She is.

Seriously, which single other person on the planet is even in the same game as her?

Who out there is critiquing her or offering an opposing viewpoint with even half as much clout?

Who is even coming up? Who is rising through the ranks of the media to rival this sort of influence to say anything else about music?

A collection of anonymous Pitchfork writers?

A member of the old guard on new media? Or old media?


There’s a point where I think we all just have to exhale and thank god she’s not telling everyone to sign endorsement deals and vote Republican.

Everything else just feels like sour grapes at this particular moment in history.


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