Who pays for a room party anyway?
If you’ve ever been to one of my shows, you know I’ve got an after-party after each of them. In fact, you may have seen people wearing wristbands with my name on them for the rest of the convention. At Fur the ‘More this past weekend, there were plenty of you who pitched in to join the festivities in our tiny little hotel room afterward. You folks were awesome, by the way, probably the best after-party I’ve had yet.
But wait a second… who pays for a room party at a convention anyway? It seems a bit… well, wrong, doesn’t it?
I had to get over this mental hurdle just in the past year. After all, anyone who followed Amanda Palmer’s debacle about not paying musicians or the unfathomable controversy around the band Pomplamoose releasing their tour expenses knows that any time you talk art and money, you’re playing with a particularly bitchy kind of fire. Trying to explain where I get the balls to charge $20 for entrance to a con room party (that doesn’t even have strippers… that I can remember, anyway) is really more of an explanation of how I got comfortable with that arrangement in the first place.
The first thing most of my fans know about me is that I’m not swimming in piles of cash like Scrooge McDuck. That shouldn’t make a difference, but it does. If Amanda Palmer hadn’t come from a major label to marrying a famous author to running the only million-dollar music project on Kickstarter, nobody would have cared about her asking for talented volunteers on tour. But everybody knows there are certain things startups can get away with that Microsoft just plain can’t. When people fork over a dead president to come to the after-party, they’re doing it for the same reason people join the Officer’s Club: so this idiot will be able to keep making noises that they like.
What a lot of folks don’t realize is that I don’t really get paid anything by these conventions (at least not yet). Most of them cover costs like airfare and hotel, but I still have to pay my credit card bill when the con is over. Good times and a slightly damaged liver won’t keep Bank of America at bay, at least not on this planet. So while it’d be nice to survive solely on CD and shirt sales, everybody knows that’s notoriously difficult even if you’ve already got a name. If you think of the after-party as another, much more intimate part of the concert, it’s not so farfetched to call that a product like a shirt or an album. Especially since the concert was free to attendees in the first place.
Probably the smallest bit of justification here is that the after-party wristband is also a download code for one of my albums, so that’s literally half the value right there.
If you’ve paid for one of these wristbands, you may have seen some folks getting in for free (other than my boyfriend or drummer). Typically this happens if someone has loaned us an instrument for the show, ran the sound board, or in some way provided material support to our cause that deserves a show of gratitude. Of course, any member of The Officer’s Club gets in for free because they’ve been supporting me on an ongoing basis for at least a month already.
I guess the bottom line is that, as cool as it would be to set up the slushie machine with top-shelf rum and fresh fruit juice and just keep the door open all night, that’s not what the after-party is about. While we can hang out with 800+ people at a time on the main stage, the after-party is for the folks who want to keep the music going and support the band on a much more personal level.
And for those who want to find out the truly embarrassing facts I’ll divulge after a few drinks. Seriously, whomever brought that 192-proof… whatever-the-hell-that-was, I’ll be wary next time.