The Awkwardness Of Cutting Out The Middleman
from the handling-money dept
it was a fantastic fucking night. i feel so incredibly lucky to always work on the assumption that my audience will be made up of people that are interesting, people i want to actually talk to.But what's most interesting is that Amanda goes on to discuss how she was worried about doing this -- especially for the first time. Her main concern was that it would be awkward to show up and play for money -- even though she does that all the time when playing concerts. But there's something different -- something more intimate -- about playing in someone's home, and the idea that they paid for you to be there is definitely a different feeling. Amanda narrows it down to a key point: it sometimes feels awkward to deal with money directly. Money is often a taboo subject, where people like to skirt around actual dollars. I see this all the time in business meetings, when discussing various deals. Everyone always like to dance around the key issue -- the money -- for as long as possible, and always seems to hope it's the "other guy" who brings it up or (even better!) some third party steps in and handles the transactional part.
i borrowed a piano from a girl who came to the gig (and she wound up playing after me, while i signed and chatted to folks), took requests, drank beers, told stories, listened, hugged. kim came along and played some of her songs, and we sang together, and we....felt right at home. i was given some incredible gifts. i feel like collapsing sometimes under all the awesome that comes into my life. thank you to all you who were there. that was special.
In fact, that's part of the reason why middlemen exist in so many areas. Asking for money is difficult, and asking for and handling the money is a function that many people just feel more comfortable handing off to a third party. Yet, after all of this, when the deal does go through, and you realize that it's a direct connection between two people who are happy about how each came out of the transaction, people begin to realize it shouldn't be awkward at all. Amanda makes this point as well:
there's something really fucking satisfying about the money not going to everybody inbetween...the promotors, the ticketmasters...and not having those inbetween people involved AT YOUR GIG. there's something that kills the vibe about playing in a venue and knowing that everybody who works there doesn't give a shit about you, your music, or your fans.Of course, this is the crux of what a market economy is supposed to actually be about: transactions where all parties are better off post transaction, and happier for it. That may sound crass and businesslike, but if everyone's better off, isn't that a good thing?
That's not to say that all middlemen should be done away with. Not at all. There are plenty of great and important roles for middlemen in specific scenarios. Middlemen can do all sorts of useful and compelling things to enable content creators to go on and do much more in the world. But, some middlemen are really just there to make it so that the "awkwardness" of money exchanges goes away, and those middlemen might not be that useful in the long run. One of the key things we've seen over the past few years is that people love to support artists they like directly. In fact, they seem more willing to spend if they think or know that the money actually has a half decent chance of ending up in the artist's wallet. As Amanda notes, more people are starting to realize this, and learn to get over the awkwardness of asking for money, and the awkwardness of removing a middleman who isn't really adding value, but simply obscuring the transaction.