I quite liked this New Yorker piece about Amanda Palmer’s recent troubles with paying temporary musicians on her tour.
What bothered me about her initial decision (she’s now paying the musicians, thankfully) was the subtle line being crossed. There’s certainly a history of crowdsourced performance. The most recent one that comes to mind is Rivers Cuomo’s “Hootenanny” show at the Fingerprints shop in California. But the difference seems to be that Cuomo’s show (which led to a brief “Hootenanny” tour) was built around the unusual nature of performing with dozens or hundreds of performers of varying skillsets and experience, whereas Palmer’s tour was seeking very specific skillsets and experience levels.
The Palmer shows seemed less like a Hootenanny, and more like an internship — but without even the thin hope of future employment.