After a summer of disputes and stand offs between musicians and commercial event organisers such as the Olympics, and businesses such as the high-street bar chain Café Rouge, the Musicians’ Union have launched a new fair pay campaign entitled Work Not Play.
The campaign comes as a response to the increasing number of reports and examples received by the MU of musicians being expected to work for free at events where other professionals are paid. A dedicated campaign website has been set up to highlight many of these individual stories from musicians around the UK.
Musicians of all genres are encouraged to share their experiences on Twitter using the hashtag #WorkNotPlayMU or by signing up and submitting their story to the Work Not Play site.
Launching the campaign, General Secretary of the MU, John Smith described the problems facing musicians amid a backdrop of tremendous economic difficulty:
“We are concerned at a growing trend of professional musicians not being paid for their work. In this era of illegal downloading, live revenue is incredibly important and musicians rely on it to be able to survive. Too many people seem to think that music and entertainment are a hobby rather than a career, and are unaware of the years of training and hard work that it takes to become a professional performer.
“It is difficult enough to earn a decent living as a professional musician these days, and, headline artists aside, it is not a highly paid profession. We’re looking to challenge the idea that musicians should be happy to work for free, and we’re delighted that so many musicians and music fans are joining up to this campaign.”
Established in 1983, and today representing over 30,000 musicians from across the musical spectrum, the Musicians’ Union provides a range of services and assistance to their self-employed, professional and student musician members of all ages.
In September, the MU launched a special Live Music Act Help Kit to help musicians, promoters and venue owners understand and take advantage of the new Live Music Act which came into force on October 1 2012. Following the passing of the act, venues can now host live amplified music events to less than 200 people without needing a performance license, and non-amplified acoustic performances of unlimited capacity. Click here to find out more.