posted by Claire Maillot
This is a follow-up post to Musicians Union Rates #1. A recent music graduate puts himself forward for a job without first checking the details, and then campaigns because it's not paying Musicians' Union Rates. Fair enough, but we could have possibly avoided this conversation had he read the details first...
It's of my opinion that the fee advertised is below anybody's rate, whether an amateur, music student or professional. As a Musicians' Union member and a WorkNotPlay campaigner, I feel that I have a duty to request that you rethink your recording rates.
The musician's opinion is that the fee advertised is below anybody's rate, whether an amateur, music student or professional.
Have a look at this article and the WorkNotPlay campaign for how the music industry and musicians become more devalued every time very low paid 'work' is offered.
The musician cites how musicians become more devalued every time very low paid 'work' is offered.
Several contradictions here:
What is the incentive of paying Musicians' Union rates in this particular scenario? To put the label out of pocket and give one musician an unfair reward over the other musicians? Only to increase the Risk Factor of the musician cancelling his agreement in the event/project/production as and when he feels like it, just because he's received a more lucrative offer elsewhere? (Read More: Alexandra, Max L, Event Cancellation - 17/01/2016 - Soul Photos). In what position does this leave the label, now that the musician has effectively 'run off' with their money and the label has nothing to show for it?
We understand that the musician wants to negotiate, but they must understand that a music label is a business like many others and cannot run at a loss. We can negotiate on rates if they can supply concrete benefits that make an impact on the artist's bottomline for running the project. We're not entirely sure what the musician means by 'rethink your recording rates'; if there is no incentive, there is no reason to rethink recording rates. What is the musician bringing to the negotiation table in terms of concrete benefits?
Fundamentally, it's not fair to pay one musician more than the other musicians without such an incentive. Especially if they're an unknown quantity and putting themselves out there for the job for the first time, and haven't contributed to the production over a number of years as have many of the other musicians (who've done so out of choice, not because they were forced to do so in any way). Expecting something for nothing. Surely it's better to be honest, informative and transparent about the rates you're offering than not to be?
The musician has no right to dictate such rates if he's approaching us for the work and not the other way around. Had we approached the musician, or if we decide to in the future following on from the below correspondence? Then yes, the situation would be very different and the musician would be well within his rights to dictate such rates. And yes, we would reconsider. In approaching him, we'd be giving him the 'upper hand' in this particular business exchange. For the record, we've read and are happy to re-post what he's sent us in case anyone wishes to read. While the linked articles make a very fair and reasonable argument; unfortunately, they have no bearing in this particular scenario. Considering that the production was founded from an unpaid Spotlight concert opportunity, ironically, organised by the RNCM's Professional Development Department (March 2009)! It's a sombre reminder of that many businesses/enterprises have to start somewhere and cannot be expected to adhere to a universal set standard (neither temporally nor financially) if it bears no relevance to the level that they are currently working.
The bottom line is this:
The label will not be criminalised for creating ex nihilo paid work that might be considered 'sub-standard' purely on the basis of the fee. This is an extremely narrow-minded view. If you don't like what we pay, don't put yourself forward. The fact that the label still exists in such an 'industry' after 5 years indicates we've decided to budget when given a choice of sink or swim. Privatise and deregulate. Put the power back into the hands of the negotiator. Increment levels of pay according to ability, availability and experience. With this in mind, Pre-requisite #1, which has been in place ever since 2010, still stands:
We do not encourage proposals from temperamental "drifters" who just want to try it out a couple of times for the cash / credential, cause a drama and then disappear.
Trombonist for Diáspora
Claire Red shared a link.
Red & Black Music was set up in 2012 to stop musicians cancelling.
Red & Black Music has been running a journal since 2012 for the purposes of evaluation and future development. It documents internal struggles faced by musicians and music leaders in an honest and transparent way - and evidences breaches of communication and accountability both on the artist side and the client side, in an open access format.
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Rory comes from a musical background having trained at the RNCM and worked with musicians since 2009.
Claire comes from a publishing background, having worked as a digital editor in the books industry, and proofreader in the marketing industry in London.
Jo comes from a hospitality & tourism background, having managed staff at prestigious venues throughout UK, Italy and China since 2009.
A category naming and shaming unreliable musicians to watch out for.
A category reporting unscrupulous venues and traders.
A category exploring the issues faced working via agents and promoters.
Event Diary #1
Event Diary #2
Freedom of Speech
Less Talk More Action
Productions vs. Bands
Unresolved Queries 1
Unresolved Queries 2
What happened to Diaspora Collective?