1 Wonderful Opportunity! Great Experience! (No Pay) | The Billfold

Wonderful Opportunity! Great Experience! (No Pay)

Steven Haynes is one of the professional musicians approached by LOCOG to perform for free. His band Barbican Brass was contacted by a representative of the organizing committee several months ago and asked to play at the opening of an Olympic Park venue.

“We were told that it wouldn’t be a paid event, but that it would be a wonderful opportunity for us to showcase our talent to the world,” he said, adding that such an approach undermines musicians’ profession.

“To be asked to perform for free is disrespectful of what we do for a living. It’s no different from LOCOG asking the people who built the Olympic Stadium to do it for free because it’s a wonderful opportunity for them to showcase their talents to the world,” he states.

—Cellist Peter Sachon chatted with us in May about the harsh realities of being professional musician these days, and he mentioned as proof the Olympic committee’s decision not to pay musicians. The musicians’ unions fought it and brokered a deal that professional musicians would get paid, but it’s been coming out the committee had been approaching folks and asking them to play for free anyway. During the opening ceremonies, it was a talking point that it was so great that everyone involved was a volunteer. For working musicians, it’s a generous word.


3 Comments / Post A Comment

deepomega (#22)

The difference between “no pay” and “low pay” is absolutely huge. If you’re doing stuff for free, that means there is no reason to care how much time or effort the work is taking – so if you have to work longer than expected, or on different projects than expected, or go into overtime, nobody cares. At low pay there’s at least a LITTLE connection between how much work you’re doing and the cost to your employer.

Also, if anyone ever asks you to do work for free “for your reel,” RUN AWAY.

WMATA is doing something like this where they will showcase performers outside Metro stations. It seems especially appalling for a service whose dysfunction seems to increase linearly with its cost.

Mal*Pal (#1,597)

This has made me so angry (as a poor-ass hopeless classical musician myself) that I can not type a coherent comment. So:


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