All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians
Tutorials

Musicians and the Olympics

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,365
I saw an interesting article by Ivan Hewitt about the way that musicians are being (mis)treated by the organisers of the London Olympics.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/...ondon-2012-Olympics-exploiting-musicians.html

A couple of extracts to give you a flavour:
Some musicians in the capital are up in arms with LOCOG. The headline acts have no complaints; they can afford to play gratis and have agreed to do so. And the hundreds of amateurs invited to liven up the Olympic Park are happy too. It’s those in the middle who aren’t: the “working stiffs” who make up the bulk of the music profession, some of whom have been asked to play for nothing.

The MU points out that LOCOG would not dream of asking welders or parking attendants or caterers to work for free or for a token fee “because it’s such great exposure”. But LOCOG is not alone in thinking of musicians as different from other professionals. We all do. We all know that musicians love what they do, and if they weren’t paid, they’d go on playing anyway.

Added to which is a lingering prejudice that what musicians do isn’t really work because they so obviously enjoy themselves. A musician acquaintance of mine was once asked about her job at a party. “I play the cello in the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,” she said. “Yes, but what do you do for a living?” came the reply.

And it has to be said that some musicians connive at their own exploitation, accepting beggarly fees because it’s better than no fee at all. Promoters know all this, and drive a hard bargain. This is understandable in a pub or a jazz club, as these venues struggle to survive themselves. But LOCOG is not a struggling pub or jazz club. It’s a well-funded organisation, which (as it keeps reminding us) has a mission to show the best of Britain to the world. Trying to exploit professional musicians with wheedling invitations to “showcase their talents” is no way to do it.


Rhys
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
I saw an interesting article by Ivan Hewitt about the way that musicians are being (mis)treated by the organisers of the London Olympics.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/...ondon-2012-Olympics-exploiting-musicians.html

A couple of extracts to give you a flavour:
Some musicians in the capital are up in arms with LOCOG. The headline acts have no complaints; they can afford to play gratis and have agreed to do so. And the hundreds of amateurs invited to liven up the Olympic Park are happy too. It’s those in the middle who aren’t: the “working stiffs” who make up the bulk of the music profession, some of whom have been asked to play for nothing.

The MU points out that LOCOG would not dream of asking welders or parking attendants or caterers to work for free or for a token fee “because it’s such great exposure”. But LOCOG is not alone in thinking of musicians as different from other professionals. We all do. We all know that musicians love what they do, and if they weren’t paid, they’d go on playing anyway.

Added to which is a lingering prejudice that what musicians do isn’t really work because they so obviously enjoy themselves. A musician acquaintance of mine was once asked about her job at a party. “I play the cello in the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,” she said. “Yes, but what do you do for a living?” came the reply.

And it has to be said that some musicians connive at their own exploitation, accepting beggarly fees because it’s better than no fee at all. Promoters know all this, and drive a hard bargain. This is understandable in a pub or a jazz club, as these venues struggle to survive themselves. But LOCOG is not a struggling pub or jazz club. It’s a well-funded organisation, which (as it keeps reminding us) has a mission to show the best of Britain to the world. Trying to exploit professional musicians with wheedling invitations to “showcase their talents” is no way to do it.


Rhys
You are touching a very sensitive nerve here: I am fuming, and I am not sure I will be able to read the article.

Among my London colleagues NOBODY is playing more than one gig in those three weeks. I had one cancelled due to the Olympics.
Not only the Olympics have been paid with my taxes and I have three weeks of unemployment, but I receive funny flyers from council/London Authority/ transport for London kindly reminding me that I better not travel, not drive, not work.

Everything after years of disruptions "because of necessary works to be ready for the big event".

Sorry for the rant, but I feel they have been lying to me about how good it will be for London. Good for investors, certainly not for culture.

Going abroad is the only solution I found.

By the way, is it really legal to work for free?
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Don't remember these troubles at the 1948 Olympics. Mind you then it was for amateurs, okay some shamateurs, rather than a money making festival.

Right Tom, there's your proof, I prefer the '48 to the '12 Olympics, we were recovering from a world war, will we ever recover from this sponsor's war?

One question, if you play free for Sir Seb, does he pick up the Performing Rights bill or is that another special privilege for the Rings party?
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,621
Yup- totally with you on that. My summer gigging schedule is a joke- our normal haunts in East London are all out of action for the duration.... quite how much is the Olympics & how much is the general state of the economy is somewhat up for debate but the result's the same.... dire....
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,551
I am working 13 shifts over 16 days at the Paralympics-all for free, and I pay for my own accommodation and food in London.
The Olympics will be made by the volunteers - some 70,000 of us.
However, I am not there as a musician, and I do not have any paid employment anyway.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
There is a large facebook group called Musicians against playing for free at the Olympics, they have initiated a petition which you can sign here: http://www.change.org/petitions/loc...s-practitioners-performing-for-olympic-events

Thank you. I invite everyone to sign.

I find volunteering a noble thing, but I do not think I would be allowed to volunteer as a tube driver (I would love to drive a train, and I am available to do it for free) for two main reasons:
- Transport Unions would not allow it (and they have a bigger blackmail power than MU)
- UK wouldn't look nice having amateurs driving trains.

Who cares about music, as long as it's cheap...
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Happened in 1926 during the General Strike.

Sorry Kev, you now have to decide is it history or political?>:)
Or music? Or economy? Inchallah it's not religion.

That 1926 information is impressive! Were there no unions at the time?
In some countries unions have a self imposed code of conduct that doesn't allow them to strike, for example, around Christmas. In case of emergency the army takes over, but no free labour is involved.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
That 1926 information is impressive! Were there no unions at the time?
Don't read too much into what OG says - he's just out for a bit of inflammatory action himself, aren't you, Bill, old sport? During the strike the British Gazette, the pro-government paper claimed that volunteers helped keep 200 buses on the streets at the height of the strike, when in reality there were 86 running, almost all driven by normal, non-striking drivers. When I studied this episode in our history I cannot remember seeing any examples of train driving being undertaken by amateurs. Maybe a few former drivers who were by 1926 managers or backroom staff, but not complete amateurs. There was an organisation called the Organisation for the Maintenance of Supplies (which had some very unsavoury links to the British fascists) which had some volunteer car and lorry drivers, but no real numbers of train drivers.

Anyway, back on topic, I think it's despicable that musicians are expected to provide their services for free.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Or music? Or economy? Inchallah it's not religion.

That 1926 information is impressive! Were there no unions at the time?
In some countries unions have a self imposed code of conduct that doesn't allow them to strike, for example, around Christmas. In case of emergency the army takes over, but no free labour is involved.
There's a good, if short article on wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1926_United_Kingdom_general_strike
And the history of the trade unions is very much british, dataing back to well before the general strike.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_unions_in_the_United_Kingdom
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,944
I've seen a few articles on this over recent weeks all much the same about the disgraceful way musicians are being treated.

In the slightly different world of amateur music making a significant amount of the money (about £1 billion p.a.) which the national Lottery used to assign to such stuff has been hi-jacked to pay for Olympic "cultural" events, such as the torch's grand tour of the UK. This has been going on for 5 years. That's one heck of a hit on the funding of music and the arts in general.

I'm not against the games per se. I am against the re-allocating of funds from other activities to pay for it. I'm also against such a narrow focus for the spending of considerable amounts of money.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
I'm not against the games per se. I am against the re-allocating of funds from other activities to pay for it. I'm also against such a narrow focus for the spending of considerable amounts of money.
I always considered the british amateur scene the perfect background for good music, but such a wast of public money is a shame. Nothing cultural is happening with the olympics, except maybe a couple of overpaid well known "artists".
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,365
Nothing cultural is happening with the olympics, except maybe a couple of overpaid well known "artists".
Nothing, except for the Cultural Olympiad ......http://www.london2012.com/about-us/cultural-olympiad/

The London 2012 Cultural Olympiad is the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic Movements.

Since 2008, the Cultural Olympiad has featured programmes and projects inspired by London 2012, funded by our principal funders and sponsors. As part of the Cultural Olympiad:

  • More than 16 million people across the UK took have taken part in or attended performances.
  • Over 169,000 people have attended more than 8,300 workshops.
  • More than 3.7 million people took part in nearly 3,700 Open Weekend events.
  • Some 2,500 cultural projects have been awarded the London 2012 Inspire mark.

The culmination of the Cultural Olympiad is the London 2012 Festival, providing over 10 million chances to see free world-class events throughout the UK.
Rhys
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Nothing, except for the Cultural Olympiad ......http://www.london2012.com/about-us/cultural-olympiad/
I am in it! I did something last year too, but I was unaware of being in a Cultural Olympiad.
It is quite exiting having the olympic logo on your music: who is sponsoring whom? I guess I am advertising once more the Olympics for free.

Edit: also the BBC Proms are now part of the Cultural Olympiad.

Am I the only one that thinks the olympic logo represents Lisa Simpson on her knees?

A hilarious engagement letter:
http://londonjazz.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/musicians-against-playing-for-free-at.html
 
Last edited by a moderator:

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Don't read too much into what OG says - he's just out for a bit of inflammatory action himself, aren't you, Bill, old sport? During the strike the British Gazette, the pro-government paper claimed that volunteers helped keep 200 buses on the streets at the height of the strike, when in reality there were 86 running, almost all driven by normal, non-striking drivers. When I studied this episode in our history I cannot remember seeing any examples of train driving being undertaken by amateurs. Maybe a few former drivers who were by 1926 managers or backroom staff, but not complete amateurs. There was an organisation called the Organisation for the Maintenance of Supplies (which had some very unsavoury links to the British fascists) which had some volunteer car and lorry drivers, but no real numbers of train drivers.

Anyway, back on topic, I think it's despicable that musicians are expected to provide their services for free.
Absolutely correct, Young Jonny. The British Gazette does mention amateur tram, no not tramp, drivers and they are classified as light railways and of course there was also the easier to manage Southern Electric overground and the underground services.

I feel sorry for Bob Diamond, we all thought he would get 17 million but he bravely he turned down twenty. How will the poor man ever exist on a mere £2,000,000? So stop moaning you musos.
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,419
BBC Tv The One Show just had a feature on the cultural olympiad. Saying about all the great artistic and musical events there will be. Nothing of course about the pro's not getting paid!

Actually I have driven an underground train under supervision, some years ago. Mostly not very exciting as it is almost all automatic once you've set it going. In the rare event of something going wrong the driver does have to know how to drive it manually. Wonder how long that will last though as the DLR trains are driverless- they have a train captain on board but again they don't drive except in emergency.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
BBC Tv The One Show just had a feature on the cultural olympiad. Saying about all the great artistic and musical events there will be. Nothing of course about the pro's not getting paid!
Found a printed copy today of the 2012 festival: they put the Olympic hat on everything. I am sure Pierre Boulez will be paid at the Proms and he doesn't know to be involved with the Olimpics
 

Greywolf

Member
Messages
59
Yup all these musicians expected to play for free. My neighbour is doing something for the Manchester Jazz Festival. He asked for permission to use 24 seconds of film from the 1964 ( I think) olympiad. They wanted him to pay £1,000 for it.

The Olympics eh.

One question only.

Who benefits?
 
Saxholder Pro

Members online

Help!Mailing List
Top Bottom