No pay for Olympic musicians?

Volume 112, No. 9September, 2012

Is there an Olympic medal for exploiting musicians? The British musicians’ union was up in arms after receiving many reports of musicians being asked to play for free by the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games. The union had urged musicians not to accept offers of unpaid work.

Horace Trubridge, assistant general secretary of the British musicians’ union, said, “[They] repeatedly told us that all professional musicians will be paid, and yet we’ve seen example after example of them breaking their word.”

Trubridge added, “If they want musicians to entertain thousands of people then they should pay for it. It is difficult enough to earn a decent living as a professional musician these days – where does this idea come from that musicians should be happy to work for free? Who else would be?”

In a separate statement, the British musicians’ union Web site said, “The shameful treatment of musicians by the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games is, we believe, symptomatic of the fact that 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. This leads to performers being asked or expected to work for free in far too many instances.”

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