Musicians, painters, money and the Olympics

Further to my post a while ago about the offensive expectation that musicians should get up and perform for free (which can be read here), the culture of expecting hard-working instrumentalists and singers to give of their time, skills and abilities for nothing continues with the London Olympics.

A photo posted on BandPage’s Facebook page appears to show a letter in what looks like the London Metro, in which a professor of Jazz at Trinity College of Music protests at the idea that ”performers should be be delighted to showcase their talents at the Olympics for no money.’

Metro letterIt’s that dangerous word, ‘showcase;’ it’s often used by cheap-skate promoters and organisers to encourage people who would otherwise expect to be paid for their time and services to give them for free, under the dubious misapprehension that the exposure thereby atained will lead to an increase in bookings, and hence revenue.

This is bull. When you see someone being ‘showcased,’ it often means they are either a) naively believing the cheap-skate event organiser who told them it was good publicity, or b) that they aren’t actually all that good in the first place, otherwise they would be performing somewhere else and be getting paid to do so.

The idea of being ‘showcased’ as being advantageous to the performer is disingenuous. If you don’t want to pay them, tell them you either can’t or you won’t; don’t try to fool them into believing you are offering them a useful platform as a means of widening their publicity.

As I’ve observed before, you don’t expect painters, plasteres and decorators to decorate your house for free; why expect a musician similarly to give of their services without payment ?

I’d like to see the original article, to which the letter was written in response. Another photo, someone ?

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