The Musicians’ Union has published a new report on pay levels for self-employed professional musicians, showing that over half take home annual earnings of under £20,000, while 60% have had to work for free in the past year. The latter stat links in to the MU’s previously reported ‘Work Not Play’ campaign, which aims to explain why professional musicians cannot and should not be expected to play for free.
Commenting on his organisation’s ‘The Working Musician’ report, MU General Secretary John Smith called on the government to do more to support music, both through arts subsidy, but also by doing more to tackle piracy, which he says affects grass roots musicians as well as big rights owners.
Smith told CMU: “So many of the MU’s members are SMEs battling against a tide of arts cuts and reduced income due to piracy. Small but significant investment by Government could make all the difference in the struggle to survive. What’s also interesting is that of the musicians surveyed who receive royalty payments; over half said that they represented an important additional source of income for them. This finally puts paid to the argument that ordinary musicians do not benefit from copyright”.