Wednesday, July 25, 2012

An Olympic level rant (or I hope nobody in Britain sues me for this title)

Hi all,
No doubt you're aware of the upcoming events in London in a few days. If you're a musician or music fan you also might be aware of the 2012 London Olympics attempt to exploit musicians by paying them nothing or next to nothing for their time, artistry, and expertise. If not, the London Telegraph does a good job of explaining the situation.

I've been fairly vocal about this on social media, and one surprising response I've gotten (including from some members of the media)  is that musicians should not play for lousy compensation. Absolutely, I couldn't agree more. The trouble with this response (for me anyway) is that it doesn't address the underlying issues.

The Olympics and the IOC are a big corporate machine with deep pockets. They, like many similar such organizations, have decided that not paying musicians is a good way to cut costs (even though for them even paying the musicians very well would be just a drop in the bucket.) They are therefore saying music is not worth paying for and not valuable. Unfortunately, desperate musicians will play "for the exposure' or the Olympics will simply used canned music.

Hopefully this is an aberration and not a trend. Friends that played in the Vancouver Olympics tell me they were well paid. For now though, I refuse to watch, read about, engage in social media about, etc. ANYTHING to do with this year's Olympics. I have nothing against the athletes, I admire the work they have done to get where they are. However, artists such as David Occhipinti, for example, have worked just as hard and deserve our pride and support as much as any Olympians.

Okay, rant over. Thanks.

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