Well, it seems ironic that during the week of submitting my report to the Higher Education Academy on the relationships of live Music and Higher Education – a new Facebook Group has been created : a group whose purpose I find incredibly sad – but not surprising. Set up by Ashley Slater, the group is essentially lobbying against the expectations for musicians to provide their services for free when engaging in events surrounding the Olympic Games. Only a few weeks ago, I attended a week long Philosophy Festival that featured live music on the hour, seven days a week, eight hours a day. When speaking to one or two of the musicians (many of who are established locally) – it transpired they were all playing for free! How sad that some live music has an exchange value of – Zero! As many have indicated in the Facebook Group – musicians have the option of simply not playing – but this is indicative of a larger issue, which has been around for many years – where live music simply has e or little or no value for many. I know for example that many bands living around the Cardiff area will only get £50 (for the entire band) – when supporting ‘name’ artists – and this is happening at a time when the UK live music industry turns over more than one billion per year!! So – back to the Olympics. I presume the planning for this has been precise – with all services from hot dog stands to souvenir stalls having an exchange value -i.e. they will be getting paid . It simply makes no sense, in an age where recorded music is heading in a similar direction, that live music of this nature, often played by world class musicians, has no Value. Come on Olympics – get you act together.
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Merthyr Music Project