Live Music Exchange Resources

The Fair Play Guide – The Musicians’ Union (2012)


Author(s): The Musicians’ Union
Publisher: The Musicians’ Union
Date: 2012

With more practical guidance and advice, musicians can avoid unfair deals and just play the most worthwhile shows. To aid MU members, following extensive research, an advisory resource has been created for both musicians and promoters. The MU’s ‘Fair Play’ guide contains practical advice about co-promotion shows and other live issues, such as showcase events and competitions.

Click here to read or download the guide

Background to the guide

The MU Gig Section hosted a panel event, Pay to Play — Okay? during the In The City conference in 2010 in Manchester. MU Assistant General Secretary, Music Industry, Horace Trubridge chaired the event, which saw Guy Garvey (Elbow), Helienne Lindvall (The Guardian), Chris Long (producer, BBC Introducing) and Jay Taylor (promoter, The Ruby Lounge) discuss this controversial question. Although both the panel and audience unanimously agreed that “pay to play” gigs are definitely not “okay”, it became clear that co-promotion shows, when negotiated fairly, are often the most effective gigs for emerging artists. However, it was understood that musicians need a greater awareness of what’s okay, and what to expect when negotiating deals with promoters. All too often, artists undertake live engagements that, with the benefit of hindsight, don’t represent a fair situation.

Click here for the guide’s entry at the Musicians’ Union website

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