News: Olympics 2012
Musicians asked to perform for sod all at crap-tacular sporting event
A FIVE-PIECE band were asked to perform at an Olympic venue by event organisers for a loss. Cuban-influenced jazz act Cafecito were offered £50 pounds an hour for a possible two-and-a-half-hour gig, according to emails between band member Jan Steele and organisers obtained by the LA Times. The band were initially asked to sign a contract stating that their services would be provided to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) on an “unpaid voluntary basis.”
Steele told the LA Times his band couldn’t accept the fee because, as a five-piece, it would have meant performing at a loss. He added that there was no promotional incentive because of the constraints surrounding advertising the Olympics: “There is no promotional benefit whatsoever from us playing because we had to sign a document saying that we wouldn’t publicise that we were playing at the Olympics, wouldn’t sell merchandise, wear our logo on our clothing, hand out publicity, etc.”
The trouble comes with an agreement reached between The Musicians’ Union and LOCOG whereby “volunteers and headline acts need not be paid” for their performances. The committee did, however, promise to pay ‘professional’ musicians — but a clear distinction between professional and amateur status has yet to be drawn. Furthermore, a statement on the Musicians’ Union website alleges that “we’ve seen example after example of them (LOCOG) breaking their word”.
LOCOG claims that the publicity bands will receive through performing at the Olympics is adequate compensation for their time. However, while acts like Blur stand to gain vast sums of money from their headline shows via enormous viewing figures for the closing ceremony, bands playing smaller Olympic-related events with limited or no TV coverage have rather less incentive to perform for naff all.
A petition on the policy can be found at change.org with around 4,500 signatures to its name at the time of writing.
[Via LA Times]