Musicians against playing for Free at the Olympics

This is the title of a new Facebook group started by one-time Loose Tube Ashley Slater to draw attention to the scandalous situation that has started to become apparent among working musicians in London and beyond.

Yep, if you have helped to build a stadium for the London Olympics, or done all manner of work as a professional so the games can happen and be the big national party they’ve been touted as, then you have no doubt been paid for your work.

But it seems musicians are expected to play for free, the argument being “it will be good exposure” or some such guff.

As guitarist Phil Robson has quite rightly commented: “I don’t think any of this can be compared to ‘sitting in’ in a pub for free when you are 15 to gain experience. Yeah sure, we all did that. This is the Olympic games!! Half the venues in the country fell apart over the last couple of years due to all their funding being pulled in order to subsidise this.”

He adds: “Forgot to mention that the Olympics has put me & most of my colleagues out of work anyway for it’s duration as pretty much everything will ground to a halt for it in London & I prob can’t get in or out of town anyway from where I live in Kent.”

So to add this ‘play for free’ nonsense is really piling insult upon insult.

And, as vibes man Orphy Robinson neatly comments: “Only Robins sing for free, Robinson for a fee”

Anyway, there’s a huge groundswell already with nearly 2500 members of this Facebook group in just a few hours. If you haven’t already, please join it and support all musicians, in fact all artists, whose creativity is taken for granted.

This could be the start of something really big – and it doesn’t need to stop after the Games are over – musicians get a raw deal whether there is this sporting brouhaha going on or not.

Join the group and follow the arguments – the link is here

If you want to know what started it all off, Sebastian Scotney at LondonJazz has added the relevant invitation to musicians to his blog post here.

And the Incorporated Society Of Musicians has a poll where you can show your support here.

Categories: News

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6 replies

  1. I’ve called this the ‘Painter & Decorator Syndrome,’ in which suffers expect musicians at their parties to entertain their guests for free, whilst of course not expecting guests who are painters and decorators to undertake work at the party for free, when I wrote about this phenomeon last year:

    Sufferers from said syndrome are more common that you think.

  2. couldn’t agree more… live music is the only way forward and of course you should be paid the going rate which I’m damned sure is more than zilch….. Maggie who cannot sing a note but appreciates all kinds of live music and doesn’t mind paying for it


  1. Musicians against playing for Free at the Olympics | The Artist Network
  2. Musicians Against Playing For Free issue turns to Spotify | thejazzbreakfast

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