Musicians 'emotionally blackmailed' into playing at charity events for free

Musicians' Union says performers should be paid like other staff associated with fundraising events

Musicians are feeling pressured into playing charity gigs
Musicians are feeling pressured into playing charity gigs

Musicians are being "emotionally blackmailed" into playing at charity events for free and should not be expected to perform without being paid, according to the Musicians’ Union.

The union will put forward a motion at the TUC annual conference next month which raises the issue of how musicians are paid for performing at fundraising events.

"It is wrong that many performing artists are expected to work for nothing when they are engaged for charitable and fundraising events," the motion says.

"It is extremely unfair to put professional musicians into a situation where they are emotionally blackmailed into working for no fee and are asked to give their services to a good cause. This is particularly unjust when others associated with the event, such as venue staff, lawyers and caterers, are being paid."

It says musicians should be able to choose whether to donate to good causes without feeling pressured to do so.

A Musicians’ Union spokeswoman told Third Sector it was particularly concerned about musicians who did not earn much being asked to play at charity gigs for free.

She said this was happening more frequently recently, perhaps because of the economic environment.

Both the Institute of Fundraising and the NCVO declined to comment.

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