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Re: “Jazz Musicians Sing the Blues

This conversation has been happening continuously since 1978, when a change in labor law freed venues from having to pay musicians anything.

Since then, musicians have been undercutting each other in a race to the bottom, and now most musicians in the whole USA have the choice of performing for nothing or next to nothing, with no guarantee, or not performing at all.

Musicians are more likely to be valued for the free advertising they perform on their own time and at their own expense than they are their music. Not only are they the cheapest advertising a club owner could hope for, they are given no guarantee, and are often expected to bring a club the majority of the customers.

Of course, it varies from club to club, and some do treat their musicians respectfully, honoring the fact that they are professionals providing a service, one that requires roughly five hours of unseen preparation for each hour on stage.

For the most part, however, most clubs, being businesses, grab whatever financial advantage they can, and the public is none the wiser.

1978 - over thirty years. How much longer are we going
to sit around complaining about it? Musicians have fought larger battles together, and if we spent even a fraction of the time working for positive change in our music scenes relative to the time we spend complaining about them, real change would become a real possibility.

So, get involved, this won't happen without you.

Fair Trade Music is about educating the public regarding the rampant inequity surrounding musicians performing in clubs, and giving them a better alternative. it's also about helping musicians understand that, despite what venue owners and high school counselors may tell them, what they do is a service that has real value, not just a narcissistic hobby.

It started in Portland:

and is now spreading to SF:…

And LA:
al.rubalcava -at-

Fair Trade Music is by musicians and for all musicians, regardless of union membership.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions.

Jake Pegg, coordinator, Fair Trade Music PDX
jake (at)

Posted by Pedaltone on 06/22/2011 at 4:39 PM

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