Earlier this month, Sydney-based reggae band Black Bird Hum turned down an invitation from Fairfax to play at the company’s popular Night Noodle Markets event.
In a Facebook post, they wrote: “We’re flattered to be on the radar of a company with an annual ‘Total Group Revenue of $1,830 million’ (FY2016). We have, however, decided to decline the invitation to perform at the event on account of you deciding not to pay us.”
“In October alone, we will have performed 15 gigs across three states as Black Bird Hum. We will have been paid for all of these gigs, often by companies with annual total group revenues probably less than 0.1% of your company’s.
“So to you, and any other corporation perpetuating the line that it’s ok to have musicians work for free – don’t call us. We don’t want to work with you.”
Surely Fairfax was asking them to work for free…. for a good reason? It was an event where everyone else was donating their time?
But as the band pointed out, these offers to work for “exposure” are all too frequent in the music business, and seem to apply only to musicians:
“We’re guessing that the sound tech who ran the PA on the night was paid; as were the graphic designers and marketing companies that did the event website, promo and marketing material; and the companies that supplied the lighting, tables, chairs and umbrellas; and the cleaners. And so on.
“We’re guessing no one else was offered the chance to work on the event in exchange for ‘exposure’.
“We’re guessing you made a decision to pay everyone who worked on your event in ‘real money’ except the musicians.”
Bloody media companies will tear into the government for not looking after those that need the money, but they think nothing of using people to pad their own bottom line.