Everyone Loves A Good Horse Race

With just over 75 votes at the time this piece is written, Tuesday’s poll asking whether or not an orchestra administration should be expected to provide special compensation to musicians for recording marketing/education/outreach material has produced a 50/50 split with two uncertain votes. Given the level of depth to this issue, it seems reasonable to keep the poll open through this evening so everyone has an opportunity to vote…

checkered flagIf you missed any of the earlier discussions about the value of orchestra recordings in the new economy leading up to this poll, you can get caught up here and here. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see if the poll results continue to generate close results or if either side can gain any momentum.

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About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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1 thought on “Everyone Loves A Good Horse Race”

  1. I think it is an interesting question. I think it is obvious that the musicians should get paid for their work. Recording is beyond their usual contractual obligations, so they should get a special fee.

    However, these recordings do not generate much direct revenue for orchestras. So smart musicians’ unions should negotiate fees that will make it possible to make recordings. Recordings add to the overall institutional presence, add to the overall prestige of an institution, and help champion an orchestra or a composer.

    Also, orchestras have to start developing a greater presence on the internet by making recordings available–audio and video– If they don’t, then they will only fall further behind in our culture. Musicians deserve compensation for their work. Institutions need to raise the profiles of their orchestras and their musicians.

    I believe that the questions of special pay or not is a distraction from what the institutions and the players should be focusing on which is: How do we make this happen?

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