On 3/19/2009, readers were asked to answer the question “Should an orchestra administration be expected to provide special compensation to musicians for recording marketing/education/outreach material?” At just over 200 responses the results don’t provide a clear majority opinion but they do provide additional insight into this topic…
Throughout the first several days, the results hovered around a 50/50 split in opinion but toward the end, those indicating musicians shouldn’t be compensated for marketing/education/outreach oriented material pulled ahead by a small margin. Those unsure about the issue occupied a very small percentage indicating there isn’t much indecisiveness on this issue. When examining results in more detail, It is worth pointing out that a third of those voting “no” originated from an IP address registered to a professional orchestra but none of those voting “yes” or “I don’t know” came from an orchestra address. Since orchestra musicians aren’t typically provided with employee internet accounts, it is likely that those “no” votes are from orchestra managers.
If anything, these additional details provide a glimpse into just how entrenched stakeholder positions are on the matter but one positive indication is many of the direct email messages submitted in response to this issue point to a sincere interest in exploring options. As one reader indicated in a public comment, the discussion should focus on how to make these things happen instead of forcing the all or nothing scenarios.
Ultimately, this returns to the issue uncovered by The Oregonian music critic, David Stabler, who wanted to write about a new composition and include some audio clips from Oregon Symphony orchestra musicians in the final online product. Stabler’s conundrum is an excellent representative example of the unexplored territory defined by advancements in technology awaiting the sort of scrutiny and negotiation that will eventually lead to new compensation agreements. In turn, those agreements can be used as precedent for other organizations to use when approaching similar projects.
If the poll results are any indication, pushing the all-or-nothing scenarios of “give it up any and every time we ask for no additional payments” and “use traditional compensation rules regardless of use” will likely result in solutions coming later than sooner.