I had the pleasure of talking to WWFM’s Rachel Katz for her program, A Tempo, about the impact COVID-19 is having across the classical music sector.
It’s a particularly interesting segment thanks to Katz interviewing several freelance musicians who have seen all or most of their work dry up. My part of the conversation focused on financial pressures, communication, cash flow, and the substantial difference between organizations that engage musicians as per-service (part time) vs. salary (full-time) employees.
To a large degree, this comes down to which stakeholder is required to absorb the most risk. I go out on a bit of a limb and forecast that we won’t see much of an industry trend so much as each board functioning with a city-state mindset influenced more by internal culture.
We also dove into the impact insurance has on force majeure decisions and the ridiculous game of chicken it produces. No spoilers, but it is decidedly one of the most valuable segments from the conversation.
Speaking of force majeure, I’m starting to hear rumblings that some larger budget organizations are looking at enacting their collective bargaining agreements’ force majeure clause to forgo paying salaried musicians and other unionized workers.
If that comes to pass, opting for that direction out of the gate is the sort of ham-fisted, old-school labor practice that creates nothing but animosity. Instead, I’m optimistic that everyone will remember how much benefit came from working together at the onset of the economic downturn. The first step in that mutually beneficial process is communication followed closely by meaningful and genuine shared sacrifice.