Recently Hull’s music scene has been highly praised for its Musician’s charter. Produced by local musicians to uphold an ethos of freedom, respect and equal treatment.
Can a musician’s version of the bill of rights uphold the rights of musicians and the responsibilities of the promoters and venue owners that expect entertainment in their establishments night after night? It may sound absurd, but the musicians in Hull have managed to strike a balance where other music scenes have not.
Many musicians either thrive or fail depending on their local scene and those involved including promoters, venues and artists must work together to create an independent music scene. Every successful scene should be celebrated and are often envied by those who are not fortunate enough to come directly from one. If venues and promoters support the paying of bands and both parties are treated respectfully in a work-hard, play-hard scene, artists will have the opportunity to flourish.
Main aims of Hull’s Musician’s charter:
Payment for artists:
A hotly debated issue across the country, all musicians have come across a situation where they are discriminated in some way. Hull’s Musician’s charter upholds that every musician should be treated equally, offered the same benefit pay, working conditions and receives suitable travel expenses. Refreshments should also be given to all artists who are performing.
Trading and promoting
The charter has put a stop to put so called ‘pay-to-play’ gigs, where artists are required to sell a minimum number of tickets to be able to perform. There are also suggestions that musicians should be able to trade in-kind with venues and promoters to offer their services in return for opportunities such as PR, videos, recordings, photographs and stall space.
Branding and promotion
The charter outlines the responsibilities of the artist and the promoter regarding gigs, festivals and events. Whilst promoters should not be relying on the artist to do their job in marketing the gig, artists are expected to pull their weight and endeavour to do additional promotion themselves whilst also selling their own merchandise at the event. The merchandise sold should also not be taxed by the venue.
Venue owner Andrew Coe explained during an interview with the Hull Daily Mail, “The charter is for the greater good and it would be great to get everyone singing off the same song sheet… I would urge venues and musicians to come to the meetings and have their say. He went on to suggest, “The aim is to condense the guidelines onto one page which can then be placed onto walls of the venues that support it.”
What can musicians from across the country learn from Andrew and other members of Hull’s music scene? Do you think a Musician’s Charter is a good idea? Let us know in the comments below.