Why do they expect us to work for free?
WHAT is it about musicians, actors, artists and writers that makes the rest of the world think that it is perfectly acceptable to ask them to do things for nothing all the time?
The latest evidence of the disdain that the business and political sectors have for ‘creatives’ is that the Olympic organisers are asking musicians involved in the whole circus that is, and will surround, the Summer Olympics to give their services for free. They go even further and offer that familiar ultimate insult of suggesting that they do it ‘for the publicity and exposure’.
If the musicians and bands concerned are good enough to perform at this major world event then surely they should be treated no differently to all the companies, consultants and suppliers of goods who apparently wouldn’t do their thing ‘for the publicity and exposure’.
Asking for volunteers to help in minor marshalling and competitor shepherding activities is one thing – these are principally people like students and the retired who are being asked to do something basic and other than their normal jobs, requiring minimal training.
Asking professionals who already are operating in a notoriously insecure industry to subsidise the nation’s flagship event in addition to their contribution via the tax system is frankly shameful.
The costs for the project are already spiralling, as is evident from the fact that the security budget alone has risen from an initial £86M to £284m, The Guardian has reported. I won’t name the company providing the security for the Games, as they presumably don’t need the publicity and exposure but are, unsurprisingly, doing it for the money.
Even the athletes who, we must believe, are principally competing for the honour of representing their countries and their sports, even they have financial assistance in these post Corinthian Spirit days of the amateur. But the performers that keep the crowds entertained before, between and after the athletic and sporting activities are uniquely (apparently) expected to forgo the right to charge for their work.
But then I am constantly being asked for free tickets for shows I am in and get blank stares when I ask them to come and ply their trade free for me. How they imagine theatres keep open and pay their performers I cannot guess.
Try asking a chef to cook a meal for you for nothing, or an estate agent to forgo his commission.