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Fighting for Fair Pay for Musicians

Being a musician is not a hobby – it’s our profession.

71%* musicians have been asked to work for free*
54% * are asked to work for “exposure”*
£5K+* amount lost per person per year to free work**

* Source: *MU and **IPSE data

Music is work, not play

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Great to see @WeAreTheMU taking this up with the BBC. @bbcstrictly #ItTakesTwo should absolutely pay artists for their work.

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I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked to play for free or been asked “So what’s your real job?” Every time it happens I take a moment and think about all the incredible fans and their support, you are all amazing! #WorkNotPlayMU

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Repeat after me: people in the arts can not pay for food or rent with 'good exposure'. If you want musicians to play, PAY THEM.

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Thanks to those who retweeted. They have issued an apology and we can only hope that they will follow @WeAreTheMU guidelines and pay musicians with money and not pizza 🍕

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Latest stories

Photograph of a keyboard player and drummer performing in what appears to be a small venue, or a bar.

ATG Confirms That Any Staff Called to Work Will Now be Paid

In an update to our story on ATG calling for singers, musicians and other performers to work for free at their venue – the theatre organisation has now confirmed that musicians will be paid for their performances.

Published: 17 September 2020

Read more about ATG Confirms That Any Staff Called to Work Will Now be Paid

Useful resources

Find a Fair Play Venue

Zigfrid Von Underbelly

Underbelly aims to offer original live acts to perform in the heart of Shoreditch / Hoxton in a 220 capacity sized venue 7 nights a week.

Shoreditch LB Hackney
Read more about Zigfrid Von Underbelly

Village Underground

We are a medium-sized venue in Shoreditch, we pride ourselves on programming artists from around the world and across different genres.

LB Hackney
Read more about Village Underground


The Troubadour is an historic, intimate venue offering emerging musicians a chance to showcase their burgeoning talent since opening in 1954.

Kensington and Chelsea The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
Read more about Troubadour

Trades Club

The Trades Club is a 200 capacity music venue in the town of Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.

Hebden Bridge
Read more about Trades Club

Tower of Song

The Tower of Song features music to suit all tastes and each night of the week has a different theme.

Read more about Tower of Song

Toulouse Lautrec

Venue consists of two music rooms. Small to medium sized. Piano bar for jazz soloists and duos to provide subtle music for all types of guests.

Read more about Toulouse Lautrec


Medium city centre venue that was once a cargo ship. Originally opened in 1982 as an entertainment venue, it was also the canvas for an early Banksy.

Read more about Thekla