Musician Advocacy

Tabula Nova at Lake Park
Tabula Nova Ensemble at Lake Park in Milwaukee, July 2019

WMV founder Allison Emm,Β being a musician herself, feels very strongly that musicians need to be paid appropriately for their time and efforts to put together music for a performance. Whether it’s background music or on stage for a concert, performing takes a lot of time – much beyond what the audience hears – and skill.

Unless the musician is a student/novice or otherwise lacking in professionalism, there is no reason a musician today should be playing for anything less than $100/hour, per person. Beyond that, high level professionals require higher rates for their experience and talent. Whenever possible, WMV-associated events will pay that rate.

Offering tips only, a free meal, a store gift card, drink tickets, much less playing for free because it will be “good exposure” – these things should not be acceptable.

Fellow musicians, while exposure is important, don’t sell yourselves short. It’s a slippery slope: if word gets out that you’ll play at one place for drink tickets only, another place will ask you to do the same – and expect other groups to follow suit. Let’s elevate the standards.

Wisconsin Music Ventures is committed to paying musicians well, and to encouraging growth as musicians. Education for youths alongside current working musicians will be a focus of WMV’s; expect that programming to grow as the business grows.

If you also feel strongly about these things, consider becoming a patron of the Wisconsin Music Ventures program. Through patron support, as a community, we will continue to produce high quality musicians and set the bar higher.