From the TUC

Why I joined the Musicians’ Union

10 Nov 2016, By Guest

I joined the MU because it is the largest organisation representing musicians (over 30,000) in the UK.

With this large number comes a community that supports existing and new members with up to date accessible information at all stages of one’s career. I initially joined the MU as a music teacher. I found resources such as CPD weekends, training days and free £10 million public liability insurance cover invaluable for my job.

Now a full time music student, I pay just £20 a year for full access to MU services and benefits. I have used the MU for career development advice at every stage of my progress regarding live performance pay rates, contracts and how to further my career as s singer-songwriter and electronic music performance artist.

I find the MU’s website invaluable for up to date industry information and I have benefitted greatly from one to one bespoke advice from regional officials who have provided support, advice and information on specific areas of my work. I like how once involved, the MU remembers who I am, reaches out to see how I am doing, suggests schemes, workshops and career boosting opportunities suited specifically for me because my regional official has me in mind.

I trust the MU. They’re transparent, communicative and prompt at responding to enquiries. If one particular official is unable to answer a query, they do their best to find someone who can or direct me to informational resources that answer my query.

I like that at events, the MU makes a real effort to get know the members who have turned up and likes, retweets and does shoutouts to members on social media. There’s nothing like a union who builds relationships like that.

I have definitely benefitted from the MU’s ‘Work Not Play’ campaign which advocates for fair pay for all professional musicians, providing suggested rates of pay for individuals and groups according to a range of circumstances.

Such resources empower musicians to negotiate their rates, backed up by the MU’s online information sheets designed for musicians and contractors alike to ensure financial exploitation is minimised across the sector. I keep these information sheets in a template email that I send to all prospective live and studio engagements and it has helped me to value my craft, because we musicians train hard and invest in our practice, fair pay is a just ask. I’m proud to be a member of a union that has my back whatever the circumstance.

Without the MU, the music industry would be a confusing dispersed abyss that someone like me who is emerging would find impenetrable and intimidating. With the MU I feel like I am a part of the music industry because the MU reminds me, that like other musicians, whether established or just starting out, I am integral to the music industry landscape and thus should be supported to navigate it and thrive within it.