Thoughts at Year’s End
Thoughts at Year’s End

Thoughts at Year’s End

Here are some recent considerations about how a professional body of musicians should be like. I am unaware of any existing organisation to offer all of these features, but I might be mistaken. Amendments and additional thoughts are welcome!

  • It should represent and primarily act in favour of freelance musicianship and music teaching, support its self-employed members through networking and lobbying, be acutely aware of their economical situation, and promote political initiatives for a fixed fee structure.
  • It should enter a dialogue at eye level with federal and state politicians, and be in permanent touch with leading figures in the music and media industry, publishing business, unions, and collecting societies.
  • It should think beyond the music business and collaborate with other freelance organisations and associations from adjacent fields in the creative industry.
  • Its organs and board members should appear in public continuously and on all relevant media (print, broadcasting, and on the web). External communication is crucial and should lie in the responsibility of a professional PR officer.
  • It should have its own journal or bulletin, dedicated to the members’ most important issues, and issued independently from other media outlets or periodicals.
  • It should offer legal advice for members, as well as special conditions in liability, compensation, and disability insurances.
  • It should hinge the organisation and funding of concerts and other public events on the members’ approval, and have them self-evaluate and legitimise all such activities on a regular basis.
  • It should encourage its members to participate in internal discourse, to present their ideas publicly, and to form workgroups for specific topics which regularly report their work to the board.
  • It should establish a junior development programme, acquire new members through campaigning at universities and conservatories, and set up a membership bonus scheme.
  • It should employ a full-time professional management responsible for all executive work, accounting, and membership administration. Maximum transparency of all financial transactions and budgeting should be granted to all members.
  • It should limit the election period of its board members to 2–3 years and allow delegations of votes to other members. A general assembly should be held online twice a year, enabling the members to participate in all relevant decisions.
  • It should offer graded membership fees that mustn’t exceed 1 percent of the respective member’s annual income.

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