The last Olympic metal awarded in the category of music was 1952. That’s right, 1952 ended forty years of Olympic Sporting Arts. Even without a metal event, music continues to impact the culture of the Olympic games. From the opening and closing ceremony’s, to the television broadcasts, to the live performances occurring at official Olympic events around London — Music is key to capturing the Olympic spirit.
While Paul McCartney can afford to play the Olympics for one pound in compensation, many other working musicians and artists simply can’t afford such a generous donation to the games. The question that musicians, the music unions and trade magazines are asking, is should the working musician have to donate their time? In fact, news reports state the British Musician’s Union reached a deal regarding the headliners at the Opening and Closing ceremony’s playing for free and requiring compensation for other professional musicians.
So you’re thinking – “The musicians should play for all the free publicity.” In fact, many bands perform free shows for that reason. Not so with the Olympics. The musicians are restricted in promoting their “Olympic” gig and are not allowed to sell their own merch at the show. Pride of country can only feed you so many meals….
Here’s a round-up of conversations on the topic.
Billboard – Dispute Between London Olympics …
LA Times – Are Organizers Not Willing To Pay…
Link to petition for musicians to be paid
More from the Musicians’ Union