A lone voice says: Stop this free music

A lone voice says: Stop this free music


norman lebrecht

April 26, 2020

Christina Jung, singer-songwriter:

I say no! No to living room or other online concerts for free (without fee). And I’ll tely you briefly why. Many of my colleagues are struggling financially for survival and culture (and paying money for it) comes up short. I stand in solidarity with my musician colleagues, in line with those who fight for our profession. We have to make money from our music; it’s fun to make music but we have to live from it. We can’t do that from a few listeners! I appreciate the support through many lovely messages, but I can’t pay my outgoings! I urge musicians to join in. We must not give ourselves away for nothing…

Ich sage nein! Nein zu Wohnzimmer oder anderen online-Konzerten für umsonst (ohne Gage). Und ich will euch kurz erklären warum. Viele von meinen Kollegen kämpfen finanziell ums Überleben und die Kultur (und dafür Geld zu zahlen), kommt leider gerade mehr als zu kurz. Ich möchte mich solidarisch meinen Musikerkollegen zeigen und mich eingliedern in die Reihe derer, die für unseren Beruf kämpft. Wir müssen mit unserer Musik Geld verdienen, denn es macht uns zwar Spaß Musik zu machen aber darüber hinaus müssen wir auch davon leben. Von ein paar Zuhörern, können wir das aber nicht! Ich schätze den Support durch viele liebe Nachrichten und likes sehr, aber davon kann auch ich meine laufenden Kosten nicht zahlen! Ich fordere auch andere Musiker hiermit auf, mit zu machen. Wir dürfen uns nicht umsonst verschenken, sondern müssen zusammen helfen, dass auch jetzt die Politik und unsere Zuhörer verstehen, dass wir finanziell nicht vergessen werden dürfen!

Your thoughts?


  • Tom Moore says:

    Good luck!

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    To be honest I have never taken any of this free staff as the real thing. This is all nothing but consolation for living as miserably as we do, and hoping for a better future.

  • John Rook says:

    She’s absolutely right.

  • Alan says:

    Let her play on line and charge for it then. Nothing stopping her.

  • Augustine says:

    Online streaming of your work is not the same as playing for free. The financial toll this virus is taking will not be made better by musicians refusing to stream for free.

    The only solution I see is a support safety net directed by a government that cares and given directly to the musicians until they can resume their professions.

    • Louise says:

      Our orchestra , and sections of it and individual members have performed and shared quite a bit content online since Covid -19 hit . I don’t see it as playing for free …our patrons are SO grateful to be able to hear and see us again , from all the messages and comments we have received . They cannot wait for the day we can all be back in the Concert Hall again . Also , a huge percentage of them have not asked for any refunds for their tickets to the huge number of cancelled concerts , ( by way of donation ) and as a sign of appreciation and empathy . We find it so important to connect with our community locally and world wide . Out of sight out of mind I say .Refusing to share one’s skills for no fee , when so many people are suffering , putting their lives on the line to literally save ours , and help us in so many other ways , is just not the attitude in my humble opinion . Stay relevant …it’s important for when we come out the other side , which we will .

      • Tuba Minimum says:

        Agreed. Not all musicians are in the same model, and so there are competing points of view. The musicians of the orchestra I work for are still getting paid, though there have been significant paycuts. So producing content to try and brighten the day of the audience stuck at home doesn’t feel like giving away the milk for free. If you are in an orchestra, it’s a way to stay connected to audiences, which is artistically satisfying, but most importantly it’s good to be visible to the donor base that I know we are asking both to donate their unused tickets and for general financial help.

        I do sympathize with the gig musicians right now, and I recognize the competing priorities. The marketplace is flooded with free content and there’s not really a lot of options online to get a paycheck. Both perspectives make a lot of sense. It’s just unfortunate that one works to the detriment of the other.

    • Louise says:

      Spot on !

  • Yoel Culiner says:

    That is exactly why we founded – http://www.comecloser.cc

  • AB says:

    Many houses use the online concerts as a legal way to pay the artists whose contracts for live performances got cancelled. The Online audience doesn’t have to pay for it, but the house has then an official service from the artists and can put it online and pay the artists without any negotiations with the politics and accountant staff.
    I don’t think anyone forces anybody to play online for free. Some do it for fun, some get PR investment in the future. But nobody makes any monetary profit out of online concerts.

    • Emilio Pons says:

      Nonsense. You are wrongfully assuming that that is the case. Industry insiders know that the vast majority of houses, including some of the biggest ones, are not paying a dime for those streamed performances to the artists involved.

      This woman is not alone. I, too, and many of my colleagues are against freely streaming music. It just reinforces the idea amongst the clueless population that what we do is some sort of pastime, and that they are entitled to get the product of our work for free.

      • MetInsider says:

        I agree. The shameless Met duplicitously pitched a fund raiser as a gala using the very artists they shut the door on and didn’t pay a dime to. They used crappy technology and out of tune pianos which were an assault to our ears and insult to the audience many of whom were simply there to peep into the homes of performers while the vainglorious MD sat tweeting replies to comments about his furnishings and clothing. They used the cadaverous Gelb to front this embarrassment. A cloying egotistical event where these singers gave of their time and talent with nothing but empty promises in return. Typical Gelb. Typical Yannick.

  • Pawel says:

    Let’s face it. The artists’ battle for the web has been lost a long time ago. Lost to piracy and big streaming companies. We have been trying very hard for years to use the new technology and yet the recording and streaming industry are less and less viable as a source of income for most of artists. We are not doing these things for free to compete with the pay-per-view stuff. We are doing this to remind the general public that we are still there and waiting at homes to come back to theatres and concert halls. We just do not want people to turn to much of free stuff which is available on the net. And that free content is what we are really competing with right now during this crisis.

    • Tuba Minimum says:

      Almost all music revenue is from live concerts, whether you’re Taylor Swift or Itzhak Perlman. Especially if you’re in the classical world, recording is more about prestige and brand than direct revenue. The return on that investment is butts in seats. Similarly at a time like this for organizations, you are doing these online content for free because you are hoping to build/maintain relationships with your audiences hoping that will turn into donations.

      What is interesting to me is niches like video game streaming on Twitch where it has become completely normal for people to watch someone play a game (or sometimes DJ or play music) and then tip and subscribe to them. There is no upfront ticket cost to watch, but enough of the audience responds to a “pay what you feel” model and enjoy the virtual hang and interaction that some of these entertainers make significant amounts of money. If you put a price tag upfront, you’ll lose to all the free content out there. But if you get them in the door, there might be online busking models out there that could work.

  • Andy Smith says:

    Couldn’t agree more but sadly most presenters lead the way here at the moment by flooding the market with free content from past performances and asking artists to participate without paying them AND cashing in regular subsidies while additionally benefiting from furloughing most of their operational staff. If we’re not careful; we’ll end up like the recording industry after Napster or newspapers after the The NY Times started to make their content available online for free and the ones to suffer most are (again) artists or rather those creating content!

    • Guest says:

      NY Times, I don’t think so. After one free article you get this: “Log in or create an account for free access to our coronavirus coverage.” There is much better virus coverage for free elsewhere on the new without the accompanying uninformed opinion typical of that Rag.

      • John Rook says:

        ‘Rag’ is the perfect description of that appalling daily.

      • Hmus says:

        Whether or not you agree with their editorial policy, you make yourself look foolish when you call a paper like the NYT uninformed. But perhaps you are in the employ of Rupert Murdoch.

    • Louise says:

      What is your solution in the meantime ?

  • Vienna Music says:

    She is absolutely right! It is a shame that big stations such as ORF are staging free concerts at prime time and give Netrebko and the likes yet another opportunity when at the same time the government issues millions of aid to all the independent musicians who cannot live off of living room concerts. There needs to be an answer for culture, too! For my part I gave an advance to my music teacher and continue with lessons even though they are much less fun via Zoom. He had concerts planned and a full studio. Now there are less than half the students left and no concerts anytime soon. We need an answer and we need it fast….

  • EAM says:

    Well, not just musicians are experiencing financial difficulties. Better to make free concerts with the possibility of donation.

  • Violetta says:

    Unfortunately there are too many people from the arts opposed to this. Many reasons for it. From well intended ones to shameless self promotion dressed up as charity. The lines are also blurred. Every amateur also feels compelled to perform from their balcony or stream their stuff. It is fairly difficult for not regular concert goers to make a distinction who is who and more importantly: they will never stop because they don’t care of they get payed or not they do it for fun anyway.


    I think the idea of telling other musicians what they can and can’t do is less than ideal. For my part, I haven’t done any on-line free concerts, but if I choose to, I will (my piano, however, is in no state for this). I, and many others, play some concerts for no fee, but others for large sums. Is she next going to tell us which concerts we can and can’t give? Each to their own. As I write people are listening to my recordings without paying me. Can she solve that problem?

    • Elvira says:

      A little bit of generosity won’t hurt.Musicians throughout good and difficult times opened their hearts and played .If not you are just …a clerk.
      Music is a gift waiting to be offered.

  • Ron Swanson says:

    There are millions of non musicians that are self employed that are having to adapt. Why shouldn’t she. Just from reading here there are two opera singers working as porters in a hospital. I personally know several musicians that are currently stacking shelves in Sainsbury’s. Governments cannot afford to save every job. There is nothing to stop her starting a Patreon instead of demanding that the government gave her free money.

    • Brian v says:

      I never do streaming I go and buy cds at least I spend money which provides a living for the artist record company and retailers.
      Also I love my cds and records on a shelf.

      • Drazen says:

        Glad to see I am not the only dinosaur left.

        • Stephen Diviani says:

          And me. I’m using the break to catch up on the eleven Opera Rara box sets I’ve bought. Bliss!

        • Brian v says:

          I still prefer to buy my cds from a shop as. Opposed to mail order.
          The salespeople are always pleasant and I can play the cd when I return
          Home as opposed to waiting a few weeks until it arrives from Europe or the states.

      • Brian v says:

        As I have said before with good audio the sound is better

  • Canan Maxton says:

    This is a double-edged sword. Yes,I agree entirely that musicians need to be paid for their performance but we are living through unprecedented times. Unless some of the musicians who are deprived of the exposure they would get through paid and unpaid concerts, are putting themselves out and giving free concerts or streaming old ones, they are likely to be forgotten totally by audiences. So it is not an easy solution. Also, how could anyone stop others from putting themselves on social media performing or otherwise. I do not quite know. Those who are suffering most as a result of this are music students and young professionals who have talent but have not quite made it yet.

  • Brettermeier says:

    “Your thoughts?”

    More or less: “I wonder why he stopped translating the last sentence midsentence?”

    We must not give ourselves away for nothing…

    …but have to ~work together that politicians and our audience understand that we must not be forgotten financially!

    She’s right, of course.

  • Enquiring Mind says:

    I think what is behind the free music is that the presenters realize that after 6 months or a year without them, the audience might forget about them. I doubt people will make any money playing alone in their living room. Sharply limited program, bad acoustics, and awful sound transmission is what you would get over zoom. No the choice is give it away or risk losing touch with your audience. Not ideal.

  • Jeffrey Biegel says:

    Our concerts have either been cancelled or postponed (for when?). During WWII, Dame Myra Hess performed to bring comfort to people in depression and duress. Was she paid? I don’t know. Part of why we perform now is also self-therapeutic. My Saturday concerts on YouTube have not made money for me at all, as I do not yet have enough subscribers to reach that notion. But that is not why I do these. It keeps my mind and heart occupied with short term weekly goals and gives a there some relief from their own experiences. Hopefully, we will return to what was a concert hall. But from an artistic side, for now, this seems to be a source of giving. The future will be uncertain for some time. These concerts help connect us.

    • John Rook says:

      Message to everyone: If you’re going to support anyone, make it Jeffrey Biegel, who is unfailingly supportive of, and generous to, just about everyone who ever crops up on this site. What’s more, he’s a superb pianist. We need more people like Jeffrey.

      BTW, Jeffrey: My mother went to Dame Myra Hess’s recitals at St. Martin-in-the-Fields all through the war; not being evacuated (yet living just behind Hendon Aerodrome, a fairly, er, lively part of London at that time) she went to all manner of events with her mother and still talks about the concerts to this day.

      • Jeffrey Biegel says:

        You’re too kind and give me far too much credit. There are thousands of beautiful souls out there playing their hearts out for people. I have to imagine it is self-therapeutic as well. Hope you can watch concert #8 on Saturday via YouTube, John. Stay well where you are.

        • John Rook says:

          Thank you, Jeffrey; you, too. Your modesty honours you and I shall tune in on Saturday. All the very best to you.

    • Louise says:

      I agree wholeheartedly

  • Ralph Neiweem says:

    I would never ask anyone to pay to hear me play on cellphone sound on my out of tune piano. If it’s therapeutic to a performer or group of listening friends or fans to do this, I’m ok with it during these extraordinary times.

  • Pam says:

    Since artists cannot play concerts and earn ….a bit of free music online is also free publicity and payback may follow with a new and maybe wider audience in the future

    • Tamino says:

      Not sure why people think that way.
      It’s not backed up by reality. But then people believe al kinds of silly things, why not that working for no money puts them on the road to earn money.
      Any profession with an intrinsic understanding of value does not work for free.

  • Mark London says:

    Silly out of touch woman

  • Anon says:

    Disagree. She’s making the assumption that all musicians are freelancers or soloists or somehow all working out there independently. We are not all in that situation.

    Many of us work for orchestras, or opera companies or organizations which are under the gun to produce this type of digital content right now to maintain funding, to hold audiences and to remain relevant. It is literally our JOB right now to produce content. Our employers, in many cases, are depending on it for survival.

    We already have paid audiences. We have ticket holders who cannot attend our concerts and we have to find ways to compensate them. We are not doing this for “free”. Our orchestras have in many cases been paid for performances which have been cancelled. Many orch members are receiving full or a percentage of their regular salaries while staying at home. Orchs have been paid, musicians are being paid – creating digital content is our version of working remotely.

    Just because this woman is some kind of freelancer who feels displaced doesn’t mean that the rest of us are. We are creating viable alternatives musically in this new era. Look closely – many of us are not doing it “for free” at all. This is our job now and we are doing it.

    I have no explanation for all the moronic “wanna-bes” who are creating bad internet content for free the purpose of self promotion. Someone else will have to defend them.

    • Tamino says:

      Giving away your work for free now will NOT secure you to remain relevant. The opposite will happen. I can guarantee you that.

      We are not talking about the short clip with a message and a short piece of music. That’s fine.
      We are talking about actual musical content online.

    • Schneebart says:

      You sound like a real treat to work with

    • liberty says:

      Arbeit Macht Frei is not for everyone Anon.

    • Anne says:

      Miaouwww. Come on, at present the digital content that’s offered by the likes of admin is formulaic, tired and going nowhere creatively. It will be interesting to see you reach new audiences and keep them.

  • She’s right. And what musicians and ensembles of all sizes need to do is create online communities for their work consisting of people who pay to join the community in return for which they get music and other content that only paying members get. It remains to be seen how successful this will be but it’s what I’m encouraging my digital clients to do.

  • Hal Hobbs says:

    I’ve never heard of her.

  • Tom says:

    What’s missing in this conversation is an element of compassion. I think, as of today, something like 230,000 people have been killed by coronavirus, maybe ten times that many have been infected, and each of those people have grieving families. Music plays, or played, an important part in each of those lives. Many musicians have volunteered to do this or that. I doubt that any have been directed to do so. Those who have volunteered, thank you. It helps in a world turned upside down.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Tom: “something like 230,000 people have been killed by coronavirus, maybe ten times that many have been infected”

      Something between 25 million and 150 million people have been infected (perhaps more). Only a small proportion of the people infected have been tested.

  • Thomas Dawkins says:

    I have been experimenting with things that I cannot do in live performance, like playing ensembles with myself (since I can’t be in the company of other musicians). I did an arrangement of Mahler’s “Urlicht” for double reeds and sang the solo part. The results may be a bit home-grown, but if I bring a little joy into some peoples’ lives in this dark time, that’s more than enough for me. It’s either sitting at home playing for myself and not getting paid for it, or making some videos to share and also not getting paid for it. I choose the latter, but I wouldn’t condemn anybody for making a different choice.

    I also have a university position that is still paying me, though not what I would have earned with a full spring concert schedule on top of that.

  • caranome says:

    Ability to charge vs. willingness to pay always come down to supply and demand. No amount of subsidies in form of gov’t payments or charities can beat that in the long term. Classical music suffers the double whammy of being a luxury good consumed and produced in a crowd, which this virus has cruelly shown. When the world slowly reopens, how would classical music fare against its competitors with similar characteristics: a) travel, b) sporting events, c) pop music concerts? I’m afraid the prognosis is not good. I’m afraid classical music producers of all types will suffer the worst casualties in terms of serious injury and death.

  • La audience says:

    I donated to the MET gala (a bit weary as I saw the headlines that they fired the orchestra basically…). And if I hear an interesting piece I might get the recording, e.g. from Igor Levit’s house concertos. So, it can go both ways.

  • La audience says:

    That said (above, if posted) – there needs to be measures inlace not only to support the cruise ship companies and the Hiltons but also free-lance artists. But that needs to come from the state and other organizations – and yes, private entities. But just say no – might not help her. Why would I pay for content on streaming with a cell phone. The MetGala showed (though nicely) that your mileage may vary, just based on the internet service and technological expertise at the stage side.

  • V.Lind says:

    I am as sympathetic to Christina Jung as I am to any people who have lost all or part of their incomes due to this crisis. And good luck to her in any endeavour she makes to earn while things are at a standstill.

    But she does not seem to realise two things. One is that living room concerts are not usually worth paying for. I listened the other day to one from a concert series I frequently attended. It was an attractive rep of piano pieces from the pianist’s living room. I do not know whether it was the quality of her piano, which I would have said was doubtful at best, or the system that was being used to record it, which I suspect was the phone, but it was unbearable. And not worth a nickel.

    The other thing is that some artists are doing what many people are doing in wider communities all over the world: trying to contribute a little happiness in a time of extraordinary difficulty. Some celebrities are teaching schoolchildren on the BBC. Pro golfers are giving virtual lessons on Tour websites. And all sorts of artistic companies and individuals and groups are putting something together to entertain shut-in people, many of whom are ill or disabled and cannot be visited by loved ones in times of deep stress.

    In the same way that restaurants and bars have been donating food and drink to homeless and hungry causes, and companies are adapting to make masks and other PPE rather than their own products. Let alone all the small acts of kindness going on all over the place, and the people with better careers, like musicians, who are helping out in hospitals and delivering food to the elderly and the like.

    So while I wish Ms. Jung well, perhaps she might give a thought to the people who HAVE given a thought — to others. So she can’t make her living from her chosen means right now — she is in MASSIVE company. Whingeing about it when hospital workers are exhausting themselves to provide care, grocery clerks are turning up daily to a job that must be fraught, cleaners and sanitation workers take risks to keep things safer for the rest of us, social care home workers are striving against bad odds and for very low pay to keep things going, people try to help the homeless who are unable to wash their hands every hour or necessarily to social distance (aside from the social distance they always endure): her problems seem very petty indeed.

  • Steven says:

    I also imagine that many of those who are currently accessing performances for free, may indeed end up as digital subscribers once things return to normal.

  • haligonian says:

    I agree. There are platforms for ticketed live-stream shows (such as sidedooraccess.com) and I am happy to pay to see my favorite musicians perform.

  • Harriet Cunningham says:

    I went to a concert yesterday. Tickets cost AU$50. Claire Edwardes gave a percussion recital from her front room to an audience of 20, all on Zoom. We got to chat before, after and between pieces, ask questions and clap enthusiastically. It was a great experience.

  • I agree! But musicians need to keep their live performance skills honed so we should not go silent – especially during a time like this, when music has the power to heal so many. This, you should sign up to be one of the first artist musicians to Livestream your concerts on Immedia.co. The Livestream music platform that pays. Built in paywall, all in one music Livestream platform which enable musicians to monetize their performances. It’s in Beta version now, but be one of the first ! Quality of sound and audio transmission is excellent.

  • Sharon says:

    What I have been seeing in the theater world is that excerpts or clips are for free but there is a small charge for downloading videos of previous free theater or auditorium performances. Sometimes a video of a full previous auditorium performance may be available for free for a very specific very limited time while to see it at other times that are more convenient one has to pay –the Met is doing this.

    Yes, right now, it is very important to have some free internet presence for publicity and to stay in the public eye; so that people remember you and/or your organization.

    Please remember that most of your potential audience look at classical music as entertainment, a recreation and relaxation–you are competing against sports both played and viewed, theater, CDs, DVDs and Netflix, reading, meeting with friends, crafts, meditation and religious services all of which can be done at home for free or easily streamed or zoomed for free or at very low cost.

    Another thing to remember is that a lot of your audiences are not receiving the income they generally receive or are afraid of losing it. I did a study of this for the New York State Department of Commerce many years ago. When there is an economic downturn the first sectors to lose employment are sectors that most people consider to be optional discretionary spending, restaurants, entertainment, and the arts–and this was before the internet!

    Depending on how long this lasts Covid may make a permanent changes to how people view socialization and recreation. Already, before Covid, because of Netflix type services and the internet in general, fewer people were going to the arts for a “night out”. Zoom, Face Time and Skype are now connecting us to others without seeing them face to face.

    We are still feeling our way around this but the arts must adapt–perhaps arts organizations will end up live streaming everything. As far as compensation and payment is concerned arts organizations and artists will just have to figure it out, maybe with the help of government.

    These are interesting times.

  • fflambeau says:

    I think this is a stupid position.

    Take the Met Opera. They have been offering free operas (a different one every day) for about a month. Last night, they aired a huge 4 hour plus gala with all kinds of performers. Their GM has indicated they are getting small, online donations for this plus they are generating lots of good publicity. They have a staff of over 1,000 people, a resident orchestra, ballet and choir.

    Or take the violinist, Daniel Hope who is streaming for free live concerts from his Berlin home. He has more than 1 million hits and the platform he is using is doing well off this and his guests enjoy performing too.

    Dinosaurs like this person will not do well and do not seem to know enough to try something new.

    • GVW says:

      Yes, they are taking donations, but the donations are not going towards the staff. The staff are not presently being paid.

  • Fiddlist says:

    Why protest what can’t be stopped?

    Spend your energy on global warming.

  • Stephen Diviani says:

    Inclined to agree with her. It’s a bit daft for an opera house, let’s say, to be sending out begging emails to punters while transmitting recorded performances for free online. My local theatre, the Orange Tree, has put on Vimeo a recording of Gyles Brandreth interviewing Judi Dench, which you can watch for £4.99. It is very entertaining and revealing, and I hope that it raises some much needed income for the theatre. I would guess that they have both waived their fees. Voluntarily, which is the crucial element. Nobody should be coerced into forgoing fees.

    The situation may be slightly different in the UK because the government has agreed to pay 80% of a self-employed persons monthly income averaged over the last three years of tax returns. And that will certainly help yours truly.

  • sorin braun says:

    it is cruel , but society simply does not need so many musicians.many other professions have also become redundant : you don’t need many translators , you don’t need so many human scientists , you don’t need so many political scientists , so many hairdressers and so many other professions.
    society has to call quits to the silly capitalist system that is based on so many goods (spiritual and physical) that aren’t needed , at least 90% of production.
    the solution must be systematic and not ad-hoc.
    hidden unemplyment (Versteckte Arbeitslosigkeit) won’t solve the problem.

  • Anne d'Anotha-Thing says:

    It’s a good point, that young musicians in particular are often exploited by being asked to perform ‘for the exposure’, or ‘the experience’, but surely this is a different situation. Many people and businesses are being generous with their labour, from donating luxury Festival buses as respite rooms for exhausted hospital staff, to offering free bikes, so hospital staff don’t have to cram into public transport to get to their shifts; from setting up a reservoir of books for children, to giving away phone apps for stress relief. The UK doesn’t support its artists at all – unlike several EU countries, which do – but musicians still have to practice every day. As a parent of young musicians, who have seen the next 2 year’s engagements vanish – and, with them, more than just their savings – I know they see their current, informal, internet music sharing as a means of keeping in touch with friends, trying new musical dialogues, and, perhaps, touching friends they have not yet met, who find them by chance and enjoy their music in these gloomy, unpredictable, stressful times.

  • Music Fan says:

    What a selfish, short-sighted person. Does she not realize many who are listening to these “free” events (like Igor Levit’s living room recitals) are themselves out of work and under financial duress?

    The COVID pandemic will, eventually, come to an end. And those of us to whom these concerts were a balm will remember those who gave of their gifts and those who says “Nein.”

  • Jack says:

    Though I’m not in agreement with Ms. Jung on this particular issue, I do understand and support her point.

    Years ago, in a local arts fund drive, Milwaukee’s United Performing Arts Fund gave out buttons and stickers that said “Don’t just applaud: Send money!” I still have my button.

  • Jack_Ewing says:

    The Met didn’t charge on Saturday but made money in donations. She can set up a PayPal account and charge her fans. A friendly warning however: people can listen to Joan Sutherland, Luisa Tetrazzini and Elton John on YouTube *for free* during this lockdown, she better be good.

  • Vaquero357 says:

    I may be in the minority, but all this free streaming will have no effect on my live concert-going activity once the pandemic subsides. Recordings and streaming are nice, and I’m enjoying immensely the present all-U-can-eat buffet. But they don’t replace the Real Thing.

    As for the FREE-ness of it all, she has a point. And in fact, I’ve long questioned the logic of giving people something they value and want without charging them for it. (I mean, I like it, even though as a long-term economic model it seems completely daft.)

    However, much of the problem lies in HOW one is charged for the “product”. If you want me to lock into a permanent, $20 (or something) per month commitment that you’re pulling out of my bank account…. Sorry, NO GO. If *everybody* who clicked to stream a concert were charged a token amount, say 10 cents, then yes, sign me up. As long as there’s a payment system that doesn’t involve direct access to my credit card or bank account.

    “Wait, 10 cents, that’s peanuts! How can we get by on that. But remember: you’re collecting a token amount from everybody who views your “content,” instead to letting them watch it for free and then passing the (virtual) hat afterwards.

    My 2 cents. In a few months, I’ll be back in my usual seat(s) at my favorite concert halls. Maybe still wearing a mask….

  • Vaquero357 says:

    Oh – and at this very moment, 5 music-presenting institutions are working with money I spent on tickets for concerts that were cancelled or vaguely postponed. Will I make them refund the moola? Probably not.

  • SVM says:

    Whilst I, too, have grave concerns about our profession being taken for granted, I have nonetheless been giving live virtual concerts (by “live”, I mean genuinely live, as opposed to misleadingly titled “live streams” that were actually pre-recorded). My main reason is that I find it a useful opportunity to have the pressure of public performance *without* the pressure of the audience being a paying audience and *without* the burden of a permanent recording, in order to take artistic risks on *my* terms and try improvisations and repertoire that may not be ready for a proper concert. Since I do *not* use social media, my “public” has been mostly friends and colleagues to whom I would have been happy to perform for free in person in any case.

    In any case, for just about any concert venue or concert-giving organisation, tickets do not cover the full cost of putting-on a classical concert. That is to say, the audience is being ‘subsidised’ to some extent either by virtue of patronage (i.e.: individuals and organisations donating money voluntarily or paying a premium for special perks) or by virtue of underpaying performers… or by virtue of both. The profession accepts this business model as a necessary expedient to enable a modicum of artistic risk-taking and to maintain the ‘accessibility’ of concerts to listeners from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds. I am not very happy with the current balance, but it is not a straightforward case of sliding it one way or another (I think concert tickets should be more expensive, to be brutally honest, but I also think that we need more artistic risk-taking and a wider repertoire in our concert-halls), but I think it would be unrealistic to expect box office to cover the costs in full.

  • Plush says:

    I’m with her. Gimmickmusic with shid production is not valued for more than 5 minutes.