New York pays musicians to play at vaccine sites

New York pays musicians to play at vaccine sites


norman lebrecht

May 07, 2021

In an effort to boost vaccination numbers the Mayor’s office is paying musicians to accompany the jab appointments.

Press release from the AFM:

The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) and AFM Local 802 have launched “Music Heals,” a new program of paid gigs for musicians, who will play for vaccine staff and recipients. The performances will take place at 11 City-run vaccination centers across the five boroughs through June 20th.

The program provides hundreds of NYC musicians – many who have lost income during the pandemic – fair wages and benefits under union guidelines. The one-hour performances are a way to thank the staff and those they are treating at vaccine sites. The performances also remind us of the wonderful music, theatre and live performances that help make New York the creative capital of the world.

Music Heals follows in the footsteps of Music for the Soul of NYC’s Health + Hospitals Heroes, a series launched by MOME and Local 802 AFM in Spring 2020, that saw local musicians performing virtually to support staff and patients at NYC’s public hospitals.

“Understanding the value that art and music can have on healing, it’s only fitting that we now bring live performances to our COVID-19 vaccination sites across the City, all the while thanking the healthcare heroes who have played a vital role in our recovery,” said Deputy Mayor Melanie Hartzog. “More and more New Yorkers will be able to enjoy these live performances in their more traditional setting in no time as more people roll up their sleeve for a vaccination.”

“We’re proud that our city’s diverse musicians are providing live music to encourage New Yorkers to get vaccinated, which is the key to re-opening NYC” said the President of AFM Local 802, Adam Krauthamer. “We’re extremely thankful to the city for investing in this excellent program, which lets the public enjoy great music for a great cause.”  




  • Ugh says:

    Yeah, here’s $20 to play music that no one wants to hear or is even listening to while a bunch of unrelated noisy medical mayhem goes on anxiously in the background. Because “music heals”, so. “Thanks for your music we appreciate you” “Can you play some Usher?”

    • NYCer says:

      wow, you must be a treat to be around.

    • Dominique says:

      First of all it’s not $20 but $25. And second, it’s not Usher but Justin and Taylor.

    • Alviano says:

      Don’t be so negative. The musicians get to perform. That’s something. It is a gesture out of the WPA of the 30’s.

    • violafan says:

      In that vein, let’s just all kill ourselves, right? Why even waste time living? Whats the point? Just to go through a bunch of pain and misery while your body stops working…

      But really though, why does this blog attract the most insufferable cynical bastards this world has to offer?

    • BRUCEB says:

      “Noisy medical mayhem.” Right.

  • Darrell says:

    No matter what, New York is doomed. Get out from there the sooner the better.

    • Tom Phillips says:

      Certainly it greatly benefits from your absence – and hopefully more right-wingers will join you in such bastions of human civilization as Texas and Florida with all of your precious bibles and guns.

  • Make an effort says:

    Haven’t we already had enough cynicism in the last 15 months to last us a lifetime?

  • Greg Bottini says:

    I think it’s a great idea.

  • Sharon says:

    As a nurse I know that the music serves a couple of medical purposes. First it calms down those who are nervous to take the vaccine or are ambivalent about it. It also calms those who resent having to wait or people with them, like little kids.

    Furthermore it helps pace staff. They are more likely to work to the rhythm.

    However, apart from whatever rehearsal might be involved in the playing itself there is travel time and in such a site musicians have to keep careful watch over their instruments since it is unlikely that there will be a place to store them securely. They should be compensated fairly.