Shame on Berklee for squeezing musiciansNews
Berklee is behaving badly, again. This message from Adam Gautille.
So for those who don’t know, I contract hundreds of musicians every year for Berklee College of Music recording sessions.
These demo recording sessions provide the composition students an opportunity to work with a real orchestra in a real recording studio and come away with a beautiful demo of their original piece of music that they can use to often get their first job.
I’ve been doing this job since late 2014 and when I got it I raised the pay from the low $20/hour to $30/hour and proposed a 5 year plan to get it up to union demo rate of $36/hour.
Unfortunately that did not happen in 2019, and to make matters worse, during the pandemic Berklee outsourced their recordings to Budapest despite the multiple suggestions I gave of how to safely record during a pandemic.
When sessions came back to America in December, I of course hired all the musicians for the sessions that I could and made sure they could end the year with some level of income. In January however, I advocated for more pay for the musicians and to contract the sessions.
Once again, there was no room in the budget. After advocating for Berklee to pay their musicians over and over again, I finally decided I could no longer have my name attached to these projects and I quit. How can an organization charge top dollar for training, but the second you are out will under pay you?
Since I started Berklee’s tuition has gone up almost 30%
Musician pay has gone up 0%
How many people would be okay with a job not even giving a market rate adjustment over 7 years? Let alone a raise for a higher level of performance?
I’m disheartened by one of the top music schools in the country not leading the charge in paying musicians well. I am posting this to raise awareness because I really don’t know what else to do.
My moral dilemma was, do I keep hiring musicians at the lower rate because at least they’re getting work? Or do I advocate for them and try to have them paid what they deserve?
The fact that I’m having to advocate for a college of music to pay musicians well is tragic.