I've heard of Fair Trade coffee, chocolate, and other stuff, but music? What do you mean?
From the great resource of our times, Wikipedia: “Fair Trade is an organized social movement and market-based approach that aims to help producers in developing countries make better trading conditions and promote sustainability. The movement advocates the payment of a higher price to producers as well as higher social and environmental standards.” We have always believed that musicians, as cultural workers, have the right to a fair, equitable living wage and safe working conditions, free from harassment an discrimination. The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) International maintains a Fair Trade Music initiative and Local 1000’s program is a long-standing and progressive part of that movement.
Who decides what are fair wages and standards for musicians?
The fair wages and standards are developed by committees appointed by the Executive Board of AFM Local 1000. These wages and standards are voted on by the Local 1000 membership.
What kinds of venues can participate?
Folk music clubs, church coffeehouses, theaters, house concerts, and concert series that employ musicians on a single engagement basis are venues that can participate in Fair Trade Music (FTM).
What if I am a Festival or if I hire the same band five nights a week as a house band?
Interested venues and festivals that fall into this category should contact Local 1000 to discuss fashioning a Fair Trade Music arrangement for your situation.
My venue lets the musician put out a tip jar and they can keep that and all the money from their merchandise sales. Can I be a FTM venue?
Absolutely. However, you must sign an agreement that says you will pay the musician at least a minimum wage based on Local 1000 scales. In addition to paying a minimum wage, the venue also must agree to additional standards set forth in the FTM Agreement.
An Agreement? Like a Contract?
It is a pledge that you as a venue representative/presenter sign that says that you will adhere to the conditions in the FTM Agreement.
What’s in this Agreement?
The venue representative/presenter agrees to:
- pay a minimum guarantee according to the current wage scales set by AFM Local 1000;
- pay the musicians in a timely fashion;
- language allowing (and limiting) the use of open mics;
- use the Fair Trade Music logo; and
- notify all musicians hired at your venue that they are performing in a Fair Trade Music venue and provide each artist with the contact information of Local 1000.
- "If the artist(s)is an AFM/CFM member, you must sign an LS-1 (USA artists) or LPCC (Canadian artists) contract if the artist requests it."
We really love all the musicians that play for us and all the above looks good. But what will being a FTM venue cost us?
Under Fair Trade Music, your venue commits to pay a guaranteed minimum wage equal to Local 1000 scales. These are currently:
- Concert: $250.00
- Small Concert/Club: $120.00
- Opening Act: $75.00
For each additional musician, add half of the applicable solo scale amount; for example, concert scale is $370 for a duo, $490 for a trio, etc. These scales are subject to change and all FTM venues will be notified of any scales changes.
In addition, as a FTM venue in the U.S., you must honor an AFM member's request, if he or she should make it, to contribute a percentage to the AFM pension on the musician's behalf through an LS-1 contract. This ordinarily means an additional 10.19% of the minimum scale wage. For a solo artist that is an additional $12.22 if you are a small venue. It's an additional $25.47 if you're a large concert venue. Canadian venues pay under a different contract. Call the Local 1000 office for details.
How about if we charge an admission price and give the musician a percent of what we take in?
There are provisions in the FTM Agreement that address this situation:
If a venue is not paying scales but does pay a percentage of the gate, most of the time the artist’s share is usually covered by the percentage, but occasionally the gate falls below the amount that would be equivalent to the Local 1000 scale. Your cost for paying the artist would be the difference on those occasions between the percentage [usually] paid and the Local 1000 minimum scale wage.
Can you give me an example?
Suppose you are a house concert that pays the musician 100% of the gate. Your suggested donation is $10 and your capacity is 35. This would qualify you as a small club or concert, so the minimum scale would be $120. You need at least 12 people paying the $10 to make minimum scale, but you only have 10 turn up. You take in $100 which is $20 short of the minimum. FTM requires that you cover that $20 and an additional 10.19% for a pension contribution (AFM members who are using an LS-1 or Canadian equivalent only). So, in this case your total cost would be $32.23.
What is an LS-1 or LPCC form?
These are forms that AFM members use when performing a single engagement or what is commonly called a “one night stand.” This form enables the employer of an AFM member to contribute an amount equal to a certain percentage of the member’s wages to the AFM Employer's Pension Fund, allowing the musician to save for retirement. The LS-1 is in use in the USA and the LPCC is in use for Canada.
Let’s say I sign on to FTM. What do I get?
- access to the FTM logo to place on your website, print materials and other publicity materials;
- a listing with a link on the Local 1000 FTM website as an official FTM venue;
- the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting musicians with your actions, not just your words; and
- the respect of musicians and listeners for your commitment to building a healthy and sustainable music community.
What happens if I violate the FTM Agreement?
First, we’ll have a Fair Trade Music liaison work with you to figure out and resolve any issues you might be facing. If we are unable to resolve the issue(s), you would no longer be acknowledged by Local 1000 as a Fair Trade Music venue. We would let others know that you are no longer an FTM venue via the Fair Trade Music website. We would request that all links and graphics identifying your venue as Fair Trade be removed from your physical property, websites, and printed material.
Okay, I am almost convinced, but not quite. Why would I want to sign on to Fair Trade Music?
Prestige. Being known as a Fair Trade Music venue earns you the respect of musicians and their fans alike. Chances are you got into this business because you love the music and want to bring it to your community. Displaying a Fair Trade Music sign in your venue and on your website lets patrons know you are committed to just, equitable treatment of the artists who mean so much to them.
Local 1000’s minimum scale wages are more than reasonable. They bear in mind the economic challenges everyone faces today.
You get what you pay for. This is a familiar refrain in any business; if a venue wants quality music, it will be in its best interest to make it known to artists that they are a Fair Trade Music venue.
Your venue can lead the way! Your participation in the Fair Trade Music campaign will encourage venues that are not Fair Trade Music venues to follow suit. Local 1000’s campaign will make the Fair Trade Music brand visible and coveted.
Have more questions?
Contact the Fair Trade Music Committee Chair: FairTradeMusic @ Local 1000 DOT org
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