Most musicians have heard of the Musicians Union but what are the benefits? If you are a professional musician then you should definitely become a member. Even if you are an amateur musician who performs part time then you should still consider joining.
The Musicians Union was set up to protect the right of musicians. They negotiate and set standard minimum fees and terms of service for musicians and live bands. There is also a whole range of advice and guidance available including approved performance and recording contract for things like session work as well as legal advice available. It can be costly having contracts drawn up and professional music industry legal advice is very expensive. Joining the MU give you access to these.
An important benefit is that as a member you are covered for public liability insurance so that if any member of the public is injured then you have protection up to £10 million in place. Many venues and promoters will ask for evidence of this so you should really have this in place. Joining the MU is a cost effective way of doing so.
Being a member of the MU also allows you to participate in seminars and industry workshops and is great for networking. You have access to a whole range of music professional working in different disciplines. For a monthly fee you can get all of this and more. There are different levels of membership according to your needs so the MU is affordable to everyone.
In 2011 it is important that musicians are represented in the industry separately to all the major organisations. Individually many musicians don’t have a voice but collectively through the MU they do. Being a member of the MU also shows that you take your career seriously and are committed to being a professional musician - something that potential employers are looking for.
The MU also plays a big part in government policy and is influential in shaping such policies. It allows musicians to stay in touch with issues that affect them and acts as a feedback forum. With fewer live performance venues due to government policy the justification for the MU has never been greater.
The music industry is a great industry to work in but it is after all a business. It is great to know that there is some protection out there for grassroots musicians trying to make a living. For more information visit the Musicians Union website.