MPG study finds 77% of recording professionals work for free
The MPG study- Working For Free- featured as part of a ‘Should You Ever Work For Free’ panel.
We’ve all seen the meme about how artistic professionals are expected to do work for ‘exposure.’ We all laugh but the sad reality is that it’s plaguing the artistic community.
Alarming new research by the Music Producers Guild (MPG) has surfaced that shows how many recording professionals are not being paid for their work.
According to the study, 88% of producers and sound engineers have been asked to work for free, with 71% having agreed to work for free in the last three years.
Yielding more favourable results and showing how important having adequate representation is; 61% of producers and sound engineers with full MPG members and 64% with managers have worked for free in the last three years.
I thought nothing is free?
The reasons for doing unpaid work is as follows:
50%: Favour for a friend
20%: Felt ‘under pressure’ to do a favour for an existing client
Possibly the worst reason, 42% had done spec work (where you get paid if the client likes the work you did).
One unnamed producer said: “I produced many demos of songs for an album for an artist on a major label [only] to then have my production parts copied by another producer. They got paid and I didn’t.”
Next up, who is expecting free work?
77% of respondents did free work for independent artists, 34% did unpaid work for indie labels, and nearly 17% did unpaid work for a major label.
“I knew unpaid work was a problem in our industry, but I didn’t realise how endemic it was,” said MPG executive director Olga Fitzroy. “Of course, people will do favours for friends, but it’s completely unacceptable for record labels and commercial studios to exploit professionals in this way. We don’t employ someone to put in a new bathroom and then decide to pay them if we feel like it.
The MPG study gives harrowing insight into a broken system that needs to be rectified before we lose all the talent to paying industries.