Union Of Musicians petition calls for better pay for SXSW performers
More than 400 artists and two musician trade groups have called on SXSW to increase the compensation artists receive when performing at the SXSW festival.
After the pandemic, SXSW was acquired by deep-pocketed Penske Media, which also owns Rolling Stone. Billboard, Variety, and other major properties. This week, Penske made a $100 million investment in Vox Media
The artists which include Eve 6, Mountain Goats, Jeremy Messersmith, Speedy Ortiz, Zola Jesus, Pedro the Lion, YACHT, and Emperor X are led by the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (UMAW) and Songwriters of North America (SoNA) in calling on SXSW to triple their pay to $750.
For years SXSW has offered artists chosen to showcase either a wristband to attend the music festival or $250 ($100 for solo artists). International artists are just offered a wristband with no option for payment. Most artists must also pay a $55 application fee to be eligible to showcase.
The open letter calls on SXSW to:
- “Increase the compensation for showcases from $250 to at least $750 for all performers. (Which is still less than the cost of a single music badge to attend the festival.)”
- “Include a festival wristband in addition to financial compensation. Stop forcing artists to choose between being paid and attending the festival they are performing at.”
- “Provide the same compensation + wristband deal to international artists and domestic US artists.”
- “End the application fee.”
You can read the full petition and sign on here.
Bruce Houghton is the Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank, a Senior Advisor at Bandsintown, President of the Skyline Artists Agency, and a professor for the Berklee College Of Music.