Analysis: Weighing Fair Trade As It Hits Portland Music Scene
by Glenn Peoples
October 7th
Direct Link

A few interesting topics from the article.

Fair trade music could have two results. On one hand, . . . attendance would shift - maybe a bit, maybe a lot - to fair trade venues from non-fair trade venues. In effect, being a fair trade venue would be a bit of a competitive advantage. If popular artists pledged not to perform at non-fair trade venues, the impact of that advantage would be amplified.
On the other hand, a fair trade pay scale could give club owners less incentive to book unpopular acts. It can be explained in terms local bands can understand: If you asked a record store owner to buy your CD and refused to allow the store to sell on consignment (thus shifting the entire risk to the store), you will hurt your chance of getting that store to stock your CD.
Overall, the adoption of a fair trade rate would probably act like a wage floor, a la minimum wage. . . . It might not work in every city and with every venue, but the movement may get off the ground in Portland and inspire artists in other cities to organize themselves around a similar issue.

One interesting topic is the shifting of responsibility. It's one of the concerns the Fair Trade Music campaign addresses. The increasingly common practice of deductions from door sales for venue staff and overhead is a similar transfer of risk to the musicians.

Fair trade live music is certainly a fascinating concept that brings up many other questions. . . . Just for fun, let's extend the concept a bit. The idea of fairness could easily be extended to apply to concertgoers as well. Perhaps local artists would be better off not playing their sets at 11:30pm on a weeknight - logic dictates there are more potential concertgoers at 8pm than at midnight (except in a few cities, like the never-sleeping New York City). One has to imagine that a band's potential is not limited to young, single and/or unemployed people who regularly stay out until 1am on Mondays. Or maybe fair trade venues should be required to post exact set times. After all, there is nothing fair about the deceptive advertising that is the typical small venue's scheduled set times. From fair trade payouts to fair trade set times...there's no telling what could happen when this status quo is challenged.

Alot of interesting ideas here. All in all, a more professional atmosphere is our goal as a group.

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