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Are Rochester musicians being paid fairly for live performances?

Zahyia Rolle and Jackson Cavalier  appear on "Connections with Evan Dawson" on Monday, December 20, 2021.
Megan Mack
/
WXXI News
Zahyia Rolle and Jackson Cavalier appear on "Connections with Evan Dawson" on Monday, December 20, 2021.
Connections_News_Highlight.jpg

Are Rochester musicians being paid fairly for live performances? CITY Magazine arts editor Daniel Kushner hosts a conversation with local musicians and venue owners who explore that question. Independent professional musicians say they have little to no access to the benefits or organized labor. This comes amidst a renewed effort to unionize in numerous industries nationwide.

In a recent Facebook video post, Rochester musician Jackson Cavalier expressed his frustration over local venues where musicians play only for tips or a free meal, rather than being paid outright for the gig. He urged his peers, “Playing for exposure is something you should never do.” We discuss the financial realities local music performers and venue owners are facing, and what compensation (or lack thereof) says about our socioeconomic priorities. Our guests:

Daniel J. Kushner is arts editor of CITY magazine, which works in partnership with WXXI News. He began writing for CITY in 2015 as a contributing writer, before joining the staff full-time in 2018.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.
Emmarae Stein is the production assistant for "Connections with Evan Dawson."