Fair Trade Music is a grassroots community organizing initiative with the goal of developing local, community best practices for equitable relationships in live musical performance. As a social movement it spans the US and Canada with local campaigns in locations as varied as Seattle, WA, Rochester, NY, Portland, OR, Austin, TX and New Orleans, LA. It exists as coalitions of locally concerned parties including, musicians, performance venues, labor organizations, music affinity groups and audiences. It's main activities involve: advocating for fairness and transparency in the local live music industry; educational outreach; and positive recognition of participating community members. Fair Trade Music is, in part, a long-term community discussion for working musicians on the topic of earning a living as a professional musician with an eye towards economic justice and sustainability, artists rights and professional respect. It provides a forum for members of the local music community to recognize successes, discuss opportunities and work through more nuanced issues involving equity, behaviors and attitudes in the community.
We are currently in the data collection phase for collecting information about local venues and businesses in order to come up with a DC wide Fair Trade Music standard and minimum payment wage for musicians that perform in the area. Our goal is to create a standard that meets a basic artist living wage and launch a campaign to promote the venues and establishments that practice these standards. The information we would gather will be publicly available for both artists and fans who want to truly support their local creative economy.
Funded by Washington, DC (September 2013)