No pay, no fee

The classical music industry works in strange ways.

This morning I received a voice mail reply to my query on an opera audition listing.

“What does ‘no pay, no fee’ mean?”

I asked if singers get paid to perform in an opera.

The reply was as follows:

“No pay, no fee” means that we don’t pay the singers for their performance. But we don’t charge a fee either for their auditions.

I can imagine that audition fees stack up after awhile, not to mention the costs of air travel, accommodation, foregone earnings during the audition, and other costs associated with the preparation of an audition. But that “no pay, no fee” could be an incentive for singers strikes me odd, unless the singers get the experience, exposure, and affiliation with a prestigious opera company or famous director or famous singer or effective voice coach.

Interestingly, on music job listings, “no pay” is explicitly given for some journalism, internship, and other similar announcements.

Could it really be true what my London headhunter once said?

“The more you love it, the less you’ll get paid for it.”


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Filed under concert, economics

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