Tell Us a Story
We are preparing an online action for May Day in solidarity with the Occupy movement. We would like to host a large number of stories from musicians and music industry workers writing about their personal experiences as workers in the music industry.

If you’re seeing this, it’s because we somehow got this message to you (Twitter, email?) or someone who knows you sent it to you. Which means, we would like to include you in our project. Would you write a 250-500 word, first person story about your life as a member of the music industry, one that illuminates a truth about the music industry that you think non-musicians wouldn’t know.

We will post it anonymously but will list your name alphabetically along with a long list of others. No one will know who is who, except the two people who are putting this project together. We can translate texts from Spanish, Portuguese, German, and Czech. We are happy to edit if you would like.

We will need a text from you no later than April 25. Please send it to occupymusicians at gmail dot com

Thanks for supporting Occupy. Join May Day and, if you’re in NYC join the Guitarmy or perform you own music . And please, continue talking, playing, and marching  to bring awareness to the economic and social needs of the 99 percent.

Thank you,
Occupy Musicians


We’re hoping for stories written in a first person, narrative/expository style, of 250-500 words (1-2 single-spaced

This is not an exposé and we’re not asking you to “name names” or call out specific bad actors in the music industry.

We want to host your personal story about the living reality of being a musician or person involved in the music industry, a story that highlights the unspoken and unsexy and sometimes unfair challenges that we face, similar to or different from other forms of labor.

You’ll be anonymous in your specific account, which you can use to your advantage, speaking truth to power without directly threatening your own livelihood (often precarious in this industry, as in many others). Anonymity also frees you from the responsibilities of living up to or maintaining your public persona, Here, you can be a just another music worker, talking about the conditions of your labor, allowing readers to draw connections across the experiences that we
collectively share in this space.


You’re free to write about whatever seems relevant. Some topics will be mundane, centered around the business of touring, how record labels work, personal or ensemble debt, health care for musicians, and other topics that paint a picture of musicians-as-workers.

Perhaps you will choose a topic that delves deeper into the dangerous and rarely-discussed questions of politically motivated censorship, the financial underpinnings of the for-profit and non-profit music industries, corporate control of media and its effect on music dissemination and production, the world of grants and grant-writing and corporate underwriting, and other controversial issues.  How have you seen these issues play out in your own career? If so, we hope that you will write about it for us.

Taken together, it is our hope that a picture of our industry will emerge, helping musicians to see ourselves not just as “artists” but as artists who are also “workers.”

Even as we aim to seek solidarity with other workers through this project, be it in the arts or elsewhere, we recognize that artists have different privileges from most workers, and yet that privilege can shine a strong light on our society’s assumptions about rights and power dynamics and barriers-to-entry.

We invite you to consider the privileges of your work and education, the barriers-to-entry that you perceive based on class, race, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or other personal factors, as well as how these privileges and barriers are similar to or different from those that you perceive or have personally experienced in other fields.

What are the difficulties of your work and education? How do your hours, working conditions, physical demands, contract stipulations, and wages compare with other workers? How did your background help or hinder your decision to become an artist, and what assumptions have you seen in the field about the necessary background that one must have to become a member?

Pick one of these topics that resonates most with you and send us your story. We will host this on an independent website, and promote it to news and music organizations as part of May Day Occupy. We may reprint
this material for Occupy related media and ask that you give us a noncommercial license to do so (Creative Commons license NC-ND). We will never reveal your identity as would be tied to your specific entry and we ask that you do not either.


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