Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rescue the Music Performance Fund

The Music Performance Fund (MPF) is on its deathbed. Trustee John C. Hall, MPF’s impartial guardian, said in November 2009 that “it’s only a matter of what month the doors would be shut.”

MPF is among the best institutions musicians have created. One of the world’s largest sponsors of live music, it has inspired community partnership, with cities, towns, and private sponsors joining in to pay musicians for their work.

If we let MPF fail, the failure of dozens of AFM locals will not be far behind.

At the same time, AFM collects millions in visa processing fees. Every time a commercial promoter hires a foreign musical act to play in the United States and Canada, they pay AFM a “visa processing fee” to provide a boilerplate “no-objection” letter.

We all know of venues which used to host AFM musicians, but now host foreign musical acts like the Georgian State Dancers, New Zealand Quartet, or State Symphony of Russia. AFM is paid for every one of them, but displaced musicians don’t see a dime.

Foreign musical acts are paid handsomely by commercial promoters. But they’re also subsidized by their home governments, which pay for their uniforms, instruments, and more.

Nobody subsidizes the AFM musician.

That’s why we have to redirect these fees to MPF. It will begin leveling the playing field with foreign unfair competition, and save an institution which has paid us over a billion dollars since its inception.

In the words of Trustee John C. Hall, this proposal “would represent a great building block” and “would certainly put us on the right track.”

Resolution to Rescue MPF

See also:

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