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Song festival-gate update: fee for spectacle orchestra even lower

Those who want to be musicians have to bleed. Earlier, we reported that the highlight of the Dutch edition of the Eurovision Song Contest was going to be performed by professional musicians and conservatoire students who would receive 100 euros a day for it. Outrageously little, when you know that full days of work were going to be involved anyway, for eight days. Well: it's even worse than we told you before.

Just a quick recap. The NPO's ad spoke of a godsend.

'With these auditions, we give young Dutch music talent the chance to present themselves to the world in a unique way,' says Gerbrand Bakker, Head of Show of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020. 'With a special performance by a large symphony orchestra, we want to show what the Netherlands has to offer in this field...'

10 euros per hour

After some ambiguity among our sources, and a very helpful spokesperson of the Eurovision Song Contest organisers, we calculated That as a participant in the spectacle of broadcasting, with a symphony orchestra and so on, you were going to earn 100 euros a day. Gross. All this based on a collective labour agreement agreed with the trade unions for so-called 'remplaçants', which everyone involved, including the drafters, says is already scandalous. Meanwhile, therefore, that CLA - as of 1 January this year - is no longer valid. 'Remplaçants' are now paid the same as people in wage jobs. That implies a fee up to 60% higher than in the old situation. However, the NPO is still using the old - unfair - guideline.

Now it appears that the NPO has simplified things a little further for this special occasion. As a result, participants will receive only a little over 10 euros per hour. That's net, though.

Accountants are expensive

How will that amount be accumulated? The musicians have to be available for 8 days. 1 day they spend in Hilversum, and 7 days they have to go to Rotterdam. With instrument and all. The last two days they have to be present at 12:00 and run two performances, one at 13:00 and one at 21:00. This therefore involves 9 rehearsals and 4 concerts. According to the (old) collective labour agreement, that would make 1320 euros. But so they don't get that.

Some musicians do not live in Rotterdam, for instance, but in Amsterdam or Haarlem. Then, for all those days, you spend quite a bit of time and money travelling. Reckon on 200 euros. So you have to pay that yourself from that gross remuneration. Which, according to the (old) CAO should be 1320 euros, but which, according to the Dutch Public Broadcasting Company, is for this special occasion is only 1,000 euros. Probably because that calculates more easily. After all, accountants are quite expensive.

Compensation

Anyway, you won't get that 1000 euros gross in your hands either. They are 'remunerated' via artist's remuneration (which is in accordance with the (old) collective labour agreement), so you get the amount net: about 650 euros. You are also not allowed to add the hours worked as self-employed to your balance, which also jeopardises your self-employed deduction. Also subtract from that 650 euros your travel expenses of 200 euros, and you are left with 450 euros net, for thirteen appearances of at least 3 hours. Converted per hour, we are then easily at €11.54 per hour anyway. Net, that is. For that amount, the NPO doesn't even get people who, after the concert come to sweep the floor professionally.

That there are musicians, professional and student, who want their snouts on TV for 11.54 euros an hour is bad. It illustrates how lousy the job market in the arts and media is. That a publicly funded broadcaster gets away with it is even worse. That taxpayers hardly seem to care is especially sad. Anyway. There are still professionals who get even less.

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Wijbrand Schaap

Cultural journalist since 1996. Worked as theatre critic, columnist and reporter for Algemeen Dagblad, Utrechts Nieuwsblad, Rotterdams Dagblad, Parool and regional newspapers through Associated Press Services. Interviews for TheaterMaker, Theatererkrant Magazine, Ons Erfdeel, Boekman. Podcast maker, likes to experiment with new media. Culture Press is called the brainchild I gave birth to in 2009. Life partner of Suzanne Brink roommate of Edje, Fonzie and Rufus. Search and find me on Mastodon.View Author posts

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