Why are composers paid so little and other paid so much?
There is quite rightly much indignation about the findings of a survey of fees paid to composers for new music. This report by Sound and Music, the UK agency for new music, reveals that the average fee per commission in 2013 was £1,392. Many people are asking why are composers paid so little? But very few people are asking why are composers paid so little when others in the classical music supply chain are paid so much? For instance, the fee for a single concert by a celebrity conductor - in all probability conducting a tour programme of a Mahler symphony and other works he/she has conducted dozens of times before - is around £20,000. If I was a composer, I would be very angry that a top musician such as Lang Lang earns more for one concert than I do in a year, and, in addition, makes his pocket money by lending his name to the special edition £1.757 million Bugatti Veyron that he is seen with above.
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