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Open rehearsal on the open sea - Editorial from FMQ 3-4/2015

by Anu Ahola

Amid the maelstroms of crisis rocking the world, the FMQ takes a look at musicians’ finances. What is the colour of money in the world of music, and what is the outlook?

Working life is in a state of flux, and music is not immune to employment trends. Work is becoming more fragmented, and taking on extra (and extra-musical) jobs is often a necessity. Moreover, performers and authors increasingly find themselves taking the risks and responsibility in any given project.

Under these circumstances, musicians must find new ways of generating a revenue stream with music. The buzzwords are flexibility, entrepreneurship and mobility – concepts that some embrace as a matter of course, while others struggle to come to terms with them.

The keepers of the public purse, on the other hand, wonder how to distribute the trickle of subsidies to the music sector more fairly so that the support structures might develop as the music sector evolves. Which established structures should be retained? Which ones should be shaken up or knocked down? Here, the buzzwords are structural reform, added dynamism and new practices.

On the pages of this issue, we give performers and composers a say about music and money. From their discussions, further buzzwords emerge: collaboration, internationalisation and artistic freedom. These are notions that underlie efforts to achieve that which is essential in this sector: to have people who still want to listen to your music.


Once upon a time, an ocean liner met with disaster on the open sea. The musicians on board continued playing until the ship went down. While our society today may seem metaphorically like a ship lost at sea, we also see a stream of actual boats crammed with people crossing the Mediterranean. There is no music on these boats, only sheer desperation. My fellow passengers on this troubled ocean liner: let’s all make music together and help us all cross the sea safely.

Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi