We did it! Sing50 is now offering “honoraria” to their “community performers”!

Screen capture on 19 Jan 2015
Screen capture on 19 Jan 2015

Congratulations, all you online netizens, denizens, and Citizens of the World! Sing50, who were initially not going to pay the majority of its performers, will now offer honoraria to their “community performers”! (See this post and this clarification for more background information.)

Screen capture on 14 Feb 2015
Screen capture on 14 Feb 2015

Of course, labeling the payment as an “honorarium” is a sneaky way of saying that Sing50 still treats its performers as volunteers. (Honorarium: A payment given for professional services that are rendered nominally without charge.)

There is a horrible, toxic culture of not paying musicians in Singapore. When I played in Perth, festival organizers were thoroughly apologetic that they could only pay my band a small amount (only in the hundreds of dollars). When I played in Copenhagen, festival organizers were similarly apologetic that they couldn’t pay me anything, but they gave me tickets that I could sell (I would keep all the money from any of those ticket sales). There is an understanding in these cities that musicians should be paid, and that it is a shameful, shameful thing when musicians are not paid.

In Singapore, people act as if musicians should be grateful for the opportunity to perform.

Of course, this isn’t the only problem that musicians face in Singapore. This may sound a little strange, but if we want Singapore’s music industry to thrive, we need more social safety nets, and we need to be more forgiving of “failures” in our local system.

When people dare to fail, they often succeed. We need to have some kind of safety net for entrepreneurs and artists who try for their entire lives to accomplish something, but who eventually end up in a financially dire situations. Yes, a welfare system is tricky to create and to maintain — but I don’t think it’s an accident that countries with solid welfare systems (the Nordic countries, US, and UK come to mind) also have very healthy music industries.

It is absolutely ridiculous that being in the “Normal (Academic)” or “Normal (Technical)” streams in secondary school is seen as a major life failure. These are teenagers we’re talking about, with their entire adult lives ahead of them. Why do we need to condemn these children as failures when so many of them have the potential to excel in other fields beyond the academic?

Everything is connected, and our local music scene is inextricably connected to our local politics.


Everything is connected, and this post is connected to this post, where you will be able to find Mr Seah’s (Kevin Ghosty’s) music 😉

We did it! Sing50 is now offering “honoraria” to their “community performers”!

2 thoughts on “We did it! Sing50 is now offering “honoraria” to their “community performers”!

  1. Hi Kevin, thank you for speaking up for Singapore musicians. Singaporeans need to have respect for the arts, for the intangible in general. It’s sad that our people are conditioned to only appreciate the tangible, the measurable in life when in truth, the most precious things in life are well, immeasurable.
    Yesterday though, I saw something that gave me hope. I saw a busker playing at Bukit Batok. He was an able-bodied busker, unlike the disabled ones you normally see in Singapore. He was singing and playing rock ballads with a guitar, and was pretty decent. So I watched curiously to see if anyone would pay him, wondering if Singaporeans saw busking as a legitimate way to make a living or only something that the disabled should do.
    To my pleasant surprise, I counted about 10 people of different races, young and old, paying him in about 15 minutes. Some even gave him encouraging pats on the back. It showed that Singaporeans appreciate music and musicians, even street musicians.
    For the record, I paid him two bucks. 🙂


    1. I’m but a tiny voice in a crowd! But if each voice adds up, we form a choir 🙂

      I’ve actually felt for a long time that our local musicians should come out from the pubs/clubs/bars and start playing in the streets, especially those who don’t want to encourage or participate in a culture of alcohol consumption.

      I should blog about that! 😀

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