Martina Reiter, former member of the board of IGFM

Starting in December 2020, a board member of IG Freie Musikschaffende will introduce themselves on our blog every month.

Today it's Martina Reiter 's turn, she plays viola and violin and has been a freelancer since 2003. 

igfm free music creators image artists
Martina Reiter (photo credit ©Bernadette Reiter)

"I have been working as a freelance musician for almost 25 years, and I have had to experience that the wage level has been leveled down with every economic and other crisis and has mostly remained there. Savings are always made at the bottom, among those who can least defend themselves. The opening of labour borders is an additional challenge under the current conditions, namely the absolute lack of regulation and control of wages and working conditions for our professional group.

We, the freelance musicians, are in fact in a legal vacuum; there are no lower fee limits, no binding legal basis for labour law situations such as down-payments or salaries.

We musicians probably have one of the most beautiful professions in the world, yet it is work and not a hobby, and rent, insurance and everything else must be paid from it, just as in the life of a "normal person". We are often told how enviable our profession is, and even the demanding media sometimes reflect on our profession in a way that makes one wonder:  

"They, the artists are allowed to live out their creativity anyway and want to create something worth living for, so from that point of view, you can't expect to be covered by labor law as well."

All these circumstances and also my experiences as a long-standing orchestra representative prompted me to research together with colleagues in autumn 2019 whether an existing institution or interest group might be suitable for our concerns. We discovered that this was not the case. A new IG had to be founded - so Corona was not the cause, but only accelerated the implementation.

The issues I am dealing with within the IGFM, apart from the unsatisfactory wage situation already described, are the internal upgrading of our profession (What is my work worth? How am I treated, how do people treat me? What is my self-image as a musician?) and externally (How are we perceived in politics, in society? How is artistic work treated and valued?) 

Another key issue for me is solidarity within freelance musicians, between fully freelance, partly employed and fully employed people, so-called CT musicians."