Philip Yaeger, founding member of IGFM

From now on, a member of the board of IG Freie Musikschaffende will introduce themselves on our blog every month.

Philip Yaeger, born in 1976 in the USA, has been working as a freelance musician since the age of 15.

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Philip Yaeger (photo credit ©Severin Koller)

"I got to know the darker side of the music business pretty early on, including how difficult it can be to survive as a musician. For years I had various 'bread jobs' so that I could pursue my vocation. I always thought that this work should be better paid. Little by little, I realised that there were two problems at the root of this.

Firstly, some entities that stand between musicians and their audience - promoters, record companies, managers, etc. - like to exploit our passion for music. Not all of them! But enough to shape the industry.
Secondly, all too often there are musicians who play for less money - and if the decision-makers don't care about quality and fairness, that person gets the job.

In short, music creators can only achieve a better bargaining position if we act in solidarity - but the music business prevents us from doing just that.

When I came to Austria 16 years ago, my first impression was that it was much easier to make a living from music here - but the cohesion among music makers was already weak back then. This has improved a bit in the meantime, but there is still a long way to go - and especially now it is important to strengthen this awareness. The mechanisms that hold society together and protect it from the ravages of unbridled capitalism are disappearing. I see the conditions creeping in that I know from before. But if we act as a collective, as an industry, we can counteract this: without us there is no music, so we must be allowed to have a say in the conditions under which we live and work.

We must not forget one thing: that we are part of society! Again, we can't survive or even exist without the other side (audience, management,...) either. We make music for other people, not for ourselves alone. And our problems also reflect the problems of society:

When we make a positive difference at the political level, it has an important symbolic - and perhaps concrete - effect for everyone.