Precarity in the music sector of the city of Belo Horizonte:                    characteristics and strategies            ...
Introduction or why I have choosen this subject?In this essay, I will discuss the precarity of the music sector of the Bra...
Precarity as a conceptThe term precarity related to the field of work was coined in the 1980’s by Frenchsociologists such ...
unemployment and an endemic insecurity, what he calls a ‘risky society’. Not onlycountries in development such as Brazil a...
Precarity in the creative and cultural industriesAlthough precarity affects different types of workers, those who perform ...
In fact, in one sense flexicurity means we do not want to go back to a                                                    ...
document called ‘Carta de Belo Horizonte’17, where they stated the 10 most importantquestions for a better public policy i...
producers (artists and cultural companies) rely on that to create and survive. Accordingwith the same report from Fundação...
more time, honesty had an important role. It is also important to clarify that all theinterviews were free translated by t...
music director and artistic director’; ‘bass guitar player, producer, publicist, graphicdesigner, all at the same time; ‘m...
selected were: ‘I live in a precarious world’; ‘I feel that my life is stable’; ‘I have problems tosleep’. Whereas we “can...
financial planning tend to deal better with this situation. Some of them love their flexibleroutine, although others still...
I characterize as unstable, because the vast majority of projects that I                                                  ...
In addition, he continues about the professionalization in the sector:                                                    ...
what she does; she loves to tell people that; and can’t think about something else as acareer. 14 hours a day and 5 projec...
although she believes that strategies like organization and planning had helped her toovercome those obstacles. With a mor...
had a QR code. By scanning the code with a Smartphone the receiver could instantlydownload a track of their first EP. For ...
Déa completes: ‘…I have an interesting routine, exciting. I can always be with my family,enjoying the growth of my son who...
contemporary governance, but are also the producers of new relations           of production and new ways of making a livi...
Brazilian popular culture, especially Vale do Jequitinhonha my           hometown. (…) I am a legal entity and thus can co...
operate within the market. The way the law was shaped allowing individuals (not corporatecompanies) to apply for edicts an...
Buschoff, Karin Schulze. "Greater Flexibility: The Great Hope of German Labour MarketPolicy." Deutsch Lernen, Kultur Erleb...
Governmental reports:Brazil. Fundação João Pinheiro. Cadeia Produtiva Da Economia Da Música Em BeloHorizonte. Coord. Marta...
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Precarity in the music sector of the city of Belo Horizonte: characteristics and strategies - 1st version

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Precarity in the music sector of the city of Belo Horizonte: characteristics and strategies - 1st version

  1. 1. Precarity in the music sector of the city of Belo Horizonte: characteristics and strategies 17th of January of 2011Student number 33134272 Major MA Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship 2010/11 Pathway Drama Course name Theories of the Cultural Industry: Work, Creativity and Precariousness Course code CU71015BQuestion number 2 Question By interviewing a number of cultural workers, from a specific sector of your choice, develop an account of how precarity influences their lives.
  2. 2. Introduction or why I have choosen this subject?In this essay, I will discuss the precarity of the music sector of the Brazilian city of BeloHorizonte / Minas Gerais, through a research made of an Internet survey and fivequalitative interviews. Its main goal is to indicate some characteristics of the precariouswork in the field and, mainly, the strategies that artists use to prevail it. In order to do that Iwill explore the concept precarity, from the French sociologists who introduced thesubject, the academic recent discussion and the social movements that exist nowadays. Iwill argue about the features that come attached to precariouness, especially the alteredcontours the term acquire in the cultural and creative industries. Following I will present abrief history behind the city of Belo Horizonte and its relationship with the music industry,being a central point for the production and discussion about the music and the market inthe country. Later, I will present the methods that were behind the research, the surveyanalysis and finnaly I will deliberate personally about the subject throughout the biographyof the interviewed artists, their opinions and the strategies they use to try to triumph overprecarity.Being an artist myself, I have choosen this subject because I see myself in the samesituation as many other artists, not only in Brazil. To do what we love the most it isimportant to comprehend the market and to find alternatives to be able to keep doing it.Sometimes the feelings about giving up are imperatives, as we have to deal with simplequestions like: do I have enough money to pay the rent next month? How many peopleare in the audience today? Are you asking me to do the show without a cachet? As statedby Abbing (2003), poverty in art is structural and there are still a mass o people wishing topursue a career in the field. If that is true, each one of them must come across his / herperspective of how to deal with that and continue work in something meaningful. In thisessay one will find that the interviewees not only did not give up, as they are still trying,day after day, to keep doing it.   2  
  3. 3. Precarity as a conceptThe term precarity related to the field of work was coined in the 1980’s by Frenchsociologists such as Pierre Bourdieu (1998) and Robert Castel (2002)1, to explain thechanges related to the employment conditions, especially connected with neoliberalactions that took place at the same time, in Europe. The word comes from the Frenchprécarité and it is associated with instability, insecurity, temporary work, flexibility,unsteadiness, overexploitation and lack of access to social protection and welfare. In apost-fordist society these conditions can affect immigrants, students, chainworkers,housewives, artists and creative professionals, but the scope of implicated workers isgetting wider everyday. As stated by Ulrich Beck (2000), the data about the Germanmarket can represent a trend seen also in other Western countries: In the 1960’s only a tenth of employees belonged to this precarious group; by 1970’s the figure had risen to a quarter, and in the late 1990’s it is a third. If changes continues at this speed - and there is so much to suggest that it will - in another ten years only a half of employees will hold a full time job for a long period of their lives, and the other half, will so to speak, work a la brésilienne. (Beck, 2000, p. 2)To keep the German market as a comparison, recent data from the Institute forEmployment Research2 shows that ‘although the number of working people in Germanyincreased slightly from 38.6 million in 1991 to 38.8 million in 2005, the number of regularjobs is steadily diminishing... The number of workers liable to pay social insurancecontributions fell by 13 percent over the same period – from 30 million to 26 million3.’ WhatBeck calls work ‘a la brésilienne’ or ‘brazilinization of the West’ can be summarised by 1)the growth of the casual and provisional jobs and 2) the increase of the deregulation ofemployment. For Beck, Brazil experiences the maximization of the consequences ofneoliberal actions, globalization and free-market rules, leading the country to high                                                                                                                1 In the article “A Comparative Analysis of ‘Employment Precariousness’ in Europe”, Jean-Claude Barbier presents a clear picture of thedevelopment of the use of the term, especially in Europe.2 Institute for Employment Research available at http://fdz.iab.de/en.aspx     3  
  4. 4. unemployment and an endemic insecurity, what he calls a ‘risky society’. Not onlycountries in development such as Brazil are affected by these new rules. As a globaltrend, developed countries in North America and Europe can experience it as well. It is acomplete change in the living and working conditions that now set the rules of the capitalistsystem.Alex Foti is the President of the Italian collective ChainWorkers4 that since 1999 mergeslabour and media activism to fight for better conditions for precarious workers. Themovement is also responsible for the Mayday Parade5, the first European self-organizedmanifestation against precarity that in 2010 completed its tenth edition reuniting 12 citiesacross Europe. The group provides legal assistance, resources, reflection and functions asa central point to share information and complaints. In an interview for the article Precarityand n/european Identity his definition of precarity raises the importance of certainty as away to achieve social status: Precarity is also, however, the condition of being unable to predict ones fate or having some degree of predictability on which to build social relations and feelings of affection. The diffusion of intermittent work and the attacks on the welfare state have resulted in a widespread increase of existential precarity across Europe - affecting increasing numbers of the population even in the wealthy countries like Holland. (Oudenampsen and Sullivan, 2004, p.45).What workers should expect? According to Bourdieu: … casualization, fear of redundancy, downsizing can, like unemployment, generate anxiety, demoralization or conformism (faults that the managerial literature identifies and deplores). In this world without inertia, without an immanent principle of continuity, those at the bottom are like the creatures in a Cartesian universe: they hang on the arbitrary decision of a power responsible for the ‘continued creation’ of their existence - as is shown and confirmed by the threat of plant closure, desinvestment and delocation”. (Bourdieu, 1998, p. 99)                                                                                                                4 ChainWorkers available at http://www.chainworkers.org/5    MayDay Parade available at http://www.euromayday.org/     4  
  5. 5. Precarity in the creative and cultural industriesAlthough precarity affects different types of workers, those who perform ‘immaterial labour’(Lazarrato) are in front of the changes, functioning as a laboratory for the field of work.‘The figure of the artist (or creative labourer) may well circulate, in some instances, as theexemplary figure of the post-Fordist worker precarious, immaterial and so on…’.(Mitroupolos, 2006, p.15) For them, precarity can be taken into its potential as people whowant freedom and independency meet the market and the Government, both that “want” tobe free of taking care of people. ‘The cultural sphere provides an ideal space for youngpeople to explore such individualized possibilities, just as it also offers the Government theopportunities for a post-industrialized economy unfettered by the constraints and costs oftraditional employment.’ (McRobbie, 2007, p. 518)In comparison with chain workers (workers in malls, shopping centres, hypermarkets…)and immigrants, artists and creative people tend to be seen as less under attack, possiblybecause they are inclined to transform the precarious conditions into good features, likeflexibility and no fixed schedule. They are also likely to be more specialized than otherworkers. BrainWorkers are creators, writers, artists, musicians, programmers; people who are hired not for their general labour but for specialised skills or their creativity. Though their time and creativity are stolen from them and sold back to us all as commodities (as software programs, movies, jingles, and advertising clips) they are more socially respected and able to command higher wages. In comparison to ChainWorkers, BrainWorkers have much greater control over their working conditions. The very nature of the work makes it impossible to Taylorise and there is more flexibility at work to use the time directly as they wish. (McKarthy, 2006, p. 57)So in between the freelance job and the formal employment there is what some authorscall ‘flexicurity’, meaning flexible but secure, as a way of escaping precarity without leavingbehind the best part of it.   5  
  6. 6. In fact, in one sense flexicurity means we do not want to go back to a job for life - the system of the previous generation. We accept the flexibility inherent in the computer-based mode of production, but we want to disassociate from the precarity that is implicit in this forced (Faustian) bargain... I did not choose precarity for myself as a destiny. But I think that out of that condition, our generation - the post cold war generation - can fight for a socially progressive shift. (Oudenampsen and Sullivan, 2004, p.48)Belo Horizonte as a central point for music in BrazilTo discuss the precarious life of music workers in Belo Horizonte, it is important to go alittle further about the historic connection that the city has with music production, and howtoday the city sees a greater movement of production, especially authorship music. BeloHorizonte is nationally known as a nest for great music and musicians, mainly because ofthe Clube da Esquina6 movement in the 70’s and the Heavy Metal movement in the 80’swho had Sepultura7 as the main icon. To point out other internationally well-known artists,there is Milton Nascimento8 and Uakti9, who are just the famous tip of an incredible rangeof creators, in different genres and generations.It is also possible to produce a list of important festivals, events and projects related withmusic that annually happen in the city, like Eletronika - Festival de Novas TendênciasMusicais10; Savasi Festival11; BH Indie Music12; Conexão Vivo13; Vozes do Morro14; andFeira Música Brasil15. The national fair was held in Belo Horizonte at the end of 2010,showing the importance of the city as a central point for music produced in the country. Atthe time, the institutions that are part of the Conselho da Rede Música Brasil16 signed a                                                                                                                6 Clube da Esquina available at http://www.museudapessoa.net/clube/7 Sepultura available at http://sepultura.uol.com.br/v7/8 Milton Nascimento available at http://www.miltonnascimento.com.br/9 Uakti available at http://www.uakti.com.br/10 Eletronika - Festival de Novas Tendências Musicais, meaning Eletronika - New Music Trends Festival, available athttp://www.festivaleletronika.com.br/11 Savassi Festival available at http://www.savassifestival.com.br/12 BH Indie Music, available at http://bhindiemusic.blogspot.com/13 Conexão Vivo available at http://conexaovivo.com.br/14 Vozes do Morro available at http://www.vozesdomorro.mg.gov.br15 Feira Música Brasil, meaning Brazil Music Fair, available at http://www.feiramusicabrasil.com.br/16 Conselho da Rede Música Brasil, meaning Brasil’s Music Network Council   6  
  7. 7. document called ‘Carta de Belo Horizonte’17, where they stated the 10 most importantquestions for a better public policy in the sector such as, the creation of a national agencyof music; establishment of a new regulamentary framework for labour and social security;and the review of the copyright law. Belo Horizonte has a prolific and demanding scenewith a great diversity of artists.As pointed by Makely Ka, one of our interviewees and President of COMUM - Cooperativada Música de Minas18, in his ‘Manifesto pela Música Autoral19’: There is a phenomenon in the music produced in Minas nowadays. What holds our eyes firstly is something apparently obvious in the characterization of any scene: it is predominantly authorship music. Secondly, and not less amazing, is the amount. There is no record in the recent history of other age that more music has been produced than now. Not even during the golden age of Clube da Esquina, in the 70’s, nor in the heroic phase of rock of Minas in the 80’s.20 (Ka, 2009)According with the report Cadeia Produtiva da Economia da Música em Belo Horizonte21,produced by Fundação João Pinheiro and Sebrae/MG, in 2010 there were more than 1200registered musicians in formal institutions of the city. Although the number of workers issubstantial, the amounts that still work as informal employees is extremely large.According with a 2007 report of IPEA, Política cultural no Brasil, 2002-200622, more than90% of music workers in the country do not have access to social benefits.Another important characteristic of the country is the lack of a strong cultural policy. Themajor mechanism to foster the cultural sector is the tax relief laws, and the majority of                                                                                                                17 Carta de Belo Horizonte, meaning Belo Horizonte’s Letter18 COMUM - Cooperativa da Música de Minas, meaning Minas’s Music Cooperative, available at http://www.bhmusic.com.br/comum/19 Manifesto pela Música Autoral, meaning Authorship Music Manifest, available at http://www.overmundo.com.br/overblog/manifesto-pela-musica-autoral20 Free translation of the Portuguese version: “Há um fenômeno na música produzida em Minas atualmente. O que chama a atençãoem primeiro lugar é algo aparentemente óbvio na caracterização de qualquer cena: é predominantemente autoral. Segundo, e nãomenos impressionante, é a quantidade. Não há registro na história recente de outra época em que se tenha produzido tanta músicacomo agora. Nem durante o período áureo do Clube da Esquina nos anos 70 nem durante a fase heróica do rock mineiro nos anos 80.”21 Cadeia Produtiva da Economia da Música em Belo Horizonte, meaning Economic Music Production Chain in Belo Horizonte,available at http://www.fjp.gov.br/index.php/servicos/82-servicos-cepp/1102-cadeia-produtiva-da-economia-da-musica-em-belo-horizonte22 Política cultural no Brasil, 2002-2006, meaning Brazilian Cultural Policy, 2002-2006, Available athttp://www.ipea.gov.br/portal/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5565   7  
  8. 8. producers (artists and cultural companies) rely on that to create and survive. Accordingwith the same report from Fundação João Pinheiro and Sebrae/MG: The musical sector of Belo Horizonte, like other estates and cities of the country, have a cultural policy characterized by action fragmentation, lack of intersectoriality, discontinuity, scarcity of budgetary resources, centrality in the events policy and funding by the mechanisms of tax relief. This practice of cultural funding is the primary public policy to foster the productive chains, manly in the audiovisual and musical sectors, in the three levels of public administration - federal, state and municipal23 (Fundação João Pinheiro, 2010, p. 12)The methods behind the researchTo be able to explore the scope of precarity in the music sector of Belo Horizonte a surveywas created and made accessible for 20 days on the Internet (Google Docs). From 30respondents (musicians, singers, DJs, composers, producers, students and managers),five were chosen to a deeper and longer interview, about 40 minutes long (Skype)24. Thesurvey functioned as a route indicating which direction should be taken with the interviews.It is important to clarify that this research does not have a quantitative objective, especiallyif we look at the time limit and the amount of interviews. Rather than that, its main goal isqualitative in order to identify patterns and strategies used by the artists to overcome theinsecure world that surrounds them. Another limitation of this research is that it wasessential to count on people’s sincerity about the precarious side of their lives, which is nota pleasant or satisfying confession, and some times it could be interpreted by others ashow unsuccessful their careers were. One more constraint is that the Internet survey wasavailable to anybody, but only answers from Belo Horizonte’s workers were expected,which one could not guarantee. To lessen this problem, at the beginning of the surveythere was a saying carefully explaining how respondents from other cities could influencethe research and that only workers of Belo Horizonte were expected to answer it. One                                                                                                                23 Free translation of the Portuguese version “O setor… musical no município de Belo Horizonte, da mesma maneira que os demaisestados e municípios do país, têm uma política cultural caracterizada pela fragmentação das ações, ausência de intersetorialidade,descontinuidade, escassez de recursos orçamentários, centralidade na política de eventos e financiamento pelos mecanismos derenúncia fiscal. A utilização dessa prática de financiamento ao setor cultural é a principal política de fomento às cadeias produtivas,principalmente dos setores audiovisual e musical, nos três níveis da administração pública – federal, estadual e municipal.” Only one of the interviewees answered by e-mail,  24   8  
  9. 9. more time, honesty had an important role. It is also important to clarify that all theinterviews were free translated by the author, from Portuguese to English.The survey results examinationEven though the preliminary survey did not have a quantitative purpose, it helped tooutline some important characteristics that were discussed deeply in the round ofinterviews:1) The majority of respondents, 28%, was involved in 10 or less shows, concerts and/orrecordings in 2010; 25% participated in between 10 and 20 events; other 20% acted inbetween 20 and 30 events; 7% between 30 and 40, and only 20% worked in more than 40events in 2010. It means one or more show, concert and/or recordings every 9 days. Itappears that the respondents did not work enough in the field last year.2) 57% of interviewees considered that they have not worked enough in 2010; 43%considered they have worked enough. The majority of respondents were not satisfied withthe amount of work performed in 2010.3) 34% of respondents have informed that only 20% of their income is related to musicjobs; other 34% informed that their job in music contribute to between 21% and 80% oftheir total income; only 32% have informed that 81% to 100% of their income comes frommusic. Money wise, the majority of interviewees could not live only with their incomes inthe music sector. It could be understood as if they do not work enough (as stated above)or that the amount of money paid was not sufficient.4) For those who work only in the music sector, when asked what other tasks and skillsthey perform within the industry, some examples are: ‘music production, project manager,   9  
  10. 10. music director and artistic director’; ‘bass guitar player, producer, publicist, graphicdesigner, all at the same time; ‘musician, arranger, artistic producer, teacher and producer,but here the producer also works as a publicist, layout designer etc’; ‘as a singer, teacherin an BA music course, and in projects, the ones that I’m involved artistically, and also as aproducer/manager of others (festivals, score editions)’. It appears that for those who workonly in the music industry, it is necessary to perform more than one task to work sufficientand to be paid enough to keep doing it.5) For those who also work outside of the music sector, when asked what is the source oftheir income, some examples are: ‘I’m physiotherapist’; ‘Because I’m a law student, itcomes from internships’; ‘festival production, music but also dance and theatre’; ‘law’;‘work as a DJ, and also in a non governmental organization with educational andcommunication projects, I work as a agent for an fine artist, as a consultant for theatregroups. I also work as an artistic producer (operas, digital art theatre and dance, literatureand performance)’; ‘I’m a buyer in an industry’; ‘I’m a cultural producer and I act also intheatre, dance and general art’. For those who work also outside the music sector, thereare at least three different strategies: work as a multi-skilled professional in cross-sectorjobs such as dance, theatre, audiovisual and so on; work in similar, but not artistic sectorssuch as education, non-governmental and communication; and have a job in a totallydifferent industry.6) When asked to relate themselves with 25 different statements about their work lives, thethree most selected, as the first being the most selected, were: ‘I do what I like’; ‘I havepleasure in what I do; ‘I’m a multitask worker’. The three most selected statements are atsome point positive ones. Nowadays, a multitask worker, for example, it is a desiredprofessional by the market. Although we can see precarity, the answers bring back theirlove and passion about what they do. The three least selected, as the first being the least   10  
  11. 11. selected were: ‘I live in a precarious world’; ‘I feel that my life is stable’; ‘I have problems tosleep’. Whereas we “can see and feel” precarity in their lives, the respondents do not wantto relate themselves with the word itself and all the negativity it brings. At the same time,they confess that their lives are not stable. It is a contradictory statement.7) When asked if, at some point in their career, they thought about leaving the sector, 66%answered yes and 34% responded no. Thinking about giving up is a constant, with 2/3 ofthe respondents saying that already have thought about it.8) When asked if they considered themselves happy in general with their professionallives, 76% answered yes, 24% responded no. Even with all the problems, the majorityconsider themselves happy.The interviews or how do they do it?In this part of this essay, I would like to point out some characteristics attached to theprecarious work in the music industry in Belo Horizonte by the testimonials of theinterviewees. Their thoughts reveal that some of them still struggle with precarity, othersalready feel more comfortable dealing with it, and some seem to have scaped it,especially adopting strategies such as career planning, financial organization andentrepreneurial skills.Those characteristics of the creative worker stated by McRobbie (2007), Abbing (2003),Wittel (2009), and Leadbeater and Oakley (1999) are cleary represented in theirdiscourses. One can see that all of them are multi-skilled workers; some of them use theirtransferable skills between sectors; they tend to work in multiple projects at once andseem to be very tired by this routine; the line between their life and work is getting thinner;there is no safe monthly income for the majority of them, although the ones who do   11  
  12. 12. financial planning tend to deal better with this situation. Some of them love their flexibleroutine, although others still suffers from crazy deadlines. As a rule, all of them appear tolive by the statement ‘freedom as an elixir’ (Abbing): they cannot see themselves workingin another job, stuck in an office, with strict rules and a boss telling them what to do.Flexibility, independence and autonomy are imperatives.Our first interviewee is Elisa Paraíso25, a singer who abandoned an Architecture BA just todedicate herself 100% to music. Not an easy decision, but since then she got a BA inMusic (UEMG); recorded two CD’s (Da Maior Importância e O Nordeste de Lua); featuredlocally and nationally in important TV shows of Globo, the mainstream most influential TVnetwork of the country; and also gave up about singing in pubs in her own city. Shethought the task was not in conformity with what she expected for her vocation. Shedecided to open a music studio, which alongside with her singing career is where she getsher income. She also acts as producer, manager and fundraiser of her own work. Althoughthe description is very real and accurate, Elisa still suffers from the precarity of the sector.Looking from outside one could imagine that she is an established artist, who does nothave to deal with all the precariousness tasks and decisions attached to her profession. Inour interview, one can see that it is not the case. Elisa declares that her thoughts aboutgiving up sometimes still get to her head: ‘Instability, insecurity. The rush you get to come:am I on track? Should I be doing that? Then you get sad and stuff, thinking that you’redoing it wrong and feel like quitting. Makes you want to open a pie shop’. (Elisa Paraíso)One major concern for Elisa is that, like others artists in the country, she still relies on theBrazilian incentive tax relief laws to produce her projects. She regrets to becamedependant on those:                                                                                                                25 Elisa Paraíso’s work is available at http://elisaparaiso.com.br/   12  
  13. 13. I characterize as unstable, because the vast majority of projects that I do are connected and depend on the culture incentive laws. So depends on the project to be approved, and after to be sponsored. So as this is not a guarantee every year, it is difficult to maintain regularity… Of course there are other things that happen beyond the projects, but the really big projects that are focused on my own career, I usually accomplish through the legal incentives. (Elisa Paraíso)Our second interviewee, Makely Ka, has the same perspective of this subject: From the perspective of the laws, if you make a plan you can deal with this annuity of the laws. Of course you have no guarantee that you will get approved and sponsored, but actually I think we should not depend on the laws. They are complementary, and they can serve a lot in some cases to make a product viable that otherwise you would have to sacrifice, sell a car, invest. …For me, obviously we should use it, is a constitutional right, but I think it should not be the only means of carrying out public policy. This is a discussion that we have with Government in a few years already, and for me we should look for other routes. (Makely Ka)Makely Ka26 is a singer, composer and poet, who has three CD’s (A Outra Cidade,Danaide e Autófago) and more than 60 songs recorded by other interpreters. Now he ispreparing a new project, to launch his next CD in a very new platform for mobile phones.He travels a lot, nationally and now internationally, to sing and give workshops andlectures about career management, cooperativism, and the independent music market. Heis also President of the already cited COMUM cooperative and has an intense actuation inpolitics. He sees that as a strategy: by helping others to succeed and overcome precarity,he is also keeping himself active and relevant. Maybe one cannot see precarity inMakely’s discourse about his own career, but as President of a cooperative thatrepresents 200 musicians, he has to deal with precariousness in a regular basis, as his jobis to try to diminish that in their lives. Without doubt, the conditions that we have are precarious. When it comes to music, we think a lot of work musician during night, which is precarious. A work in which the musician finds himself subject to conditions that are non humane. I do not play in pubs, has years I have not played in pubs, because it is a kind of relationship Im not willing to submit myself, you know? (Makely Ka)                                                                                                                26 Makely Ka’s work is available at http://makelyka.com.br/   13  
  14. 14. In addition, he continues about the professionalization in the sector: The issue of professionalization was one of the reasons that led us to set up a cooperative… One thing that happens often: more than 90% of musicians who perform on stage, not only here in Belo Horizonte, but in Minas Gerais and Brazil, work in the informal sector. What does that mean? The guy does not have any kind of social security guaranteed. If he is hired to do a show, he goes there and makes the gig, he is paid on that gig, but he will not have a contract. If he has to issue an invoice eventually, he buys the invoice. When he buys it, he is feeding a cold market. In that invoice, he is paying social security, income tax, all tax charges, but that money is not going to be collected and he will not get that on his retirement.27 …with the cooperative, I can issue a legal invoice for my service. If I do a show, I send an invoice and Ill have the tax collected. My owned taxes are paid. (Makely Ka)Another situation that comes from the annuity of the tax relief laws in Brazil is that themarket works seasonally. There is a gap between the projects being approved, sponsoredand finally starting. By the middle of the year is when people start to make money. We cansee that in Paloma’s discourse, our third interviewee: Earlier in the year my life is neither stable nor flexible, it is horrible! When is about May is when my life starts to be flexible. I had stability until 18 years old when I lived with my mother and worked in the formal contract. After that, never again… To be stable is to have at least a small amount of money, knowing it will come every month. And then you can start doing calculations, payments. We always feel like being caught unprepared. Now that is January people ask me: are you working? Yes, Im. Im working. I work 14 hours a day every day, but I’m not making any money right now. Im planning to start making money in the middle of the year. Its what everyone does. The ones who are getting a little smarter are saving in the middle of year to be able to do what Im doing now... Until people start to approve the projects, it is when the wheel starts to spin. (Paloma Parentoni)Paloma Parentoni28 is a multitask professional, who acts as a DJ, cultural producer andperformer. She also works as light operator, artistic agent, director of music video clips andpromoter of parties. She is the representation of the worker of her generation: she loves                                                                                                                27 In Brazil, this is a commom situation, not only in the music sector but also performing arts, audiovisual and so on. Artists buy ilegalinvoices from firms, as they do not have stabilishe legal formal companies that are allowed to produce invoices.  28 Paloma Parentoni’s work is available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/palomaparentoni/   14  
  15. 15. what she does; she loves to tell people that; and can’t think about something else as acareer. 14 hours a day and 5 projects at a time is her normal routine of work, but sheconfesses that she is getting tired of this schedule. She also confesses that she thinksabout work 24 hours a day, and that is why her playtime is so attached to her work routine.For example, if she has to go to a pub to meet friends there is always something aboutwork underneath the conversation. I went to work with it because wanted to go to the theater, to the movies, I find it impossible to separate one thing from another. For me it is not uncomfortable, I do not know anything other than work. Its annoying to other people… For me it is a wonder. If I go to visit someone, be sure well talk about work. I will not sit with a friend for a beer for nothing, unless you have a purpose. I do not know if its a defect or a quality, but for me it is great! (Paloma Parentoni)The same characteristic can be seen in Déa’s thoughts. She is our fourth interviewee: Work and leisure are very mixed. Poetic and beautifully blended. But there is time for everything. One tour, for example, carries within it the two: work and leisure. In 2010 I was invited to a special tour of the singer Ceumar, and it was intense work as intense leisure. I could see an old friend that I had not seen for a long time, met new people, got emotional with her singing and also with myself, I learned from her path. I got out from there as another artist, so ... It is the substrate; the substance of that type of work is so fluid, so mysterious, so divine, so good quality. There is no such issue. The pleasure, the leisure, the rest happen together… (Déa Trancoso)Déa Trancoso29 is a true passionate. She breaths music 24 hours a day, singing to herson in bed, composing, looking for partnerships or fundraising opportunities or evenproducing and rehearsing. She is also multi-skilled, working as singer, composer,phonographic producer, artistic director, musical producer, arranger, repertory researcherand as a curator of musical events in general. A simple Google search can show that herfirst CD (TUM TUM TUM) distributed by the independent Brazilian record label BiscoitoFino is available internationally in countries such as Japan, United States and UnitedKingdom. With a 20 year career she still struggles with some problems in the field,                                                                                                                29 Dea Trancoso’s work is available at http://www.myspace.com/deatrancoso   15  
  16. 16. although she believes that strategies like organization and planning had helped her toovercome those obstacles. With a more holistic and philosophical view of the sector, Déapresents with great clarity her opinions of the subject. …life itself is unstable. The fundamental characteristic of existence is finitude and our history shows the adventures that we have to fulfil this difficult and not less poetic condition. Being flexible, I think is intelligence since the middle way is what I seek... That said, I think the two words, unstable and flexible gain healthier contours. The ‘stability’ proposed by ‘formal professions from this point of view it is also transient and leads to lack of agenda and time for things. The "instability" from the package of so-called autonomous professions proposes an agenda where time is transformed into ‘stability.’ In our case, the autonomous professions, time is not just money, its stability and health. I consider my relationship with time a rare kind of stability. I move within my own time… I can wake up in the morning, always have breakfast with my son and my husband, do the homework with my son, I always try to take him to school, and I work at home because the Internet is a phenomenal tool for my job. Anyway, I think in my case is more a matter of learning to plan the recipe. Planning, yes that’s the case. (Déa Trancoso)For her, the precarity that surrounds the field can be defeated by organization. It must be said that life is not precarious. The history of human being on earth, yes. The arts are not precarious. The relationships that are around them and with them, yes. I think that the human being is precarious… The lenses that I use to look at these questions are always philosophical. The music itself has nothing to do with it. But to live with it is necessary to understand the market. Be organized. Having the right information to make appropriate decisions. (Déa Trancoso)Our last interviewee, Jon Bazko is the lead singer, lyricist, producer and relationshipmanager of the band The Hell’s Kitchen Project30. He also works digging good contacts forthe band, disclosing their work in social media and helping his colleagues to plan theactions for the group. 2011 is “the year” for Jon and his band. For the first time the TheHell’s Kitchen Project has an approved project in the incentive laws and already found asponsor. Thanks to their talent as a band, but also because they invest a lot of time, effortand money in other fronts, like communication. To give a glimpse, their last business card                                                                                                                30 The Hell’s Kitchen Project ‘s work available at http://www.thkproject.com/   16  
  17. 17. had a QR code. By scanning the code with a Smartphone the receiver could instantlydownload a track of their first EP. For Jon it is the first time he decided to work just withmusic, with his own band or as a producer. He keeps the good naivety of thoseexperiencing something for the first time. If he is going to succeed, only time can tell. Im ultra happy that I finally found my area and happy with the prospects that I have with the band… It may be that this semester I did not get any more work as a freelancer and not be hired, and then Ill have to take my knowledge and go to another area. ...But Im very confident in myself, in my work and the contacts that I can get, but I still want to be happy in my area with a monthly income and recognition, without struggle. (Jon Bazko)Jon is living his kind of incubation time, as stated by McRobbie (2007): I’m risking, I can still take risks, because I am under 30. That old gag that says that before 30 you can still play and after 30 the society pulls you and asks: what will it be? Another thing, I still live with my parents, I do not have to pay water, bills, electricity, telephone. I pay my mobile phone and a course that the band is doing. I’m not totally independent because I still can’t afford it.. Relieves me a lot to live here with my parents, share the ceiling. If I were alone, I would have freaked out. (Jon Bazko)Almost all of them made it clear that they could not handle a so-called normal routine in anoffice, for example. Sometimes I feel like quitting and think: I want a normal job to earn monthly payments and have 13th salary and holiday season every year. Paid holidays, right? But I think its the same trip, because we only think of the bad side of things. Basically I guess I could not handle it. Now for example I want to have children and know how much my job will be an advantage for this. I have many friends who say: you will be with your child all the time and adjust your routine. They can’t do that. For them it is 4 months at home and then work 8 hours a day without seeing their son. Everything has two sides. (Elisa Paraíso) Well, I think that story is the glass half full or half empty. What one considers stable, Ill consider flexible. But as Ive worked in business, I am an electronics technician, I worked a while in the Vale do Rio Doce and Im sure it was not that kind of working relationship that I wanted for my life. So this perspective has given me another dimension. I know its hard, but I know that every area has its pressures, its difficulties. Actually I think there’s a lack of parameter, who has worked in a company whose goal, steady recovery... (Makely Ka)   17  
  18. 18. Déa completes: ‘…I have an interesting routine, exciting. I can always be with my family,enjoying the growth of my son who is 9, and travel to perform my music to other people. Iwork a lot on the internet.’ (Déa Trancoso) They are all multiple-skilled workers, butsometimes they it can get overwhelming with that many obligations. Their artistic careertends to be in the second level of importance. I consider myself a multitask worker, although I think sometimes I perform very badly some tasks I should perform well, and sometimes it does not work well because of it. As it turns out that I do everything: I write projects, I look for sponsor, I work as the producer of the shows, and then the singer will be there on the last level. (Elisa Paraíso)Although the job sometimes can be overwhelming, they tend not to see themselves as thatold type of artist, in charge only of the artistic tasks. Yes, I am multitasker. Look, I think it’s positive. Imagine myself as an old type vocalist, the roadie holding my mic and my pedestal… The producers do everything and Im there jus to sing. It looks so cool! Not! I cannot handle! I like to act as a manager. ...All that we learn we apply the band, which we see as a company. So we are entrepreneurs of our own project. (Jon Bazko) This idea of the artist being artist only is a very old idea… The paradigm have shifted is the work relationship. The musician works within a dimension of the whole. He is aware of the whole process. And it makes much difference. And I think anyone who does not know about the whole process is out of time, you know? That romantic idea of the musician that someone tells him when is time to do things… This prevents many careers and creates that image of the musician who was harmed by the system… (Makely Ka)It is important to state that however precarity can be seen in their lives, they have theability to look for strategies to pull themselves together and be able to work with what theylove, without giving up. …those that are subjected to processes of precarisation and migration create strategies and tactics in their everyday life that work both against and within hegemonic structures. They are not only experts in the very contradictions inherent to relations of production and   18  
  19. 19. contemporary governance, but are also the producers of new relations of production and new ways of making a living… (Osten, 2010, p.04)How do they find room to manouver? It is about formalisation, self-organisation, financialcontrol, cross-finance jobs, network, self-marketing, and the ability of deal with theBrazilian funding system. These rules allow them, being individuals (not companies), toapply for edicts and grants. These laws have created a mass of ‘artists-entrepreneurs’ whohave to deal with skills that go beyond artistic issues like administration and management.The strategy can be as simple as an early financial planning, as practised by DéaTrancoso and Paloma Parentoni: My husband, who is a photographer, and I do our financial planning by year. Thus, in the last quarter of a year, we are organizing ourselves to our demands next year. We know the costs in that year and we will seek opportunities to stay blue. We coulnd’t yet save for an investment, as a home owner, for example. But we can pay the year (rent, school, food, transportation, recreation) and buy a professional instrument, pay half of the production of records and books, etc. (Déa Trancoso) What I see is that strategy for me to be in the market is the way I have to manage my money. (…) I have two accounts, one regular account that is where I receive my money, and I always try to make the minimum to pay the monthly bills. And whats left I put in a savings account, which has no card. I say that is an ant work. If I earn R$ 100, R$ 10 goes to that account. Approximately 10% of what I earn goes to that account, for those times of drought. And when it does not roll times of drought, which is very rare, I invest in something, equipment for example. But usually the money is there still. (Paloma Parentoni)Or acquiring skills to act as an entrepreneur in the cultural field: ‘I think it’s a basic need. Isee no musician today who can carry forward his career if he is not an entrepreneur. I cannot see a musician who is able to establish any effective relationship with the market if heis not an entrepreneur. I think it’s a key thing today…’ (Makely Ka) Déa agrees: Yes, I see myself as an entrepreneur. Im on my projects from start to finish. From design to evaluation, through the numerous stages of implementation. Im organized within the cultural landscape of my country (as an individual and corporate, and artist), of my state also, and I represent a significant culture of my village to the rest of the world, as one of the cornerstones of my career is documentation of   19  
  20. 20. Brazilian popular culture, especially Vale do Jequitinhonha my hometown. (…) I am a legal entity and thus can compete on several public funding edicts. That is, over the years, I organize myself to breathe music and culture for 24 hours a day! (Déa Trancoso)There is this image of being his / her own boss, telling himself / herself what to do: I do not feel exploited, because I do something I love doing so much. I wonder how would be my life doing something else, if I wanted to do something else. (…) I say that I have my own whip that hits me every day, so I feel not depressed and feel going out of bed and doing things. (Paloma Parentoni)Conclusion, or are they in the right path?The development of this essay gave me an idea that precarity is not something that affectsonly workers in my own field. It gave me also the perspective that precarity is attached tothe world of culture and arts, and that we must understand the rules that are behind thesectors. Mostly, the experience in a foreign country studying a Master in Creative andCultural Entrepreneurship with colleagues from 25 different other countries gave me anunderstanding that precarity in the cultural industry is not something that affects onlyworkers in developed countries like Brazil, which with some naivety I have thought to betrue before coming to the UK. More than that, the overseas experience showed me thatprecarity is a universal imperative. It is everywhere and those who learn strategies seem toplay better by the rules. I’m not saying that we have to accommodate ourselves to theprecarity characteristics of the sector, but some times even to fight for better opportunitiesand to have our voices heard we have to talk from a place where precarity seems to notaffect us as much. That is why empowerment is the key for this question.It is important to say that although the way the culture operates in Brazil with a lot ofstructural problems, with the tax relief incentive laws being sometimes the one and onlymechanism of cultural policy, they were and still are very important to shape a wholegeneration of complete artists that understand the craft of doing arts, but also how to   20  
  21. 21. operate within the market. The way the law was shaped allowing individuals (not corporatecompanies) to apply for edicts and grants has created a vast number of ‘artists-entrepreneurs’ that master skills like management and financial organization. This mass ofpeople is helping the country to develop using culture as a tool. Again it is aboutempowerment.After my own experience and the opportunity to talk with other artists, I truly believe thatour chances (being an artist myself) rely on the human and its empowerment: we can fightfor better collective opportunities in a governmental level, like Makely Ka; we can try to bebetter professionals, acquiring different skills, like Paloma Parentoni and Jon Bazko; or wecan obtain entrepreneurial skills to succeed, like Elisa Paraíso e Déa Trancoso.BibliographyBooks and articles:Abbing, Hans. Why Are Artists Poor? The Exceptional Economy of the Arts. Amsterdam:Amsterdam UP, 2002. Print.___________. "Poverty in the Arts Is Structural." Review of Cultural Economics (Journal ofthe Korean Association for Cultural Economics 6.1 (2003): 13-26. Hans Abbing. Web. 6Jan. 2011. <http://www.hansabbing.nl/DOCeconomist/Publicaties.htm>.Barbier, Jean-Claude. "A Comparative Analysis of ‘Employment Precariousness’ inEurope." Seminar ‘Learning from Employment and Welfare Policies in Europe’. Paris. 3Jan. 2011. Speech.Beck, Ulrich. The Brave New World of Work. Trans. Patrick Camiller. Cambridge (UK):Polity, 2000. Print.Bourdieu, Pierre. Acts of Resistance: against the New Myths of Our Time. Cambridge, UK:Polity, 1998. Print.   21  
  22. 22. Buschoff, Karin Schulze. "Greater Flexibility: The Great Hope of German Labour MarketPolicy." Deutsch Lernen, Kultur Erleben - Goethe-Institut. Trans. Hillary Crowe. Goethe-Institut, Online-Redaktion, Sept. 2006. Web. 4 Jan. 2011.<http://www.goethe.de/ges/soz/dos/arb/pre/en1697208.htm>.Castel, Robert. From Manual Workers to Wage Laborers: Transformation of the SocialQuestion. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction, 2002. Print.Lazzarato, Maurizio. "Immaterial Labour." Generation Online. Trans. Paul Colilli and EdEmery. Web. 20 Dec. 2010. <http://www.generation-online.org/c/fcimmateriallabour3.htm>.Leadbeater, Charles, and Kate Oakley. The Independents: Britains New CulturalEntrepreneurs. London: Demos, 1999. Print.McKarthy, Kidd. "Is Precarity Enough?" Mute Magazine 2006: 54-57. Web. 22 Dec. 2010.<http://www.metamute.org/Precarious-Reader>.McRobbie, Angela. "Clubs To Companies: Notes On The Decline Of Political Culture InSpeeded Up Creative Worlds." Cultural Studies 16.4 (2002): 516-31. Print.Mitropoulos, Angela. "Precari-us?" Mute Magazine 2006: 12-19. Web. 22 Dec. 2010.<http://www.metamute.org/Precarious-Reader>.Osten, Marion Von. "In Search of The Postcapitalist Self." Editorial. E-flux. June 2010.Web. 15 Dec. 2010. <http://www.e-flux.com/shows/view/8241>.Oudenampsen, Merijn, and Gavin Sullivan. "Precarity and N/european Identity: (anInterview with Alex Foti (ChainWorkers))." Mute Magazine 2006: 44-53. Web. 22 Dec.2010. <http://www.metamute.org/Precarious-Reader>.Wittel, Andreas. "Toward a Network Sociality." Theory, Culture & Society 18 (2001): 51-76.Print.Y, Productions. Producta 50: an Introduction to Some of the Relations between Cultureand the Economy. Barcelona: Generalitat De Catalunya, Departament De Cultura I MitjansDe Comunicacio%u0301, 2007. Print.   22  
  23. 23. Governmental reports:Brazil. Fundação João Pinheiro. Cadeia Produtiva Da Economia Da Música Em BeloHorizonte. Coord. Marta Procópio Oliveira. Governo De Minas Gerais, Feb. 2010. Web. 5Jan. 2011. <www.fjp.gov.br/.../396-relatorio-cadeia-produtiva-da-economia-da-musica-em-belo-horizonte>.Brazil. IPEA. Cadernos De Políticas Culturais - Política Cultural No Brasil, 2002-2006:Acompanhamento e Análise. By Frederico A. Barbosa Da Silva. Vol. 2. Brasília: IPEA,2007. Print.Other documents:Conselho Rede Música Brasil. "Carta De Belo Horizonte." Feira Música Brasil 2010. 12Dec. 2010. Web. 5 Jan. 2011. <http://www.feiramusicabrasil.com.br/noticias/carta-de-belo-horizonte/>.Ka, Makely. "Manifesto Pela Música Autoral." Overmundo. 8 June 2009. Web. 15 Jan.2011. <http://www.overmundo.com.br/overblog/manifesto-pela-musica-autoral>.   23  

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