1999 - Volume 40 > Numéro 4

ISSN 0035-2969

The world of art faced with becoming a group of salaried workers The case of jazz musicians in France

pp. 671-688


Following the example of other professionals in the field of live entertainment, jazz musicians in France have been progressively integrated into the salaried-worker group since the end of the 1960s. This integration has altered their standard of living and working conditions and has eased out the stereotypes that used to reign in this sector. On the one hand there is the traditional model, associated with jazz clubs, where musicians were under strict social control from their peers making them adopt a sort of « deviant conformism » (alcohol, drugs, undeclared work), and on the other hand, there is an emerging model, characterized by atypical salaried workers, where the variety and the instability of contracts, limited by unemployment insurance, increases the autonomy of musicians, encouraging them to diversify their activities in particular towards teaching and organizing. Together with the strong increase in subsidized activity where assistance is given to isolated, short-term projects rather than to long-term development of production and distribution structures, this new model encourages more people to join the profession to a point where this work sector is now over-populated. This explains why in many cases the less famous musicians keep two activites going over a long period of time. To sum up, this new model runs the risk of trivializing the activity of these musicians turning it into a sort of « musical service ».



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