What are the benefits of being in the Musicians Union? A member tells us!

Blog by Matt Lawton under Artist Managers, Creative & Branding, Finance, Law & Music Business, Live, Media, Music Publishing, Music Training & Careers, Record Labels, Recording & Production, Selling & Distributing Your Music

My name is Matt Lawton and I am a UK bass player. I can usually be found laying down some bass lines down for Crosstown Studios, jamming in my jazz trio all over the Northwest, rocking out at weddings up and down the country, as well as running bass blog site, the one stop shop for bass blogging and jazz transcriptions!

I signed up to the Musician’s Union just over a year ago. Initially it was for the massive benefits in the shape of £2,000 gear insurance plus public liability. It doesn’t take long for these costs alone to rack up so I thought it was well worth it. It was only after I joined that I discovered the wealth of information and help from all sorts of industry professionals that was available to me.
I speak to the MU quite frequently whenever I need any advice and always find I get a swift response from somebody who seems more than happy to help. The best example of this was recently when I attended one of the local one to one sessions and met Matt Wanstall, Regional Officer in the North. Matt was friendly and easy to speak to which was helpful as I had a lot to ask! 

I needed some copyright advice on which I had spoken to solicitors in the past who hadn’t been able to answer my questions. Matt was very attentive and gave me some great career advice while I was there. Although Matt was unable to answer my question at that time I still left feeling very motivated from the meeting and a week later Matt had found an answer to my copyright issues and sent a very detailed response straight over.

The service that I benefit the most from has to be the gear insurance because I’m basically using it 24/7! Being out gigging up and down the country every week you never know when you’re equipment will be at risk and losing any of it would impact me massively. Even when my van broke down on a gig my free breakdown cover that I take out through the MU got me home that same night and then I even got advice with how to fund the extortionate repair job.
As a full time musician I constantly have the MU in mind. Whenever a contract comes my way or on the odd occasion I have to write one up I will always run it past the MU. They also have information on standard rates of pay for theatre and session musicians which I reference constantly.
I would definitely recommend any professional working musician to join the MU. On top of all the personal experiences that I’ve mentioned above, the MU actually do a lot to help all musicians including campaigns to aid musicians flying with instruments, musicians made to work for free, reduced cost hearing check ups, as well as fighting our corner when it comes to changes with National Insurance which will affect musicians getting work. 
The MU are one of the few companies involved in the music industry that I would say genuinely deserve the money they charge and give unfaltering service above my expectations when I first signed up.
For full details about joining the MU, visit and you can follow them on Twitter @WeAreTheMU


musicians union, mu membership, work not play, unsigned bands, unsigned artists, unsigned musicians


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