by Dan Beck, Trustee Music Performance Trust Fund
In June of this year, I celebrated my fifth anniversary as trustee of the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF). The time has passed remarkably fast!
When the recording industry’s oversight committee approached me to consider taking the trustee position, I had virtually no knowledge of the trust fund or its initiatives. However, I quickly learned that providing supplemental employment to professional musicians, even in a small way, could impact local communities. The idea of supporting free live performances in parks and public areas, in schools, senior centers, and assisted living facilities spoke to me. Music moves our souls. It unites us. It inspires. It motivates us. The musical arts provide critical nourishment to our humanity.
New Funds Bring Hope
With all the basic goodness that the concept of the MPTF had to offer, there had been years of lament that its days were numbered. The truth was that there had been a 20-year walk-down from the golden era of MPTF grants that reached many a musician’s pockets. That steady free fall began to become more and more accepted as an inevitable tragedy. Fortunately, that was not an acceptable conclusion, and the AFM and the recording industry achieved a labor agreement that has brought a viable path for the MPTF to survive and even grow. Yes, there is a future.
However, the challenge is not just to get our grants. The challenge is to make the most of them! How does it impact your community? How does it create a greater awareness of the importance of the arts? How does it inspire others to get involved? How does the success of one event open the door to more support for the arts in your town? How can you use it as leverage to find more support for live music? How can our funding be leveraged to find new community partners who understand how powerfully live music can change communities? Our hope is that MPTF grants serve as seeds to create activism.
Share Your MPTF Events
We now have more funds to stimulate musical action. It is not the be-all and end-all, but it is a new trajectory. Yes, let’s entertain! Let’s put some extra dollars into some talented, hardworking, and deserving musicians’ pockets! And let’s use those precious funds to grow momentum and community leverage, one event at a time. Use social media. Involve the local newspaper. Invite other leaders from your communities to enjoy the free performance we provide.
The best thank you that we could receive for our grants is to see how they impact your communities. Send us pictures! Show us—not just the musicians performing—but the faces of those who are enjoying it. Show us the crowds, whether it’s 10 people or 100.
Let’s make beautiful noise together!