“…After all, it is our livelihood and art that are being downgraded as we speak. I support the efforts of MFM towards organizing musicians to develop a new paradigm.” – David Liebman
Date: March 23, 2017 Venue: WeWork Bryant Park (NY) Text by Dawoud Kringle
On Thursday, March 23rd, Musicians for Musicians (MFM) presented the first Talk. The guest of honor was David Liebman, who’s a member of MFM’s Advisory Committee. The event was hosted and moderated by MFM President Sohrab Saadat Ladjavardi. This was the first of such “Round Table Talks,” and promised to deliver an immensely interesting and informative dialogue.
I had the opportunity to interview Iranian musician Kaveh Haghtalab. He has been contributing music, sounds and rhythms with his kamancheh and drum skills to the New York’s music scene since 2012. His views on the music scene and business in his native Tehran and in New York City bring a fresh and informative view of our business and art.
DooBeeDooBeeDoo NY (DBD): Kaveh, it’s good of you to join us. Please let’s start with your background. You’re Iranian, originally from Tehran. What did you do before coming here? What made you come to New York City in 2012, and what have you been doing since your arrival?
Kaveh Haghtalab (KH): Thanks for having me here at DooBeeDooBeeDoo.
One would think that freelance work is lucrative. On paper, in theory, this is true. The reality, however, is very different. The sad fact is that 1.3 million freelancers in New York city lost an average of $6,000 a year to nonpayment. The reason for this is simple. There is no legal protection for freelancers. If a freelance worker is hired for a job, often he / she is not paid. They may be underpaid, paid late, or never paid at all. If they sue the company, there is no legal framework clearly defining freelancers’ rights in the way a regular W2 employee’s rights are protected. Even if they do win the case, freelancers have no way to actually collect what they’re owed. To add insult to injury, freelancers who dare to challenge having their rightfully earned wages stolen are often blacklisted. The situation is, quite simply, intolerable.