AGMA Explains the Importance of Pay-or-Play

Published April 11, 2023   |  By Musical Artists  |  Post in All Areas

We’ve been talking a lot about how Central City Opera is trying to effectively eliminate pay-or-play, the provisions of our collective bargaining agreements across the country that ensure that every contract entered into between an artist and CCO is guaranteed.

Pay-or-play is the bedrock of our collective bargaining agreements; it exists in every single AGMA contract in the United States. A pay-or-play clause is an item in a contract that guarantees an employer will pay an artist, even if the employer decides not to use the artist.

For AGMA Artists, this means that if you have a signed contract, but a signatory company chooses not to use you in the production, you will still be paid your fee.

But what does pay-or-play protect, really? A LOT. Keep reading for just some examples.

Pay-or-play requires institutions to pay performers even if they later decide not to use them.

  • If you are terminated due to “artistic differences” pay-or-play ensures you are still paid.
  • If the Company hires a new director who wants to go another direction – pay-or-play ensures you are still paid.
  • If you signed a contract a few years ago, but the Company decides to cancel the production – pay-or-play ensures you are still paid.
  • If the Company cuts the number of contracted performances – pay-or-play ensures you are still paid.

Without pay-or-play, careers in opera and dance are less secure, less equitable, less sustainable, and antithetical to the work AGMA members have done for generations to support artists.

AGMA will always protect and defend pay-or-play provisions to the fullest extent possible.