Whippoorwill Arts Musician’s Research on Equitable Pay Guidelines and Professional Protections

July 7, 2023


Whippoorwill Arts, an arts organization uplifting the work of roots musicians and nurturing their creativity with a focus on collaboration, fair wages, equity, and social justice, has commissioned the Center for Music Ecosystems, in collaboration with 4A Arts (American Alliance for Artists and Audiences), to deliver this timely new research project culminating in a set of equitable pay guidelines and professional protections for non-salaried, working musicians.

This project aims to support meaningful investment in working musicians and help transform the music ecosystem to be more equitable.

The research iS in three parts:

  • Defining a narrative for music as a social good
  • A gap analysis related to the current state of the US commercial music economy and the impact – both positive and negative – on musicians
  • The development of an equitable and fair performance pay framework for musicians – a “framework for the future”
Our Partners

The focus of this work is to inform advocacy and program development for Whippoorwill Arts and possibly other musician allies, with data and suggestions relevant to local and state jurisdictions.

What are the ways in which collective effort can support & increase musicians’ financial stability and well-being, nurture their creativity, and together serve the social good?

This project will call on leading music employment lawyers, six independent working musicians from diverse backgrounds, and members of the Center for Music Ecosystem’s International Advisory Network.

The resulting equitable pay guidelines will be used by Whippoorwill Arts in their advocacy efforts around the world, and the full report is now available at the link below.

Written by

Whitney Christiansen

Whitney S. Christiansen is a native Kentuckian with an interdisciplinary background in arts, education, and advocacy. She spent nearly a decade teaching secondary English and drama in public schools, receiving a master’s in Interdisciplinary Humanities from the University of Louisville in 2017, where she received that year’s Grady Nutt Award for the year’s most creative directed study project, “Summoned,” an interdisciplinary practicum that combined research on medieval morality plays and Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus with contemporary concepts of costume and set design. From 2009-2015 she was a cast member and later director for the Kentucky Highland Renaissance Festival, where she inaugurated and directed the festival’s teen cast, who developed two stage shows in the commedia dell’arte tradition. Leaving the classroom in 2019, Whitney received her second master’s degree from Colorado State University in Arts Leadership and Cultural Management, where she began working with Be An #ArtsHero, a grassroots campaign dedicated to bringing COVID relief to Arts Workers (now Arts Workers United.) She was the researcher on staff for AWU’s lobbying team for the U.S. House Small Business Committee’s January 2022 hearing on the creative economy, and for Ovation TV’s The Green Room with Nadia Brown, an educational comedy show about the creative economy that launched in March of 2022. Formerly the general manager of the Center for Music Ecosystems, Whitney heads up 4A Arts’ new research initiative alongside her work managing central operations.


Support the Movement

Support 4A Arts


Skip to content