The 2012 Summer Olympics are due to kick off in London next month and with the eyes of the world watching, the opening ceremony – which is to be soundtracked by legendary techno outfit Underworld – is set to feature a bevy of musical performances.

Surviving Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney, is already confirmed and the likes of Duran Duran and Snow Patrol are also expected to play; but reports are surfacing that Olympic bosses are trying to avoid paying for their musical services.

Classic Rock reports that the London Olympics Management committee, LOCOG, are attempting to make professional musicians perform for free, using the excuse that they should be ‘doing it for the exposure.’ Can you imagine Sir McCartney being told to take a cut on his usually princely fees for ‘the exposure’? The Bealtes!? Who are they?

The bosses behind the world’s biggest sporting event have already blown a reported £11billion (approx $AU 17 billion) on the international athletics event. Which is on top of the already-extended cost projections of £9.3billion (approx $AU 14.4billion) they were budgeting for.

With their costs spiralling out of control, LOCOG are now appearing to cut corners with their spendings by ripping off professional musicians. The organising committee is planning to not only have musical performances in the opening and closing ceremonies, but according to Corporate Watch, are also “contracting professional musicians to to provide entertainment and atmosphere at sporting events during the Games.”

Corporate Watch also spoke to musicians who “wished to remain anonymous” about Locog’s conditions saying the policy “”not to pay musicians is being implemented ‘across the board'” and that they were told to “do it for the exposure.”

One performer claims: “They said they were really keen for us to play on major stages at different events. We replied quoting our normal fees. After months of meetings they offered us a raft of gigs but said it was LOCOG’s policy not to pay any musicians for performing. They should stop trying to capitalise on the image of the Olympics and pay a fair rate for our services.”

Love The Beatles?

Get the latest The Beatles news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more

Others have allegedly been asked to sign contracts agreeing to be volunteers “so they would be under no obligations” to be paid by the London Organising Committee.

In response to the allegations, Sebastian Coe – the chairman for LOCOG – promised they were “[placing] a high priority on environmental, social and ethical issues when securing goods and services,” but England’s Musicians’ Union isn’t convinced.

A spokesperson for the union says they’ll be investigating into the matter. “If it turns out to be true then it flies in the face of assurances that we have been given regarding the engaging of professional musicians during games time.” Before adding that any cases of refusing to pay performing musicians would be a breach of LOCOG’s agreement with Trade Unions over the Principles of Cooperation.

Can you imagine Sir Paul being told that he’s cutting down on his princely fees to “do it for the exposure”? Beatles!? Who are they

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine