Musicians' Union (UK)
Get Musicians' Union UK essential facts below, , or join the Musicians' Union UK discussion. Add Musicians' Union UK to your topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Musicians' Union UK
Musicians' Union
Full name Musicians' Union
Founded 1893
Members 30,000
Affiliation TUC, STUC, Labour Party,[1]FEU
Key people Horace Trubridge, general secretary
Office location London, Manchester, Glasgow, Cardiff, Birmingham
Country United Kingdom

The Musicians' Union (MU) is an organisation which represents over 30,000 musicians working in all sectors of the British music business.


The union was founded in 1893 in Manchester by twenty musicians. It registered as the Amalgamated Musicians' Union the following year, and grew rapidly, having 22,000 members by 1920. The following year, it merged with the National Orchestral Union of Professional Musicians and shortened its name to the "Musicians' Union".[2] At a high point in 1932, it had a house built, with extensive grounds and a lake, for retired musicians, Merebank House in what is now Beare Green. Sir Henry Moore and the composer Baron Frédéric Alfred d'Erlanger were among those who attended a concert in its grounds put on by the London Philharmonic Orchestra; there was also a performance there of Baron Frédéric's opera, Tess.[] However, the introduction of "talkie" films reduced opportunities for musicians, and membership fell to a low of 7,000 in 1940. After World War II, it grew again, forming the International Federation of Musicians. It also joined the Confederation of Entertainment Unions and affiliated to the Labour Party.[3]


The MU stages regular campaigns in relation to relevant musical and industrial issues. Recent campaigns have included protests outside theatres in response to the use of recorded music in shows where live music was advertised, and the anti-Pay to Play campaign, an issue which continues to affect the live music scene, particularly at grassroots level.

Other MU campaigns include:

  • Keep Music Live: The union has used the slogan Keep Music Live since 1965.
  • Music Supported Here: In December 2009, the MU launched a new campaign, entitled Music Supported Here, which aims to raise both awareness of copyright, and also the distribution and use of music, which, the MU states, should be controllable by the musician.
  • Work Not Play: In November 2012 the MU launched a new campaign called "Work Not Play", to raise awareness about the growing trend for artists being asked to perform for free. The campaign has been supported by a number of organisations in the industry including notable industry names such as Skiddle.[4]

General secretaries

1893: Joe Williams
1924: E. S. Teale
1931: Fred Dambman
1948: Hardie Ratcliffe
1970: John Morton
1990: Dennis Scard
2000: Derek Kay
2003: John F. Smith
2017: Horace Trubridge


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on March 11, 2012. Retrieved 2013. 
  2. ^ Arthur Marsh and Victoria Ryan, Historical Directory of British Trade Unions, vol. 1, p. 5
  3. ^ Arthur Marsh and Victoria Ryan, Historical Directory of British Trade Unions, vol. 1, p. 130
  4. ^ "Musicians' Union Launches Campaign for Fair Play". Skiddle Blog. 

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes