MetroPerforms! strikes sour chord with music advocate

WASHINGTON – The MetroPerforms! program is supposed to be an opportunity for artists to showcase their talents, but the co-founder of an initiative devoted to raising the profile of D.C.’s music scene thinks it’s doing more harm than good.

Chris Naum with Listen Local First went to Tuesday’s auditions for MetroPerforms! to send a message to the dozens hoping for a shot to play outside Metro stations this summer.

“They’re basically just devaluing professionals’ artwork here,” says Naum.

In addition to believing the auditions were pushed through too fast, Naum is upset that Metro did not invite arts organizations to participate. He’s also upset that performers won’t be compensated.

“They’re not paying musicians. They’re not allowing musicians to put out (merchandise). They’re not allowing musicians to solicit for tips,” says Naum.

Metro has a policy against soliciting, and while the program used to provide a stipend, Metro Art Director Michael McBride says budget cuts are preventing that this time around.

“Funds are limited, and we simply invited them to participate,” McBride says.

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WTOP’s Nathan Hager contributed to this report. Follow Nathan and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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