Ramone played to full houses: he was paid less than his musicians

Ramone played to full houses: he was paid less than his musicians

– So, when musicians are together for a certain period of time – they create good interaction, a routine on stage and on tour, simplify the project and elevate the score – they should have less paid?

It is leader Hans Ole Ryan of the LO Creo union, formerly known as Musikernes Fellesorganisation, who is asking.

The conditions were presented to him for the musicians who were with pop comet Ramone on a nearly sold-out tour in the fall of 2022, a year in which the artist achieved a monumental breakthrough.

– Otherwise in practical life it is common to obtain more Ryan says pay is paid as professionals gain seniority, experience and a higher level.

– Completely incomprehensible

A request from Ramón's manager for a grant from the Directorate of Culture for the long tour of about 20 concerts stated:

“The band has slightly lower fees than regular cryo prices. Due to the long and close cooperation before.” (sic)

The recommended minimum Creo for concerts, considered by many to be the industry standard in Norway, is set at this time at NOK 5,015 per musician per concert.

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The four who supported Ramon had to make do with $3,500 each.

Ryan in Cryo describes the logic as “completely incomprehensible.”

The musicians were all in their early twenties when the tour took place. It is indicated on the application that they are full-time students.

-For us, it has nothing to do with whether the athletes are students or not. If they were doing a professional job, they should have been paid professionally, and done talking, Ryan says.

– The fees here were very low, also in relation to the artist's status and results.

Hans Ole Ryan
Hans Ole Ryan

Leader of the union in Krio

Kim Nordbæk at Nordic Live Agency is Ramon's booking agent. It doesn't follow Ryan's logic.

It's good to recommend minimum prices, but unfortunately they are rarely sustainable in the establishment phase of an artist's project, he says.

Nordbæk has experience in many aspects of artistic life, including as bass player in the recently reunited rock band Span. It has the following message for Creo:

– Personally, I think it is sad that an organization that is supposed to fight for the conditions of musicians, at the same time, criticizes artists for trying to create job opportunities for them.

She finished the band

Ramon Torres Andresen (25 years old) from the ski area of ​​Akershus has become one of them in recent years The biggest pop artists in Norway — with appeal to troubled TikTok kids as well as “Every Time We Meet” viewers.

When he released the single “ok jeg Lover” in February 2022, he set a record for the number of Spotify plays in a single day in Norway.

By the time his tour passed across the country on the eve of the year, his track record had expanded to:

  • 44 million plays on Spotify in one year
  • Five top 10 songs on VG's list
  • Debut album to the top of VG list
  • Three Spelman nominations
  • Two P3 Gold nominations
  • Special goods group

This year, as last year, Ramone has become a very prominent feature at Norwegian music festivals this summer.

Additionally, he's playing at giant Roskilde in Denmark, and at sold-out Oslo Spectrum in the fall.

One person who didn't join in is keyboardist Axel Crystal (24).

He played in Ramone's band starting in the summer of 2021, and left in the summer of 2023.

Now he wants to highlight what he believes is a huge injustice in the industry, he tells VG.

– Unfortunately, there are few who dare to raise this matter with their employer.

Axel Kristad
Axel Kristad

Former keyboardist in the band The Ramones

He says the explanation for lower payments to musicians as a result of “long and close collaboration” doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

– Then we should get more, right? My understanding was that we were paid so little, that they couldn't pay us more,” Crystal says.

– But we saw that they spent a lot of money on sound, lighting, props, stage and technical equipment to build the show.

It appears that Ramon has built.

“There is a lot of equipment, because we have money.”,” he says cheerfully in one The concert vlog was posted on TikTok Last fall.

– My experience is that they do everything to exploit us in every possible way. It's a very big part of the industry,” Crystal says.

– Their expenses reflect that everything around them is “more important” than those standing on stage and performing music.

Booking agent Nordbæk disagrees with this opinion:

– Musicians in themselves do not constitute a complete musical production, unfortunately, you have to have some techniques.

According to the keyboardist, there were conversations within the band about the level of fees, and it was agreed that the jobs were low paying.

Crystal says attempts were made to air the fee issue with the star of the show.

-If we discussed it with Ramon, he really became…what can I say, we were met with such an attitude of “don't talk to me about this”. Then you can play with someone else if you're kind of unhappy. It wasn't entirely negotiable.

– Sad to hear

VG tried to get Ramon to talk. His manager Maria Sani wrote this in a letter to VG:

-We have had a good and open dialogue about finances with the Ramones in recent years, and we have the impression that they are satisfied. It is sad to hear then if this is not true.

Even with the conditions in which the musicians lived, according to Axel Kristalad, it was the wish of the Ramone organ that they not engage in other work.

Ramone's tour took place mainly on weekends. Crystal says he was still demanding to combine this with daily studies, and he dropped out of his bachelor's degree in music at the NLA just three weeks after starting the tour.

– They were pretty much like, “You just have to focus on our project,” and you don't have any other jobs besides that. It's a lot like that, just being with Ramon. I've gotten the impression of that many times.

VG has been in contact with the other three musicians who played with Krystad on the Ramón tour. They are still working with Ramon.

Two of them say they do not acknowledge the claim that they cannot also focus on other projects. Beyond that, none of the three wish to comment on the details of the case.

– Gold in red

According to Ramone's manager and booking agent, the artist's concert project has entered the red for 2022.

– 2022 was Ramon's first year, and for an artist in the establishment phase, there are much greater costs than income – and it is natural for Ramon to go into the red, says manager Sane.

Booking agent Nordbæk says Ramone's concert business has posted a six-figure loss in 2022.

Image: Screenshot from Ramon's TikTok

The majority of the concerts on this tour were sold out, according to the tour diary Ramone posted on TikTok.

Among other things, the two Sentrum Scene theaters in Oslo, which seats 1,750 spectators per concert, were sold out. Apparently these happened in early January 2023.

Axel Kristalad says he can't say for sure how Ramone's tour went financially, but:

– At least I remember after the tour there was a lot of talk about having a good surplus of money, especially on social media, so I got the impression that it went well.

However, he believes it is not workers in his position who should bear the financial risks on tours.

-For me, it makes no sense for musicians to receive less wages because the artists and equipment invest in the project we are working on and we should not be responsible for the financial losses that may occur.

The keyboardist says he feels he has joined a long line of young musicians who have accepted low wages in an exciting industry in which they want to get a foothold.

– Then there would be a chance, right? You can imagine. I think a lot of people who want to play music will jump at the chance, even if the circumstances are what they are.

Ashura Okorie

Ashura Okorie

"Infuriatingly humble web fan. Writer. Alcohol geek. Passionate explorer. Evil problem solver. Incurable zombie expert."

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