Musicians' Guild

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There are guilds who look after their members' benefits (e.g. the Watchmen's Guild). There are guilds whose enforcement of membership means a safer city for the citizens (e.g. the Thieves' Guild). The enforcement of the Musicians' Guild membership, on the other hand, means that you can't hear a good musician play in the city of Ankh-Morpork if this musician does not pay membership dues to the Musicians' Guild. The Musicians' Guild reacted very negatively during the craze of Music With Rocks In (see Soul Music). In fact, Mr Clete had tried to have the entire band killed by the Guild Enforcers because they refused to pay their union (or at least guild) dues. On the other hand, this guild practices the traditional charity that many other guilds do: it takes in orphans, raises them, and teaches them a vocation (see Keith the Piper).

A surprisingly minor guild given the city's major nightlife, it is located in a couple of rooms above a barber shop on Tin Lid Alley. Non-members found performing in the city are generally welcomed by the Guild's Enforcers, whose primary activity involves relocating musical instruments to non-licensed performers'... er, well, one hopes they don't need to sit to play.

Guild Fees & Payments

Current guild fees include:

  • $25.00: Registration Fee
  • $35.00: Deposit against future fees (i.e. fee fee)
  • $15.00: Voluntary (compulsory) annual Pension Fund subscription

Current Guild-negotiated payments include:

Guild Personnel


Similar to the British actors' union Equity, who operate one of the tightest closed shops in the world, and insist that nobody, but nobody, can become a professional actor or actress without first becoming a member of Equity. Yet you cannot become an Equity member without proving your professional status - ie, having actually done some paid acting work.

This Catch-22 is somewhat reminiscent of the fix that Imp y Celyn, Glod Glodsson and Lias Bluestone find themselves in when trying to work as musicians in Ankh-Morpork... they cannot practice as musicians without paying Guild fees. Yet to earn the money to be able to pay the Guild fees they need to work as musicians...

Tin Lid Alley is another Discworldian take on a Roundworld concept: Tin Pan Alley is the name given to the collection of New York City-centred music publishers and songwriters who dominated the popular music of the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Guild headquarters are "above a barbers' shop". On Roundworld, Barbershop Harmony is a style of a cappella, or unaccompanied vocal music characterized by consonant four-part chords for every melody note in a predominantly homophonic texture. Barbershop Quartets are a very American tradition, especially schmaltzy American. For example, there is always at least one at Disneyland.