#BandTogether campaign calls for fair pay that includes streaming residuals
HOLLYWOOD, CA (Oct. 12, 2019) — Early on Saturday morning, dozens of musicians loaded into open-top tour buses and delivered a traveling musical performance outside the homes of major film and television studio executives living in the most exclusive neighborhoods in Los Angeles, calling for fair pay that includes streaming residuals.
Members of the American Federation of Musicians across the nation have ramped up efforts of their grassroots #BandTogether campaign to protect their livelihoods in the era of new media. As television and film production move to supply streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu and Disney+, the studios are refusing to provide fair compensation to musicians. While streaming residuals are granted to actors, singers, writers and others in the industry, the studios maintain that there is no money available for musicians.
Recording musicians, like actors, writers, and directors, rely on profit-sharing to stabilize income from a notoriously unstable source, the entertainment industry. Residuals make up, on average, between 50-75% of studio musicians’ total income. Producers were willing to make a streaming residuals deal with SAG-AFTRA, WGA and DGA, but want to exclude the musical artists who contribute so much to the soul of a show or film. Musicians are asking for respect for our art, and for a wage model that allows us to keep living and working in this industry.
Highly profitable companies like Disney, which earned an estimated $59.43 billion last year, are demanding that musicians die a slow death: watching traditional sources of income disappear, while streaming generates prosperity for everyone but musicians.
The #BandTogether movement has earned support from legislators including Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Ted Lieu and Rep. Brad Sherman; from other guilds and unions including SAG-AFTRA, WGA West and UTLA; and leading composers, producers and directors including Quincy Jones, J.J. Abrams, Pinar Toprak, Randy Newman, Hans Zimmer, Justin Hurwitz, Damien Chazelle, John Williams, and many more.
“I cherish my relationship with the family of musicians in Los Angeles,” said Quincy Jones. “It is a bond built on respect and admiration for their talent and for their dedication to the work we have done on film and television soundtracks over so many years. They have my full support in upcoming negotiations with major studios because it is important that we keep the film and television music industry strong and vital — and here in Hollywood.”
The current contract expires Nov. 14. The musicians, represented by the American Federation of Musicians, resume negotiations next week at the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers offices.