LOS ANGELES (Jan. 30, 2012) – AFTRA members who work in Sound Recordings have ratified a successor agreement to the AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Sound Recordings.

Voting by phone or Internet closed Jan. 30, with affected members voting close to 99% in favor of approving the Sound Recordings Code. The ratification is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2012 and runs through Dec. 31, 2014.

AFTRA members achieved an increase in base rates, as well as the key objective of increasing employer contributions to the AFTRA Health and Retirement Funds. Highlights of the contract include:

  • Increase in base rates by more than 6% over the term of the agreement (2% increases effective each year of the contract)
  • Increase in the employer health and retirement contribution rate on royalty income by 1% over the life of the agreement
  • Maintained required special employer contributions which guarantee health insurance benefits for royalty artists on the current “roster” of a label, by increasing the maximum on employer contributions by 30%, from $5,000 to $6,500 per year
  • Improved and expanded performers’ base of participation in revenue from sale of digital downloads
  • Established a new structure of revenue-based payments for new areas of low budget licenses and licenses for non-traditional usages, such as re-use of recordings in novelty consumer products, which will also enhance compliance and expedite payments to members

The Sound Recordings Code, which originated in 1951 as the American Federation of Radio Artists (AFRA) Phonograph Recording Code, covers session singers, royalty artists, announcers, actors, comedians, narrators and sound effects artists who work on recordings in all new and traditional media and all music formats, in addition to audiobooks, comedy albums and cast albums. The Code generates more than $140 million annually in AFTRA-covered earnings and benefits for both major artists and session singers around the country.

The next contract due for ratification is the AFTRA Network Television Code. This contract is AFTRA’s largest single contract, and covers a variety of media and entertainment professionals, including sportscasters, broadcasters, actors, singers, promo announcers and talk show hosts. Current programs covered by this contract include: “Good Morning America,” “The View,” “The Voice,” The Young and the Restless,” “Saturday Night Live,” “Nightline,” “Dancing with the Stars,” and “American Idol.”

Ballots for the Network Television Code were sent to all members in good standing on Monday, Jan. 30. Ballots are due back by Feb. 22.