House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler took time out from the ongoing impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump today to address a musicians rally in New York City.
The American Federation of Musicians, in its contract talks with management’s AMPTP, is demanding residuals from films and TV shows made for streaming services. Unlike actors, writers and directors, musicians don’t get them, though they do receive residual payments for secondary-market re-uses of theatrical and TV films. The AFM, which hasn’t met face-to-face with producers since March, resumes bargaining today at the AMPTP’s offices in Sherman Oaks, where musicians also staged a rally.
“I am proud to stand with the thousands of American Federation of Musicians music professionals, who rightly deserve, like everyone else, a fair living wage,” Nadler (D-NY) said at the rally outside NBCUniversal’s headquarters in Manhattan. “AFM members are creative professionals who deserve fair compensation and revenue-sharing for their work both on streaming films and television shows. Without music, there really is no TV.
“The contract between the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers and AFM expires next month, and the parties are still far apart. But I believe strongly that there is still time for both parties to come together for an equitable agreement, and I urge all parties to continue to negotiate and talk. And in particular, all platforms must be treated properly. Musicians and everyone else ought to be compensated no matter where their music is played – whether it’s on radio or television or movies or streaming or whatever. The technology may differ; the talent is the same. And without the talent, there is no product. And the principles of fair compensation ought to apply to the newer technologies like streaming as well as the older technologies. So I am proud to stand with the AFM as this new fundamental issue is faced, and face it we must.”
His remarks were greeted with cheers from the musicians on hand.
Outside the AMPTP’s offices, AFM international president Ray Hair addressed a crowd of musicians before stepping inside to begin bargaining. “In made-for-streaming productions, we get about 25% of what we get from traditional theatrical or TV film production,” he said. “Why should we make 75% less, so everybody else in their big, rich companies can make more? They bully us into a regressive economic position, in an effort to ultimately eliminate our employment.”
“Your fight is our fight,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “We are standing by your side, because we will be here fighting this same fight. We are doing the same work. You deserve to be respected. You deserve a fair contract. We want you to know we are united with you.”
The AFM said that as television shows and movies move to streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu and Disney+, “The studios are refusing to provide musicians fair compensation. While streaming residuals are granted to actors, singers, writers and others in the industry, major studios like CBSViacom, Disney/ABC, MGM, NBCUniversal, Sony, and Warner Media are excluding musicians from their fair share and significantly lowering musicians’ overall pay.”
AFM’s current contract with AMPTP expires November 14.