Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.
As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.
The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.
Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit www.afm.org/join.
August 1, 2022Kim Roberts Hedgpeth - Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund (FMSMF) Executive Director
The Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund (FMSMF) once again hit a record high in residuals collected for musicians in fiscal year 2022 (ending 3/31/2022). These secondary market residuals were established in the AFM’s Basic Theatrical and Basic Television agreements. The residuals have been collected by the FMSMF since the 1970s. They have grown over the past 10 fiscal years—from $83 million in FY 2012 to $115.7 million in FY 2019 to more than $130 million in FY 2022—representing an increase of almost 56%.
The increases in annual collections over the past decade were driven primarily by the release of theatrical films and traditional television programs into “new media” secondary markets: streaming services and digital downloads. Since 2010, this exponential increase in secondary market residuals attributable to new media has offset a sharp decline in residuals from DVD releases.
In the months and years ahead, FMSMF will be carefully monitoring whether this trend in collections will continue or change given evolving business models with more product being produced for initial primary release on streaming services. This question is especially important as AFM agreements are negotiated later in 2022.
FMSMF received residuals from more than 120 new titles during FY 2022. New titles are titles paying into FMSMF for the first time. Most of these new titles were films or seasons of series first released in their primary market in 2020 or 2021. There were also some older films and series that generated secondary market residuals for the first time during the fiscal year.
The FY 2022 new titles include feature films such as The Addams Family 2, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, Soul, Judas and the Black Messiah, and In the Heights, and series/mini-series such as Mixed-ish (2019-2020), Big Sky (2020-2021), The Stand (2020-2021), and The Mandalorian, Season 2 (2020). An entire season of a multi-episode series is counted as a single title. A complete list of the FY 2022 new titles is posted on the FMSMF website at www.fmsmf.org/filmtitles/new-films.php.
As FMSMF celebrates its 50-year anniversary, work continues on the systemwide redesign of its information technology systems and business processes. FMSMF had been operating on a database infrastructure dating back to its origins in the 1970s. With the increasing complexity of FMSMF’s operation and advancements in technology since establishing its Los Angeles operation in 2000, FMSMF needed to undertake a multi-year project to modernize its data systems and attendant business operations to better serve participants.
The initial operational phases went live in 2021, with the next two phases scheduled for later this year through late 2023. These upgrades will improve efficiencies and enhance services to benefit today’s participants and future generations of AFM musicians.
With the prevalence of Zoom meetings, the FMSMF has expanded opportunities to present educational webinars for AFM members on topics such as understanding residuals and how to prepare for the annual residual distribution. FMSMF will schedule additional webinars and is available to attend in-person meetings to provide information on how the fund works, where residuals come from, and other information to assist musicians in maximizing their ability to receive the residuals they have earned.
FMSMF continues to provide information to its participants via the e-newsletter Music Notes, which is sent to participants several times a year. In addition, we have increased our social media presence with a relaunch of our YouTube channel. If you’re an FMSMF participant, we hope you will subscribe to Music Notes, and whether or not you’re a participant, we hope you’ll keep current on FMSMF activities by following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram!
The untimely passing of Pat Varriale was a heartbreaking loss to all who knew and worked with him. Pat was a great friend to the FMSMF and deeply respected by all our staff, past and present. His incredible knowledge of AFM contracts and history of negotiations was invaluable. He was always kind and generous in sharing that knowledge for the benefit of musicians. More important, Pat was always kind, respectful, and willing to lend a hand, whenever we reached out for help.
All of us at FMSMF extend our deepest condolences to the Varriale family and the staff and members of the AFM. He will be sorely missed by all.