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Home » Music Business » Closing a Year of Change to Open a Year of Opportunity

Closing a Year of Change to Open a Year of Opportunity

  -  Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund (FMSMF) Executive Director

The Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund’s 50th year was one of transformation to better position it to meet the opportunities and challenges of an evolving industry. In 1972, the only known secondary markets were free TV, pay TV, and cassettes. No one could have predicted how radically the industry’s business models would change nor imagine the digital services that now constitute the lifeblood of musicians’ secondary market residuals. Those residuals from both traditional and new secondary markets have grown from a little over $50 million in fiscal year 2000 to reach a record amount of over $130 million in fiscal 2022. And, as of this writing, preliminary results indicate fiscal 2023 is on track to surpass fiscal 2022’s record.

Chief among the changes this year was reorganization of the Film Musicians Secondary Market Fund (FMSMF) operational departments. Throughout most of the fund’s existence, there were two operational departments: Participant Services and Compliance. In 2022, the fund reorganized to three operational departments: Participant Relations, Industry Relations, and Residual Claims & Audits.

As part of this reorganization, I was pleased to appoint new leaders to help expedite the FMSMF’s transformation:

•Manager of Participant Relations Agnes Smith leads a department of five staff members dedicated to supporting musicians and beneficiaries through outreach to new musicians; research and administration of beneficiaries; investigating and validating payment of unclaimed residuals or “omission” payments to musicians and their beneficiaries; and troubleshooting a wide range of participant questions.

•Manager of Industry Relations Jonathan Schmidt oversees a team of four responsible for input and allocation of incoming contributions, initial onboarding of new contributing companies, identifying new titles obligated to pay residuals, and the set up of B-7 and B-8 report forms to allocate each musician’s residuals. This department is also charged with advancing a new effort to expand the FMSMF’s education and support to contributing employers, new filmmakers, contractors, and others with the goal of facilitating understanding and meeting their obligations under AFM contracts.

•Director of Residual Claims & Audits Nuwan Premachandra brought his experience at the Motion Picture Industry Pension & Health Plan to lead the fund’s team of audit analysts and residual claims representatives. The reorganization of this team creates additional bandwidth for the FMSMF to pursue lapsed or delinquent residuals and efficiently and effectively move its program of company audits forward.

•General Counsel Roxanne Castillo supports the work of these FMSMF departments and provides in-house legal advice across all areas of the fund’s work. She partners with the executive director in overseeing the activities of FMSMF’s outside attorneys. Her previous experience leading the Electronic Media Services Department of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) provides practical knowledge of the AFM’s TV and theatrical agreements.

Since joining FMSMF staff in 2019, Chief Operating Officer Brian Sickles has led the fund’s multi-year project to implement a systemwide redesign and conversion of information technology systems and business processes to meet the demands of the 21st century. The operational reorganization in 2022 could not begin without the critical systems and technology upgrade led by Sickles. The first operational system conversion phase went live in 2021, with the final operational phases scheduled to go live in 2023.

All FMSMF staff, whether new or long-serving, are keenly aware of the importance of secondary market residuals to the lives and livelihoods of working musicians and their families. To that end, we continually work to enhance the fund’s abilities to collect, process, and distribute this vital income to musicians in a changing environment. We look forward to changes ahead to foster our work in 2023 in fulfillment of that mission. In the interim, on behalf of everyone at FMSMF, we wish you and yours a happy and healthy holiday season and a prosperous 2023.

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