Tag Archives: emsd

esmd 101

EMSD 101: How to Select the Correct Agreement For Your Project

The following questions will help determine which rates and agreement should be applied to your recording. Always contact the AFM to confirm which contract you should be using. Note, if an electronic media project involves a symphony, opera, ballet, or chamber orchestra with a collective bargaining agreement, you need to contact the Symphonic Services Division to determine the appropriate agreement. 

1) If it is a live performance being recorded or taped, is there a live performance contract on file?

2) What is the nature of the project (music recorded for a CD release/download, commercial announcement, television show, motion picture)?

3) If it is for a CD release/download, what is the approximate number of pressings/downloads? What is the approximate budget?

4) If it is for a commercial announcement, is it for a national, regional, or local campaign? Which medium (television, radio, Internet, etc.) will it be used on? Will the musicians be on camera?

5) If it is for a television show, which type of show is it for (variety special, talk, sports event or theme, documentary, sitcom, awards)? Where will the television show air (network, basic cable, pay cable, PBS, local television)?

6)   If it is for a variety type show (talk show, awards show), what is the length of the show and its rehearsals?

7) If it is for a television movie, scripted episodic show, television documentary, or sitcom, will musicians be on camera?

8) If it is a live performance pick-up of a staged concert for the Internet, will it be a one-time live stream or an on-demand stream? Will the stream access be ad supported or subscription based?

9) If it is a project made for new media, what type of show is it, and over which new media platforms will it be available (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Apple)? Will the viewing be ad supported or subscription based?

10) What is the name of the production entity and party responsible for control of the product?

Electronic Media Services Division

An EMSD Perspective on the AFM Officer Training Program

Electronic Media Services Divisionby Patrick Varriale, Director AFM Electronic Media Services Division

I have had the privilege of participating in the AFM Convention mandated Officer Training Program, joining my AFM colleagues in bringing valuable information to local officers in an up close and personal way. These training programs take place prior to AFM regional conferences. So far, sessions have been held at the Eastern Conference in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania; the Southern Conference in Orlando, Florida; and most recently the Canadian Conference in Hamilton, Ontario, where I gave a presentation with Contract Administrator Dan Calabrese, the electronic media representative for Canada.

My role in the training is to help “demystify” electronic media. There are so many facets and possibilities in this day and age. I advise local officers about the many tools available to them to help make AFM projects a reality. 

My presentation starts with an overview of the national agreements administered by the Electronic Media Services Division—the Sound Recording Labor Agreement (SRLA), Commercial Announcements Agreement, Motion Picture and Television Film Agreement, Television Videotape Agreement, and more. My intent is to bring clarity and relevance of those agreements to the local. As an example, the SRLA and Motion Picture and Television Film Agreement have low budget options available that can make lower volume recording projects possible. The Commercial Announcements Agreement has regional and local provisions that provide flexibility for producers of those types of commercials.

I then review the many other agreements available to capture AFM work—Local Limited Pressings, which now contains a visual component for concert DVDs; Demonstration Recordings, which also contains a visual component; Local Made and Played Commercial Announcements for local stores, restaurants, etc.; Local Broadcast Media; Limited Videocassette Release; Visual Archival Recording; Single Song Overdub; and Joint Venture, to name a few.

The Joint Venture Agreement is one of the more popular items. It enables a self-contained band to record itself and make the recordings available. Under this agreement, the only AFM-related requirement is the filing of a form with the local where the recording takes place to document the session. The understanding is that the musicians share equally in proceeds from the sales of the recording. It offers protection for future uses of the recording that were not contemplated by the Joint Venture Agreement.

Throughout the training, I stress the importance of ensuring that the company engaging the services of the musicians is a current signatory to the appropriate agreement for the work that is being performed and that the B (session) Report Form and music preparation invoices reflecting the activity of the musicians are properly completed and filed with the AFM local where the recording activity takes place. When a B-4 Report Form is filed for work under the SRLA, the musicians who performed services on that session automatically qualify for payments from the Sound Recording Special Payments Fund (SPF) and for potential new use of the recordings in motion pictures, television films, commercial announcements, or other media.

To help ensure that the B-4 Forms are properly filed, we provide recorded product CD jackets from the recorded product to locals. Signatory companies are required to provide the jackets to the AFM. The liner notes contain recording information such as where the sessions took place and the names of the musicians. The locals can check to see if they have the B-4 Forms and if those forms are consistent with the liner notes. If the local has no B-4 Forms for a project, local officers have the opportunity to make the proper inquiries and secure the forms.

Participating in these training programs gives me the opportunity to catch up with local officers, some of whom I have known for many years through interaction at conventions, conferences, and discussions of electronic media projects over the telephone.

I applaud local officers who have participated in this program. In addition to the above, there are many anomalies in the world of electronic media. I am more than glad to work with local officers in all aspects to demystify the many intricacies of the EMSD.

Highlights of EMSD Special Focus Issue

Electronic Media Services Divisionby Patrick Varriale, Director AFM Electronic Media Services Division and Assistant to the President

Welcome to the 2017 Electronic Media Services Division (EMSD) focus issue of the International Musician. The EMSD is the division of the AFM responsible for servicing recording musicians (with the exception of symphonic electronic media, which is administered by the Symphonic Services Division). We are confident that this issue has articles relevant to all readers.

In this issue EMSD Contract Administrator Maria Warner Dowrich reports on the one-year extension of the Commercial Announcements Agreement; Mary Beth Blakey provides an updated list of EMSD staff dedicated to providing the utmost in service to musicians whose livelihoods are impacted by the EMSD; and Matt Allen speaks to the various soundtrack album provisions of the Basic Theatrical Motion Picture and Television Film Labor Agreements. Administrative Assistant Cecelia Gray tells readers about her role juggling a huge volume of jingle new use projects. My article below explains the EMSD’s role in the AFM’s new Officer Training Program, which is available to locals prior to regional conferences. My other article is about the importance of filing live performance contracts and how potential electronic media payments are impacted.

In this issue, you will also find informative articles from Recording Musicians Association (RMA) President Marc Sazer, Contractor Juliet Haffner, and Local 802 (New York City) member Marc Ribot on behalf of the Artist Rights Caucus. I thank them for their contributions to this issue.

Last, but certainly not least, I am especially glad to have Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) member Carl Verheyen as the cover story for this issue. As you will read, he has had a long and successful recording career. I cannot tell you how pleased I am to have Verheyen associated with this issue.

As this issue goes to press, the West Coast Office is relocating to Burbank (from Hollywood). It is operating out of a temporary space while the new office is being prepared for opening in mid-September. Special thanks to the staff in that office for their attention to this issue during this time of inconvenience and for their sincere dedication throughout the year.

I also want to recognize the personnel in the EMSD New York Office. Over the past year, they have taken on a greater workload and I cannot thank them enough for their “day in and day out” tireless effort to the cause.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank in-house AFM Counsel Jennifer Garner and Russ Naymark for their invaluable assistance in negotiations of our major agreements, resolving long outstanding claims, and lending their expertise to the many special agreements that this office is involved with to cover the recording work of our great musicians.

I hope you enjoy these articles. Please let us know if you any questions. We are always glad to be of assistance.

Electronic Media and the Role of Live Performance Contracts

Electronic Media Services Divisionby Patrick Varriale, Director, AFM Electronic Media Services Division

You may wonder why an issue focusing on electronic media has space devoted to live performance work. It would seem to be a contradiction in terms. In the following  paragraphs you will learn about this distinct and important connection and why it is essential for locals to take an aggressive approach in seeing to it that the services of musicians are protected.

When a live performance is recorded or taped, as most are these days, if there is no signatory to an appropriate AFM agreement covering the recording/taping, the live performance contract will play a key role. It should include “paragraph 6,” which contains words to the effect: no performance shall be recorded/taped in the absence of an AFM agreement to cover the recording/taping of the musicians’ services. This wording enables the Electronic Media Services Division (EMSD) to pursue the appropriate electronic media payments—wages, residuals, royalties and benefits—against the “purchaser” of the live gig.

If live work is performed under a collective bargaining agreement between the AFM local and the employer, or if it is done under an AFM Pamphlet B touring agreement, any recording that takes place will most likely be covered. For instance, there is an artist who is signed to a Pamphlet “B” Touring Agreement, which covers the live services of the musicians. The artist is also signed to the proper AFM electronic media agreement for the recording of the performances. Therefore, the musician receives additional payments covered by that electronic media agreement, including wages, pension fund contributions, health and welfare (filed on the relevant AFM B Report Forms), and any ancillary payments stemming from that agreement.

However, in situations where there is no collective bargaining agreement or AFM-approved touring agreement—whether it is for a church service or an artist performing at a major venue—in many instances the live performance contract is not filed to cover the date. Therefore, the AFM is hard-pressed to secure additional electronic media related payments.

As a recent example, it was brought to the attention of the EMSD that a group of musicians from a church were taped. That taped performance was exhibited on an ongoing basis over the Internet. With no AFM agreement in place to cover the taping or live performance contract, the EMSD has been unable to pursue payments due the musicians that would have applied under the AFM’s Internet Streaming Agreement. Unfortunately, there are many similar situations.

The solution is relatively simple. When engaged for a live performance, musicians should check ahead of time with the local having jurisdiction over the venue to find out the status of the live contract. This will give the local the opportunity to provide the “purchaser” of the musicians’ services with the appropriate contract. 

Locals can take an active role in policing activity that takes place within their jurisdiction to safeguard its members’ work. This may be easier said than done, but more than worth it to ensure that the services of musicians are protected to the utmost degree.

record under afm

Top 10 Important Reasons to Record Under AFM Agreements

  1.  Standard wages—You are guaranteed to receive at least the minimum standards for your services.
  2.  Doubling and overdubs—In addition to wage payments, the employer is required to make payments for doubling and overdub services.
  3.  Foreign use—If you perform services in the production of a show produced under most of the AFM’s television agreements, you will receive additional payments if the program is broadcast overseas.
  4. BLu-ray payments—If you provide services to a program that is released into the Blu-ray or digital formats, you will be entitled to additional payments that will
    continue to accrue based on gross receipts.
  5. Pension fund contribution—The employer is required to make a pension fund contribution on your behalf, which puts your documented work into the system.
  6. Health and welfare fund contribution—The employer is required to make health and welfare contributions to the health plan of your local. If your local does not have a plan, they are required to make a nonpensionable wage payment directly to you.
  7. SOUND RECORDING Special payments fund (SPF)—If you perform services on
    sessions for a sound recording, you are guaranteed to receive payments from the Sound Recording Special Payments Fund for each of the next five years.
  8. Secondary markets fund—If you perform services under the Basic Theatrical Motion Picture or Television Film Labor agreements, you will qualify for distributions from the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund should the film be released to outlets such as pay cable, TV, Blu-ray, or new media.
  9. Reuse—If you perform services for work under the Commercial Announcements Agreement, you will receive periodic reuse payments for any new cycles the
    commercials enter into; if the commercial is exhibited on the Internet, full payment for use in that format will apply. Re-use also applies to work done under the AFM TV agreements.
  10. New use—If you perform services under an AFM agreement and your product is licensed for use in another medium, such as a theatrical motion picture, television film, or commercial announcement, you will be entitled to additional payments and pension contributions as if you had performed the work under that agreement.
reality TV

Today’s Reality TV Contracts

by Mary Beth Blakey, Contract Administrator AFM Electronic Media Services Division

A conundrum that we frequently face when administering television agreements is how they apply to so-called reality TV. Early on, there was a tendency to designate all reality television programs as falling under the Television Videotape Agreement. However, as the years went on and subgenres within reality programming became more defined, the contract administrators in the New York and the West Coast offices were able to reach a more definitive consensus as to which reality shows fall under Live Television agreements, and which fall under the Television Film Agreement.

The distinctions become much more intuitive once you can place a given program under its particular subgenre within reality television.

Documentary Style

The current overwhelming majority of reality programming is “documentary style,” which is almost exclusively administered and interpreted as Television Film content. 

  • Dating—Shows such as the The Bachelor/Bachelorette, Are You the One? and Coupled, featuring contestants attempting to find love, are all TV Film programming. If you receive a call to perform on one of these shows, contact Matt Allen in the West Coast Office to discuss the signatory status of the show, as well as applicable sideline rates. 
  • Soap opera style/celebrities—Programs such as Keeping Up with the Kardashians, I Love Kellie Pickler, Love & Hip Hop, as well as The Real Housewives of … would also all be considered Television Film content. If you spot an AFM sound recording being used in one of these shows, please alert the New Use department in the West Coast Office. 
  • Nonvariety competition—These are shows that feature competition and elimination, but without a variety or musical element. Think Chopped, Project Runway, or Survivor. These programs are also interpreted and administered under the Television Film agreement. 

Variety-Based Competition

“Variety-based competition” is the only subgenre of reality programming that should be consistently contracted and reported under the relevant live TV agreement—Television Videotape, Basic Cable, or Non-Standard Television. The Voice, America’s Got Talent, and Dancing with the Stars are great examples of competition shows highlighting musical performances, putting them squarely in the scope of the Television Videotape Agreement.

Contractors working on new shows of this type should contact Mary Beth Blakey in the West Coast Office for the latest applicable rates and terms. 

Little Cog in a Big Machine

by Cecelia Gray, Administrative Assistant, AFM Electronic Media Services Division

When people ask me about my job I struggle to tell them precisely what my work means to me and what it is I do. I’m a horribly irreverent person, so I say something like, “I work in an office environment where we can spend 10 minutes one-upping each other with puns and it is not an atypical moment for anyone.”

And though that’s something I love about my job, that’s not the root of it. Yes, I love that everyone indulges me with my highly decorated desk, I love talking about music all day, and I love the little peeks I get into the broad and deep history of this place. This job for me, though, is something larger.

I’m the child of a singer-songwriter, a woman who is one of the best music educators I’ve ever seen, and who understands the impact that a good arts education can have on a kid. She fought for years to get proper equipment and funding to build a music program to be proud of in my hometown. I grew up surrounded by a small community of artists of one kind or another, all of whom, including my mother, still struggle with the unfortunate undervaluing of art. I have watched my friends barely scrape by, while they pour their souls out on stage for tips. I’ve fallen behind on rent because it turns out that short films couldn’t pay after all. Do it for the exposure, just try not to die of exposure in the process.

I suppose it’s fitting that, with all of that personal history, I would end up in a place where I can try to do something about it professionally.

I am a little cog in a big machine, but I like what this machine does and I like what I do in it. I help to process paperwork that ensures music is being produced under union conditions. I answer questions about wages and pension for employers and members. I keep detailed records of projects where the union could potentially find its members involved and in need of support. When I can, I find previously unreleased material and money for session musicians who rely upon that money. I am here to support and give voice to those whose work is being used without their permission. As an artist, this gives my job meaning. I am not just pushing paper; I am making sure artists are treated with the respect they deserve.

I was only recently hired full-time, and even though this job fits perfectly into my interests, I was just a temp who accidentally stumbled into it. Now, I’m in this weird family that laughs too loud about dumb puns and I don’t think I’ll be leaving anytime soon. I hope I get the chance to speak for more of you, more often, and I hope that you all will find in me an ally for many years to come.

new use

Are You a Leader?

by Daniel Calabrese, Canadian Federation of Musicians EMSD Contract Administrator

Think back to 10 years ago. How did you record your music? How did you rehearse? Who paid for your recording time? The way to make music is constantly upgrading. It’s taking less space, less equipment, less hassle, and sometimes less money. With that, the result has led to one truth: we’re making more music, faster than ever before, and it’s not slowing down.

While swimming in sound recording contracts on the daily, I’m starting to recognize that we’re currently living in a music supervisor’s heaven. Traditionally, publishing companies would run licensing departments; today music supervisors clear songs directly with artists in advance and pitch their music later. Traditionally, labels would hire musicians to make recordings; today we see artists record everything themselves, then license it to the labels. We’re in an era with an endless supply of new music; rules are changing daily, and everyone is breaking tradition.

However, there’s one tradition of practice that shouldn’t change in this new era: now, more than ever, session leaders need to submit recording contracts to their local after every session. We see too many AFM members recording music without grasping the potential of success from that recording. With music licensing increasing, new use goes up. (Taking prerecorded material and using it in a new medium. For example, “Eye of the Tiger” being placed in a commercial jingle.)

What is new use? Where did it come from? There’s a long answer going back to the early 1930s, where the work of live musicians performing to silent films in theatres was diminished, and soon completely replaced by scored music that was recorded in the movie. Shortly after that, musicians were replaced by prerecorded material on radio shows. The short answer is that new use keeps the value of music, while the way we use music changes. When a member performs services under an AFM agreement, that work is protected, if it’s used for any purpose other than its original intent. That means, if your recorded material is used in a future television commercial, you will be compensated the same as if you had performed new work under AFM’s Commercial Agreement.

Submitting a B-4 recording contract not only protects your work from potential future use, it also guarantees payments from the Sound Recording Special Payments Fund (SRSPF) for the next five years. The SRSPF was established in 1964 by the AFM and recording companies who employed AFM musicians under the collective bargaining agreement known as the Sound Recording Labour Agreement (SRLA). Record companies are obliged to contribute a percentage of their record sale revenue into a fund for distribution to musicians listed on B-4 forms that are submitted. The more work submitted, the more contributions a musician receives from the fund. More information can be found at sound-recording.org.

As the music industry runs in a world without borders, one thing that must stay true is the value of music. Through the protection of new use and other benefits like SRSPF, the AFM proves to be a leader by its ability to adapt to change, no matter how quickly technology can advance/regress the industry.

Are you a leader? If bandleaders (and all musicians) continue to submit their contract reports to locals, it’s much easier to credit and compensate members appropriately, while allowing the industry to run more efficiently.

Please contact me at (416) 391-5161 X224, if you have any questions concerning Canadian recordings and/or other electronic media services.

D and B-4 Report Forms: Ensuring Musicians Are Properly Listed

by Kim Wysocki, Administrative Assistant, AFM Electronic Media Services Division

The importance of our CD Jacket Program has grown over the years and continues to grow.

Securing the release of all sound recording products, including, but not limited to, box sets, “anniversary” packages, deluxe editions, etc., which usually contain live and previously unreleased material and coordinating the proper filing of B forms for these recordings, as well as all recordings done under the Sound Recording Labor Agreement (SRLA) are vital to the Electronic Media Services Division (EMSD).

This office continues to pursue major record companies, including covered labels and independent labels signed to the SRLA. In the same vein, the EMSD researches to obtain CDs, label copies, and other pertinent information (including digital releases). When this process is completed, the information gathered is shared with the AFM locals in whose jurisdictions the recordings took place. We work together to ensure that B-4 report forms are accurately filed (hours worked, doubles, overdubs, music preparation, etc.) and also make sure that a current signatory contract is in place. We coordinate our efforts to ensure that musicians are properly credited and receive wages, pension, etc., for their work and subsequent payments from the Special Payments Fund for each of the next five years, as well as for potential new use of recordings in motion pictures, TV Film, commercial announcements, and more.

The filing of these forms is essential and it’s to the benefit of every musician who performs on a recording to see that they are properly listed on the AFM B-4 report forms for their work. This makes new use billing procedures go more smoothly.

EMSD has a scanning procedure to ensure that all the report forms received in this office for any work performed under AFM agreements are “stored” in our system, thereby making them readily accessible.  We also have an electronic jacket file (provided by the Pension Fund), which enables us to access information as needed. The more information we have on file, the better equipped we are to serve and assist you.

who to contact at esmd

Click to enlarge

new media productions

Original Made-for-New-Media Motion Picture Productions

by Matt Allen, Contract Administrator, AFM Electronic Media Services Division

Today, more productions are initially made for new media platforms. At recent motion picture seminars I have participated in, original made-for-new-media productions are fast becoming a popular topic of conversation. A side letter to deal with original new media productions was added to the AFM Basic Television Motion Picture Agreement of 2010-2013. Since then, the AFM has covered a number of made-for-new-media motion pictures, from small budget film projects to large new media productions such as House of Cards, Mozart in the Jungle, Alpha House, and Transparent, just to name a few.

I regularly receive questions from musicians, contractors, and producers on just how the AFM handles scoring motion pictures made initially for new media because of the growing popularity of made-for-new-media motion picture productions, and the demand for original scores utilizing world-class musicians in these productions. For this article, I will review some of the basics.

Terms and conditions of employment on original new media productions are freely negotiable between the employee and the producer. This offers greater flexibility to fit the budgetary needs of individual projects, especially smaller independent new media projects. The exception is that all applicable terms and conditions pursuant to the Basic Television Motion Picture Agreement shall apply for musicians who are engaged to perform sideline (on-camera) services on high-budget SVOD programs.

The producer is obligated to make health and welfare (H&W) contributions on behalf of each employee engaged, and such H&W contributions shall be based on the greater of hours worked or guaranteed. In addition, on new media productions budgeted at $25,000 or more per minute, the producer is also obligated to pay a pension contribution on behalf of each employee engaged.

Original made-for-new-media motion pictures should not be confused with other types of new media productions, such as live concerts captured for streaming on the Internet or other devices, which are covered by a different AFM agreement. Lastly, it is important to note that all session paperwork must be filed with the local office in the jurisdiction where the work is being done, and copies of those session report forms must be sent to the AFM’s national office in order to ensure they are filed with the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund so that participating musicians are properly credited for their performance in any secondary markets distribution.

Please feel free to contact me directly at the AFM West Coast Office if you should have any questions.