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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers About Electronic Media

by Michael Manley, Director AFM AFM Touring/Theatre/Booking Division and former Contract Administrator, Commercials, Gaming, Videotape

Q: What types of work activity does AFM electronic media cover?

The AFM’s Electronic Media Services Division (EMSD) covers three broad categories:

1) Original media that is created. (For example, a jazz band’s recorded concert, musicians hired to perform soundtrack music for a TV commercial or film, or musicians hired to appear as a ’40s big band in a motion picture filmed for TV or theatrical release.)

2) Existing media that is reused, or incorporated into a new medium. These are often referred to as “new uses” or “reuses.” (For example, a television show’s soundtrack music released as a CD or digital download, a pop song used in a video game, or a movie theme used in an Internet advertisement.)

3) Supplemental markets, in which existing media is released into a new format or market. (For example, a theatrical film released on DVD or Blu-ray, a commercial broadcast in a foreign country, or a television movie offered for streaming on Netflix.)

Musicians working under AFM contracts therefore have protections, not only for their original performances for audiovisual recordings, but also intellectual property rights for the various uses of those AFM-covered recordings. It is important that AFM members understand that working under an AFM contract protects their rights for any recordings that take place as well. Without an AFM contract for live performance, it is extremely difficult for the AFM EMSD to file claims for, or recover payments for, audio or audiovisual recordings made of that work.

Q: As a local officer, how do I bill for any of the above and how do my contractors know the appropriate rates to quote for media projects?

Summaries of the major AFM media contract rates can be found at www.afm.org. Many projects today cross platforms, or don’t fit neatly into established boxes, so it is best to contact EMSD staff with potential projects, and provide as much detail as possible. EMSD relies on local officers and musicians to investigate and discover potential projects in their local’s jurisdiction, and to ask the right questions so that EMSD staff can ensure projects are appropriately covered.

Q: What are “the right questions”?

You can’t assume that employers or contractors will divulge all the information needed, so it helps to put on the “Sherlock Holmes hat” when discussing media projects. Here are some guiding questions appropriate for all general inquiries.

In the case of live performances/concerts:

Will there be an audio-only or audiovisual recording of the performance? How long is the show/performance content being captured?

Is it for archival/personal purposes?

Will it be broadcast and where? (network TV, pay cable, PBS, basic cable, etc.)

Is it for sale?

Is it to be used for download/web distribution?

How many copies/units are planned?

Who will own/control the product?

In the case of recording calls (commercials, film scores, country or pop songs, etc.):

What is the project? (film score, sound recording, filmed live concert, etc.)

What content will the music serve? (documentary film, independent film, awards show, rock/pop album, video game, etc.)

Where will the media be distributed?
(PBS, network TV, Internet stream, sold as a DVD, etc.)

What is the length of the show?

Is this audio only or audiovisual?

When will the show/content be broadcast
or released?

Who is the producer/network/employer?

Q: How do I handle reuses, new uses, and supplemental markets?

New uses, reuses, and supplemental markets are mainly handled by our EMSD staff, and partner organizations such as the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund. While we heavily research for new uses, we always appreciate members and local officers giving us a “heads-up” if they spot new uses of their work. When a local becomes aware of reuses of recordings that are likely covered, it is best to contact EMSD and let us know. Proper payment on these secondary uses of existing recordings relies on the locals providing accurate records of original B report forms for the recordings done in their jurisdictions.

Q: We have B forms from 1980’s recording sessions in our local office. They are taking up space. Can I throw them out?

No! At least not before scanning them and sending electronic copies to the EMSD. Think of the B report form as the DNA of your musicians’ recording work. Every time a recording travels to a new medium, or is rereleased, the original B form tells us who needs to be compensated, if a musician had one or more doubles, if they were a leader or side musician, and other vital billing data.

Q: Most of the work in our jurisdiction is live, so do I need to bother with all this?

The short answer: Absolutely! Given the ever-expanding media landscape, with new technologies and platforms emerging all the time, audio and audiovisual recording is occurring more frequently.

Q: This is fine for a major network or film company, but most of our local employers are small companies. Do you think they can afford AFM rates?

The EMSD creates Special Letters of Agreement to address the needs of unique projects, when appropriate. We are obligated to apply the appropriate national rates when projects fall under those umbrellas, but some events fall under the local’s jurisdiction. Rather than assume rates are not workable, check with the EMSD first and see if there is a solution. We want to capture work, not turn it away!

Q: What if things are recorded without permission? I just found our local orchestra’s holiday concert was broadcast on our local PBS station. What do I do?

All AFM Agreements should have some version of an “alligator” clause, which ensures proper payment can be sought in such cases. It’s called an alligator clause because it “bites” unauthorized media capturers by requiring proper AFM payments. Here is a sample alligator clause:

Should any product created or utilized under the terms of this agreement ever be utilized for any purpose not explicitly set forth herein, including, but not limited to, grant application, displacement of musicians in rehearsal or performance, national or international broadcast, Internet, demonstration or marketing of services or product by any group or individual, commercial phonograph records, promos, or commercial announcements, or background music for any type of sound or film program, the employer shall obligate itself to enter into and fulfill all conditions required by the appropriate agreement of the American Federation of Musicians, including, but not limited to, the payment of all applicable wages, residuals, royalties, and benefits.

In the case of your holiday concert broadcast, the above alligator clause would require your orchestra to pay the appropriate PBS broadcast rates for that use. All local live performance and single-engagement contracts should have some version of this alligator clause, in order to protect musicians against unauthorized uses of their recorded work. Without an alligator clause, there is no guarantee proper payment for unauthorized uses can be collected.

Q: Is there anything else I should know?

We love to hear from local officers, leaders, contractors, and musicians. So don’t be afraid to give EMSD staff a call when there are questions about media. And there are always questions about media!

B-4 Reminder to Local Officers and Staff

by Patrick Varriale, Director AFM Electronic Media Services Division

The following story is true: A contractor who was very active in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, and kept meticulous records for his many recording sessions, called to ask us if the Federation could use copies of his B report forms. Without missing (excuse the pun) a beat we said, “YES! Absolutely! Definitely!” 

We are in the process of scanning those forms so that they can be cataloged and readily accessible for potential additional use of the musicians’ product, thereby generating additional payments on their behalf. This helps us tremendously to streamline the billing process for the ever-increasing number of projects utilizing existing material.    

This story serves as a perfect reminder to all local officers and staff to please be sure to forward to the AFM copies of all B forms and music preparation invoices your local receives for recording projects. The forms are maintained in both the New York and West Coast offices. The potential additional uses normally administered by the AFM include sound recordings that are licensed for use in a theatrical motion picture, television film, commercial announcement, etc., or in a special project (clip show, “anniversary” show, award show, etc.). These projects are ongoing and oftentimes there is a tremendous amount of research that is undertaken by our staff on both coasts for any given project to ensure that the musicians receive proper compensation for the additional use of their product.

Your local should be proactive in making sure that the B forms are filled out completely and accurately, with a current signatory to the appropriate AFM agreement in place. These forms should be maintained and readily available when pursuing the usual additional payments. Two examples would be (1) under the Commercial Announcements Agreement for reuse, foreign use, or Internet use of commercial announcements and (2) under the live television agreements for reruns, foreign use of programs, and programs that are made available in supplemental markets—DVD releases or a different type of television (commercial television to basic cable television). And please be sure that music preparation invoices are matched up to the report forms that are filed for the instrumentalists.

Please send any and all B report forms (and music preparation invoices) to the New York office: American Federation of Musicians; Attn: EMSD; 1501 Broadway, Suite 600; New York, NY 10036. Contact us with any questions you have.

Meet the Electronic Media Services Division Staff

by Mary Beth Blakey, AFM EMSD Contract Administrator

As we so frequently get caught up in the day-to-day grind of business, and the pursuit of agreements and payments for our members, it can be difficult to make time to get to know each other. With that in mind, I’ve assembled the following “Who’s Who” for the Electronic Media Services Division (EMSD)—summarizing the job responsibilities for the staff.

New York — East Coast OFFICE

Patrick VarrialePat Varriale: Now director of EMSD, Varriale has been around for 40 years. He is all things electronic media, specializing in all facets of the Sound Recording Labor, National Public Television, National Public Radio, Limited Pressing, Demonstration Recording, and Background Music agreements.

maria warner-dowrichMaria Warner-Dowrich: Contract Administrator for Electronic Media Services Division, New York, Warner-Dowrich administrates commercial announcements, low budget sound recording, theme park, and limited pressings.

Kim WysockiKim Wysocki: As Administrative Assistant to Pat Varriale in the East Coast Office, Wysocki assists in the processing and entry of the commercial announcements/assumption agreements and provides assistance in signatory renewals. She also researches the numerous CDs that come into the office via record companies.


Los Angeles — West Coast OFFICE

Addison GranilloAddison Granillo: EMSD’s FM Commercials Administrator and New Use Commercials Manager Granillo fields commercial questions from players, employers, and local reps. He contacts ad agencies, both foreign and domestic, regarding commercial new use payment responsibilities.

Aksinia DintchevaAksinia Dintcheva: In the New Use Department, Dintcheva works tirelessly to create B-7 contracts and billings. A University of Georgia graduate, she has been working at the EMSD for 15 years.

Alisa ChildsAlisa Childs: New Use Research Administrator Childs creates research viewing schedules, meticulously monitors and analyzes electronic media, explores resources for identified new use, and prepares documents for new use billing packets.

Andie ChildsAndie Childs: Administrator Childs manages historical soundtracks and projects involving film-to-film clip use. She also handles spreadsheets and dispersals for compilation projects and programs.

Andre ShaversAndre Shavers: In charge of collections for the New Use Department, Shavers pursues payment for billings generated by that department. He also oversees notices for work dues payments.

Anna BedjanianAnna Bedjanian: As Commercial New Use Assistant, Bedjanian researches national and worldwide tune usage requests, and gathers current musician information. If necessary, she helps locate proper musician beneficiaries and composes B6 billing contracts.

Bryan VasquezBryan Vasquez: A researcher for the New Use Department, Vasquez monitors and analyzes TV and film media to track down new uses of sound recordings. He  prepares documentation for the necessary billing packet.

Chris DeLeonChris DeLeon: Assisting the New Use Department by generating B-7s, as well as handling local tech issues in the West Coast Office, DeLeon played a big role in our recent Internet upgrade.

Katelyn SegnereKatelyn Segnere: Administrative assistant in the West Coast Office, Segnere focuses on beneficiary documentation. She also works with Allen and Blakey on special administrative projects.

mary beth blakeyMary Beth Blakey: The contract administrator covering television videotape, basic cable television, Internet, new media projects, and video games, Blakey is marking her fifth year working at EMSD.

Matt AllenMatt Allen: The contract administrator who handles motion picture and television film, as well as low budget, student, festival, and industrial films, initially worked at Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA), administering the Sound Recording Labor Agreement. When Allen came to work at the Federation, he  managed commercial new use before moving into film agreements.

Niccole CulverNiccole Culver: As the primary receptionist in the EMSD’s West Coast Office, Culver works closely with Allen and Blakey on film and television projects, and handles a large portion of the signatory data entry.

Peter MarroquinPeter Marroquin: As New Use Administrator for sound recording into film, Marroquin also handles data storage and management for the office. He has the distinction of having worked for the AFM for 20 years.


Who to contact in EMSD? Click Here

East Coast Office: Tel (212) 869-1330

Ext. 234 – Patrick Varriale, Director of Electronic Media Services:
General Electronic Media, Sound Recordings, Nat’l Public TV, NPR, Background Music, Demonstration Recordings, Limited Volume Agreements.

Ext. 233 – Maria Warner-Dowrich, Contract Admin:
Commercial Announcements, East Coast, Low Budget Sound Recordings, Limited Pressings, Theme Park, Electronic Media

West Coast Office: Tel (323) 461-5401

Ext. 206 – Matt Allen, Contract Admin.
Theatrical-Film, TV-Film, Low Budget Film, Independent Film

Ext. 212 – Mary Beth Blakey, Contract Admin
Internet, Videotape, Basic Cable, Pay Cable, Video Games

Ext. 222 – Andie Childs, Admin.
Clips, Soundtracks

Ext. 221 – Addison Granillo, Admin.
Commercials, Commercials New Yse

Ext. 218 – Peter Marroquin, Admin.
Theater-Film, TV-Film New Use




New Compilation and Clip Use Collections

AFM Agreements Provide Compensation for New Compilation and Clip Use Collections

by Andie Childs, Administrator (Clips, Soundtracks) AFM Electronic Media Services Division

New Compilation and Clip Use CollectionsCompilations, for Electronic Media Services Division (EMSD) purposes, are programs that use excerpts from multiple outside sources such as films, TV shows, and records as a substantial part of their content.

Last year, the EMSD collected and disbursed payment for the many records and clips used in Denny Tedesco’s film The Wrecking Crew. This documentary portrays the ace session players who created the tracks for just about every major pop recording made in Los Angeles from the late 1950s into the 1980s. Long in the making, the film spent years on the festival circuit before finally going into wide release this year to great acclaim. We sent checks, not only to the Wrecking Crew regulars, but to hundreds of string, horn, and other backing players as well.

In a joint effort between New York and West Coast EMSD staff, we collected and disbursed payments for several anniversary specials made by New York’s public television flagship Thirteen WNET. Checks went to musicians who worked on 40 years’ worth of PBS musical and cultural programs covering the spectrum from ballet, opera, jazz, rock, and soul, to news and documentaries, and of course, Sesame Street and The Electric Company. Members who benefited from these disbursals played behind elite performers such as Wynton Marsalis of Local 802 (New York City), Luciano Pavarotti, Julie Andrews, Natalie Cole, The Martha Graham Dance Company, and more.

Former members of The Lawrence Welk Show band continued to benefit from its rebroadcast on PBS stations under a long-standing agreement administered by the West Coast Office. This year we also received and disbursed payment for the rebroadcast of two Lawrence Welk specials, in addition to the weekly shows.

We also processed a fair number of lump-sum payments for film clips used in documentaries and other films under Paragraph 8A of the TV Film and Motion Picture Agreements. Though these amounts are often small, they can certainly add up.

The process of collecting payment on compilations is labor intensive. The first step is to research specific data on the excerpts: recording date, place, and production company. Armed with that information, we locate the session reports, which can take further searching and sleuthing. Depending on where the work was done, we may have to call upon the local for help. Once we have the paperwork, I calculate the total payment amount by entering all the musicians and their positions in a spreadsheet and using per-musician rates determined by the media agreement that the work falls under.

Once the calculations are done, the appropriate contract administrator draws up a Special Letter of Agreement. The letter lays out payment and terms of use for the excerpts, and prohibits the use of the excerpted music in any other production outside of the original compilation program, without a new payment.

Once the agreement is executed and payment is received, I prepare a disbursal spreadsheet for our finance department listing all the participants with their current address and their share. Each address is retrieved individually from our membership database. Finally, the checks are cut and mailed, either in-house or by a payroll company.

The procedure for collecting on film-to-film clips used under the TV Film and Motion Picture Agreements is similar. Payment calculation is simpler since it’s a fixed, lump-sum amount, determined by clip length and type. However, the research and disbursal steps are the same.

If you’ve received such a check lately I hope this brief description gives you an idea of what went into it. The EMSD gladly fulfills its obligation to collect any and all payments due to our members for use of their recorded work. Clip use and compilation is a small but not insignificant part of our entire new use collection process.

A Brief Introduction to Electronic Media Services Division

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

I am excited to present the first special EMSD issue of the IM as director of the Electronic Media Services Division (EMSD), which represents and protects the interests of the AFM’s great recording musicians.

The following four articles were prepared by the many talented EMSD staff persons:
1. CDs Have Taken On a Life of Their Own
2. Top 10 Important Reasons to Record AFM
3. Protect The Product 
4. AFM Agreements Provide Compensation for New Compilation and Clip Use Collections
5. How to Handle Professional Sideline Work
6. New Use Department Has a Cubicle for You
7. 52-Week All Media Cycle Addition in Commercial Announcements Agreement

They are intended to be informative and to serve as a guide. We have also included an up-to-date list of EMSD staff and the functions they provide. They are all serious people—most of whom have dedicated themselves to serving recording musicians for many years. Our West Coast Office is led by Matt Allen and Mary Beth Blakey. While the New York Office will continue to be my base of operations, I am both confident and proud to have Allen and Blakey working with me to handle the complex and detailed-oriented administration of our recording agreements in a department where the projects keep coming.

The negotiations front has been, and will continue to be, busy. Earlier this year we completed negotiations for the new Basic Theatrical Motion Picture and Television Film Labor agreements. Those agreements have since been ratified. We have also completed negotiations with representatives of the producers of Conan, and are preparing to enter into negotiations for a new Sound Recording Labor Agreement (SRLA). Also on our negotiations radar are: Country Music Television (CMT), national public television, basic cable television, and nonstandard pay television.

Though our collective plates are extremely full, that has not prevented us from putting together a collection of articles for you to enjoy. So please sit back, read up, and let us know if you have any questions or comments.