Tag Archives: new use

new use

Collecting “New Use” Payments under EMSD Agreements

New Use Collections Are at an All-time High; This Is How You Can Get a Piece of the Pie

alyson sheehan

by Alyson Sheehan, AFM Electronic Media Services Division Administrative Assistant

You’re sitting on your couch flipping through the channels when suddenly you hear a familiar tune. That’s when you realize: you played on that song! And now it’s being used in a commercial! Likely, the record label that owns and controls the master recording has licensed it to an advertising agency for use in a commercial spot. This may be considered a “New Use” and trigger additional compensation for you, but there are a few things that need to happen before you put a down payment on that condo:

1. A New Use can be defined as a track that was recorded pursuant to an AFM agreement for one purpose, now being used for another purpose. So, the first question to ask yourself is: Was this recording made pursuant to an AFM Agreement? Not that you would ever intentionally play on a dark date … but maybe you didn’t confirm that the employer was a signatory to the proper AFM agreement before making the recording and only found out later that it was a non-union gig. If so, unfortunately, we will not be able to assist you in securing the New Use payments to which you would have otherwise been entitled, had the original recording work been covered.

2. If you’re pretty sure that this was a covered recording session employed by an AFM signatory, the next question is: Was a B-form filed to report this work? Did you by any chance happen to get a copy of that B-form, or keep any payment records, check stubs, or proof of employment? It is extremely helpful if you can provide any information and/or documentation in connection with that original recording session.

3. The next step is to talk to your local officer. Explain the New Use to the best of your ability, both the original track and what it was licensed into, and provide the local officer with any documentation you have. If this is the same local in which the original recording work took place, they might have the B-form on file. The local officer will assess the situation and help as much as possible to determine whether a New Use payment is applicable.

4. If your local officer agrees that a New Use payment may be applicable under the circumstances which you have described, they will notify the AFM National Office’s Electronic Media Services Division (that’s us!). If the New Use is any type of previously recorded music being licensed for use in a commercial announcement (that the recording was not originally intended for) then I am the point person in EMSD to assist. If the previously recorded material was licensed into a motion picture or television film, members of the EMSD staff at our West Coast office will be able to assist (you can find specific job descriptions here).

Of course, these are not the only things that previously recorded music is licensed into; especially in today’s world, the options are almost limitless. If the reported New Use doesn’t fall into either of those categories, I’m happy to take any and all New Use related inquiries from local officers and point them in the correct direction.

new use

As you can see in charts A and B, licensing recorded music is becoming pretty popular, and our New Use collections have skyrocketed in the past two years. We hope to continue to have these figures climb, not only to reflect the trends of the industry but to exceed them by also increasing the efficiency of our billing process.

We are constantly working with licensees and licensors alike to bill for these New Uses more quickly and efficiently, so we can get money to the musicians who earned it. As your track moves from a sound recording to a film score to a commercial announcement and back around again, taking on a life of its own, you deserve to feel proud and fairly compensated for your contribution to the entertainment industry.

The Importance of Tracking Commercial New Use

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

Commercial new use is a rapidly expanding segment of the Commercial Announcements Agreement. In late October 2016, the full administration of the Commercial Announcements Agreement was transferred to the AFM’s New York Office, and in the time since, we have received more than 400 song inquiries from ad agencies looking to use existing tracks in their ad campaigns.

This article explains this often overlooked source of revenue, the processes by which we determine if AFM fees are owed, and the trends in track selection. Remember, you are your own best advocate. We hope that, in understanding what we look for in order to create an accurate invoice and the seasonal patterns of usage, you will be on the lookout for uses of your work that you have not been paid for.

The vast majority of commercial new use that comes through our office arrives via ad agencies that are looking at songs for a potential campaign. Each song on their list must be thoroughly researched. In order for the most accurate invoice to be created, we need to locate the original session information. Without a B Form, it is difficult to determine doubling, overdubs, and any music prep services that were done in connection with the track.

These original report forms may be on file at the local where the recording took place or in the local that the leader considered his/her home local. The sessions may have taken place in several jurisdictions and the session reports may be filed at multiple locals. Sometimes the track is so new that the forms have not even been filed yet. Because of this, the research we do is both important and complex. It can often take weeks to assemble a complete picture and generate an accurate estimate of costs, but without taking the extra steps, we wouldn’t be able to secure the payments the musicians are owed.

Once we have the B Forms, fees are calculated based on the territories in which the ad will air, the length of time the ad will be aired, and the media on which the ad will air. A more detailed breakdown of these costs can be found on our website, but the general formula is the session and initial use fee (i.e., whichever media has the earliest first air date), followed by any subsequent uses (e.g., conversions, dubs, Internet, foreign).

Generally speaking, each of these uses has its own B-6 report form to ensure we are accurately tracking the usage and checks issued by the payroll company. This will also allow us to easily “re-up” a commercial, if the company feels it is still effective and would like to continue usage outside of the initial cycle. This would result in additional payments for the musicians.

The trends are largely common sense. The holiday seasons generate a large number of short-term ad campaigns, and there is another uptick in volume just before the Super Bowl. Because we are now living in a world where we are bombarded by advertising, the stream of requests never quite slows to a stop. During weeks where we receive minimal research requests, we are likely chasing down leads from prior weeks. The most surprising trend for us has been the use of motion picture scores in commercials, particularly scores from the mid-1990s and earlier.

So what does this mean for you? This means that you should always keep your ears tuned in for your work that may be used in commercials. We are surrounded by advertising and the sheer volume of it means there is a lot of previously recorded material being used on a daily basis. Just because you are a session musician who largely works on motion picture or sound recording sessions does not mean you should let your guard down.

If you receive checks for a commercial new use, please seek out that commercial and become familiar with it. If you see the commercial airing for longer than was indicated on your check, feel free to call us as you may be owed money for additional uses.

Above all else, be sure to file your B Forms in a timely manner and in the city where the work was done. Every type of new use benefits directly from simply having the forms in good order. You are the direct beneficiary of ensuring everything is in order.

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.