Tag Archives: tv

TV Negotiations Finish with Streaming Residuals Win

I am pleased to report that on October 22, 2020, after years of false starts, interruptions, and delays, the Federation reached agreement with representatives of CBS, NBC, and ABC for a successor Television Videotape Agreement, subject to ratification by the members.

Negotiations for this agreement spread over four years. The previous agreement expired on February 2, 2016, but was extended indefinitely pending a successor agreement. These negotiations presented some of the most difficult challenges the Federation has ever confronted. From the beginning, we faced employers who refused to bargain over streaming residuals, who wanted to reach an agreement that simply was unfair to musicians. Network representatives never really wanted to make meaningful improvements to our livelihoods. When they eventually relented and agreed to discuss streaming residuals, the employers attempted to deny coverage to a large segment of the bargaining unit—guest artists, background musicians, and music preparation personnel—proposals we would never accept, and which we roundly and soundly rejected.

Our rank and file members and negotiating team hammered home repeatedly the fundamental inequity of their refusal to pay streaming residuals to musicians—residuals they pay to members of other talent unions—and their failure to ensure that musicians will qualify for continuous health care coverage. Buoyed by extensive concerted activity, we persevered and reached an acceptable agreement. While we did not accomplish all our objectives, we did make considerable progress.

Although we have not achieved full parity with other unions in residual streaming, we did succeed in obtaining new contract language providing for a residual when content from live television programs is exhibited on an advertiser-supported streaming-on-demand (known as Advertising Video on Demand, or AVOD) platform after a seven-day free window. Despite fierce resistance from the networks, the Federation fought to ensure that all musicians involved in production of streamed shows—including house bands, guest artist musicians, back-up musicians, and music preparation personnel—would receive an additional 2% of the program rate for each of two 26-week periods of streamed exhibition. After expiration of two 26-week periods, musicians will receive a pro-rata share in 1.2% of the streamed program’s AVOD receipts.

In addition, the networks agreed to apply the contract’s regular wage and benefit rates to services performed on certain High Budget Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) programs, ending the insidious practice of free negotiation. If ratified, wage rates in the agreement will be increased by 2% each year for a three-year term. Health and welfare daily contribution rates will increase by $5 in year one, and by an additional $5 in year three. The networks also agreed to increase their contributions for paid permanent download content from 1% to 1.5% of 20% of distributor’s gross for the first 100,000 units, and from 1.9% to 2.9% of 20% thereafter. Another new feature is payments to the AFM and Employers’ Pension Fund on an unallocated basis for licenses to secondary digital channels. These improvements are significant. The new AVOD residual language is a fundamental, structural contract change that can be improved upon in future negotiations. Moreover, this deal will result in long overdue wage increases that are compounded by the new AVOD streaming payments.

The path to this agreement was arduous. The networks put up every roadblock they could. In the face of this reality, our approach was steadfast in protecting the contributions our great musicians make to the television industry and pragmatic toward seeking new benefits for our constituency and our pension fund. While we have a long road ahead and much more progress to make, this comprehensive package addresses a number of critical issues, not the least of which is the wage stagnation of the past several years owing to the networks’ refusal to negotiate and provide streaming residual counterproposals. We had to fight long and hard to get serious discussions on streaming started at all. Once that happened, and when musicians from our shows hit the street and generated heat, the pieces began to fall into place.

I cannot praise too highly the solidarity, hard work, and enormous time investment of all the musicians in the #RespectUs campaign. Actions included wearing #RespectUs facemasks at their workplace, NYC rally and march, and helping to get public recognition for the contract from late night hosts James Corden and Stephen Colbert. Without the actions from members fighting to win a better contract, we would not have won what we did. 

We benefitted from the invaluable input and activism from Local 802 and Local 47 musicians who perform on the various late-night shows with James Corden, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and Seth Meyers, as well as variety show musicians performing with Dancing with the Stars, The Voice, and Saturday Night Live. Numerous freelance bargaining unit musicians participated in Zoom meetings and negotiations. We were also assisted by local union officers Ed Malaga (IEB and Washington, DC Local 161-710), Terry Jares (IEB and Chicago Local 10-208), Pat Hollenbeck (Boston Local 9-535), Andy Schwartz (New York Local 802), Rick Baptist (Los Angeles Local 47), Dean Rolando (Chicago Local 10-208), and Nashville RMA representative Danny Rader.

I offer my most sincere thanks to the members of the Federation’s negotiating team, which consisted of International Vice President Bruce Fife, Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert, Secretary-Treasurer Jay Blumenthal, International Executive Board members John Acosta (Local 47 Los Angeles) and Dave Pomeroy (Nashville Local 257), RMA President Marc Sazer, and rank and file representative Jason Poss, with assistance from AFM Counsel Jennifer Garner and Russ Naymark, EMSD Director Pat Varriale and Assistant Director John Painting, Contract Administrator Mary Beth Blakey, Organizing Director Michael Manley and Lead Organizer Alex Tindal Wiesendanger, Communications Director Antoinette Follett, and Local 47 Organizer Jefferson Kemper.

We cannot afford to relax and ease the pressure. We will meet regularly with the employers to continue discussions concerning workplace issues and the equity we seek. Further contract improvements, particularly in streaming residuals, will likely result if we maintain and build upon the momentum of our fairness campaign.

Next up—the Sound Recording Labor Agreement, with our old friends, the major record labels.

TV Musicians Rally, March Through Times Square to Demand a Fair Contract

More than 75 musicians joined together in front of the Ed Sullivan Theater on October 6 to call out CBS and the other television networks as musicians escalated efforts to secure a fair contract, gain wage increases and broader healthcare coverage, and secure residuals for streaming usage.
The rally was supported by New Yorkers from a wide array of labor entertainment unions, and included comments by Congressman Jerry Nadler, State Senator Brad Hoylman, City Councilmember Keith Powers, City Councilmember Helen Rosenthal, New York City Central Labor Council President Vincent Alvarez, and Local 802 (New York City) President Adam Krauthamer.

“Late night would not be the same without the musicians,” stated Hoylman. “CBS, you have a black eye. It’s time to give the talent the pay, the health care they deserve. It’s time to update the contract—a contract that seems to have been written when Ed Sullivan was the host.”

After years of attempts to achieve balance and fairness in the broadcast television industry, a majority of the house band musicians (members of the AFM) have signed an “Open Letter to the Networks” calling on ABC, CBS, and NBC to create true pay parity for the musicians and dismantle the structural racism that still runs rampant in the television industry. 

“The networks—CBS, NBC, and ABC—recognize that our music elevates the quality of their shows, and they are more than happy to use our sound and images to enhance the brand of everything they do,” said Jon Lampley, trumpet player in the Stay Human house band on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and a member of Local 802. “So often we are celebrated for bringing diversity to the screens that we grace—both with our faces, and with our music. Yet behind the scenes we are being told that our contributions aren’t worthy of a fair deal. The networks rejoice when we, the musicians, can add ‘culture’ to these shows that are written and hosted predominately by white men, but off camera they’re unwilling to grant us the economic parity that we rightfully deserve.”

While streaming residuals are granted to actors, singers, writers, and others in the industry, the musicians performing on the same shows receive no residual payment for music that is being monetized and featured on streaming platforms, significantly lowering musicians’ overall pay.

The #RespectUs rally continued with a musical march down Broadway concluding in front of the ABC Studio in Times Square.

While television musicians in New York and Los Angeles have been fighting for their rights, they have also been getting others in the industry engaged in the issues. Artists including Cher, The Roots, and QuestLove have voiced their support for television musicians over social media, as has late night television show host Stephen Colbert. 

The Late Late Show host James Corden, who comes from a family of musicians, recognized his house band during his October 22 show monologue. “Musicians are a massive part of this show,” he said. “And if you’ll allow me, I just wanted to say to our band here, how much I absolutely love you so much and value the work that you do on our show; what you bring to the show is indescribable. You elevate everything that we do. And it’s not just the music, it’s your presence here on screen. You lift everyone here, every single day. And I can honestly say we would be lost without you.”

In late October, the AFM and the networks reached a tentative agreement, subject to ratification.

Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) spoke at the October 6 rally in New York City during which television musicians demanded fair contracts from networks.


Negotiations Roundup—A Capsule View of Talks in Progress

The Federation’s negotiations with its bargaining partners, whether on an industry-wide, single-, or multi-employer basis, are a never-ending process. Other than contracts with touring producers such as the Broadway League, most of our negotiations seek improvements in compensation and working conditions when musicians are engaged to perform electronic media services either streamed or broadcast live, or captured for analog and digital distribution.

Continue reading

New International Representative, TV Negotiations Update

I am pleased to announce that Dave Shelton, former president of Local 554-635 (Lexington, KY), has become the newest member the Federation’s staff as an International Representative (IR), filling a field position that became vacant May 2017 with the departure of Barbara Owens.

International Representatives are the first line of help and assistance for local officers in matters pertaining to day-to-day operations and governance issues in running a local. They are readily available to assist local officers with onsite training, preparation of operating plans, budgeting, and compliance issues relative to AFM Bylaws and Department of Labor regulations. IRs are a resource for the development and application of local bylaws, mergers, membership rosters, newsletters, membership meetings, and elections.

New AFM International Representative for Midwest Territory Dave Shelton

Dave Shelton is uniquely qualified for service as an IR with his broad experience as a versatile professional musician and as a local officer, symphonic negotiator, orchestra committee chair, union steward, and AFM conference officer. An outstanding musician with many years of orchestral horn and jazz piano performance experience, Dave graduated summa cum laude in 2007 from one of the world’s most respected music schools, the University of North Texas (UNT), with a Master of Music degree in Jazz Studies. At UNT, he served as a teaching fellow and a jazz lab band director. Prior to his study at UNT, Dave earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Kentucky. He has performed as fourth horn with the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra for nearly two decades, and also serves as pianist and arranger for that orchestra’s pops series.   

During his years of service as a local officer with Lexington Local 554-635, Dave excelled in fundraising and development activities, public relations, collective bargaining, and contract negotiations. He was elected as an officer of the Regional Orchestra Players Association (ROPA) in 2016, and currently serves as its vice president.

Dave now joins IRs Allistair Elliott (Canada), Wally Malone (Western Territory), Cass Acosta (Southeast Territory), and Eugene Tournour (Northeast Territory) who are each assigned a geographic territory of individual locals to maintain regular contact and visitation. The IRs’ activities are coordinated by Assistant to the President Ken Shirk, who is based in our West Coast Office, located in Burbank, California. We are delighted to welcome Dave as the newest member of the Federation’s staff. I know he will do an excellent job.

TV Negotiations Update—Respect the Band!

The Late Late Show band, members of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA), (L to R) Tim Young, Hagar Ben Ari, Guillermo Brown, Reggie Watts, and Steve Scalfati demand fair pay when their work is streamed online.

On December 15, 2017, the Federation resumed discussions in Los Angeles with representatives from CBS, NBC, and ABC toward a successor agreement covering the services of musicians engaged to perform on live television. Despite three rounds of negotiations, which began 18 months ago, the talks have been deadlocked over the networks’ refusal to bargain over the Federation’s proposals for progressive payment terms for advertiser-supported and subscriber-based streaming of live and on-demand TV. Our proposals for better terms for musicians engaged in the production of live television programs made for initial exhibition on streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu were also rebuffed.

Despite the networks’ stonewalling, our team was determined to break the bottleneck and find ways to turn up the heat. At my request, AFM Organizing and Education Director Michael Manley, together with organizers from Local 802 (New York City) and Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA), Recording Musicians Association President Marc Sazer, and player representative Jason Poss of Local 47 worked to develop a plan of action by arranging a series of meetings with musicians working on late night shows, award shows, and prime time variety shows. The musicians identified, discussed, and prioritized issues surrounding the producers’ lack of additional payment when their performances are free to watch online.

A concerted campaign with a catchy name, #respecttheband, emerged from those meetings and quickly gained traction. As the December negotiations got underway in Los Angeles, audience members waiting in line outside the studios on both coasts received leaflets outlining the issues. Musicians from the bands inside released statements to the press speaking out about producers’ lack of respect and fair treatment when their performances are streamed.

The Late Late Show with James Corden musicians released a photo from their green room displaying a #respecttheband banner.

“Other performers are all paid when Jimmy Kimmel Live! streams on YouTube or other online outlets, yet musicians are paid nothing. Musicians just want to be compensated for our likeness and our music,” says Cleto Escobedo III, musical director of Cleto and the Cletones. “I love Jimmy, the producers, and everyone we work with. We just need to make sure the networks treat us and all of our colleagues fairly.”

“This is about fairness. It’s a travesty that musicians are being treated this way. We are just asking the networks for a little respect—and the networks can certainly afford to treat musicians with the respect we deserve,” says Harold Wheeler, who is well known in the Broadway and recording scene and will be the Oscar’s music director in 2018 for the third consecutive year. He was also the original Dancing With the Stars music director.

Amen to brothers Cleto Escobedo III and Harold Wheeler, the Corden band, and our organizing team of highly motivated AFM staff, local officers and staff, and dedicated player representatives—bravo!

With a publicity push from AFM Communications Director Rose Ryan, the musicians’ concerted activities in support of their bargaining objectives received extensive coverage in Deadline Hollywood and Variety.

As a direct result, the networks have now agreed to engage and negotiate over the Federation’s proposals for fair and equitable compensation when musicians’ performances are streamed. Our next round of TV talks will occur this spring.

public radio

Public Radio, Live TV, and Relocation

I am pleased to report that, after two rounds of negotiations, the Federation has reached a successor public radio agreement with representatives of American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio, which will set the pattern for wages and conditions for musicians who perform services for some two-dozen producers of public broadcasting programs, including Performance Today and Prairie Home Companion. Our successor public radio agreement becomes effective upon ratification and extends three years to January 31, 2019, with wage and applicable benefit contributions retroactive to February 1, 2016.

Important to this agreement are groundbreaking new media provisions that establish use fees and residual payments for musicians whose public radio performances are licensed to interactive digital service providers such as YouTube, Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix. In addition to a new use fee payable to each musician whose performance is embodied in any clip or program exhibited via new media, 5% of producers’ gross receipts derived from the license for exhibition of any clip or program will be distributed half (2.5%) to the AFM and Employers Pension Fund, unallocated to any particular individual, and half (2.5%) to musicians.

Thanks are in order to AFM Secretary-Treasurer Jay Blumenthal, In-house Counsel Jennifer Garner, Electronic Media Services Division Director Pat Varriale, Symphonic Services Director Rochelle Skolnick,
Symphonic Electronic Media Director Debbie Newmark, and Local 802 (New York City) President/AFM IEB member Tino Gagliardi for their invaluable help with
these negotiations.

Live TV Negotiations

The Federation will convene its fourth round of negotiations with the NBC, ABC, and CBS television networks August 14 toward a successor agreement covering musicians performing in live television variety shows like Saturday Night Live, The Voice, and Dancing with the Stars; late night shows like The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert; and specials like the Academy Awards and Grammy Awards shows.

As we all know, employers in all quarters of the commercial television industry have continued the fight to deny fair compensation to musicians, to expand their own production rights, and to deny union jurisdiction (and thus the path to negotiating fair deals) over products made for new media platforms.

Unfortunately, with previous AFM administrations, television employer intransigence was never met with a firm union-like resolve to fight through to reasonable conclusions. As a result, my administration inherited a tangle of television agreements that were expired and/or enmeshed in years-long and seemingly endless negotiations.

It has taken time to put our television house in order, but we have done so. We took on the tough negotiations, fought nose-to-nose when necessary, and showed the various employer groups an unflagging commitment to asserting our rights and obtaining fair deals. Using an approach that has been both militant and deliberate, we worked through the AFM’s outstanding television agreements and concluded deals—including successors to the TV Videotape Agreement, the Country Music Television Agreement, and the Basic Television Film Agreement—that benefited musicians and put the Federation on a firm footing for the current round of negotiations.

Of highest priority in our current TV negotiations are our efforts to improve coverage and residual compensation for musicians when programs are exhibited and streamed in new media. With the viewing public transitioning away from traditional linear television, switching off their sets in favor of on-demand online video alternatives, the watching of regularly scheduled broadcast television is dying. Against this background, the Federation’s TV new media proposals, which mirror provisions bargained successfully by our sister entertainment unions, have taken on added importance.

We have advised the networks that any successor agreement must contain on-demand streaming revenue participation for musicians at least commensurate with levels enjoyed by other workers in the industry. We will be negotiating hard for fair TV new media provisions this month, and given the networks’ difficult attitudes, I expect additional negotiating sessions will become necessary later this year, most likely in Los Angeles.

Headquarters Relocation

With the Federation’s lease at 1501 Broadway in the heart of New York City’s Times Square set to expire January 2019, and with full authorization by the International Executive Board, Secretary-Treasurer Jay Blumenthal and I have entered into negotiations to purchase an office condo in the financial district in lower Manhattan to serve as the Federation’s new home.

After comparing the costs of leasing versus purchase, we have determined that owning our offices is significantly more cost effective and will stabilize and reduce office occupancy expenses in the years and decades to come, putting to rest the Federation’s decades-old struggle over acquiring and owning its International Headquarters.

Protecting the Federation’s long-term financial interests by owning our headquarters office is a no-brainer. We will create equity, and reduce costs. We will reduce liability and increase Federation assets, all made possible by the Federation’s improved financial condition—a direct result of the hard work of our staff and the diligence, dedication, and fiscal responsibility of our magnificent International Executive Board. Watch for more details in this column next month concerning Federation media negotiations and our relocation journey.

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. 

52-Week All Media Cycle Addition in Commercial Announcements Agreement

by Maria Warner-Dowrich, Contract Administrator, AFM Electronic Media Services Division

52-week-media-agreementThere’s a new addition to the AFM Commercial Announcements Agreement. At the end of negotiations of the Commercial Announcements Agreement, June 5, 2014, the American Federation of Musicians and the Joint Policy Committee (JPC) agreed to add a new 52-week cycle in the all media initial use cycle and re-use cycle.

Under the new contract, with effective dates June 5, 2014 through June 4, 2017, the advertiser has the option to choose the 52-week cycle in all mediums and is not locked into any one or “sole” medium in any one cycle. These mediums include, but are not limited to television, radio, Internet, nonbroadcast, and foreign use.

Should the money savvy advertiser elect to choose the new all-media 52-week initial use cycle, they will save both monetarily and in terms of paperwork. But the main advantage of choosing this option is, the ability to use the AFM agreement as opposed to using the licensing agreement, and in so doing, the musicians immediately receive large pension and health and welfare contributions. The agreement will also provide a substantial upfront pay scale for musicians.

The all media payments are in addition to the appropriate minimum session fee payments (e.g., the one-hour session rate is $127.20 per side musician, etc.) The rates due arrangers, orchestrators, and copyists may be found in the music preparation section of the Commercial Announcements Agreement. Also applicable to session fee payments are: 16.5% pension fund contribution and $26, plus 6% health and welfare fund contribution. If the 52-week all media cycle is exercised, the additional payments (beyond the session fees) per spot, are $1,245 per side musician and copyist, with double scale for leader, contractor, arranger, and orchestrator, plus 16.5% pension and 6% health and welfare contributions.

If the advertiser elects a second 52-week all media cycle that payment is $933.75 per side musician and copyist, with double scale for leader, contractor arranger, and orchestrator, plus 16.5% pension and 6% health and welfare contributions. It’s the perfect fit for the busy advertiser looking to present a product in all media.

The attractive attribute of the new addition is flexibility to pick and choose, and mix and match the varied mediums covered under the Commercial Announcement Agreement for the applicable 52-week-cycle (one full year), and not three 13-week re-use cycles or 39 weeks in one medium, as provided in the previous agreement that was effective 2009-2012 and extended.

The new 52-week all media cycle agreement is thoroughly a win, win for all. But, it’s your call and we are here to assist!

sideline work

How to Handle Professional Sideline Work

by Matt Allen, Contract Administrator AFM Electronic Media Services Division

sideline workIn recent years, there has been steady sideline work across the US and Canada, in towns and cities, large and small, for television and motion picture production. Because of the diversity of shooting locations, I receive a number of calls from musicians and local officers in various jurisdictions concerning how sideline employment is to be paid and covered. So, I felt this article would be an opportunity to review a few of the basic elements of sideline employment.

Sidelining is when a musician is engaged to mime the playing of a musical instrument on camera. Typically, a musician will perform to a prerecorded track that is played back on the set. The minimum call for a sideline engagement is eight hours. Work hours after the initial eight hours, and during certain nighttime hours (after midnight, for example), entitles a musician an additional amount, based on the musician’s rate.

In some instances, a musician is required to record while being filmed. In these cases, the musician is entitled to a recording scale, in addition to their sideline scale. Also, a special Silent Bit rate is provided in the Theatrical Motion Picture and TV Film Agreements when a sideline musician is directed to perform special business.

There are many motion picture and TV film productions taking place across North America, so if you are ever contacted by a producer (or, if you are a local officer, and a musician or group of musicians in your jurisdiction is contacted by a producer) for a sideline engagement, you first need to confirm that the film is covered by the AFM. It is important that a producer’s signatory status be confirmed before you accept the call, otherwise you risk working on a non-AFM production and will lose the protection and benefits of AFM-covered employment. You may either contact your local to verify whether or not a producer is signatory to the appropriate agreement, or you may contact the AFM directly.

After you have completed the sideline engagement, it is important that you make certain a copy of the session report is filed with the local in the jurisdiction where the work was done. The local will, in turn, send a copy of the session report to the AFM, who will file a copy with the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund (FMSMF). Providing this session report will help ensure the FMSMF will have the appropriate documentation to credit you for your performance in any secondary markets distribution.

Current Motion Picture and TV Film sideline scale information can be found on afm.org, or for more information on sideline work in general, you may contact either track AFM headquarters or your local office.

new use department looking for help

New Use Department Has a Cubicle for You

by Peter Marroquin, AFM EMSD West Coast Office, TV/Theatrical Film New Use

new use department looking for helpIt takes a special group of people to create an effective and productive New Use Department, and that includes you. I have been a part of the Motion Picture/Television Film New Use Department since 1995. The department has consistently improved its billing and collection power every year, for the past two decades. This is the result of a constant effort to improve our data systems, identification of new sources of new use, partnerships with AFM locals, and the gathering of B-4 sound recording contracts from wherever they may roam. The goal of our department is to have every B-4 in existence in our archives, readily accessible for the billing and collection of new uses as they are found. AFM members are crucial to making this happen through their assistance in spotting new uses and locating B-4s.

The TV/Theatrical Film New Use department is part of the Electronic Media Services Division (EMSD) of the AFM West Coast Office. We monitor the industry to capture the use of AFM sound recordings in films. The department does this through viewer/researcher Alisa Childs, who records and watches TV shows and theatrical motion pictures to spot the new use of recordings. Our two full-time researchers, Bryan Vasquez and Andrew Morris, assist in the daily viewing to catch as many new uses as possible.

In addition to in-house recording and viewing, we have access to music-in-films information through DVD rentals, record company licensing reports, and the Internet. We are always looking for additional reliable ways to identify new uses in films because we have a four-year statute of limitations. This means we have four years to spot a new use, find a B-4, and bill a producer. Catching all new uses has become more challenging for our three researchers because the number of channels and services (e.g., Netflix and Amazon Prime) has grown.

This is where our members can help by reporting the new uses they spot in films. The information we need to start the billing process is: film name, tune title, artist name, production company, and year of film’s release (or air date in the case of TV films.) This information can be sent to me at e-mail pmarroquin@afm.org or faxed to (323) 461-5410. Unfortunately, the billing process sometimes stops because we do not have a copy of the AFM sound recording session contract for the tune(s).

When a sound recording session takes place, a B-4 form is filed with the AFM locals. The B-4 itemizes for our department the list of musicians who performed in the session. It also confirms that the session was done under an AFM contract, and directs us on the appropriate new use fees to bill. We archive sound recording B-4s as they are found. Currently our database includes B-4 forms gathered from various union locals, the pension fund, and members. We are always looking for ways to find more B-4s. Our goal is to have a complete record of all recordings that have been filed with AFM locals. Members can assist by sending us copies of B-4 sound recording forms that they have in their personal files. Please contact me if you would like to send us your collection.

The billing and collection of new uses in films gets better every year. Our team is committed to improving its services through the resources available, and to finding more sources of new uses and B-4s. Join our team effort by reporting new uses and submitting your B-4s.