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Home » Electronic Media Services » Updated Information on Streaming Agreements

Updated Information on Streaming Agreements


There is no denying that internet streaming is the fastest changing area in which Electronic Media Services Division (EMSD) administers agreements. While we attempt to always provide the most up-to-date information possible to musicians, local officers, and employers alike, the last thing we want to find is that someone has made decisions based on information provided in a previous year.

EMSD’s guidelines for audiovisual internet streaming projects are based on the agreements it bargains with the major industries who produce that type of content—television producers and music video producers. With changes bargained into the Sound Recording Labor Agreement (SRLA) earlier this year, the rubric has changed since the last EMSD focused issue.

The caveats to the use of this chart remain the same. First, these guidelines are meant for productions in which the music is captured simultaneously with the visual component of a production, which is to say, they are performance-based. These guidelines do not apply to “film” projects, where the audio is underscored after photography is completed. The AFM’s agreements with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) have contained New Media Side Letters since 2010 and those terms must apply to film projects.

Second, these guidelines could, but may not necessarily, apply to symphonic orchestras. Check with Symphonic Services Division first and they may direct you back to these EMSD parameters.

Third, stage theatrical productions should be handled separately; just as in the symphonic world, specific parameters for the capture of musicals may have been bargained in a different manner.

Moreover, if the content being created is to advertise a product, service, or event, then it should be categorized as a Made for Internet Commercial Announcement.

Last year, we presented a flow chart to guide you to the correct streaming agreement. This year, the information better fits in a grid layout, with the procedures determined by two overarching questions: Is the stream long-form or short-form? and is the engagement being captured a live performance or a specific recording call?

The AFM makes a contractual distinction between “long-form” performance videos, usually of full concerts, and short-form videos of individual songs. This is designed to prevent the terms from circumventing either the television agreements or the SRLA’s language on music videos. Remember, these promulgated internet agreements need to fit the new media terms that are elsewhere bargained with industry.

Long-form content that is made available free to the consumer may utilize an addendum to the Local Live Engagement Contract. Under this addendum administered by the local, the producer pays an additional percentage of the performance wage (plus pension, if applicable) for short-term internet streaming, for up to 30 days. Beyond 30 days, the producer should sign the AFM’s On-Demand Streaming Agreement.

If the content is not free to the consumer, or if the capture is from a recording call rather than an otherwise-covered live performance, the Producer should use the Made for New Media side letter to the AFM’s Television Videotape Agreement. Financial considerations will be made for projects of a particularly low budget or shortened streaming window.

Regarding short-form content, comprising individual music videos, terms and conditions that were previously promulgated through special agreements with the Federation have now been bargained into the SRLA. This includes the distribution of live performances at a rate charged per video, as well as the new alternate music video structure for recording calls to produce promotional videos. Single engagement employers may still utilize the Three-Minute Promo Agreement, which provides for 30 minutes of capture to produce three minutes of material, to promote their own upcoming engagements.

A pre-existing feature of the SRLA, the Low Budget Location Recording, is also available. This breaks the rubric a little bit, as it permits the release of any amount of music and images, whether long-form or short-form; however, it can only be utilized if several conditions are met. Those conditions are listed beneath the chart.

This article is meant to provide an overview of the numerous options available to potential internet streamers. For local officers, a more detailed account of the nuances between these agreements can be found in the document titled “Local Administration Packet for Internet Streaming” in the EMSD folder of the Document Library in the For Members section of the website.