American Federation of Musicians Blasts Lionsgate For Recording 'Hunger Games' Score Abroad
American Federation of Musicians Blasts Lionsgate For Recording 'Hunger Games' Score Abroad

Modern musicians sometimes turn to new and unusual instruments - the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra has to rank high on that list - but the music that Mad Men producers will be hearing today (Jan. 5) has a longer lineage than the dulcet tones of bell pepper trumpets: it'll be the sound of feet pounding the pavement as the American Federation of Musicians pickets the show's downtown LA location shoot.

The reason for the dissonance, the AFM said in a statement, is that the show's production company - Lionsgate - "refuse(s) to employ musicians under terms considered fair and acceptable by the (AFM)," despite having union agreements above the line and for crew.

For a union, that's like the sound of fingernails on a blackboard, because it means that the company makes no contributions to the union pension and health fund and pays no residuals.

Interestingly, the AFM statement makes no mention of a complaint about Mad Men itself - nor, it should be said, does the union seem to have any beef with the show's broadcaster, AMC. Rather, the AFM points to a film, The Hunger Games, which it says Lionsgate scored in Europe - ironically, with "native Americana music" from the Appalachian region where the movie is set.

A Lionsgate spokesman declined to comment.

American Federation of Musicians Blasts Lionsgate For Recording 'Hunger Games' Score Abroad

It's shaping up to be a noisy week in the unionized music world: on Friday, AFTRA dancers will be rallying for a music video contract with the major record labels, including Sony, UMG, Warner, EMI, Disney and most of their subsidiary labels. Negotiations resume January 11 and 12.