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Musicians Union Begins Negotiations With Studios Over Streaming Residuals

Contract negotiations are underway in Los Angeles between the American Federation of Musicians and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, with musicians calling on the Hollywood studios to begin paying residuals for content created for streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

The AFM is seeking to level the playing field as new media consumption has resulted in more films finding distribution online. Musicians currently receive residual payments for secondary-market uses of theatrical and TV films, but not for made-for-streaming films. Conversely, studios have previously agreed to pay streaming residuals for actors, writers, directors and others involved when films are made for streaming services.

"As streaming consumption grows, the absence of streaming residuals will prevent musicians from being able to afford a home and feed their families, and threatens to erode the major contributions our members make to our local communities," said Ray Hair, AFM International president. "AFM members must take on the changes in technology by ensuring that we maintain good jobs and a rightful place in the future of the industry. We are seeking a productive dialogue with AMPTP as we work to reach a fair resolution of these negotiations."


At a press conference held Wednesday in Los Angeles, speakers included Hair, studio musicians, and representatives from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and SAG-AFTRA.   

"Working people in the entertainment industry must face the changes in our business together," SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris shared in a letter of support. "For generations, we have fought for quality jobs and won. Now, as the industry moves toward new media, we believe it is time to stand together again. Our members recognize the tremendous value that musicians bring to our films and television shows, and we support their demand for a fair contract for streaming."