Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Tuesday, December 31st, 2019




[Firstly, what are the ABC rules?: a new test to determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee.

A worker is an independent contractor ONLY if the company hiring the worker establishes the following:

  1. the worker is free from the control and direction of the hiring company “in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of the work and in fact”;
  2. “the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring company’s business”; and
  3. the worker is “customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature” as the work performed for the hiring entity.]

Below are three views of AB5. Make sure to pay particular attention to the statistics in Ari Herstand’s article. They are quite eye opening.



To the esteemed members of the California Assembly and Legislature:

AB5 will have a devastating and catastrophic impact on independent musicians, their livelihoods and the music industry in general in California. Musicians’ businesses operate in a substantially different way than many other types of industries, and the changes brought by AB5 are not sustainable with our business model.

Each year, a musician may be booked by numerous entities or individuals and may also contract numerous individuals. Musicians often wear different hats; as performers on their own and other musicians’ recordings and live performances, as session musicians, as instructors, as producers, as composers and songwriters, as bookers and as bandleaders.

For example, in a given week, a musician might:

-Perform on live gig under their own name and two in other bands.

-Teach eight private lessons.

-Produce three songs for a client, involving booking a studio and session musicians.

-Record their own songs with other musicians.

-Subcontract musicians and play at a wedding.

In just one week, the musician would be both employer and employee .numerous times over in the AB5 model. This is exponentially true over the course of a year. Using the Uber and Lyft model that precipitated AB5, imagine there are thousands of different rideshare companies. A driver might work for multiple companies for only a few hours a week or month. That same driver also owns a rideshare  Californiacompany that uses other drivers. This imagined scenario closely resembles musicians’ situations.

Most professional musicians in California do not have assistants, lawyers, agents or business managers. Most of us make a modest living in order to pursue their craft. The costs associated with AB5 would be crippling. Incorporating or becoming an LLC is prohibitively expensive, and payroll companies do not work with our business model. If one musician is contracted by another to perform on one song on a record, and the booking musician must go through a payroll company, they must pay fees for that one musician for the entire year. Multiplied by the amount of times one musician can contract other musicians throughout the year, the costs and logistics become overwhelming for an individual.

Most musicians in California are not celebrities. We are members of the working class. We have worked diligently to pursue our art, build up clients and nurture professional relationships so that we may continue to create and entertain. We work for and with each other on projects. There is no company or corporate structure. Our work is on a per-project basis and frequently the person booking us is a fellow musician. If a musician is contracted to play one song on an album, they recognize that there is no promise of future employment. They cannot claim unemployment against their colleague that booked them.

Being a professional musician is, by definition, a freelance occupation. The term “gig” was coined in the 1920’s by Jazz musicians. Musicians cannot stop freelancing and at “Blank Music Company” since it doesn’t exist. Music organizations that do offer secure, full-time employment and benefits, such as symphony orchestras, are blindingly difficult to get into. First-call union session musicians in Los Angeles can enjoy an excellent living and benefits, but the lines for those recording sessions are long and few musicians will ever make the bulk of their living this way. Most of us piece together our living from numerous opportunities throughout the year, which we welcome and want to do.

We are, frankly, terrified of AB5 as it allies to us. The ABC test is so strict and the fines are so high that many entities will simply stop using California musicians altogether. Clubs will switch to recorded music rather than use payroll companies, composers will use sampled instruments rather than live players and much of out business will simply move to Nashville, New York or Atlanta. The Los Angeles jazz scene has, in the last several years, surpassed that of New York in terms of creativity and visibility, but is not a money-making venture and is vulnerable in that aspect. Jazz clubs, with their limited resources, could become so over burdened that they may be forced to close, which would be a great loss to the state of California, both economically, artistically and in terms of its newfound reputation as a hub for creative music.

We are aware that exemptions for musicians were discussed and ultimately negated by the AFM, but the AFM represents only a fraction of musicians in California and does not speak for the majority of us. Most independent musicians were not aware of the existance of AB5 or how it could impact them until after it’s passing. And most are still not. We appreciate your efforts to go after billion-dollar conglomerates such as Uber and Lyft, but the reality is that independent musicians are much closer to the drivers economically. Many of the individuals in the professions that were granted exemptions – doctors, lawyers and architects – make many times over the salaries of average working musicians. Why not grant independent musicians, who need it even more, the same exemption?

We are proud to call ourselves independent California musicians. We want to continue as independent contractors so that we may continue to pursue our craft in the best possible way for us. We would be grateful for an exemption that recognizes the unique nature of our field and allows us to continue to make the best music we possibly can.


A group of independent professional California musicians seeking an AB5 exemption.



Dear Editor,

So the author of AB 5, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez tweeted that “We were very disappointed the music industry and entertainment unions did not get to an agreement.”

The Officers and Executive Board of Local 47 know that support of AB 5 will disenfranchise the majority of the membership that makes their living as independent contractors.  The union sees this legislation as an opportunity. The Union is in the union business. AB 5 will allow the arm of state government to decimate and eliminate the union’s competition in Los Angeles when it comes to recording and production…or so they might hope. They just don’t want to be blamed.

Union support is often the way many of the politicians get elected. President Acosta has even opined that since the law will bring more revenue to the state, perhaps it will be time to ask the state for more money for the arts.

President John Acosta presents himself as representing 6200 members in Local 47 AFM.  However, the overwhelming majority of the Union’s efforts in Sacramento focus on tax credits for media recording that benefit only a small fraction of the membership known as the Recording Musicians of America, a once powerful and controlling players’ conference within the AFM. At last count RMALA = 457 members.

There might be quite a change in the perception of the Local if Sacramento and the LA FED knew that the Officers and the Board got elected with less than 365 votes. That is probably about the number of rank-and-file musicians that actually make a living solely under union contracts.

Local 47 Member

[EDITOR’S COMMENT: We believe the number of those making a full living solely off union work is far smaller than 365]



I met with AB 5 Author Assemblywoman Gonzalez. Here’s How it Went.


By Ari Herstand

Yesterday morning 5 musicians and I piled into my car at 7am (!!) and we made the excursion down to San Diego to Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s office to discuss the effects of California’s new law AB5 on the music community.

If you’ve been living under a rock the past couple weeks, read my piece: California’s Music Economy Is About To Crash

After my article finally got the conversation started about how AB5 will be catastrophic for the music industry in California, I was offered a meeting (via Tweet) by Assemblywoman Gonzalez – who wrote the bill and got it passed. It’s funny how effective Twitter is these days in politics. Ask a musician the last time they logged into Twitter and most will say not since the Obama era, but man, if Twitter ain’t where politics lives and dies. Welp, it got me a meeting.

Now as an update on what went down since my article was posted just about a month ago, the RIAA, A2IM, MAC and AFM finally got back to the table to continue negotiations on coming up with language to exempt music professionals for a potential clean up bill. A petition was started which garnered over 2,500 signatures in 24 hours. (SIGN IT) The A-list working musicians’ app Jammcard ran a survey of its members about AB5 and got some startling results back (more on this in a moment), Assembly members and Senators were FLOODED with letters, calls and tweets from the music community of California (thank you!) and I got a meeting with Assemblywoman Gonzalez.

Also, someone wrote a critical response on Medium to my article entitled, Ari’s (not so good) Take: A Measured Response.

Which he tweeted to Assemblywoman Gonzalez and she retweeted exclaiming “so well written!” In this piece, the author, Nathan York Jr., basically says that no one should fret because this won’t be enforced. And included the letter written by AFM Local 7 Vice President Edmund Velasco back in September when the law was signed – which contained extremely misleading, nay, false information about the effects of AB5 on working musicians. Either Velasco flat out lied to his members to save face and preempt the backlash or was just misinformed and passed along that misinformation. Unfortunately, this is what some musicians in support of AB5 are basing their opinions off of. And 10 different attorneys say that Velasco is flat out wrong and spread misinformation. So there’s that.

Nearly everyone (well all 5 musicians) who are in favor of AB5 (as it relates to music) bring up enforcement.

They say that we don’t need to worry because this will never be enforced. They are basically saying that we should just not comply with it and break the law. And that it’s actually a good thing because it gets us closer to forming a NEW union for musicians. A couple things about this argument: 1) intentionally not complying with the law hoping that no one will come after you is no way to run your business and 2) enforcement comes in many different forms. Will the Attorney General of California be knocking on indie musicians’ doors? Probably not. But the EDD (Employee Development Department) very well could. And do! One of the members in our meeting was recently audited by the EDD where they were checking to see if the people he issued 1099s were properly classified. So enforcement actually does happen. And not only that, if you have a disagreement with someone you hire for a gig and they really want to fuck you, they very well could sue you and bring up your non-compliance with this law. And once they bring this suit against you, you’ll now have a spotlight on you and will be an easy mark for the EDD.

So not complying, is not smart business.

Back to the meeting at hand.

I organized a group of 5 musicians to head down to Assemblywoman Gonzalez’s office in San Diego to plead our case:

Elmo Lovano (drummer and founder of Jammcard), Raquel Rodriguez (singer, songwriter, studio owner), Nick Campbell (bassist), Danica Pinner (cellist, string quartet member), Alicia Spillias (violinist, string quartet owner). My meeting was confirmed just about a week ago and the group and I had a very active email thread going, preparing for this meeting. On the drive down we talked the entire way down (not a single song was played!) prepping for what we were expecting was going to be a contentious meeting.

But let’s backup for a second.

The night before, I was at School Night in LA. Nick Campbell came up to me after he finished playing his set and said “Hey Ari, you know that guy who wrote the response to your article? Well, apparently Assemblywoman Gonzalez invited him to our meeting!” Nick was tipped off by his friend Martin Diller who Nathan York (the writer of the “Measured Response” piece) asked to join him for this. Martin had been similarly critical of my article in my comments section so apparently Nathan saw that and found an ally to join him. Martin called Nick as a courtesy because he figured we were in the dark about this and didn’t want us to be startled. Martin and Nick are friends and they do gigs together.

Assemblywoman Gonzalez did not give me a heads up about them joining our meeting.

I’m not exactly sure why she brought them into our meeting – especially without telling us about it. Maybe she was hoping for an all out brawl in her office. Maybe her Pay-Per-View subscription had expired and she was in need of some head to head entertainment. Regardless, it was a little odd that she surprised us with this. It could have completely derailed the meeting and our agenda. Maybe that was her intention? I’m not sure.

Luckily, we were tipped off. So on the drive down, literally 45 minutes before our meeting, we all got on a call together to attempt to work out our differences over the phone through stop and go traffic on the 5 to attempt to present a unified front going into the meeting. After 45 minutes of discussion, we realized we are actually much more closely aligned than our conflicting articles and comments would make it seem. All we needed was some time to hash it out. Luckily we were able to do that BEFORE walking into her office. Again, though, why she didn’t give us a heads up to have this discussion in advance and help everyone better prepare for the meeting is quite confusing.

The 9 of us (oh, Nathan and Martin brought an attorney with them. Cool.) piled into Assemblywoman Gonzalez’s office and I explained to her that we are all in support of the intentions behind AB5 – to help workers who are being taken advantage of by greedy corporations – but unfortunately this will be absolutely catastrophic to our business. The added costs we will incur to comply with this law will crush us. We went around the room and explained how we each run our business. How most of us are both “workers” and “employers.” Oftentimes on the same gig. Gonzalez asked very pointed questions and genuinely seemed to want to learn more about how we operate our business. She was very engaged and it was actually a really excellent conversation.

Nick mentioned how his accountant told him he could expect a 20% increase in costs for every musician he hires. My accountant estimated that it would cost an additional $6,000 or so a year to get fully setup and comply with this.

Gonzalez pushed back a bit and said that the “costs” are just being transferred – that someone has to pay these taxes and before it was the contractor and now it will be the employer. Which is not accurate. Most of these costs are not taxes, they are additional costs to comply. It’s the $300/mo payroll companies charge (you have to have a payroll company to withhold the proper taxes and issue payment). It’s payroll tax for each ‘employee.’ In any given year, I hire 40 or so music professionals for various gigs and studio sessions. Oftentimes for one-off gigs where they’re paid $100-200 or so. There is an added payroll tax for every single employee. Not to mention that payroll companies are not setup for one-off gigs and charge extra fees for short term ‘employees’ like this – with an additional cost to add a new employee. Previously, it cost me around $550 to file tax returns as a sole proprietorship with my accountant. As a corporation it will cost about $2,500. To register and maintain an LLC or S-Corp costs a minimum of $800/year (to be able to actually put people on payroll and W2 them).

+9 Things Singer/Songwriters Need to Know About Hiring Freelance Musicians

Not to mention that with the new Trump tax law, W2’d employees are no longer able to itemize their expenses like independent contractors are.

Since most musicians will have multiple (oftentimes 20+) “employers” in any given year – none of whom cover our expenses like equipment, rehearsal studios, recording studios, software, hardware, travel, lodging, food, etc. – we need the ability to write off these expenses. But if we are forced to be W2’d employees, we can’t do that anymore.

This is honestly just scratching the surface.

So there are actually quite a lot of added costs (and diminished benefits). What middle class musician can afford an additional $6,000 a year without it putting a serious strain on them? I honestly don’t know any.

Elmo shared the results of the Jammcard survey that was sent to their 4,000 California members (all vetted working music professionals):

Are you a member of the AFM (musicians union)?

64.8% – No I’m not

17.8% – Yes I am

13.2% – I used to be

2.4% – I am but I’d like not to be

1.7% – I don’t know what the AFM is

Do you make the majority of your income from union work or non union work?

97.6% – Non union

2.4% – Union

How do you prefer to be taxed as a music professional?

76.4% – 1099 (freelance/independent contractor)

15.6% – W2 (employee)

8% – I don’t know

Do you support California AB5 for music?

66.7% – I do not support it

8% – I support it

25.3% – I don’t know what it is

All in all, it worked out to be a very healthy discussion and she expressed willingness to create a ‘clean up bill’ and add clarification for the music community – essentially carving out certain music professionals from the law.

She explained that come January 6th when the Assembly is back in session, they can get to work on drafting language for the new Bill and once the language is agreed upon by all interested parties (us, RIAA, A2IM, AFM), they will vote on it. She did say that it will be voted on before September 1st (the deadline), but we shouldn’t expect it much sooner – these things take time.

+22 Musicians Who Made It After 30

But, and this is a huge Kardashian but, if this clean-up bill is passed, it will be retroactive. Meaning, even though nearly every musician in California will be in breach of this law come January 1st, this clean-up bill will essentially wipe away these, uh, crimes. So even though literally thousands of musicians will be breaking the law come January 1st, no one will be able to come after us once this clean-up bill is (hopefully) passed because it will in essence change the law from when it was enacted (January 1, 2020).

It was absolutely wonderful to meet with Assemblywoman Gonzalez with my fellow musicians and exercise our rights a bit. And I’m excited to continue to work with her to get this thing passed so musicians can continue to thrive in the state of California.

It seems like we’re moving in a positive direction, but we need to keep up the momentum to get us over the finish line. So! Please hit up your representatives and let them know that you’d like an exemption for music professionals.

You can find out who your representative is here.

About the Writer

Ari Herstand (pronounced Ar*ee Her*stand) is a Los Angeles based musician and fronts the band Brassroots District. Follow him on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.


I. Recent LA Pension Meeting

Thursday, October 17th, 2019

II. The Musicians for Pension Security’s Take

…Absolutely guaranteed anonymity – Former Musician’s Union officer

…The one voice of reason in a sea of insanity – Nashville ‘first call’
scoring musician

…Allows us to speak our minds without fear of reprisal – L.A. Symphonic musician

…Reporting issues the Musicians Union doesn’t dare to mention – National touring musician


I. Recent LA Pension Meeting

A member’s reflection on the meeting:

Personal  thoughts?

Many of the big dollar members…took their pensions early.  Being privy to what was coming down the road …(being the most represented and engaged in THEIR business)…THEY captured any reduction by taking THEIR money up front…mostly the studio players…the orchestra players had to give up their tenure and hope they could still remain “on the list” after the required lapse of time to return to work.  

About the info-meeting itself…It was a just to be expected. Infomercial about the state of the state…just an opportunity to give the rank -and – file the proper lexicon of the situation. 

The pension meeting at the Marriot Convention Center in Burbank was video taped and will be posted on the web.  It was an informational meeting designed to clarify the problems and the process for keeping the pension plan solvent.  

The attached link covers the general information that was presented at the meeting.


II. The Musicians for Pension Security’s Take


July 29,2019

New revelations have emerged in the class action lawsuit filed by AFM Local 802 members Andy Snitzer and Paul Livant in Federal District Court, Southern District of New York. A recent court filing by the attorney for the plan participants, Steven Schwartz, details how risky and imprudent investment decisions by our trustees led us to where we are today.

The filing, which you can access here, compares the AFM-EPF investment strategy to that of other large multiemployer pension plans. That comparison showed a “stark departure in terms of asset allocation from other large Taft-Hartley


plans.” The filing continues:

“[The AFM-EPF’s] allocations to risky asset classes were so far out of the norm that none of the witnesses, including Defendants’ [trustees’] own experts, have identified any other Taft-Hartley [multiemployer] or other large pension plan with a similarly uber-aggressive asset allocation.”

The attorney for the Plan participants goes on to describe the undisputed evidence showing that AFM-EPF investments were way out of pattern with the other multiemployer plans:

“The undisputed record reflects that our Trustees’ asset allocations were objectively out of the norm. For example, the parties’ experts cite data from the Wiltshire Trust Universe Comparison Service and from the Plan’s former Investment Consultant Meketa showing the Plan’s stark departure in terms of asset allocation from other large Taft-Hartley plans. The data shows the median large Taft-Hartley plan had no less than 45% of assets invested in domestic equities; the Trustees here reduced our Plan’s actual domestic equity allocation from 40% in 2009 to as low as 19%. The reduction in the domestic equity allocation was accompanied by an increase in the allocation to Emerging Markets Equities to as high as 15%, even though the average plan had no more than 4.5%; an increase of the total allocation to international equities of up to 30%, even though the median Taft-Hartley Plan had no more than 12%; and an increase of up to 26% in alternatives including Private Equity and Real Estate, whereas the median plan had no more than 12%.”

These facts shed light on why the Judge in the case, the Honorable Valerie Caproni, previously called the trustees’ investment approach “extraordinarily risky,” and said the following: “I mean they adopted an exceedingly risky strategy and that is part of the gestalt of the facts.”

As our own AFM-EPF plan actuary, Kevin Campe, wrote in a recent Milliman study: “The primary driver of multiemployer health continues to be asset performance.” (Kevin Campe, Milliman Multiemployer Pension Funding Study, 2018.) Unfortunately, that’s precisely where our trustees let us down.

Musicians across the country now face the reality of impending cuts to our hard-earned benefits. And yet we still have the same board of trustees that put us in this position. The AFM-EPF board needs new trustees who have the ability to supervise the investment advisors. Without real reform, we may find that the current round of cuts is just the first in an ongoing series of cuts over the next few decades.


Next time. Fi-core Rights Recap

Until then,



Friday, August 16th, 2019




…Absolutely guaranteed anonymity – Former Musician’s Union officer

…The one voice of reason in a sea of insanity – Nashville ‘first call’
scoring musician

…Allows us to speak our minds without fear of reprisal – L.A. Symphonic musician

…Reporting issues the Musicians Union doesn’t dare to mention – National touring musician



Message from a current Local 47 member.

Local 47 officials moved heaven and earth to sell our former historic home and purchase a new soulless box that they said would solve so many problems and secure our financial future. That action has done exactly the opposite.

One of the past elected officers was right.  Local 47 does not have a good track record when it comes to managing projects.

After nearly two years without a quorum, Local 47 finally achieved the minimum of 50 to hold a formal General Membership Meeting, July 22, 2019.

The Local 47 officers gave their reports. The financial team of Blackrock and Merrill Lynch gave the membership their approach to managing the Musicians’ Club assets.

It is very clear that “Phase Two” (the promised “Multi-Purpose Room”) will probably not be built under present financial conditions.

Fact: “The Time is Now” campaign projected that there would be a 9-11 million dollars in endowment left after the sale of Vine Street. After the purchase and renovation of the new location, this turned out not to be true.

Fact: There is a little over 4 Million dollars being invested and every cent will be needed to pay the triple expenses of the property taxes and whatever else on the Winona property. The Board did not even want to spend the money to properly repair the multiple leaks from the big rains of the current season. Instead, opting to have their plumbing company contract to patch the roof areas with a two-year warranty. The cost of a proper repair would have likely taken the Club investment balance below the 4-Million-dollar mark.

Fact: Local 47 moved its headquarters out of the center of Hollywood into a non-descript building surrounded by an industrial park, two New York blocks from a major airport landing strip.

This last week the Union sent an email to the membership to take a Member Survey.  One of the questions reads as follows: At our former Hollywood headquarters we had an Auditorium. Would you like to see our current Burbank headquarters have a similar multi-purpose facility? Why or why not?

The writing is on the wall. The membership is being manipulated once again. It appears the game plan is to point to the survey and say well, the membership response (notorious for low participation) will not justify moving forward with “Phase Two”. The real reason is that the reality of adding more square footage will only increase the property taxes and overall expenses.

The Board has endeavored to try and get a big company and/or a high profile industry name to give several million for naming rights to “Phase Two”. Vice-President Baptist has opined that “we need an angel”.

Many CBA orchestras which are non-profit entities and other possible renters have been displaced from Local 47 rehearsal spaces.  How many CBA orchestras have been possibly compromised because of the reduction of supportive resources?

One other issue that came up was the new software program that Local 47 is creating with hopes of generating a revenue stream by making it accessible to other locals. No cost was discussed. Rumor has it that the cost is around $200K. How much money will this software program generate?

The Local lost tenants in the move and there is not a lot of extra space to rent. The question is whether this software “Ensemble 2” program will give Local 47 access to other locals’ membership and work data? Just asking?

At any rate, Pres. John Acosta, VP, Rick Baptist, Sec.- Treas. Gary Lasley, and the Executive Board, are spending more time, energy and money on the politics of going after government subsidies.  It would be nice if the subsidies benefited more than just a small fraction of the 6200 dues paying members.

Local 47 Member, In Good Standing



Two Boston City Hall Aides Convicted of Conspiring to Extort Music Festival Production Company

BOSTON – The City of Boston’s Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, Timothy Sullivan, and Kenneth Brissette, the Director of the City’s Office of Tourism, Sports and Entertainment were convicted today by a federal jury in Boston in connection with extorting a music festival production company operating on City Hall Plaza. 

Brissette and Sullivan both were convicted of Hobbs Act conspiracy, and Brissette was also convicted of Hobbs Act extortion.  The Court has not yet scheduled sentencing dates.

“This afternoon, a federal jury convicted Kenneth Brissette and Timothy Sullivan of extorting a private business to hire union labor that they did not want or need,” said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. “Private companies that want to do business in Boston have the right to hire anyone they want – union or not – without fear of being threatened with economic disaster by government officials. That is the law. This was a hard fought victory, and one that reaffirms our commitment to take on cases that are in the public interest.”

“The FBI thanks the jury for their service and thoughtful deliberations,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division. “Today’s verdicts show that public officials cannot use their positions to extort those who choose to use non-union labor. The FBI will not stand idly by while hard-working individuals are bullied and strong-armed by public servants. Everyone deserves access to a level playing field, and the excuse of “business as usual” isn’t good enough to earnest citizens who rely on  their own local governments to do right by them and their families. Let this case be a warning to municipal workers everywhere, it is the taxpayers they serve and answer to at the end of the day.”

“Today’s convictions affirm the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General’s commitment to protecting the American workers from extortion and unlawful influence. The defendants used threats of financial harm to obtain wages from a television production company for services that were not needed or required. We will continue working with our law enforcement partners to combat this type of criminal activity,” said Michael C. Mikulka, Special Agent-in-Charge, New York Region, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.

Between June and September 2014, while a music festival production company was awaiting the issuance of certain permits and approvals required for its event, and seeking an agreement from the City of Boston to use City Hall Plaza for events beyond 2017, Brissette and Sullivan repeatedly advised the company that it would need to hire members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 11 to work the event. Local 11 had attempted to obtain work from the production company since March 2013. The production company told Brissette and Sullivan that it had already entered into a contract with a non-union company and hired all of its labor. Nevertheless, on Sept. 2, 2014, three days before the music festival was scheduled to begin, Brissette and Sullivan insisted that half of the production company’s labor force consist of union members. The production company agreed to hire nine members of Local 11 and entered into a contract with the union because they feared the company would be financially ruined if they did not accede to the these City officials’ demands.

The charge of extortion provides a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of conspiracy to extort provides a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

U.S. Attorney Lelling, FBI SAC Joseph R. Bonavolonta, and DOL OIG SAC Mikulka made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laura J. Kaplan and Kristina E. Barclay of Lelling’s Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.

August 7th, 2019



Oh yeah – the so-called powerful Petrillo who cost us all the network staff jobs because we weren’t allowed to strike the networks…I was at network staff negotiations in the 60s when we were forced to reduce staffs from 65 to 25. Petrillo – no longer AFM prez sat snoozing in a chair not far from me.

As radio developed, network staff orchestras flourished not only in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles but also in cities like Denver and Pittsburgh where smaller radio orchestras were employed. In an attempt to force the hiring of more musicians at local radio stations, AFM President James Petrillo (1940-1958) called various strikes against them, causing Congress to write the Lea Act (also known as the Petrillo Act). Passed by Congress in 1946 and upheld by the Supreme Court in 1947, it was aimed specifically at preventing “featherbedding” in the broadcasting industry, severely restricting the AFM’s ability to bargain with industry for higher wages and more jobs. It was repealed in 1980 long after the demise of staff orchestras.


Until Next Time,

The Committee


Thursday, July 4th, 2019

…Absolutely guaranteed anonymity – Former Musician’s Union officer

…The one voice of reason in a sea of insanity – Nashville ‘first call’ scoring musician

…Allows us to speak our minds without fear of reprisal – L.A. Symphonic musician

…Reporting issues the Musicians Union doesn’t dare to mention – National touring musician



This is excerpted from a Variety Article about the ASCAP Awards, you can read the full article here:

Michael Giocchino was introduced in person by Brad Bird (“The Incredibles,” “Tomorrowland”) and, via video, J.J. Abrams, Giacchino used his time at the microphone to preach the importance of the musicians who perform his music.

“Musicians are a composer’s life blood,” he said. “Without them, all we have are little black dots.”

Then he got serious, addressing the exodus over the past decade-plus of screen music recording done in Los Angeles.

“I can’t help but wonder how we went from an industry with work for every musician in town to an industry where a fractured community is rife with players who can barely find employment — struggling to hold onto jobs, and in many cases having to take non-music work in-between gigs just to survive.”

Giacchino admitted that he’s recorded outside of L.A. a few times, but he issued a direct challenge to the musicians union, and to his peers and any filmmakers in the room: “When a small independent producer wants to score here, let’s find a way to make it happen, not push them away. When you as a producer have a project, try to make it work here first. We have to say no to living under the shadow of a small group of people who use threats and inaccurate information to hold onto a business model that continues to strangle progress.” 

He strongly clarified that he isn’t anti-union, as the proud son of two lifelong union members — “but I watched over the years as they stood up to the status quo, demanding change from their leadership when the environment was working against their better interest,” he said. “And when an environment does change, survival and growth will go to the organisms that can adapt. It will not be easy, but the ability to adapt is the path to prosperity and survival.”

Giacchino’s barnburner speech was met with a standing ovation. 



Having given up on the AFM Pension’s future…

BREAKING NEWS: 802 musicians have ratified an agreement with the Broadway League by a 93% margin. The landmark deal includes the largest wage increase in 20+ years, a 23% increase in healthcare contributions, and a first-ever 401(k) plan option. By standing united for fair wages & retirement security, the Musicians of Broadway have won a historic deal.



Ray Hair has been re-elected international president of the American Federation of Musicians at the union’s 101st convention in Las Vegas. Hair, who has been president of the 80,000-member union since 2010, ran unopposed, as he did in the union’s last two elections.

Also running unopposed this time were incumbents Bruce Fife, international vice president; Alan Willaert, the AFM’s vice president from Canada; and Jay Blumenthal, the union’s international secretary-treasurer.

“It’s about sticking together, and protecting each other, because together, we can,” Hair said. “That is the meaning of real unionism. This convention is about what we can do together, about remembering who we are, what we did, and what we can be.”

[EC: They also allowed Tino to stay on the International Executive Board (Being paid by member dues) even though he lost his last election and is no longer President of any local.

We understand he remains on the pension board as well.

When asked about this, one east coast member said:

“The bylaws need to be changed to prevent this. To me this proves that they are corrupt and on the take. They’re getting kickbacks from the investment firms…”]



Musicians Union Rallies for Streaming Residuals, Seeking to End Disparity With Other Guilds

They’re “sticking it to musicians [and] that’s not fair, that’s not right,” said one AFM Local 47 leader.

Over one hundred members and supporters of the American Federation of Musicians Local 47 rallied Thursday at the Sherman Oaks headquarters of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, demanding something that above-the-line guilds achieved in 2014 and enhanced in 2017: residuals on product made for streaming services such as Netflix and its coming wave of competitors from Disney, Comcast and others.

Obtaining contracts that harmonize with the other guilds’ would be sweet music for Local 47, but so far the instrumentalists are finding themselves drummed out by the AMPTP. As the industry pivots ever more toward streaming video on demand platforms, musicians assert they are being left behind. They get no residuals on SVOD product.

It’s a familiar place for the AFM, since — even before SVOD — musicians were (and remain) subject to contracts that pay out residuals under far fewer circumstances than directors, writers and actors enjoy; the checks are smaller too. But the sotto voce contracts are also a bitter irony, because the AFM was a powerhouse in the earliest fights for residuals during the 1940s and ’50s.

“We are through being scared, we are though being pushed around, we are through being treated like second-class citizens,” said Jason Poss, a Local 47 member who is one of the leaders of the union’s effort. “We know they make huge profits on streaming media. We know they can afford to pay everyone properly and still make millions.… They don’t get to make more by sticking it to musicians. That’s not fair, that’s not right, and today they will know that we are standing together because we will not allow it.”

But it’s a tough fight. Gone are the days when huge orchestras routinely convened on studio lots. Offshoring of work has been a concern for half a century, and today it is even easier thanks to the Internet and other telecom technology, with London and Eastern Europe as popular destinations. The union’s existing TV and theatrical contracts expired over a year ago, then were extended to this November but without progress on the residuals issue.

In addition to Poss, other speakers at the rally were UTLA (teachers union) vp Juan Ramirez, SAG-AFTRA secretary-treasurer Jane Austin, WGA West executive board member Angelina Burnett, Local 47 musician Lara Wickes and Local 47 musician and executive board member Dylan Hart.

Poss also attempted to deliver residuals petitions signed by over 500 members to the AMPTP, but was rebuffed when the organization refused to answer the intercom and building security kept the front door locked.

The shoe was on the other foot almost 80 years ago though. In those days, the AFM was powerful enough to resist entreaties from management, the general public and even the U.S. president, maintaining a two-year strike against the radio and record industries even during wartime and despite an appeal from no less than FDR.

That labor action, the so-called Recording Ban of 1942-44, and a 1948 Recording Ban, were led by the AFM’s then-legendary leader James Petrillo and were instrumental in securing some of the earliest residuals. But that was then. Now the question has become whether a vastly weaker union can muster the crescendo necessary to convince the AMPTP to welcome players into fuller membership in the residuals club — or whether a de-residualized solo will be the union’s fate.

Jonathan Handel, Hollywood Reporter


Till next time,



Monday, June 17th, 2019



…Absolutely guaranteed anonymity – Former Musician’s Union officer

…The one voice of reason in a sea of insanity – Nashville ‘first call’ scoring musician

…Allows us to speak our minds without fear of reprisal – L.A. Symphonic musician

…Reporting issues the Musicians Union doesn’t dare to mention – National touring musician




A short time ago, the entire administration of AFM Local 802 of New York was voted out of office by their membership.

Now comes news that the administration of AFM’s Philadelphia Local 77 has had their administration voted out of office as well.

Seems change is in the wind, with members across the federation fed up with the status quo.

Who’s next?

In another development showing the level of corruption at the AFM: After the former president of Local 802 was dismissed, the NOW former president of Local 77 (Philadelphia) was lobbying to gather the votes needed to allow the FORMER president of Local 802 to stay on the International Executive Board, even though he is no longer the president of any Local. Favoritism or cronyism? You decide.



Recently a recording entity in Los Angeles put an advertisement on youtube announcing the availability of a “Buyout” Contract for streaming services. Problem is, none of the ones we found is a buyout. It doesn’t exist.

We’ve looked at all the available streaming contracts and here is what we found:

• Live Concert AVOD/SVOD Internet Streaming Agreement

Streaming of the performances beyond the initial six (6) month cycle shall require an additional aggregate payment of 7% of any future gross receipts for each subsequent six (6) month cycle, with 3.5% to be forwarded to the appropriate Local for distribution on a pro rata basis to all Side Musicians, Leaders, Contractors and Music Preparation Musicians….

(No buyout here….)

  • On Demand Internet Streaming

Streaming of the performances beyond the initial six (6) month cycle shall require an additional aggregate payment of 6.6% of any future gross receipts for each subsequent six (6) month cycle, to be forwarded to the appropriate Local for distribution on a pro rata basis to all Side Musicians, Leaders, Contractors and Music Preparation Musicians.

(Or here….)

  •  Live Internet Streaming

Use of the performances for on-demand internet streaming for second and future cycles, shall require an additional aggregate payment of 6.6% of any future gross receipts for each subsequent six (6) month cycle, to be distributed pro rata to all Side Musicians, Leaders, Contractors and Music Preparation Musicians.

(Or here….)

  • Television Videotape Agreement January 27, 2013 – February 2, 2016

If an original New Media Production budgeted at more than $25,000 per minute (using the same cost elements as described in the third paragraph of Paragraph A above) or a Derivative New Media Production is initially released simultaneously on free-to-the-consumer, advertiser-supported platforms and to consumer-pay platforms (i.e., download-to-rent, download-to-own or paid streaming), then Producer shall have a twenty-six (26) consecutive week period of use on consumer-pay platforms, commencing with the first day of use on consumer-pay platforms, without the payment of residuals. If the Producer uses the New Media Production on consumer-pay platforms beyond such twenty-six (26) consecutive week period, then Producer shall pay 1% of the “Producer’s gross,” as that term is defined in Paragraph 9 of Side Letter 11 (“Exhibition of Television Programs Transmitted Via New Media”) realized from any subsequent license that includes use on consumer-pay platforms, which “gross” is attributable to use on consumer-pay platforms beyond the twenty-six (26) consecutive week period, measured from the first day of use on consumer-pay platforms under the first license. Said amount shall be paid to the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund on behalf of musicians employed on the New Media Production.

 “Meaning: first 26 weeks are free, then 1% of gross proceeds need to be paid to Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund on behalf of musicians employed on the New Media Production.”

(No buyout after 26 weeks….)

This means, in every case above someone (A company) has to sign an assumption agreement. If they are not already a signatory that’s unlikely to happen, which means it’ll go elsewhere or nonunion.

Whomever put out the youtube video should read the fine print.



Local 802 is trying to blame Trump’s NLRB for the rise in members going Fi-Core. While we’re no fan of Trump by any stretch, to blame Trump for the rise is musicians choosing fi-core (A multi-year trend) is absurd and a pathetic attempt at deflection.

Please read the article below yourself:

This is how the Trump NLRB is targeting unions

By encouraging union members to choose “financial core” status, the NLRB has taken a decidedly anti-union stance

Volume 119, No. 6June, 2019


[email protected]

Out of all of the oxymorons that exist in the legal world, the phrase “right to work” has to be one of the worst. Those of us who are labor activists know that “right to work” really means “right to work…for less pay!” The “right to work” doctrine gives workers the opportunity to get a free ride on the backs of those who actually pay for the union.

There are currently 26 “right to work” states in the country and 24 states where “right to work” is not law. In those states, Section 8(a)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act allows union contracts to compel union membership as one of the conditions of being employed. These provisions, known as union security clauses, greatly assist unions in both collecting dues and also preserving majority status in a workplace. Without majority status, an employer doesn’t have to recognize a union as the collective bargaining agent of a group of workers. The union security clause also prevents “free riders” – workers who desire to reap the benefits of the union without financially supporting it.

However, as a result of several Supreme Court decisions, the requirement to join a union has been whittled down to what is commonly known as “financial core”,

 status. Workers who are required in their contract to join the union can request “financial core” status. When workers request this status, a union cannot charge them for services that are not part of “representational functions,” such as collective bargaining, grievance adjustment and contract administration services. What services a union can charge a financial core member is often the subject of debate, and most unions have appeal processes that permit members to challenge fees if they believe they are not part and parcel of union representational functions. This controversial subject has now engaged the attention of the National Labor Relations Board.

In March, the NLRB decided that union lobbying costs are not a chargeable union expense. (The case was United Nurses & Allied Professionals [Kent Hospital] 367 NLRB No. 94 [March 1, 2019]). On a technical level, the board wrote that lobbying is not the kind of activity that is a necessary part of a union’s statutory function as exclusive bargaining representative and thus falls outside the scope of permissible fees that may be charged to financial core members. Even though lobbying efforts may impact representational functions, the NLRB held that it is still too far removed from representational functions to be chargeable. Thus a private sector union (like Local 802) will have violated its duty of fair representation if it charges lobbying costs to an objecting member. Additionally, any costs remotely related to lobbying efforts cannot be charged.

This decision clearly hobbles a union’s effort to support beneficial legislation (such as national pension reform) by compelling it to front the costs for objecting members. To add insult to injury, the NLRB’s Office of General Counsel recently issued a directive that completely shifts the burden when a financial core member wishes to challenge a reimbursable union expenditure.

When presented with a charge they believe is improper, a financial core member has two choices: (1) proceed with a challenge utilizing the union’s internal procedure or (2) file an unfair labor practice charge alleging breach of duty of fair representation.

Prior to the new directive, the NLRB required financial core members to first utilize the internal union process before filing an unfair labor practice charge. The new edict now permits unfair labor practice charges to proceed independently of internal objections.

Furthermore, in a break from precedent, the NLRB will no longer require financial core members who file ULPs to explain why they believe a particular expenditure is improper. When a ULP challenging a union assessment is filed, the NLRB will now require the union to provide a “detailed explanation of the union’s chargeability decisions for each major category of expenses.”

With the burden now shifted, it is obvious that the NLRB has taken a decidedly anti-union stance. It is inevitable that more objections will be lodged and more expenses will be deemed non-chargeable.

As a result of these NLRB decisions, it is now more important than ever that union members be educated regarding the benefits of full membership and how the NLRB is prompting the financial ruination of unions by encouraging financial core membership. An informed membership is a strong membership!


Good point above,.. so let’s do the same for Fi-Core:

Choosing Financial Core (Beck Status):

  1. You pay 85 % of the dues full AFM members pay.
  2. Paying for union negotiations is already part of the fi-core fee.
  3. The only part of dues a fi-core musician doesn’t pay is money that goes to political campaigns or candidates.
  4. You are not included in the directory.
  5. You cannot attend meetings.
  6. You cannot use a Local’s facilities (Though your dues pays for the upkeep.)


  • You CAN work on any union contract and in any Collective Bargaining Agreement ensemble, and you will pay all applicable fees (Pension, Work Dues, etc.)
  • You CAN work on any nonunion job without fear of fines.

There is the phrase “Right to Work” (for less); but for more and more folks the phrase means “Right to Work (AT ALL).

This is particularly true of recording. Anyone who has been or is a member interested in media recording knows this.


People are going fi-core because 90% (maybe more at this point) of the union recording work is gone. The only hope they have of recording in a studio is on a non-union session, and don’t kid yourself, all the so-called “A” listers do non-unions sessions as well.


Because you can record anywhere in the world without paying a back end (Secondary Market Payments) EXCEPT with the American Federation of Musicians.

People have finally reached a point where they are done playing by the AFM’s rules because they have mortgages and bills to pay. Look at Seattle and Nashville. They are working hand over fist because the UNION work, the little that is left, is controlled by and funneled to perhaps .2 percent of AFM Members. Put simply, the rank and file need to work and they will not get that work through the union.

There are even a few other locales in the United States that have decided it’s time to work and are doing what they have to to get the work. Some of those entities are actually the ones bringing work back from Eastern Europe for US musicians, not the union. In most cases it’s work that would never be union in any case.

Let’s say you are a company or production house and need music for your production.

Your choices are:

  1. All synth (Terrible, but sometimes the only option.)
  2. A couple of live players over synth. (Far better but not what composers want.)
  3. Live orchestra – Union (a good choice, but companies will only sign assumption agreements if they have to. You also have to deal with the hassle, paperwork and backend payments.
  4. Orchestra (non-union) Little hassle, far cheaper in the long run and you own what you record.

So let’s be serious, if you have the choice of recording union here (more expensive, more hassle.) or recording in London cheaper with no strings, what are you going to do?

Save the platitudes, you know what you’d do if it’s your money.

The main argument? Well they have to keep books open for the actors, director etc. Why not for musicians?

Because there’s only one Tom Hanks or Francis Ford Coppola, but there are world class musicians everywhere in the world. The AFM has simply priced themselves out of the market with strings you don’t have anywhere else.


The situation with the pension is getting worse because more are drawing pension and fewer are contributing, because the work isn’t there. It’s simple math.

You can read up on all the latest pension news here.


Bring work back.


Buyout contracts.


Because the AFM is allowing itself to be influenced by a small special interest group to the detriment of 99+% of the other AFM Members.

Until that influence is gone, nothing will improve.

As was said before, there are literally DOZENS of places a company can record without harassment and difficulties (and backend) throughout the world: London, France, Mexico, Canada, Macedonia, Prague and Bratislava to name only a few.

Everyone knows the problem, everyone knows how to fix the problem, but for some reason people are still afraid to point to the Elephant in the Room. As long as the cowardice continues, the AFM will continue to shed members, become even more of a paper tiger and eventually cease to exist in the recording world.

The membership knows what to do. What will it take for them to do it?



Posting here so hopefully someone from the community will distribute my message:
To My Fellow Members of the Musician Community:

I recently was part of the Lion King Orchestra. Although I was grateful for the call that came from a contractor, Peter Rotter, who I don’t regularly work for, the experience left me feeling marginalized. Just entering the room on the first day, I realized why I was hired. They needed a room full of black people. That’s it. The other times Rotter has had a “black” room is when its been for Spike Lee, Denzel Washington, Dr. Dre, and whenever there’s a black producer/director in the booth he needs to prove something to.

I have a degree from a prestigious institution, play among the highest caliber players in the world in major orchestras and ensembles, yet I was only called for the color of my skin. Throughout the services, I heard things from the very white employers like “wow, this is a mixed group”. And the photos that these self-important white conductor, composer, contractor and concertmaster proudly posted showing that they hired us is nothing short of racist. I feel degraded by the whole experience, and I know that speaking to so many of the other black players there, that they shared in my horror.

You won’t see me working for PR again, not that he would ever call me for my qualifications.

I’m speaking out to encourage others to share their experiences that they shared with me privately.


hello editor!

Just in case the membership believes that members “in good standing” are “welcomed” to “observe” the weekly Board of Directors meetings at the Local.  Pleased be advised….there was a final and farewell meeting of a Board member who has decided to move from California…the Local had a buffet delivered (trays of various items).  Pres. Acosta suggested a “working lunch”.  The “one” observer was not invited…only welcomed to “observe”.



Interesting blog.
I’m well versed on the original 19 NLRB charges brought against Hair and his thugs. The true definition of the 14 guilty charges is forthcoming.

It’s rare with the NLRB to get one charge to stick let alone 14. The AFM’s email that was sent to it’s members/musicians is a typical inaccurate AFM smoke screen. The NLRB is part of the federal government and are well aware of their latest tactics…it’s now a serious matter. Also, there are other Federal Government agencies currently investigating the AFM. Tip of the iceberg….

Let me know if you need anything from me or my legal team.


From Larry Lippold

A good start. I thought Tino was going to come after me when I asked whether we need some people on the Pension board who knew something about investments at the TMA meeting a few months ago. Of course the Broadway musicians have a huge interest in the plan, as they are putting a huge percentage of their checks into the plan (I think it is 18%).

Getting Tino’s predecessor and Vince Trombetta off the board wouldn’t hurt either.


In reply to larry lippold.

A typical response by someone without knowledge of how the AFM-EPF and its board of trustees works. The board does not directly act in investing, hiring the same well-known actuaries and investment firms as do other funds. B’way musicians do not contribute out of their checks .Mgt. does the contributing based on an arbritator’s (Turkus) award from the ’60s giving musicians a percentage of ticket sales which has grown over the years as ticket prices have increased. Union-side trustees are appointed by the AFM president so no change there unless he wants it.


From Billy Sullivan

Getting a larger membership won’t fund what’s already underfunded.
That money should already be there by the pension contributions so far.
Where did the money go? Did someone take it or was it invested poorly?


In reply to Billy Sullivan.

A series of mistakes by actuaries responding to the Fed’s “overfunding” rules leading to upping the multiplier to 4.65 to current and RETROACIVE accounts plus the ’08 financial meltdown led to the AFM-EPF’s current troubles. Nobody took the money. 802’s president is but one of 16 trustees, unable to cure the fund’s problems as the new know-nothing presiddent will find out. He will not even be appointed to the board.


Hello Friends
Where has the blog gone? I sure hope it has not gone away!
Thank you for it!

[EC: Oh we’re still here, but not every week. We’ll be distributing through social media, so when we post please get it to all the AFM Members you know.]


Feel free to TEXT MESSAGE your Local 47 “President” John Acosta and let him know what YOU THINK about the job he is doing: 323-337-7631




Wednesday, May 15th, 2019



…Absolutely guaranteed anonymity – Former Musician’s Union officer

…The one voice of reason in a sea of insanity – Nashville ‘first call’
scoring musician

…Allows us to speak our minds without fear of reprisal – L.A. Symphonic musician

…Reporting issues the Musicians Union doesn’t dare to mention – National touring musician



Netflix to expand again in Hollywood with two more office leases

By Roger Vincent

Video-streaming giant Netflix continues to rapidly expand its presence in Hollywood, signing two more leases in the neighborhood and furthering its position as one of the biggest office tenants in Los Angeles.

Netflix recently agreed to lease a total of nearly 170,000 square feet in two locations, according to people with knowledge of the deals who were not authorized to discuss them.

Although the company is based in the Silicon Valley city of Los Gatos, its Los Angeles footprint of offices and production space is growing immense. Netflix occupies, or has agreed to move into, about 1.6 million square feet of space in the area.

The media company that distributes movies, television shows and documentaries will rent 100,000 square feet of offices on a campus being built on property formerly owned by the Musician’s Union of Hollywood at 817 Vine St.

It has also sublet nearly 70,000 square feet in a 1990s office building at 1350 N. Western Ave. The address is north of the 101 Freeway, which has commonly been regarded as the northern boundary of Hollywood’s business district.

Netflix is a sub-tenant there of ZestFinance, which previously occupied the building owned by LaTerra Development and Gemdale USA. Nextflix is expected to move in within two months.

The campus on Vine Street at Waring Avenue is being developed by LPC West, a division of Lincoln Property Co. The complex catering to the entertainment industry includes a new building and a renovated two-story structure built in 1950 to serve as a clubhouse and organization headquarters for the union now known as the American Federation of Musicians Local 47. It is set to be completed this year.

The company and its office landlords declined to comment on the latest leases, which were first reported by the Real Deal real estate news website.

The leases follow other large real estate deals by Netflix.

Landlord Kilroy Realty said in November that Netflix will occupy 355,000 square feet of offices in a mixed-use complex called Academy on Vine that Kilroy is building on Vine Street just south of the ArcLight Cinemas complex that is home to the famous Cinerama Dome movie theater. It is set to open in 2020.

In October, another Hollywood landlord, Hudson Pacific Properties Inc., announced that Netflix would lease all of a 13-story tower it is building on Sunset Boulevard across from Sunset Bronson Studios. That lease for 328,000 square feet is also set to begin in 2020, when the tower, called Epic, will be completed.

Netflix already occupies offices and studios on the Sunset Bronson Studios lot owned by Hudson Pacific.

Netflix, which once relied on streaming licensed movies and television shows made by other studios, is on a growth streak as it aggressively remakes itself into a Hollywood player by creating a torrent of original content. The company is expected to spend $15 billion on content this year.

To deepen its ties to filmmakers, Netflix has been in talks to buy the storied Egyptian Theatre from American Cinematheque, the L.A. nonprofit that owns the venue known for hosting special screenings and events on Hollywood Boulevard.




From the NLRB:

Posted pursuant to a settlement agreement approved by a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board.

An agency of the United States Government.

• Form, join or assist a union;


• Choose a representative to bargain with your employer on your behalf;

• Act together with other employees for your benefit and protection;

• Choose not to engage in any of these protected activities.

WE WILL NOT do anything to prevent you from exercising the above rights.

WE WILL NOT maintain overly broad language in our bylaws that interferes with your right to engage in Section 7 activity, contained in Article 8, Section 3, which provides, in relevant part: “Members shall not render musical services…. With or for people who have been employed by… or are otherwise associated with organizations or establishments that are listed on the International Unfair List.

WE WILL NOT in any like or related manner restrain or coerce you in the exercise of your rights under Section 7 of the Act.

WE WILL rescind and remove the overly broad language, described above, from Article 8, Section 3 of our bylaws.

AFM and it’s locals 66, 542, 148-462 and 285-403




Dear Members:

In further clarification to our notice dated May 2, 2019, referenced above, please be advised that our International Unfair List remains fully intact and absolutely enforceable against employers and their allied contractors and subcontractors whose unfair actions result in the existence of a primary labor dispute with the Federation and/or its Locals.

You received the above-referenced notice in connection with our placement of a national contractor on the International Unfair List, who reacted to that by filing with the National Labor Relations Board a series of unfair labor practice charges against AFM and numerous Locals.  All of the contractor’s charges were dismissed as lacking in merit, and all subsequent appeals were denied.  The NLRB, however, did find that the wording of a portion of AFM bylaw Article 8, Section 3, was overly broad, and as such, hypothetically could extend inappropriately to neutral parties who have no stake in a primary labor dispute.  At the same time, the NLRB expressly noted that there is no evidence that AFM ever actually applied the bylaw in an unlawful manner.  Nevertheless, the NLRB required us to revise the wording of the bylaw as a precaution.

 Unfortunately, the confusing text of the email blast that was sent to members was determined by the NLRB.  I apologize for any confusion it has caused.

Thank you,


American Federation of Musicians
of the United States and Canada
1501 Broadway, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10036



There have been several interpretations of the above by different musicians and members.

Some have interpreted the initial NLRB statement to say the union cannot go after musicians for any work they might do.

Others have interpreted the above to say that as long as the employer is NOT on the international unfair list it’s fine to work for them, union of not.

What is your interpretation, dear reader?

If the material presented above means the union cannot come after players for non-union sessions, this allows the perceived top tier (and everyone else) to dodge the present bylaws.


Some weeks ago a large (non-union) recording session took place featuring a large number of the perceived A-listers, including some on the AFM Local 47 board. This session was advertised on Facebook and other social media, and as Local 47 board members took part, the local of course knew about it.

Not surprisingly, No one from the union showed up to bust it.

If the above means that the session was fine because the contractor is not on the unfair list, that means you can work for any contractor, union or not, as long as they’re not on that list.

However, if the AFM is still pursuing anyone doing nonunion work who is a union member, then why have all those recording elites who did the session not been charged?

Thoughts to ponder.

Until next time,


Pension / Decentralization / Comments

Friday, February 1st, 2019


MPS 2019 Pension Update: Where We’re Headed and What You Can Do

January 25, 2019

The AFM-EPF is most likely a few months away from entering critical and declining status.[1]The Trustees’ own projections say this. If and when this is announced – probably in April or May of this year — the Trustees then have the ability, if they so choose, to apply to the US Treasury for permission to cut our pension benefits. 
It is worth remembering that of the 1400 multiemployer plans in this country, only 25 have applied to have their benefits cut: about 1.7%. The AFM-EPF may soon join that 1.7%. According to a recent study by Milliman, the funded percentage of all multiemployer plans stands at 83%. Ours is at 63% and dropping as we approach the end of the fiscal year, March 31, 2019.
The Butch Lewis Act has unfortunately collapsed for now. Two bills have been introduced in the House to bring it back to life. MPS will stay engaged in Washington to get the help we need. But as long as the Republicans control the Senate, the path forward in Washington remains murky.[2] 

Our main task now is to push our Trustees to do the right thing. There are still things they can do to improve the situation.

Improve Investment Returns:

The AFM-EPF’s investment performance this fiscal year is 2.2% (through 9/30/18), while the median performance in our peer group is 3.8%. The new investment manager, Cambridge Associates, hired in October 2017, has added negative value in this fiscal year. You read that right: they have added negative value.[3] According to the Trustees’ own actuary, Milliman, “the primary driver of multiemployer health continues to be asset performance.” It is exactly in this area that our Trustees continue to fail us.
Increase Employer Contributions:

A significant reason for the crisis at AFM-EPF is the low level of employer contributions to the pension fund. According to recent Congressional testimony before the Joint Select Committee in Congress, aggregate contributions to multiemployer pension plans for 2009 to 2014 increased by 6.9% per year. Compare that to what our trustees project as the growth rate in employer contributions over the next 20 years: 2.5%. This is soon to be raised to 3%, but that is still a far cry from what is necessary. This plan is not just a little behind in employer contributions but vastly underperforming the industry standard of 6.9%. The Trustees’ own documents show how increasing the level of employer contributions can postpone our pension cuts.
Control Expenses:

It is unacceptable that as the AFM-EPF heads into critical and declining status, there have still been no expense cuts. The Executive Director still makes over $425,000 per year, and there are still about 20 people on staff who earn six-figure salaries. There are two outside investment managers. There are two law firms. And there is a Washington DC polling firm on retainer. 
Appoint Qualified Trustees:

MPS has argued that we have an entrenched, unaccountable and unqualified Board, and if this is permitted to continue, so will the mismanagement of our pension plan. To avoid this scenario, MPS proposed replacing 5 of the 8 Union Trustees with investment, pension, and actuarial experts. We believe these simple steps that would make this board of Trustees more capable, more dynamic and more accountable.

That’s what the Trustees can and should do. Here’s what AFM musicians across the country can do.

Raise Your Voices:

The next AFM convention is coming up quickly in June. Your local presidents will be attending and their attitudes and agenda should be shaped by you, the membership. Now is the time to let your local presidents and elected officials know that they must help influence our lead Trustee Ray Hair to improve investment returns, increase employer contributions, control expenses and appoint qualified trustees as detailed above. 

Get Active:

If your local union leadership is not representing your wishes as members, it may be time for a change. Last month, the Musicians for Change party of Local 802 in New York City (led by several MPS organizers) swept the elections and thus ousting an entrenched administration that refused to address the pension crisis in a strategic way. (Read about it here in the New York Times). Musicians for Change has shown that grassroots activism works. It can work at your local too by voicing your concerns, demanding accountability, and by making leadership changes where necessary.

We are entering uncharted territory for this pension plan, for the AFM and personally for each of us. This is not the time to be passive. The Trustees are about to make decisions that will alter the lives of thousands of AFM musicians across the country. It is time to let the Trustees know that musicians are organized and speaking with one voice. We are demanding accountable leadership and a cohesive strategy to address the issues facing the pension fund. Since this crisis began in December of 2016, we have yet to see either of those things.

[1]“Projections show critical and a declining status for April 1, 2019 (does not reflect market downturn through October).” November 8, 2018 Actuarial Valuation, page 17.

[2]We continue to be amazed that anyone calls Butch Lewis a bailout. Of course, Butch Lewis is not a bailout. It’s a loan guarantee program. There are currently over 100 federal loan and loan guarantee programs, assisting small businesses, homebuyers, veterans, students, farmers, disaster recovery, export-import transactions, and infrastructure projects. There is currently $4.34 trillion of federal loans outstanding under these programs. No one calls these federal loan programs bailouts. No one should call Butch Lewis a bailout either. But those arguments are on hold for now.

[3]September 30, 2018 Investment Report to AFM-EPF, Cambridge Associates.

MPS 2019 Pension Update: Where We're Headed and What You Can DoClick for the full…

Posted by Musicians for Pension Security on Friday, January 25, 2019



Even BYUtv is looking at filming elsewhere, as Utah’s $8M budget for film incentives can’t keep up with demand

By Scott D. Pierce

Disney wants to produce more TV series and movies in Utah — but it’s looking elsewhere. Oscar nominee Taylor Sheridan would like to film his upcoming movie in Utah — but production will take place in New Mexico. BYUtv is exploring options for producing TV series in Georgia or Canada.

Why? Because Utah’s tax incentive program for film and television is limited to $8.29 million a year. And compared with the demand — and the additional millions some other states provide — that’s not much to offer an industry that considers incentives a key part of the bottom line.

Mary Ann Hughes, Disney’s vice president of film and television production planning, told a recent meeting of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, “You will not find the productions going anywhere without incentives. It’s become an integral part of our planning.”

Disney is budgeted to get Utah incentives estimated at $3.7 million for its new series “High School Musical: The Musical.” But if a pilot that Disney shot in Utah last year, “The A Girl,” gets picked up as a series, the company says it will film elsewhere, because the likelihood of Utah having several million dollars more in incentive money available is slim, due to the limited budget and other projects (including Disney’s).

“Tax credits are a big driver of our decision-making,” said Susette Hsiung, executive vice president of Disney Channels Worldwide.

BYUtv filmed Season 1 of its upcoming show “Dwight in Shining Armor” in West Valley City, but it’s reportedly considering moving to Georgia or Canada. BYUtv managing director Michael Dunn didn’t want to comment directly on “Dwight” and said Utah “remains at the top of our list of production options.”

But he added that BYUtv “must consider other locations outside of Utah, particularly because of the lucrative tax incentives offered. These additional incentives dramatically offset our limited budgets,” he said, and they “are critical for the long-term viability of a series.”

Utah “has attracted more business than the incentive will support at this point. So BYUtv starts looking at going to Canada,” said Matias Alvarez, one of the producers of “Dwight.” “It’s just crazy.”

The Motion Picture Association of Utah — where Alvarez is a board member — will lobby the upcoming Utah Legislature and Gov. Gary Herbert to provide more money for incentives. Sheridan and actor/director/producer Amy Redford said they’d do whatever they can to help make that happen.

“Anything I could do that could possibly help the Legislature understand this, I’m eager to do,” Sheridan said.

Getting it made in Utah

Utah’s incentive program is “conservative,” according to Virginia Pearce, director of the Utah Film Commission. It rebates up to 25 percent of the cost of goods and services that are bought in the state, and of the salaries of Utahns on the crew.

Producers submit an estimate of how much they plan to spend in the state and — if approved — incentive money is budgeted by the Utah Film Commission. If the project doesn’t go into production, it doesn’t get anything. If it spends less than expected, it gets less — and that’s determined by a postproduction audit.

The film commission has to budget carefully because “we have run out the last couple of years,” Pearce said. “We’re kind of a victim of our own success.”

Disney’s Hughes pointed out that, in 2018, Season 3 of “Andi Mack” received a $4.8 million rebate, and “The A Girl” pilot got $400,000. Those payments, combined with its estimated 2019 rebate for “High School Musical: The Musical,” are $610,000 more than the annual budget of Utah’s incentives (albeit spread over two years).

“And this is just the Disney Channel,” Hughes said. “It causes us to have some tough conversations” about taking productions elsewhere.

One common pushback on increasing incentives is “why would we give Hollywood people money?” Alvarez said. He finds that frustrating.

Utah’s incentives support the hiring of Utahns, Alvarez points out — not “Tom Cruise coming here and taking millions of dollars out of the state.”

Studios have to pay stars big bucks regardless of where films are produced, Redford said.

“The six people that make a lot of money on a film are going to make that money no matter where you go,” she said. “Their deals are not contingent on the incentives.”

The employment contracts of the crew, however, are.

The incentives are “not giving money to millionaires,” said Sheridan, the creator/writer/producer/director of the made-in-Utah TV series “Yellowstone.” “It’s giving money to construction workers and drivers and catering companies and electricians.”

Sheridan employs up to 110 construction workers, 45 electricians and 40 drivers at a time on “Yellowstone,” which has been approved for more than $7 million in incentives in each of its first two seasons. Both that show and “Andi Mack” are receiving deferred payments, which allow the film commission to pay out incentives of more than $2 million over three years. But that still comes out of the $8.29 million budgeted annually.

And that’s one of the reasons Sheridan said he can’t afford to make his upcoming film (which he’s keeping under wraps) here — incentives just aren’t available for a movie with a budget “in the $50 million range. That’s a lot of money to spend in a state,” he said.

Even if only half that budget was spent in Utah, a 25 percent rebate would amount to $6.25 million — 75 percent of Utah’s annual incentives.

‘It really is about the economy of Utah’

In Utah, innumerable businesses — from the arena that’s home to the Utah Jazz to the Walmart down the street — receive some kind of tax break. Offering the same benefit to film and television productions is an investment, Redford said.

“It’s not just about Hollywood saving money,” she said. “It’s really about supporting and nourishing an industry that could really give Hollywood a run for its money. It really is about the economy of Utah.”

According to Pearce, a recent study indicated that for every dollar spent on film incentives, $7 is added to Utah’s GDP, or gross domestic product, the value of goods and services produced within the state.

The increase is generated not just by what each production spends in the state — with at least 75 percent of its budget not rebated — but by “the crew member who gets paid, who takes his wife out to dinner, who buys a new car, who is able to live and work here instead of living and working in L.A.,” Pearce said.

“Yellowstone” “employs hundreds of people, and the vast majority of them are local,” Sheridan said. “And the ones who are coming in, they’re renting properties, they’re standing in line at the grocery store. They’re staying here. They’re moving in.

“It’s just a money dump,” he said with a laugh. “We show up and spend an extreme amount of money, employ a workforce and then leave. And showcase the state.”

Movies and TV shows filmed in Utah are sort of accidental advertisements. Tourists are still visiting East High more than a decade after the third and final “High School Musical” movie was released.

“We’ve done some studies, and 30 percent of tourists that come to the state said that some kind of television show or movie influenced their decision,” Pearce said.

Redford plans to shoot the film “Cowboys and Indians” — which she called “sort of a cultural collision between Hindus from Queens and ranchers from the southern part of Utah” — in the state this spring.

It will be, she said, “a love letter to all that Utah has to offer — a big advertisement to come and spend your vacations in southern Utah and enjoy all of the riches.”

But she added: “If I can’t say to the investors, ‘OK, I get to save that 30 percent on your money with the incentives,’ then they’ll say, ‘Then we’re going to go to New Mexico.’ And I can’t … totally argue with that.”

She said she’s “sweating a bit” because she fears “if a couple of Disney films come in, then that knocks all of the independent filmmakers out. It’s like, don’t tell anybody how wonderful Utah is to shoot because they’re going to suck up all the [incentive]

A look at the competition

There’s a reason that all the Marvel superhero movies, all the “Hunger Games” movies and a slew of TV series — including “The Walking Dead,” “MacGyver,” “Dynasty,” “Stranger Things” and, yes, “Atlanta” — film in Georgia.

There’s no cap on Georgia’s incentives, which provide up to a 30 percent rebate and apply to the salaries of both Georgians and non-Georgians. In the 2017-18 fiscal year, that state paid $800 million in incentives to 455 productions, which spent $2.7 billion in the state. The governor’s office estimated a total economic impact of $9.5 billion.

“Georgia’s rebate — it’s completely changed the movie business,” Sheridan.

Georgia easily outspent New York ($420 million) and California ($320 million) and New Mexico ($50 million). At the other end of the spectrum, Michigan eliminated its incentives in 2015, and production there has virtually ceased.

But Utah’s conservative approach looks good compared with what’s happened in New Mexico.

That state grants incentives of up to 30 percent, and there’s no cap on the amount productions can qualify for — but there is a $50 million cap on what the state can pay out each year. So New Mexico owed film and TV producers $180 million at the end of 2018, a figure that’s expected to more than triple in five years. (It may take Sheridan years to get the rebates on his upcoming film.)

Netflix has purchased a production studio in Albuquerque that is expected to bring 1,000 jobs — with help from $14.5 million in tax incentives from the city and the state.

Utah also competes with the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. Between the provinces and its federal government, Canada alone distributed more than half a billion dollars in incentives last year, a figure Pearce doesn’t ever see Utah approaching.

“I don’t think it makes sense for a state our size and the diverse economy that we’ve built up,” she said.

‘Make a real impact’

Still, expanding the film and TV business would only be good for Utah, said Sheridan, a Wyoming native who moved here ”to make a living in movies and not live in California.”

“Aside from clogging up some traffic in spots, I don’t know the negatives. And I think the positives greatly outweigh that,” Sheridan said. “All we do is run around and just leave a trail of money behind us.

Productions don’t leave “any residual trash or any toxic waste to clean up or anything,” Alvarez agreed. Another benefit to expanding incentives and the industry in Utah, he added, is keeping talented young Utahns home.

He’s carved out a 30-year career as a director/producer working mainly in Utah. But he’s the exception.

“I see tons of kids graduating from [Brigham Young University] and [Utah Valley University] and the [University of Utah] in media production who don’t have anywhere to go in Utah,” he said. “The best ones end up leaving and going to L.A. or Georgia. A lot of those kids have family here, they grew up here and they want to stay in Utah, but there are just no jobs here in that industry — or at least not enough jobs.”

Redford, the daughter of Robert Redford, moved back to Utah to establish a production company. She said there’s a huge amount of talent here, “and the kids that go to film school should be able to then put all of that talent back into the state. But a lot of them are getting to a point where they say, ‘You know what? There’s just not enough work. I’ve got to go.’”

Pearce said she’s proud of what the Utah Film Commission has been able to accomplish. Still, she told a meeting of GOED, “Our biggest concern right now is just the cap size.”

Sheridan would like to see rebates upped to 30 percent and the cap removed. And he’d like to see incentives applied to above-the-line costs (cast, stunt performers, producers) as well as below-the-line (goods and crew members).

“It would entice even more productions,” he said. “That’s what Georgia has done, and it’s how they’ve been so successful.”

Redford suggests greater incentives for shooting in “economically challenged areas” and a bump for using local music talent “so you can turn these really talented young musicians into composers and writers.” She also like the idea of an expat program, which would allow people born and raised in Utah to qualify for incentives even if they left the state to find work elsewhere.

Alvarez, too, wants Utah to make a bigger commitment.

“It’s like you’re dabbling in it and you have this small incentive, but it’s not enough to make a real impact,” he said. “I feel like it’s a half-measure that we’re stuck with right now.”



-A good start. I thought Tino was going to come after me when I asked whether we need some people on the Pension board who knew something about investments at the TMA meeting a few months ago. Of course the Broadway musicians have a huge interest in the plan, as they are putting a huge percentage of their checks into the plan (I think it is 18%).

Getting Tino’s predecessor and Vince Trombetta off the board wouldn’t hurt either.


-A typical response by someone without knowledge of how the AFM-EPF and its board of trustees works. The board does not directly act in investing, hiring the same well-known actuaries and investment firms as do other funds. B’way musicians do not contribute out of their checks .Mgt. does the contributing based on an arbritator’s (Turkus) award from the ’60s giving musicians a percentage of ticket sales which has grown over the years as ticket prices have increased. Union-side trustees are appointed by the AFM president so no change there unless he wants it.


-A series of mistakes by actuaries responding to the Fed’s “overfunding” rules leading to upping the multiplier to 4.65 to current and RETROACIVE accounts plus the ’08 financial meltdown led to the AFM-EPF’s current troubles. Nobody took the money. 802’s president is but one of 16 trustees, unable to cure the fund’s problems as the new know-nothing presiddent will find out. He will not even be appointed to the board.


Getting a larger membership won’t fund what’s already underfunded.
That money should already be there by the pension contributions so far.
Where did the money go? Did someone take it or was it invested poorly?


Hello Friends
Where has the blog gone? I sure hope it has not gone away!
Thank you for it!


Till Next Time….



Thursday, December 6th, 2018



Propelled by Pension Fears, a Musicians’ Union Elects Change

By Michael Cooper

Dec. 5, 2018


The leadership team of the New York local of the musicians’ union — the union’s largest local in the nation — was voted out of office on Tuesday in a stunning upset, amid concerns over the underfunded musicians’ pension plan and broader changes facing music, the original gig economy.

It was the first contested election in nine years at Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians, and it could cause national ripples. Adam Krauthamer was elected president with 67 percent of the vote, beating Tino Gagliardi, who has held the post for nine years and played a key behind-the-scenes role in the city’s musical life.

The insurgency began with musicians concerned about their pensions. The American Federation of Musicians and Employers’ Pension Fund, a multiemployer plan representing thousands of musicians around the country, has grown so underfunded that it may decide to reduce benefits in the future. The crisis has led to renewed activism by musicians.

Some have sued the plan’s trustees, claiming mismanagement, which the trustees have denied. Others, including Mr. Krauthamer, formed a group called Musicians for Pension Security.

“It made people stand up and take a look around and see what was going on,” Mr. Krauthamer, 37, said in an interview on Wednesday.

He said that many musicians were troubled by what they found — feeling that the trustees of the pension fund had been unresponsive to their concerns — and worried that the large New York local was losing members and growing out of touch with the needs of a new generation of musicians. Several of New York’s cutting-edge ensembles, including the International Contemporary Ensemble, have opted not to unionize in recent years.

“If we don’t find a way to bring new members into our union, and more work under contract, we are never going to be able to fund our pension,” he said before playing the French horn in a matinee of “Frozen” on Broadway.

Mr. Krauthamer’s ticket, 802 Musicians for Change, said in its platform that while protecting and improving existing contracts for Broadway shows and at the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, New York City Ballet and elsewhere was important, the union needed to bring more musicians into the fold. It called for coming up with more flexible contract frameworks that could be “available to musicians that don’t typically fall into the traditional union mold.”

It was a hard-fought campaign. In a debate, Mr. Gagliardi emphasized his experience. “This is not class president, folks,” he said.

Mr. Krauthamer argued the union had grown out of touch. “The rest of us, as musicians, have adapted to our market,” he said. “We understand what’s going on. But our union is stuck in the past.”

A version of this article appears in print on Dec. 6, 2018, on Page C3 of the New York edition with the headline: Musicians’ Union Elects Change.

See the original article here:

EC: “Congrats to the rank and file on taking their Local back!”



Friday, August 10th, 2018








I. ACOSTA / LOCAL 47: The “DICK MOVE” edition.

We’ve been hearing from quite a few members and non-dues paying,

fi-core musicians of late. The local and Acosta couldn’t be doing a

better job of alienating musicians if they were trying….


1) A member recently missed paying their dues by ONE day

(Touring), and was told by the Local’s employee that they’re

happy to re-instate their membership for an approx. $80 penalty!


Dues are $210 annually and they want to defraud members,

some DECADES LONG members of almost 40% of the dues

because they’re one day late.


When asked “how do you get off doing that.” The employee

said, “It’s policy”.


It’s the Acosta / local 47 DICK MOVE way.

As a reminder, they used that same pablum on former 38-year

member and now fi-core musician Charles Fernandez, when

they not only refused to refund his yearly dues when he left

less than a month into new year but also forced him to pay an

additional $175 for “fi-core” dues. He too was told “It’s Policy”.

Well, they lied, there was no such policy, and the Local was

forced to refund his $210 annual dues.


Something tells us that if this happens to you, and you search f

or the proof of their near 40% penalty policy you’ll find none.


Don’t take it laying down. Fight and get your money back. They

do not deserve it.





Yet another session, this one at Warner Brothers for a large orchestra got an unexpected visitor. The session was nonunion, as were the musicians, so it was none of the Local’s business.  The music on this session, creating work for some 70 musicians, would have never been union.

VP Rick Baptist showed up,… two hours after the session was over, harassed the engineer and threatened the studio for taking the work.

Hopefully, the studio told him where he can stick his complaint. Even for the studios, union work doesn’t pay the bills anymore. BUt the RMA / ACOSTA / LOCAL 47 CABAL doesn’t care.






There’s very little union work left, so musicians, needing

to work and tired of the lip service and uselessness of the

Local are working together to create work the union has

lost or caused to leave, and in most cases work that would

never be union regardless.

One of the contractors who has been targeted doesn’t hire union players against their will, and hires non-union or fi-core musicians, so the local is totally impotent to do anything EXCEPT go after union musicians (some board members by the way) they might find who are doing the work to pay their bills. Any amount of your dues they use to go after musicians they cannot charge is simply being pissed away for no useful purpose.

As if you need reminding, it is virtually impossible to make a living doing solely union work unless you’re in the LA Phil, so everyone is doing non-union work.

Using your own dues to go against the only work you have? That’s the John Acosta / Local 47 DICK MOVE way! Even with the board members doing that same work… Hypocrites of the first order.




We’ve heard from two different musicians who contacted the union to try to make some nonunion productions union. Imagine that, actually trying to bring dues and pension (Whatever it’s still worth) and H and W INTO the union.

Their reward? Because they are fi-core musicians, Michael Ackney of the live music department would not tell them the scales they needed to reference and would not assist in any way. The excuse? POLICY. A DICK MOVE against contractors and the musicians they might hire.

Well unfortunately for the Local, what Ackney did is specifically against labor law. It is illegal to refuse such information to financial core musicians. When confronted with that fact, Michael Ackney said, All together now, “IT’S POLICY”, but agreed to answer ONE question.

Of course it’s NOT policy and Mr. Ackney should remember that before he starts making up arbitrary and discriminatory rules again.”

He needs to check labor law. Any musician, Member or Fi-Core, is legally entitled to any info they need. Every Fi-Core member pays $180 in dues to the union, therefore they are paying for access to that information. Don’t help them and you‘re breaking federal law Michael.

But can you believe they work to make it impossible to make non-union work union? Acosta’s DICK MOVE way indeed.



Recently, a local orchestra was paying OVER scale to their musicians, but wanted nothing to do with the union. The union found out and threatened them into signing a contract with the Local.

The upswing? The Local forced the orchestra to LOWER the payments to the musicians to match the scale. Lookin’ out for you? In a pig’s eye.



Ever read in the local paper about the union getting a, say, 3%

pay raise for a CBA orchestra and patting themselves on the back profusely for their effort?

Well there’s only one problem with that. In at least one case, the forced pay raise resulted in a reduction in the number of rehearsals, causing in effect a pay cut for the musicians. In one case, the orchestra now has only one rehearsal per concert.

The Local working hard to make your life more difficult.





The AFM is apparently now going to charge an additional 10% to employers to try to make up for the incompetent AFM / trustees screw-ups with our pension. Can’t you just see the employers bailing on union sessions for places unknown to record and save being grifted out of money to cover for the trustees mistakes and AFM mismanagement? A DICK MOVE against employers. And who’ll pay the price?

One guess.



How long will you be played for fools, Local 47 members? They do not deserve your money or your support.

Don’t get us wrong, we fully support GOOD, HONEST UNIONS. A union, however, must deserve their members support. This Local most certainly does not.


[Thanks RMALA and AFM Sychophants]
Nashville is making a major play for film and TV scoring work that, for economic and political reasons, has typically been going overseas. New legislation in Tennessee, which took effect July 1, is designed to attract that work, and some say it’s already having an impact.

When it comes to music for major studio films, most composers’ first choice is to record in Los Angeles and London. But independent films with smaller budgets and video-game producers tasked with creating many hours of gameplay music, two sectors that have been unable to strike a deal with American musicians’ union officials, have been taking their business elsewhere and making a show of it.

Tennessee state officials recently made a pilgrimage to L.A. to pitch the country-music capital as an American alternative. The state’s Visual Content Modernization Act, passed in May and signed by Gov. Bill Haslam, contains provisions for recording music in the state regardless of where the project originated. The idea, Tennessee
Entertainment Commission executive director Bob Raines says, is a cash rebate for producers, likely to be 25% (details are still being worked out). So a project that spends $100,000 on recording can expect $25,000 back — a substantial savings.

“It closes the gap in costs between Eastern Europe and other places,” says Steve Schnur, worldwide executive and president of music for video-game company Electronic Arts, which frequently records in Nashville. “London and L.A. are comparatively expensive. In Eastern Europe, it’s less quality but comparatively cheaper. Nashville has some of the best musicians in the world, and because of the composers who are going there regularly, the quality bar has gone up.”

While cities like Prague; Budapest; Bratislava, Slovakia; Skopje, Macedonia; and, more recently, Vienna have become attractive alternatives to higher-priced recording locations, Nashville is now out to replace them. The History miniseries “Texas Rising” was recorded there; so was music for TV’s “Fargo” and “Outlander” series. Several “Call of Duty” games and one “Star Wars” game recorded in Nashville, as did the movies “Show Dogs,” “Mother’s Day,” “The Star” and “Acrimony.” Says Jeff Russo, an Emmy winner for his “Fargo” music: “I loved working there. It’s a different feel from anywhere else in the world, and it certainly feels like making records.”

Austin Wintory, who used a Nashville orchestra for the game “Abzu,” says: “We were all just blown away at the caliber of musicianship. One of the nagging problems of recording in Eastern Europe is, even when the orchestras are good, the quality of the physical instruments they’re playing on is not as good.”

And while Nashville is inevitably more expensive than overseas — sources say one hires players in Nashville for $75 an hour as opposed to $25 or $30 an hour in Eastern Europe — Wintory says bang for the buck must be considered. “The challenge is reconciling the per-player rate with the speed at which one can move,” he explains. “If you pay a little more for Nashville but you can go twice as fast, it might be cheaper.”

Tennessee is a right-to-work state; you don’t have to be a union member to perform in the studios. That’s attractive to producers who aren’t interested in signing union agreements that tie them to later residual payments (the primary reason so much recording work has left California).

Says Alan Umstead, a top Nashville contractor for recording dates: “Most of my clients went to Eastern Europe but were not happy with the quality of work. Then they realized that they could come to Nashville and get quality and a nonunion buyout at a reasonable price.”

The drawback is that Music City only has one recording studio that’s suitable for film, TV and game work: Ocean Way, located in a 100-year-old church, and it can comfortably accommodate only about 75 musicians. Composers needing a larger orchestra generally record strings, brass and woodwinds separately and then mix them together later. There is talk of building a larger studio to accommodate the growing demand.

Says Raines, “We see ourselves as a state of content creators and storytellers. This is a way for us to help sell the state on our quality and efficiency and utilize our unique competitive advantage.” The pool of money available for the scoring rebate is expected to be $5 million, which, if it were all used, says Umstead, “would translate to $20 million worth of scoring work — a nice little incentive.”

But American Federation of Musicians Local 47 president John Acosta tells Variety that companies going to Nashville are taking advantage of the right-to-work laws to exploit talent. “They know that they can get these musicians cheaper by not having them under a union agreement,” he says. “They don’t have healthcare, or retirement benefits, or Social Security contributions or unemployment insurance.”

Prague contractor James Fitzpatrick has a different take. He notes that the competition for scoring has become worldwide. “With ever-tightening music budgets, more alternative venues and musical ensembles are on offer than ever before,” he says. “Surely that is a good thing for all musicians.”

Welcome to Nashville: The New Scoring Destination







“I appointed the girlfriend of a head of a players conference as the new pension trustee. Are you not entertained?”

Gail Kruvand Joins AFM-EPF Board of Trustees

Pension Fund Notes
Newsletter of the American Federation of Musicians and
Employers’ Pension Fund
Gail Kruvand Joins AFM-EPF Board of Trustees
The AFM-EPF Board of Trustees is pleased to announce
that Gail Kruvand has joined the Board as a Union Trustee.
Gail replaces departing Trustee Phil Yao, who leaves his
position after nearly 15 years of service on the Board.
The Trustees thank Phil for his dedication and hard
work on behalf of AFM-EPF participants and extend
a warm welcome to Gail.
Gail’s career as an AFM bassist spans nearly 40 years.
Her many credits include 27 years with the New York
City Opera Orchestra, numerous film/TV and sound
recordings, and subbing with Broadway shows, including
“Phantom of the Opera” and “My Fair Lady.”
At the New York City Opera, Gail served for more than
10 years on the orchestra committee and several times
on the negotiating committee, including as chairwoman
of each. She was a member of the Local 802 Executive
Board from 2010 to 2017 and attended AFM conventions
in 2013 and 2016 as a delegate. Gail also has experience
serving on the boards of AFM player conferences, including
the ICSOM Governing Board and the RMA Executive Board.
Per the AFM Bylaws, Gail was appointed by AFM International
President Ray Hair after consulting with the AFM Player
Conferences. As a Trustee, Gail will participate in rigorous,
ongoing education and training on issues such as plan
funding, investments, federal legislation and other issues
relevant to administering the Fund. In this unpaid role, Gail will
join the Trustees in receiving advice from the Fund’s actuary,
investment advisor and other experts that help inform
Trustee decisions.
We thank Gail for accepting this important responsibility to her
fellow musicians. Participants can find more information on
the role and structure of the Board of Trustees in the June 18 issue of
Pension Fund Notes
[MUSICIANS: Oh Good – Another person with no financial experience
is going to be a trustee. What could go wrong? Connections as always,
regardless of worth.


Grammy-nominated songwriter and record producer Kevin Risto has filed a class action lawsuit against SAG-AFTRA, the American Federation of Musicians and the trustees of the Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund, claiming the unions violated their fiduciary duty to session musicians and backup singers by taking a 3% service fee on all royalties they’re owed.

Risto, who has written and produced songs for Justin Bieber, Jennifer Lopez, 50 Cent and Frank Ocean, claims that SAG-AFTRA collected more than $1.7 million in service fees in 2016 that it was not entitled to – and has been collecting similar fees since 2013. The suit (read it here), filed June 22 in Los Angeles Superior Court, wants the union to repay the money and stop collecting it in the future.

The suit notes that federal law grants the owner of a copyright in a sound recording the exclusive right to perform and reproduce it publicly by means of a digital audio transmission. Sound Exchange, an affiliate of the Recording Industry Association of America, is the sole U.S. entity authorized to collect royalties due from these songs. It then turns the performers’ share of the money over to the fund, which was established by the unions to distribute the royalties to members and non-members alike.

The suit states that prior to its merger with SAG in 2012, AFTRA distributed these royalties without ever collecting a service fee, but that after the merger, the fund’s trustees – all of whom are officials or members of the unions – approved granting the unions a 3% service fee on the royalties they distribute.

The suit claims that the defendants “were trustees of the Fund, but were acting with deep conflicts of interest to the benefit of the unions, by which they were employed. This service fee reduces the amount of capital in the Fund and therefore reduces the amount of money available to the beneficiaries of the Fund.”

According to the suit, “Defendants violated their duties to the Trust when authorizing the service fee and diverting funds away from the Fund and to the unions. The service fee is purportedly paid to the unions for the provision of certain data and representation of ‘Fund interests.’ However, all of the obligations conferred on the unions in the service agreement were activities that the unions were already performing as a benefit to its members. No new consideration was provided by the unions in exchange for the service fee.” The suit also alleges that the defendants violated the terms of the service agreement by paying the trustees’ expenses.

Risto, who is not a member of either union, is represented by attorneys Paul Kiesel and Neville Johnson of Kiesel Law LLP In Beverly Hills.

Songwriter Kevin Risto Sues SAG-AFTRA And Musicians Union Over Music Royalties





Friday, June 1st, 2018





Absolutely guaranteed anonymity – Former Musician’s Union officer


…The one voice of reason in a sea of insanity – Nashville ‘first call’
scoring musician

…Allows us to speak our minds without fear of reprisal – L.A. Symphonic musician

…Reporting issues the Musicians Union doesn’t dare to mention – National touring musician



The text below came from a popular online blog for composers and orchestrators.
Hello my wonderful composer family! I was wondering if anyone
could give me referrals for a really awesome session orchestra?
The music is difficult, and I need players who are seasoned at
session work and can sightread well.

I recently recorded players here in Seattle from a local symphony –
all great performers, but not experienced studio players….and
there is unfortunately a good chance I’m not going to be able to
use the sessions that we did. 🙁 The likelihood of re-recording
seems eminent and this time around I need to get it right.

I’ve heard there is a great session orch in Nashville, and
obviously many in LA….just looking for links, referrals,
reviews….I need a GOOD one. Thanks in advance.

-If I am thinking correctly, I believe in East Coast Scoring ?

-Nashville for the win (unless its a Union LA gig).
Else London UK but exchange rate is a tough pill.

-My rep at Yamaha recommended one in Nashville as
well – do you happen to know which one, and a link? 🙂

-Contact Alan Umstead. Our guys here are as good as it gets.
Just did a session at Ocean Way the other day and I can’t
rave enough. They sight read like nobody’s business, too.

-I just recorded my piano tracks at Yamaha in Nashville (I’m a
Yamaha artist), and Ocean Way was highly recommended.
I’ll check it out – thank you!!

-I’ve seen great stuff out of ocean way

-Budapest is great

-seconded. The strings there are pretty great for the budget
they play their butts off and have fun doing their gig.

-Here’s another option for you. CMG, she’d be happy
to put together a quote for you.

-Are you familiar with the folks at Bastyr? (Seattle)
Might be worth reaching out, even if you wind up
going elsewhere.

-yes I actually recorded choir at Bastyr on my last
album… and yes familiar with Andrew – I hadn’t
thought of this. I will check it out.

-Seattle Music is the best option in the pacific
northwest. I’ve had dozens of session there
at Bastyr. Talk to David Sabee if you do.

-Hollywood Scoring (non-union) has really flexible
options that would suite your needs.

-“Well seasoned” and “sightread well” are both
terms to describe Nashville. I’d highly recommend
that you give us a try. But either way, best of luck
in what sounds like a tough spot. Hang in there,
you’ll get it done!

-Thanks for that David….a little encouragement
after a stressful few days of finding my previous
session was not good is very appreciated.. 🙂
I just recorded at Yamaha in Nashville and my
engineer there Ryan Nelson recommended a
scoring orch in Nashville….do you have a link?

-We would love to learn more about your project
and see if there’s a good fit with what we can
offer at HUGE Studios in Salt Lake City. We
have the lowest cost, high quality, live orchestral
recording solution in the entire United States.

-Hi, thanks for all this wonderful information. I’ve
actually recorded some very small sectionals in
SLC with Nate Drew for a couple of film scores
and album projects that I’ve done. I haven’t heard
of your group though – do you by chance have a link,
and also where I can listen to some of the work
you’ve done? Thanks so much.

-his is actually where I recorded your music before it
became Huge Sound. Great stage, and Michael is
still engineering there I believe.

-yes they did! A lot depends on how well prepared
the sheetmusic and associated click tracks are etc.,
and really difficult stuff requires more than a single
run through with almost any orchestra… how many
players are you thinking? How difficult? And are you
going to a click track? I’m just curious. But yes,
they’re excellent.

-Nashville! The guy to contact is Chris McDonald. THE BEST.

-I have recorded several times in Nashville as I believe
have Trevor Morris and Andrew Gross. The core players
are excellent, but the “bench” is not as deep as LA,
so booking early helps.

-Reach out to Vince Emmett – he can help guide you
about Nashville (he’s a composer client of mine,
based in the area – mention you were referred by me).

-Karen Garrity of CMG Music Recording in Hollywood, CA

-You will not find a better combination of musicianship,
sight-reading, and easy-going people than in Nashville.
And they work amazingly fast and efficiently.




are now at Culver City Elks

the first 
Friday of 
every month.


11160 Washington Pl.

Culver City, 90232




CalStateLA Symphony Orchestra/Olympia Youth Orchestra

You are cordially invited to the Admission FREE concert,
“Summer Romance”, given by the CalStateLA Symphony
Orchestra/Olympia Youth Orchestra on June 3, 2018 at
3PM at the
San Gabriel Mission Playhouse,
320 S Mission Drive, San Gabriel, CA 91776.

The concert will feature guest soloist, Professor Meng-Chieh
Liu of the world renowned New England Conservatory as
well as the Curtis Institute performing the 2nd Piano
Concerto by Brahms. This is a concert not to be missed.

The orchestra is made up of talented young musicians ages
12 through college age. They gain admission to the orchestra
through our annual competitive audition which is coming up in
the summer. If there are any young and talented music
students playing an orchestral instrument, please feel
free to refer them to apply. The application can be submitted
on line from the website
under the section “youth orchestra”.

Please come support these young musicians and enjoy an
afternoon of great music. If you need to have some complimentary
tickets sent to you, please reply with your mailing address and
they will be on their way ASAP.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Fung Ho
Music Director & Conductor,
CalStateLA Symphony Orchestra/Olympia Youth Orchestra




Song of the Angels will present its annual Jazz
Flute concert on Saturday, June 16, 4 PM in La
Crescenta, featuring world-renowned jazz flute
artists, Ali Ryerson, Fred Selden, David Shostac,
guitarist/composer Massimo Sammi and flautist/
composer Chicako Iverson

Selections will include pieces by Miles Davis,
Jim Repacking, and Dave Brubeck.

Audience flutists, please bring your flutes and join us our
last number, Basin Street Blues! See you there!

Tickets are on sale now at
Tickets: $20 general / $15 seniors / $5 Children

La Crescenta Presbyterian Church
2902 Montrose Avenue, La Crescenta, CA 912214

Also on the program:

The Pacific Northwest Film Scoring Program at the Seattle Film Institute
is now accepting applications for the one-year
Master of Music in Film Composition
One of the Top 4 Film Music Programs in the World!
Recently rated as the #4 school in the world for film
scoring education by Music School Central.
“in just one year, the school places students into a
pressure cooker of intense learning resulting in a
professional demo reel that can be used to obtain
future paid commercial opportunities.”

Learn from Industry Professionals
All PNWFS faculty are active professional film and
game composers, orchestrators, copyists, and
engineers, including the program’s creator and
lead instructor Dr. Hummie Mann.  Hummie is the
two-time Emmy Award winning film composer of
“Robin Hood: Men in Tights” and featured in
Variety Magazine’s article “Leaders in Learning”.
Our Program Features:
• 9 live recording sessions with professional
musicians at Studio X, Seattle’s premiere, world-class studio.

• Opportunities to work with student directors
to score actual films from film programs all
over the world.
• Training in all major software programs used
in the industry.
• A state-of-the-art workstation assigned to
each student fully installed with the latest versions
of all software, sample libraries and plug-ins needed to complete the program.

Accelerated and Affordable
We are a one-year Master of Music in Film
Composition program which not only gives our
graduates the opportunity to enter the industry
and start their careers a year sooner than other
programs but saves them an entire year of living
expenses. In addition to our accelerated format
we also offer the most affordable tuition out of
competing programs. Our students have access
to FAFSA financial assistance, loans, and
scholarships as well.

History of Success
We are very proud to have a high success rate
for our graduates who have gone on to work on
television shows such as Castle, Empire, and Once
Upon a Time; video games such as World of Warcraft,
Spate, and Destiny; and films such as The Revenant,
Trolls, The Dark Tower, and Guardians of the Galaxy
Vol. 2. Apply now and you could be joining their ranks!
Applications are being accepted for the Fall 2018
school year.
We offer rolling admissions – no deadline to apply.

(800) 882-4734 |