THIS STUDY WAS SENT TO US, we thought you should know what it says.




There were not enough recording sessions due to technology before Runaway Scoring began with sessions in Seattle and Salt Lake City and around the world well over ten years ago.

Scoring for episodic TV using live musicians is almost a thing of the past. Digital sampling and the introduction of Giga Studio have replaced many live instruments for lower budget TV, film and all recordings. Home studios are the norm now, and every composer in LA has one with all the black boxes to record and deliver scores without live players.

The turn around time for episodic TV and Jingles is very short, which does not lend itself to scoring outside of LA, therefore most is done here, with or without live players. The turnaround factor is key in determining if a score for a production is even able to go out of town. Features, TV Movies, Cable Movies, Documentaries, and Records tend to all have longer turn around times, therefore it can be easily planned to score these out of town in advance.

The Internet and Digital Technology have made it possible to record anywhere in the world now. Got a laptop or hard drive with PRO TOOLS? – you can come back with an entire score stored on it.

The Quality of players around the globe is not an issue anymore – great players are everywhere and getting better each time they play a scoring date. Although maybe not the case with Commercial music scoring – i.e.: Jazz, R & B, Pop – LA still the place for crossover music.

The Movie Producers and movie studios are not so concerned with quality – the bottom line is money. The argument that LA is the best place to score doesn’t hold water anymore.

The major motion picture studios sign collective bargaining agreements with the AFM and enjoy non – AFM jobs out of town without any retribution from the AFM. The buck is not stopping on any AFM officer’s desk when a major studio decides to score out of town.

The newer film companies and producers are not concerned with the way contracts used to be. These are “new” business people with options other than the AFM to get scores recorded. They are only utilizing the simple business principles of supply and demand.

The quality of recording facilities around the globe is state of the art.

These Orchestras around the globe are now very aggressively competing for scoring jobs.

Some of these orchestras are working for the same front-end wages as us without benefits and without residuals for most of the recording platforms – except for Eastern Europe, which is typically around 15 dollars per hour per player without benefits and without residuals.

The Secondary Markets Special Payment was fund created in the 60’s when today’s technology did not exit – the only place to score was in LA – times have changed and we have not changed with them. We no longer control the monopoly on scoring sessions – period.

Ignoring global competition can be likened to an Ostrich putting it’s head in the sand – competition is just business and choosing to ignore what’s happening around the globe is absurd.

There are many more musicians that are NOT part of the “recording elite” that are excluded from recording sessions because of sheer LACK of volume of recording work today. These “non-elite” musicians in LA are ready to go to work now. Although, they are all very fearful to speak up because of possible blacklisting by the “recording elite”. The few “elite” sessions that are left seem to be enough to support the “elite” and therefore protection of these sessions from others and of course protection of their residuals is at the top on their list.

THIS IS A BIG DEAL BREAKER: Many composer deals today are “PACKAGE DEALS”. In Translation – “here is your money for all in to score this movie” – and most times at the insistence of the production company the composer is told absolutely “ NO MUSICIANS UNION”!

Many productions are originally slated to be non-union from the beginning because of fears of back end residuals. These productions would stand a chance of becoming union if producers had another option in place that they knew about. Granted, we argue residuals are small, to some producers any residual is a deal breaker for the musicians for scoring. They are choosing to do business that way.

All of the Composers that have scored out of town have had a job to do – deliver music. They are work for hire employees and do what their employers ask them to do. Times have changed and employers dictate the marketplace, not employees. The marketplace is the benchmark for what is happening. The marketplace is telling us what to do very plainly.

If the competition around the globe is offering a comparable quality product or service at the same price or lower without residuals, holding firm to existing AFM agreements with hopes of producers and composers choosing to stay here in order to support LA musicians is just not going to happen.

The RMA has been very instrumental in new recording platforms and efforts for new work opportunities. BUT, if the RMA is the police “watch dog” for the recording arena within the AFM, then on their watch, for well over the last ten years, we have witnessed the flight of work out of town with great losses to all within the AFM. The AFM is supposed to work for the whole body – not just a small special interest group. Only about 20-25% of the RMA membership works consistently in those “elite” sessions, therefore 80-75% of the RMA members are left out in the cold as well.

This study is in no way an attempt to divide the recording musicians and pit them against each other. It is supposed to engage talks within all of the recording music community to arrive at solutions that will bring back the work with every possible recording musician in mind, not just RMA “elite” members.

James Fitzpatrick – books 4 orchestras self explanatory
Andrew Brown

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