Greetings Colleagues!,

Here are a series of buyout comments we’ve received.



The RMASF proposal makes Sense to me. Let’s do it,. No Back end!

I am in favor of a film buyout. It is unfortunate to have to face;
however, it is simple economics… supply and demand. I hope it is
not too late.

Music is not a large budget item in film. We are not what makes a film cost a lot of money. Tastes and attitudes continue to shift. Nothing is set in stone in the freelance field. One must simply adjust and take work where it comes and at fair prices. Don’t discount yourselves.

How does giving up things we have fought hard for (i.e. secondary
markets) bring more work to town? If it is still cheaper to record in
Prague even after giving up these items, why would we expect more work to come in? Nothing in RMASF’s proposal suggests how this work would magically return.
Those musician’s who are vested in the Secondary Markets fund pay for the policing out of their own checks. To my knowledge, the Federation does not pay these costs.
In recent years various low-budget, soundtrack and video game
agreements have met with success and brought new work into town. Let’s build upon these successes and not give away hard won items for nothing. Our union is made up of a wide variety of musicians in various fields. Symphony, recording, opera, touring, shows are all unique in the challenges they present. Not all work is available to or done byall musicians. I feel there is an undercurrent of resentment against those musicians who make a majority of their living through recording work. This is not productive. If the Federation would partner more effectively with RMALA and make use of the expertise our members are so willingly offering, we could then begin to take on the challenge of bringing more work back to Los Angeles. Thanks,

I agree something needs to be done. This proposal for the most part seems reasonable. although I wonder if it isn’t already too late. It’s a global market and the lower our prices go, the lower others will go. It may just be a race to the bottom.

One thing on the buyout agreement I don’t understand is “Pre-existing motion pictures with secondary markets to be grandfathered in.” If this means giving up special payments on work I’ve already done, there is no way I’ll agree to that. With this proposal there is no guarantee that it will bring back enough work to make up for money I have alreadyearned.

I used to work full time as a copyist for TV and film. I have watched
my living simply evaporate. I have had to find other ways of making
money and it isn’t easy. I have had no help from the AFM and local 47, as a matter of fact they seem to be more of an obstacle than anything else.

I hope you’ll keep us all posted as to what everyone’s thoughts are on this issue. I know I am not alone.


Reading the attached from Local 47 and watching the amount of work dry up year after year, it would seem that something really radical has to be done if there is any hope of keeping a music industry going in this town, or at least a recording industry. The union hasn’t even mentioned the number of pictures that are being done totally or almost totally without live musicians. Even the proposal below seems rich given the incredible savings that can be achieved by going overseas. It seems to me like the leadership of the RMA locally is in serious denial about the threat to its very existence.

You’re obviously a lot closer to this than I am. What is your take on this? The more I think about the disappearance of music performed by live musicians–both in a studio as well as in general–the more depressed I get with the future of living and playing here. A small but telling example of my concern was the 2005 social program for Wilshire CC that I found inserted in my bill in late January when V and I returned from New Zealand. There was not a single dance planned for the entire year!! Dances 6 to 8 times a year were the ONLY social events the club had when I first joined there in the early 1980’s. While this is just one venue, it is scary to project this trend at all.


Hi ••••,

I’m CC’ing your email and my reply to two of my good friends who I think are the driving force behind the Committee for a Responsible 47. Maybe I’m all wet, and they should feel free to correct me, but here’s my take. Please, everyone click Reply All if you have something to add.

I think we’re simply rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Chuck and Chris are both bright, talented, hard-working and well-intentioned people, but I think ultimately this is just busy work in the final years of our industry.

First off, it’s already over. The people with the power to choose music are now young enough to have not grown up with live bands and orchestras, so they see no value, no magic in an ensemble of players. The underscore is about as unique a commodity to them as choosing a motherboard for a PC. Our current crop of production people, were they to even consider attending a dinner dance at a country club, would probably prefer one run by a DJ, and think of instrumental ensembles only for some quaint period piece likely involving hoop skirts and parasols. You expect that these people are going to think the chase scene through nighttime Hollywood streets needs trombones?

Second, let’s assume we adopt a new pricing structure in an attempt to compete with London, Seattle, Eastern Europe, and god knows where else. It’s not going to bring any measurable increase in work to the masses here, it’s only going to mean more work for the small list of yo cats. We saw this happen when the low budget agreements were adopted. Sandy’s crowd fought those rates, but now they’re the ones accepting that work, and complaining about it while they do so! When I get a call from Dateline, practically the first words out of their mouth are an apology for the low rate or negotiated agreement involved. But I see the biggest names in the business on those sessions.

We can’t possibly work for as little as Eastern European musicians, we can only compete on versatility and/or a quick turnaround. But home studios have now reached a level of quality where the unique stuff is recorded in the composer’s or musician’s home studio, and the rest of it gets done wherever the production company tells the composer it’s going to be done. I don’t think the general public is even aware of an underscore, so why would a production company not choose to record it cheaper elsewhere?

I’ll leave you with two examples:

• When one of my favorite recording engineers got married recently, he used a DJ, not a live band, for the large reception.
• When Chuck produced a couple of personal albums, he brought me and many of the other soloists to London and we recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

In each case, I think those were the right choices for both financial and musical reasons. I just don’t see the point in killing ourselves to adopt rates that at best postpone the inevitable.

Fast, cheap and good: pick two.


Local 47 needs to offer the film industry a motion picture buyout option. If it doesn’t this town will likely dry up. The music community in just about every other major city offers this kind of option and thus our work here is leaving at an almost uncontrollable rate. Every major composer has at some point had to leave town to record because of local 47/RMA’s stubborn, out of date policy. As a composer myself, who has a vested interest in work staying here and in a healthy local union, I am quite alarmed by the trends. Local 47 must change or die.
Please act now on this before there is no ship to save.

We need a buyout scale for film, and also for music library recording.

‘m for the motion picture buy-out. We have to stay competitive in the global market. Doing otherwise is denial.

My fellow brothers,
2005……..It’s time to re-invent ourselves, like we have had to do to remain a viable performing, LIVE musician…..many producers have home studios that sound as great as the big studios….it’s a sign of the times…..tough to fight all the outside trends. Every strike in the past has caused this situation..more work goes abroad!!…we want sessions like in the “golden days” of all the live dates, but today it’s hard to come by….not many live TV sessions anymore….or only if it’s on a new “reduced scale” to accomodate more musicians for less “bread”…like on West Wing..??…or size down…like on American Idol… Everyone else wants a “taste” of the action…Producers want it done cheaper……you see the trends and all the adds from outside orchestras, like Seattle and Salt Lake offering package deals in their ads running in the Movie periodicals!! …Unfortunately, the person or musicians “on top”always are the target of “pot-shots” taken at them…everyone wants to have the “wealth” spread their way, also….musician’s human nature!….their message is :”LA is not the “mecca” for movies anymore”….and the outside orchestras want a piece of the “studio pie”!…….It’s the new trend…like shows recorded on tape…..AND the dreaded VIRTUAL ORCHESTRA…..

I have worked on film sound-tracks for 30 years and the work is less and less. This is to let you know I have left word with the Local 47 suggestion box, and included my name, in supporting the effort to secure a “buy out option” plan for film recording. It is time that we need to stand up and be counted.


I think the proposal is well thought out and viable.

As union musicians we have been “fighting the good fight” for at least the 25 years I have been a member, but while we have won a few battles (for increasingly fewer people) we have lost the war and its time for a different approach.
We are competing globally now and most of our jobs have been
outsourced, In order to compete a cut in rate is obvious. Healthcare
is not offered in most (non musician) jobs today. And in todays world even paying into a pension for 50 years doesn’t mean drawing that pension. (see United Airlines/social Security)
So do we want to lose work to Seattle etc. to hold onto an “ideal” that doesn’t exist anymore?
We live in the film capitol of the world and we are not taking
advantage of this. If we are economically competitive I am confident
that the Hollywood producers would rather record close by rather than “Seattle etc”.
We either adapt or perish.

As the comedian Gary Mule Dear said:

“If you are an entertainer and you are willing to work for a little less each year you can work for the rest of your life.”


To whom it may concern,
You people can go to Hell with your buyout proposal. You are just as bad as the Seattles and Pragues etc. You obviously are not in touch with muscians that actually receive secondary payments. Yourbuyout proposal. You and Tom Lee are in bed together.
To hell with you,



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