Talks between the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) have commenced, focusing on issues that previously led Hollywood actors and writers to strike successfully. While the AFM, representing around 70,000 members, hasn’t announced a strike, it aims to negotiate with the AMPTP for AI protections, improved working conditions, better wages, healthcare, and crucially, residual payments for streaming content. Musicians face challenges as streaming work, which doesn’t yield residuals, becomes dominant, impacting their income. Tino Gagliardi, AFM’s international president, notes that musicians now earn 75% less due to the rise of streaming, constituting 67% of the music sector’s $22.6 billion global revenue.
The AFM’s negotiation priorities include addressing the economic disparities resulting from the surge in made-for-streaming work and seeking compensation, credit, and consent for the use of AI in music. The union emphasizes that AI should be a tool in collaboration with human musicians who remain central to the creative process. The extension of the TV and film contract, set to expire in November 2023, was granted by the AFM in light of strikes by Hollywood writers and actors. The talks with the AMPTP over the next two weeks aim to secure an agreement recognizing the value musicians contribute to the motion pictures and television industry.
The issues on the table mirror those that prompted successful strikes by actors and writers in Hollywood last year, signaling the industry-wide concern for fair compensation, improved working conditions, and protections in the era of streaming dominance. While the AFM has not declared a strike, the negotiations will determine the future landscape for musicians grappling with evolving industry dynamics. The focus on AI protections and compensation underscores the industry’s need to navigate the integration of technology without compromising the livelihoods of musicians, emphasizing consent and acknowledgment of their pivotal role in the creative process.
As streaming continues to reshape the music industry’s revenue streams, the AFM’s negotiations shed light on the challenges faced by musicians, who are seeking fair compensation and recognition for their contributions. The talks, spanning issues like AI use, economic disparities, and residual payments, reflect the evolving dynamics of the entertainment industry and the need for equitable arrangements that safeguard musicians’ interests in an increasingly digital and technologically influenced landscape.