Three of 'Big Five' Orchestras Opt Out of New American Federation of Musicians Recording Pact

Classic Arts News   Three of 'Big Five' Orchestras Opt Out of New American Federation of Musicians Recording Pact
 
The Boston Symphony Orchestra will not be participating in the new pact negotiated last week between U.S. orchestras and the American Federation of Musicians regarding the recording of live concerts for commercial release on CD and downloads, reports the Boston Globe.

Orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Saint Louis Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra, as well as the San Francisco Opera and the Houston Grand Opera, signed up for the agreement; the Cleveland Orchestra and Chicago Symphony, along with the Boston Symphony, did not participate.

BSO managing director Mark Volpe told the Globe, "We applaud the effort that went into the negotiations and the result. But we felt that the approach was defined too narrowly because it focused only on the commercial use of live recordings. This is an important step, but we need to work toward a more comprehensive understanding of how we can function in the new media world. We need to create new paradigms."

Under the agreement, which is based on a new revenue-sharing model, musicians will receive an agreed-upon percentage of sales income from live performances recorded and sold as CDs or downloads. Ownership and copyright will be retained by the orchestras, although third parties (such as a record company) may be awarded temporary distribution licenses. Musicians will also have veto rights over which performances are distributed this way.

The agreement represents direct negotiation between orchestras and the American Federation of Musicians with regards to payment, whereas earlier agreements covered studio recordings and were negotiated between unions and record companies.

Musicians will receive a set, upfront payment (six percent of their weekly salary), followed by a minimum of $80 for the first 15,000 recordings sold. If sales go above 15,000, each musician will receive $10 for each additional 1,000 recordings sold.


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