The Recording Industry’s Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) provides live and FREE music all year round in the U.S. and Canada. With COVID-19 prohibiting most types of live in-person performances, MPTF has developed a program to present concerts virtually via live stream.
How to produce MPTF-sponsored streaming performances during COVID
There are special rules in place while the plague is upon us. What hasn’t changed is this – there must be a 3rd party who serves as the employer of record. What’s new is that the MPTF is funding 100% of both live and streaming performances during the pandemic. It costs the “employer” nothing but a little paperwork.
For live performances during COVID, the only wrinkle is that you must upload a letter from the employer and/or venue stating that (1) the performer(s) have the venue’s permission to stage a performance, and (2) safety protocols will be followed. Contact the MPTF directly with questions about live performance applications.
Instructions for streaming performances are as follows:
BEFORE THE PERFORMANCE (STREAMING ONLY)
STEP 1: Email your grant proposal to the MPTF for pre-approval (addresses below). Include a brief description of the performance, the date and time, venue (inc. city/state), cost, and contact information for the 3rd party “employer” and local tech support. Local tech support should be provided by someone who isn’t performing; s/he can be paid along with the musicians as long as you include her/him in the application. If your local doesn’t have a scale for tech support, s/he can be paid as a sideperson, leader, or contractor. Performances must be live-streamed, not recorded in advance, and the stream may not be recorded, captured, or archived in any way. The simplest way to do this is for the performance to be streamed on the MPTF Facebook page. However, streams may be hosted on external platforms if the repertoire is public domain and other strict conditions are met. For questions about grant proposals, contact Vidrey Blackburn (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Samantha Ramos (email@example.com). They will need the following information:
- The name and contact info for the person who will handle the set-up and manage the streaming feed (tech person). This is required. The MPTF will provide payment for this person.
- A simple description of the level of experience the local has had with streaming.
- If basic equipment is available for sound, video, and streaming.
- Confirmation that there will be no pre-recorded, recording of, or archiving of the live streamed performance.
- Where the streaming event will take place and approval to stream at the location has been granted by the venue.
- The date and time you wish to schedule, and the length of this performance
- Do you wish to link other streaming platforms to our Facebook stream? And if so, please advise.
- How will the performers and/or the local promote the live stream to assure the event has an online audience?
- The total cost of the performance
Once a decision is made regarding your streaming event, they will contact you. If approved to move forward, then…
STEP 2: When the MPTF pre-approves your grant proposal, they will instruct you to submit the details to Mary Beth Blakey (firstname.lastname@example.org). Mary Beth will create a live streaming agreement, which is an ADD-ON to a live engagement contract (see #3). The employer will sign it, and Mary Beth will sign on behalf of the AFM. The current (pandemic) rate for live streaming agreements is 10% of your local’s live engagement scale, e.g., if someone performs a one-hour solo live-stream, they receive your local’s minimum scale for a one-hour solo performance PLUS 10% and a pension contribution. Every local has unique live engagement scales, doubling, leader/contractor premiums, etc. Mary Beth will walk you through this step – no worries.
STEP 3: Now that the live streaming agreement has been signed, you may complete the online grant application. Vidrey and/or Samantha can assist with this – it isn’t difficult. The MPTF can now give final approval. You may also contact Local 47 MPTF Administrator Diane Lauerman: email@example.com, 323.993.3156
STEP 4: The local procures a live engagement contract (L-1, L-2, or LS-1) signed by the contractor/leader and the 3rd party “employer.” You’ll contract this as a regular ol’ live performance even if there’s no audience.
AFTER THE PERFORMANCE (STREAMING ONLY)
STEP 5: The employer writes at least two checks: one to the leader or payroll service to cover the musician(s)’ wages, extras, benefits, and payroll rollups, and a separate check for the pension contribution(s). Streaming agreements always require a pension contribution. If the live engagement contract also requires a pension contribution, the two contributions can be combined into one check.
STEP 6: The MPTF will reimburse the employer in full.
STEP 7: The contractor/leader completes a B-7 report form and sends it to the local. For assistance with B-7 report forms, contact Mary Beth.
STEP 8: The musician(s) remit work dues to the local. Alternatively, the contractor/leader can remit work dues for the entire band, or the employer/payroll service can withhold and remit. For MPTF-sponsored performances, the work dues rate is 5% of scale (in this case, scale is the local rate PLUS the 10% streaming fee). Locals keep half (2.5%) of the work dues and remit the other half to the Federation via line 4 of the Federation Work Dues report form.