Musicians Hold Live Street Performance Calling on Disney’s Dana Walden to Provide Fair Pay

Contract fight continues as film/TV studios refuse to pay musicians streaming residuals

LOS ANGELES, CA (Oct. 11, 2019) — Today musicians who score for television and films performed live music outside the Variety 2019 Power of Women luncheon calling on honoree Dana Walden, chairman of Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment, to pay musicians fairly for their work on streaming movies and TV shows.

Walden is one of several entertainment company executives refusing to pay musicians industry-standard wages and residuals for new media. Major studios including Disney/ABC, CBSViacom, MGM, NBCUniversal, Sony, and Warner Media pay actors, writers, and directors for streaming work, but deny equitable compensation to musicians.

“Over the past years, women have been steadily increasing our representation in the music scoring business,” said Danita Ng-Poss, orchestrator and music preparation worker. “I can’t understand how Dana Walden can claim to champion women in the industry while undercutting our ability to make a decent living.”

Highly profitable companies like Disney, which earned an estimated $59.43 billion last year, are demanding that musicians take huge cuts. Without streaming residuals, a musician can take a 75% pay cut when a Disney film is released on Disney+ versus in theaters or on network television.

In a Tweet, the American Federation of Musicians congratulated the 2019 Power of Women honorees while calling on Walden and Disney to “support women musicians by not cutting their pay by 75% for streaming.”

Musicians around the nation from Los Angeles to Nashville to New York have launched the grassroots #BandTogether campaign to demand a fair contract that includes the same pay and compensation that are granted to actors, singers, writers and other workers in the industry.

The #BandTogether movement has earned support from legislators including Rep. Adam Schiff, Rep. Ted Lieu and Rep. Brad Sherman. Entertainment union officials from SAG-AFTRA, WGA West and UTLA have endorsed the campaign. Leading composers, producers and directors including Quincy Jones, J.J. Abrams, Pinar Toprak, Randy Newman, Hans Zimmer, Damien Chazelle, John Williams, and many more have shared statements of support on the campaign website at BandTogetherAFM.org.

The current contract expires Nov. 14. The musicians, represented by the American Federation of Musicians, resume negotiations today in Los Angeles at AMPTP offices.

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