BURBANK, CA (Nov. 12, 2019) — On Tuesday, film and television musicians marked the launch of Disney’s new streaming service Disney+ with a large rally outside the company’s Burbank studios to demand a fair contract for streaming that includes residuals, set wages, and screen credits.
More than 50 musicians arrived at the rally from a double-decker Starline tour bus draped with a huge #BandTogether banner and performed a live street concert outside Disney’s gates and rallied along with colleagues and allies from fellow entertainment unions including the Animation Guild, SAG-AFTRA and the International Cinematographers Guild.
The rise of streaming services like Disney+ marks a shift toward a new business model for film and television, along with an unnecessary and unwarranted effort by major studios to decimate musicians’ livelihoods in the process.
“As delivery systems continue to evolve, one thing that remains constant is the desire for the producers to include live musicians — frequently 80- to 100-piece orchestras — to support the stories they set out to tell,” said Alex Iles, a trombonist who has worked in the industry for over 30 years. “The musicians who provide this service are highly trained and specialized and have dedicated their careers to bringing composers’ music to life on screen. In order to ensure that our employers may continue to draw on the most talented pool of musicians to continue this service, musicians need to make adequate salaries to keep up financially living in the expensive place where the majority of this work takes place.”
Major entertainment companies including CBSViacom, Disney/ABC, MGM, NBCUniversal, Sony, and Warner Media pay actors, writers, and directors for streaming work, but refuse to pay musicians industry standard wages and residuals for streaming. This represents a 75% pay cut, and musicians have launched a grassroots #BandTogether campaign calling for a fair contract as they continue negotiations with the studios.
Tuesday’s rally follows a number of recent actions in New York and Los Angeles including visiting studio executives at their homes, impromptu concerts outside events honoring studio executives, picketing Disney CEO Bob Iger’s book signings, and rallies with elected leaders.
“Musicians spend their lives investing time, money, skill and passion into their art,” said harpist Allison Allport. “When musicians contribute their hard work, dedication and artistry to a show, they not only enrich the emotional lives of millions of people, but generate real profits for producers. Musicians must be fairly compensated for these contributions.”
The musicians’ grassroots #BandTogether movement has earned support from major names in the industry including Quincy Jones, J.J. Abrams, Randy Newman, Hans Zimmer, Lalo Schifrin, Pinar Toprak, Justin Hurwitz, John Williams, Jeff Beal and many more.
“I cherish my relationship with the family of musicians in Los Angeles,” said Quincy Jones. “It is a bond built on respect and admiration for their talent and for their dedication to the work we have done on film and television soundtracks over so many years. They have my full support in upcoming negotiations with major studios because it is important that we keep the film and television music industry strong and vital — and here in Hollywood.”
Musicians are currently negotiating new contracts in Los Angeles and return to the bargaining table next week.
More photos/video from the action available at: www.BandTogetherAFM.org/news