Musicians to Protest Marvel Entertainment Today

Recording musicians want studio to keep jobs in the USA

HOLLYWOOD, CA (April 23, 2013) — Today at 10:30 a.m. members of American Federation of Musicians Local 47 will form an informational picket line outside the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood to speak out against Marvel Entertainment’s outsourcing of musical score work to Europe.

Recording musicians are upset that rather than employ local musicians, Marvel pockets millions of taxpayer dollars from U.S. tax credits meant to keep work in the United States and instead hires foreign musicians on the cheap.

Marvel, owned by Disney Company, has sent film scoring work abroad for every motion picture it has produced. All other personnel hired for the productions — directors, producers, actors, grips and crew — are American and paid under union contracts. Only the musicians are foreign, paid with a buyout that includes no provisions for reuse
payments, pension or health benefits. “Marvel lines its pockets with taxpayer money, taking care of everyone who works on their films — except musicians,” says AFM International President Ray Hair.

This morning at 6 a.m., musicians distributed leaflets to employees and passers-by outside the entrance of St. Vincent Medical Center at a location shoot for “Captain America 2,” which Marvel plans to score in Europe. “We don’t think that’s fair,” says Marc Sazer, International President of the Recording Musicians Association, an advocate group for recording musicians within the AFM. “‘Captain America 2’ should be scored here at home —just like the acting, directing, writing, truck driving, catering, carpentering and everything else.”

Marvel took $30 million in tax incentives for “The Avengers” from Ohio and New Mexico. The blockbuster grossed nearly $1.5 billion in worldwide box office revenue less than a month after its release. “Iron Man 3” received more than $22 million in U.S. tax credits from North Carolina. But the music jobs were sent overseas.

Studios signatory to the AFM, like Columbia, that have licensed Marvel characters (Spider-Man, X-Men) hire union musicians to record the scores, and those film franchises have enjoyed great success. Only Marvel Entertainment has refused to pay musicians fairly, not only denying musicians health care and pension but refusing to even pay for Medicare and social security. “This is about work, employment, tax fairness, and American jobs,” Sazer said.

Today’s informational leafletings follow a number of recent demonstrations by AFM musicians against the studio. On April 12, musicians protested outside a location shoot for “Captain America 2” at Westfield Topanga shopping center in Canoga Park. Last August, a large contingent of musicians traveled to North Carolina and led a string of demonstrations during the filming of “Iron Man 3,” scored in London. The musicians union has initiated repeated talks with Marvel, but the studio refuses to cover musicians under a union contract.

“Marvel’s actions toward professional musicians are un-American and unfair,” says AFM President Hair, “and we want the world to know it.”

Professional Musicians Local 47 is a labor union representing nearly 8,000 Los Angeles musicians. Local 47 negotiates with employers to establish fair wages and working conditions for our members and protects the concerns of musicians in all areas of the music business.