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May 15, 2009

Comments

From 88:

"It is the height of arrogance, not to mention incredibly ignorant of basic economics, to suggest that local musicians be able to compete at rates custom tailored for Hollywood film sessions with their "top" recording musicians and massive orchestras."

And it the height of disingenuousness to compare the "product" of a local symphony which is, after all, local to the "product" of a film sound track produced "locally" but distributed globally. There is no possible correlation between the two.

Of course, if the contracts are negotiated locally, shouldn't the work dues stay local? Why kick up to the Federation? The rich pricks can pay work dues to the Hollywood local and the hobbyists recording film scores in Podunk, PA can pay their local. (I'm just askin'.)

Robert writes, "I thought that, thanks to the Internet, they could score anywhere - including their own basement."

Yes, that's true! Even more reason why AFM recording musicians need local flexibility in negotiations with local filmmakers, local composers and local music libraries to effectively capture work so it stays local instead of going non-AFM to Seattle, via Internet, or any of the other non-AFM options.

It certainly is true that filmmakers can choose to record anywhere they want and are more "transportable" than local symphony orchestras. But that doesn't remove the need for local musicians to be able to be flexible in their negotiations, just like the symphonies, to keep the work local. "One size fits all" doesn't work for recording musicians any more than it works for symphony orchestras.

It is the height of arrogance, not to mention incredibly ignorant of basic economics, to suggest that local musicians be able to compete at rates custom tailored for Hollywood film sessions with their "top" recording musicians and massive orchestras. Putting all the labor theory issues aside and turning for a moment to common sense, who in their right mind would pay the same rate for a world-class, highly experienced Hollywood studio musician as they do for a talented local semi-pro? The only thing that "Hollywood pricing" in national recording contracts does is drive more work to Hollywood, and away from other locals under the ridiculous and unrealistic assumption that rates should be the same for players regardless of their talent and experience levels and any local factors.

While I'm sure the Hollywood elite (aka RMA) enjoy that, perhaps it starts to explain why those same elite are treated with such disdain by the rest of the AFM as displayed so vividly at the last convention where RMA proposals and representatives were soundly defeated by the majority of the AFM representatives there as "team Espinosa" went down in defeat.

Robert writes, "Boy, you really don't understand anything about the economics of labor markets, do you?"

As usual, no answers to legitimate questions, just cheap-shot personal insults.

I'll repeat the basic question so perhaps it will get through this time...

"If local negotiating capabilities are OK for orchestras and have proven to be effective at helping keeping them working and viable, why aren't the same kind of local negotiating capabilities OK for local recording musicians with local filmmakers, music libraries, and other local businesses?"

GREAT POINT, Robert! Now why are you so dead-set against letting local recording musicians do the SAME THING. The "rank and file" recording musicians, part-time and otherwise, just like the local orchestras, can and should be trusted to make whatever adjustments in their agreements are required to attract local recording jobs from local indie filmmakers, local music libraries, and more.

Boy, you really don't understand anything about the economics of labor markets, do you? Nor, it seems, of the difference between an orchestra management, which can't pick up and move to another city to find cheaper musicians, and so-called "local" filmakers. I thought that, thanks to the Internet, they could score anywhere - including their own basement.

See what I mean about about "someone who is able to put forward completely contradictory views with no sense of embarrassment?"

Robert writes, "There’s been a lot of negotiating between orchestra managements and orchestra musicians to keep orchestras going. For the most part, it’s been pretty successful – at least so far. And it’s certainly not taken very long.
These adjustments haven’t happened because the AFM president had a vision that orchestras were too expensive and rammed that vision down the throats of the rank-and-file. It’s been because the rank-and-file wanted to keep their jobs, and were willing to make whatever adjustments in their agreements were required to do so."

GREAT POINT, Robert! Now why are you so dead-set against letting local recording musicians do the SAME THING. The "rank and file" recording musicians, part-time and otherwise, just like the local orchestras, can and should be trusted to make whatever adjustments in their agreements are required to attract local recording jobs from local indie filmmakers, local music libraries, and more. It's precisely this local flexibility that you point out that allows orchestras to accommodate local cost-of-living and other unique local situations in these tough times.

Can you imagine if every orchestra, from community orchestras to symphonies, had to live by the terms of a single national contract? No room for local negotiations, take it or leave it. I wonder how many orchestras would survive that?

Why would you expect every film, TV and videogame recording musician in every town and city in America to do that? Same rates, same terms, take it or leave it, no local negotiation possible. Local flexibility: if it's good for the orchestras, it's good for the recording musicians.

And by the way, for the record I think a market study conducted by a trusted, independent party would be a great idea to help quantify what's happening in the marketplace.

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