TV Musicians Demand Better Pay from YouTube, Other Online Platforms

Cleto and the Cletones, the 'house band' musicians on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Cleto and the Cletones, the ‘house band’ on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Negotiations are back in full swing as television musicians fight for their right to equal pay for appearances on online platforms.

After a more than six-month hiatus, negotiations have begun again between the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) and the major United States broadcast networks regarding the pay of television musicians for their appearances on network websites and other platforms.

The primary contention in the negotiations is the issue over whether or not musicians from live television are being fairly compensated for their appearances on YouTube and other websites. The musicians arguing the issue are those that appear on a variety of live television programs including late-night shows, game shows, morning programming, and sports broadcasts.

Examples of these shows include “The Voice”, “Saturday Night Live”, “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”, “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”, and “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

Although the shows are free for viewers to watch online, the content is supported by paid advertising sponsorship. And while other television performers are paid for their appearances on these online platforms, the musicians are not compensated with residuals for their presence.

Negotiations last December were met with criticism by the AFM, alleging that the amount of residual payment offered by the networks was not large enough.

Protesters gathered on Tuesday afternoon in New York outside of the ABC network headquarters. Those supporters of the musicians who were unable to attend the protest can voice their backing of the issue by signing an online petition.

AFM has recently been embroiled in a controversy of its own. The group has been accused of mismanaging funds and preventing as much as $25 million in payments due to a variety of musicians and background performers in the industry. The official fund, the Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund, is managed by the AFM.



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