Writers, Actors, & Musicians, Oh My!—AMPTP Must Face American Federation of Musicians Now

AMPTP must face American Federation of Musicians for bargaining or face strike
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Photo Credit: AFM

After the writers and actors strikes of 2023, the AMPTP now faces negotiations with the American Federation of Musicians—serving 70,000 musicians across the United States and Canada.

The AFM represents members who create music for TV, film, commercials, and other platforms and will begin negotiating a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP). The AMPTP negotiates on behalf of major Hollywood studios.

“Our musicians have been facing pay cuts over the last year because of the change of the business model and how our product is distributed,” AFM President Tino Gagliardi said. The new contract will seek AI protections, better health benefits, higher wages, better working conditions, and residual payments for streaming content.

The AFM is not seeking to completely block the use of artificial intelligence or “instrument replacement technology.” Instead, it wants to clarify the rules of AI and ensure that musicians are not cast aside in the creation process in favor of it. “We’re not Luddites,” Gagliardi said. “We need consent. We need compensation. And we need credit.”

Negotiations between the AMPTP and the AFM will take place over the next two weeks. As it stands, the AFM does not get residuals for work on made-for-streaming programs—which has become a priority for the union to address in this round. “Musicians are making 75% less now than they were before the streaming model. We need to have a residual on streaming,” Gagliardi says.

The AMPTP released a statement saying, “The AMPTP looks forward to productive negotiations with the Federation, with the goal of concluding an agreement that will ensure an active year ahead for the industry and recognize the value that musicians add to motion pictures and television.”

The issues that musicians face in producing tracks for film, TV, and more are many of the same issues that writers and actors faced last year during the six-month strike. The rapid pace of AI development was a major concern throughout all of 2023 and continues to be as these companies play fast and loose with current copyright law interpretations.