Musicians Continue to Pressure Disney Over Paltry Streaming Royalties

It was quite an unusual Saturday morning for many members the American Federation Musicians (AFM) in the Los Angeles area.

In protest, they performed live outside Variety’s Power Women luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons to continue their fight for receiving fair pay for work theirs that is streamed.  The protest is part an increasingly aggressive protest campaign that is now featuring disruptions at conferences, book signings, and even the private residences studio executives.

The weekend luncheon was honoring Dana Walden, who is the chairman Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment and one a number executives that are currently refusing to pay musicians residuals for what is called new media.

Danita Ng-Poss, who works in orchestra and music preparation, says that in recent years women have been increasingly involved in music scoring.  So he had difficulty understanding how someone like Walden can claim to be a champion for women in the industry while at the same time “undercutting our ability to make a decent living.”

Musicians are upset that Disney, which earned close to $60 billion last year, is effectively asking them to take a pay cut.

They say that — without receiving residuals from streaming — if Disney releases a movie on Disney instead in movie theaters or on TV, they can take a pay cut as high as 75%.

All this has led the AFM to launch #BandTogether, which is a nationwide campaign that is attempting to pressure movie studios to provide the same kind streaming residuals that actors, writers, singers and other workers receive for their work.

Many leading film directors, producers and composers are backing the musicians’ demands. This includes heavyweights such as J.J. Abrams, Damien Chazelle and John Williams. #BandTogether also has the support many prominent politicians, such as Rep. Brad Sherman, Rep. Ted Lieu and Rep. Adam Schiff.

The AFM’s current contract with the movie studios expires on November 14th. Negotiations between the two have been ongoing at the fices the Alliance Motion Picture and Television Producers.