Performers aim to pressure record labels for a deal

Frustrated by the lack of a new contract, dancers for music videos have teamed with American Federation of Television & Radio Artists to pressure record labels for a deal.

More than 160 dancers and choreographers attended a standing-room-only “It’s About Time” forum Monday evening at the Nohopac center in North Hollywood to show support for the unionization move.

“The response that we’ve been getting from the dance community is very strong,” said AFTRA board member Galen Hooks. “We’re asking for very basic provisions in a contract.”

The event, organized by the Dancers Alliance, drew AFTRA treasurer Matt Kimbrough and New York Screen Actors Guild president Mike Hodge.

AFTRA’s current deal on its sound recording contract includes an agreement by the labels to bargain for a music video agreement to replace an agreement negotiated in 1986. AFTRA negotiator Randall G. Himes told Variety that after a negotiating session on June 21, the labels have stalled in responding to AFTRA’s proposal and setting dates for more talks.

“The 1986 agreement is only a page and half and is completely outdated,” Himes said. The exec added that with ad-supported streaming services, music videos are generating growing revenues.

The Vevo site — launched in late 2009 as a joint venture between Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Abu Dhabi Media — currently has 42 videos over 100 million views each.

The “It’s About Time” campaign, launched with a series of videos to coincide with the MTV Video Music Awards in late August, calls for a contract that includes safety, fair pay, residuals and health and retirement benefits.

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