×

L.A. Music Jobs Travel Far From Hollywood Stages

Insiders blame residual commitments, incentive coin for pushing more gigs overseas

Just as production flight from Los Angeles has been decades in the making, the reasons for the decline in work for musicians on film and TV projects are deep-rooted. But while there is agreement that solutions won’t be easy, there are differing opinions as to how to solve the issue.

Marc Sazer, president of the Recording Musicians Assn., maintains that the current tax incentive schemes in California and 44 other states across America aren’t just harming the livelihoods of thousands of professional musicians in Los Angeles, but are a misuse of tax dollars.

In particular, Sazer says the current development of companies accepting tax dollars from California and other states and then taking scoring jobs to England is particularly unseemly. “I understand if a producer is receiving English tax dollars and scoring there, but if the idea of California incentives is to keep production here, that has to include musicians as well,” he says.

Sazer maintains that incentive programs need local hiring safeguards to ensure that film and TV scoring jobs are protected.

SEE ALSO: L.A. Mayor Declares State of ‘Emergency’ As Movie, TV Production Flees Hollywood

Conversely, top composer agent Richard Kraft of Kraft-Engel Management advocates a need for musicians to rethink their approach to the issue of runaway production. At issue, he says, is the 1% of video revenues companies must pay American Federation of Musicians members who work on film and TV projects.

Kraft, who last year launched the blog BringMoreRecordingtoLA.com, notes that the music for the six top-grossing films last year were all recorded in London. “Of all the films released in the first half of 2013, only perhaps two dozen were recorded (by members of the) AFM,” he says.

SEE ALSO: Where in the World Will the New ‘Star Wars’ Films Shoot?

Kraft says the union needs to be flexible about backend payments, and maintains that they help a relatively small number of musicians who get the lion’s share of work. “Composers have learned how to adjust their deals to the needs of clients all over the world,” Kraft says. “That kind of thinking is long overdue in the leadership ranks of Los Angeles film and TV musicians.”

Meanwhile, classical music expert Jim Svejda describes the working Hollywood studio musicians as the greatest on Earth, toiling at “the most lucrative gig in classical music.”

More Music

  • Rammstein Promotes North America Stadium Tour

    Rammstein Promotes North American Stadium Tour with a Blimp

    German metal group Rammstein will be embarking on their first-ever North American stadium tour in August. It’s the first time the band will tour the U.S. since 2011, and to promote what are sure to be a series of pyrotechnic-heavy events, they did it the most metal way possible: with a blimp flying over Los [...]

  • Kathy Valentine, Belinda Carlisle, Jane Wiedlin,

    The Go-Go's on Sundance Doc: Neither 'America's Sweethearts' Nor 'Drug-Crazed Demons'

    Some people might come to a Go-Go’s documentary wanting a purely fun, bubbly experience, based on the effervescence the group projected at its breakthrough peak in the early ’80s. Others might want a sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll tell-all, if they’re aware of the tensions and bad habits that led the all-female band to [...]

  • Eddie Vedder addresses the crowd during

    Eddie Vedder Unveils Pearl Jam's New Album, ‘Gigaton,’ at Intimate Listening Session

    Pearl Jam unveiled its upcoming 11th studio album “Gigaton” today at NeueHouse in Los Angeles during an intimate playback in Dolby Atmos sound — complete with frontman Eddie Vedder pouring tequila shots for attendees while the music blared. As previously reported, “Gigaton” will be released March 27 on the band’s Monkeywrench imprint through Republic, and [...]

  • Neil Young U.S. citizenship

    Neil Young Celebrates U.S. Citizenship: 'Vote Your Conscience'

    Singer-songwriter Neil Young has officially become a U.S. citizen after he says his application was delayed for months because of his marijuana use. The rock legend is finally a “Canarican.” Young announced on his Instagram that he is officially an American citizen after 54 years since he first came to the U.S. in the 1960s [...]

  • Tove Lo House Hollywood Hills

    Tove Lo Drops $4 Million on Danny McBride's Former L.A. Home

    She may famously “stay high all the time,” but Grammy-nominated Swedish pop export Ebba Tove Elsa Nilsson — better-known as Tove Lo — still keeps a steady eye for design. When a stylish, privately-situated midcentury compound in the Hollywood Hills recently popped up for sale with a $4 million ask, the moody songstress quickly swooped [...]

  • Lewis Capaldi

    Lewis Capaldi on Mixing Balladry With Ribaldry to Become 'America's Sweetheart'

    For someone who’s quickly made a career out of mining sadness in songs like his international chart smash “Someone You Loved,” Lewis Capaldi has gotten kind of used to being someone you laugh at. The 23-year-old Scottish upstart is not the first performer whose personality outside of his songs is very different from the one [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content