TV Musicians Resume Negotiations Over Payment for Online Shows

Union musicians working on late-night, award, and other live television shows have resumed negotiations with the networks over the issue of paying band members when they appear on YouTube and network websites.

The musicians, members of the American Federation of Musicians, assert that they are not paid residuals for such work on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” “Saturday Night Live,” and “The Voice.” The union noted Monday that these “free” shows are supported by paid advertising and that other performers are all paid residuals when live television shows stream, but musicians do not receive residuals for this type of work.

The AFM said Monday that when the two sides last met in December, the networks agreed to return to the next negotiating session with a proposal for ad-supported residuals, adding, “But the proposal offered by the networks today falls far short of what the networks are paying other performers for this type of work.”

The musicians have scheduled a rally with others in the entertainment industry, elected leaders, and their fans outside negotiations at noon Tuesday outside ABC headquarters in New York City. The musicians have been negotiating a new contract for two years for work done on live or recorded television programs initially aired over a broadcast network or in syndication, including variety shows, awards shows, game shows, talk shows, morning shows and sports broadcasts. The previous live television contract expired in February, 2016.

Reps for the networks were not immediately available for comment. Union members and supporters have been employing the #RespectTheBand” hashtag on Twitter to publicize the issues:

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