Focus on Music Prep

Volume CVII, No. 9September, 2007

Steve Danenberg

Special congratulations to Local 802 member Marc Shaiman on receiving ASCAP’s prestigious Henry Mancini Award. As a composer and arranger for recordings, TV and theatre, he has reached the heights of our industry. The Music Prep Department and Local 802 wish him — and all music prep musicians — continued success in their future endeavors.

Speaking about the future…


In my last article I made mention of secondary market funds. There was one that I left out. It’s called the AFM & AFTRA Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund.

This fund distributes money to performing musicians and music prep musicians who play or work on songs that are digitally broadcast. This fund also collects money from other miscellaneous sources.

If all of the various funds are confusing to you, just remember this.

There are three different special payments checks that members may receive every summer. Each of these checks can add a great deal to your yearly income. That is why it’s so important to be on an AFM contract — even on demos.

Local 802 has assembled an easy web page that lists all of the funds and tells you how you can contact each one to make sure that you are receiving the checks you are due. Click on it, and check it out.


The current Local 802 administration is playing a great role in furthering your future.

The recent Broadway contract should allow more members to qualify for health benefits

There have been two recent recordings of Off Broadway shows under the limited pressing agreement

This not only creates more recording work, it also provides health and pension benefits to our members.

These jobs create new use payments for orchestrators and copyists.


All union contracts generate a great deal of paperwork. It is essential that our records be as complete as possible.

This administration attended to the needs of the music prep world by hiring a music prep administrator (yours truly!)

This position was sorely needed after Tina Hafemeister fell ill. (Remember to donate to the Tina Hafemeister Fund.)

In the last few weeks we have collected over $2,000 in past work dues — and there will be much more coming soon.

Without work dues the union can’t afford a staff to service you.


When you do music prep or performing work on commercials, TV, or station ID’s, you are eligible for residual, or re-use, payments. They are usually paid every quarter.

I was copying music at a film scoring session a few years ago and overheard a conversation.

An accomplished player was talking about having recorded a nonunion commercial a few days earlier. The producers paid him a few hundred dollars above scale for a “buyout.” This means that the producer has no future obligations; the payment was one-time — and that’s it.

The musician seemed to be satisfied with this payment.

From my experience it’s likely that this musician sold himself short.

Had there been a union contract, it’s possible that residuals would have added up to thousands of dollars.

Residuals, new use, re-use and special payments can exceed the original service by huge amounts of money.

For instance, special payments from the film fund are earned through DVD sales and televised markets. Payments for each production can go on for decades.

Work under a union contract. If you get a call for a nonunion gig, call us and give us the chance to make the gig union.

Steve Danenberg can be reached at (212) 245-4802, ext. 119 or