Get paid four times for one job?

It can happen to you...

Volume 112, No. 6June, 2012

Steve Danenberg

Sometimes, getting paid isn’t enough. It’s how you get paid that matters in the long run. What do I mean by that? Well, a non-union cash job can provide you with some income for the night. But a union gig can provide you with payments for years to come.

When I settled in to become one of the busiest music prep musicians in New York, I had played trombone jobs for almost ten years, written numerous arrangements and copied dozens of charts. But my true passion was songwriting. All of my other work was the means to that end. All I really wanted was to get my songs recorded. But that would take time and money.

Then along came a special job. I and three other New York copyists were hired to extract the parts for many of the arrangements on the Frank Sinatra recording “L.A. Is My Lady.”

Luckily for me, this job was union. Performing these services under an AFM recording contract meant I was paid at least four times for this work!

I earned one payment for the initial copy work, another payment for the live use of these charts when performed in concert, and another payment for a videotape release. Then there were more earnings I received later from the Sound Recording Special Payments Fund. All of that for one week of work.

This income allowed me time to pursue some of my songwriting projects.

These kinds of additional payments do not happen automatically. They happen when a union contract is in place. And that is a result of diligence: both yours and ours.

So far in 2012, we have collected or recovered tens of thousands of dollars for musicians either not paid or not paid correctly. That’s our job: making sure you’re paid right.

You can help us help you. How? If you get called for any kind of recording or music prep work, please make a confidential call to my department at (212) 245-4802. We can assist you in making the work union, while protecting your identity and your job. Once there’s a union contract on the job, your earnings potential goes way up. Also, call us if you were paid late or incorrectly.