To: Local 802 Executive Board
From: Limited Pressing Committee
Re: Recommendations to the Executive Board
Date: May 5, 2008
In September 2007, Local 802 President Mary Landolfi created this committee to assess the issue of Local 802’s granting producers permission to record cast albums for musical theater productions under the terms of Local 802’s Limited Pressing agreement instead of the terms of the Sound Recording Labor Agreement (“SRLA”).
Since our first meeting, the full committee has been unanimously and unequivocally in agreement that Local 802’s use of the Limited Pressing agreement for Broadway cast albums, a use prohibited in clear language in that contract, is unacceptable and should not continue.
Since the creation of this committee by President Landolfi last fall, the full committee and a designated subcommittee (consisting of Tino Gagliardi, Jennifer Hoult, and Jay Schaffner) have met approximately seven times since October 2007. Given our immediate unanimity about our central mandate, these meetings, and the investigations conducted between them, explored related issues of concern to the committee. Principal among these issues was our interest in fostering the creation of cast albums of truly low budget musical theater projects that are mounted Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway. Our time has been spent discussing relevant terms, comparing the contractual terms of the SRLA and its Low-Budget sideletter, the Limited Pressing Agreement, and contracts of other theater unions involved in cast albums, including Equity and IATSE.
The following are our findings and recommendations:
1. Cast albums for Tony eligible productions
a. We unanimously recognize that consumers are interested in purchasing “cast albums” and that this term has both legal and artistic significance.
b. We unanimously find no meaningful distinction between the terms “music of” album and “cast album” where such terms are used to describe a recording of a musical theater production that includes a substantial portion, usually the majority, but not necessarily all, of the instrumental and vocal music from a musical theater production. We therefore recommend that the term “music of” not be used by Local 802 in this context.
c. We unanimously find that while “Broadway” productions are designated based on the actual physical theater in which they are mounted, as a practical matter “Broadway” productions are principally characterized by high production budgets, high priced tickets, and/or eligibility for nomination for Tony awards.
d. In contrast, we unanimously find that as a practical matter “Off Broadway” and “Off Off Broadway” productions are characterized by low production budgets, low ticket prices, and a lack of eligibility for consideration for Tony awards.
e. We thus unanimously recommend that a cast album of any production that bears the hallmarks of a “Broadway” production described above in 1c should be governed by the same terms governing cast album recordings for “Broadway” productions, which are contained exclusively in the SRLA. We unanimously recommend that this standard for determining the appropriate cast album recording contract should apply to all musical theater productions, including, but not limited to, those produced in LORT theaters and productions of the Manhattan Theater Club, the Roundabout Theater Company, and Lincoln Center.
f. In cases of musical theater productions that have low production budgets, low ticket prices, and lack of Tony-eligibility, including, but not limited to, some productions in Lincoln Center’s Mitzy Newhouse Theatre, we recommend that such productions should be considered “Off Broadway” productions for the purposes of contracts governing their cast album recordings. However, we unanimously recommend that if an “Off Broadway” production becomes Tony-eligible, it should, at the time it becomes Tony-eligible, be considered comparable to a “Broadway” production, and at that time the terms governing the recordings of its cast album(s) should upgrade retroactively to comply with all relevant terms delineated in the SRLA.
g. We unanimously recommend that the Limited Pressing and Low Budget contracts in their current form, which in each case prohibits use of the contract for “cast albums” in clear language, should under no circumstances be used for any cast albums of musical theater productions.
h. We recognize that, under New York labor law, Local 802’s prior practice of granting producers permission to record musical theater cast albums for productions bearing the hallmarks of “Broadway” productions, including Tony-eligibility, under the Limited Pressing contract has grown to constitute “past practice” that is presently part of the present legal contractual understanding between various producers and Local 802. We unanimously recommend that Local 802 act to abolish this specific past practice as soon as is legally possible at the next contractual negotiation in 2009.
i. We recommend that Local 802 contact the principal producers who have used this past practice to inform them of the local’s intention of abolishing this past practice at the next negotiating session.
2. Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway cast albums
a. As participating artists, we unanimously share the interest of Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway producers who want to memorialize these artistic projects with sound recordings.
b. We recognize that the SRLA is the only AFM contract available for producers to record cast album, and we recognize that Off Broadway projects, given their budgetary limitations, may be deterred from recordings under the SRLA due to their budgetary restraints.
c. In order to encourage recordings of Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway cast albums, we unanimously recommend that Local 802 promulgate, i.e. create and implement, a union contract to facilitate the production of Off Broadway and Off Off Broadway cast albums at the next negotiations.
d. We believe there are several possible contractual locations for these new contractual provisions:
i. As a new sideletter to the SRLA, or
ii. As a new “cast album” schedule in Local 802’s Limited Pressing agreement, or
iii. As a new freestanding contract.
e. In order to determine which of the above contractual locations will best serve our members,
i. We recommend that in the first instance the Local 802 executive board discuss our proposal with the Executive Boards of both the national AFM and the Recording Musicians Association (“RMA”) to determine whether these organizations will agree to negotiate for inclusion of a side letter for Off Broadway cast albums in the SRLA. As we see it, the central issue in such inclusion may be the inclusion of musicians who record Off Broadway cast albums in the Special Payments Fund. We recognize that Off Broadway cast albums are unlikely to contribute to the Special Payments Fund, and that the issue of inclusion of musicians making these recordings in this fund may have ramifications for our colleagues here in Local 802 as well as in other locals.
iii. In the final instance, if the AFM will not agree to either of the above proposals, then we recommend that Local 802 promulgate a new, freestanding contract for Off Broadway cast albums for use in our jurisdiction.
f. Regardless of where the Off Broadway cast album contract is situated, we recommend the terms and conditions specified in the sidebar for the Off Broadway cast album recording agreement should apply to Off Broadway cast album recording projects. These terms are based on consideration of the terms in the SRLA and its Low Budget side letter, the Limited Pressing agreement, and parallel contracts used by Equity and IATSE for cast albums. They are intended to ensure equity with our colleagues in these unions, make Off Broadway cast albums producible under an AFM contract, and foster the memorialization of these artistic works in sound recordings.
Finally, given the interest in this issue among Local 802’s membership, and believing this issue to be of interest to our union brothers and sisters nationwide, we request that this memorandum be published in its entirety in the next Allegro, shared with the members of Local 802’s Theater Committee, and forwarded to the executive boards of the AFM and RMA for publication in its entirety in their respective publications.
THE LIMITED PRESSING COMMITTEE
Al Hunt, Bruce Coughlin, Chris Jaudes, Diana Herold, Frank Lindquist, Jay Schaffner, Jennifer Hoult ,Jill Jaffe, Katharine Edmonds, Matt Gallagher, Maxine Roach, Tino Gagliardi, Walter Usiatynski
PROPOSED TERMS FOR OFF BROADWAY AND OFF OFF BROADWAY CAST ALBUMS
|MINIMUM SESSION CALL||3 HOURS|
USABLE MUSIC PER HOUR
|5 MINUTES PER HOUR|
USABLE MUSIC PER SESSION
|MAX. 15 MINS. PER SESSION (CAN HAVE A 3.5 HOUR SESSION TO COMPLETE, NOT INTRODUCE NEW MATIERAL, AND GET 5 MORE MINUTES USABLE)|
|OVERTIME (KICK IN)||FOLLOW THE TERMS OF THE SLRA|
|MUSIC PREP/ ORCHESTRATORS||50% SRLA|
|DOUBLING||20% / 15%|
|CONTRACTOR||1.5X FOR NON-PLAYING; 2X FOR PLAYING-CONTRACTOR TO BE PRESENT AT ALL SESSIONS|
|HEALTH||$5 FIRST SERVICE; $6 SECOND SERVICE; $4 LAST SERVICE ($15 MAX/DAY)|
|UPGRADE||IF SHOW MOVES TO BWAY HOUSE OR TONY-ELIGIBLE HOUSE &/OR PRESSES MORE THAN 10,000 COPIES OF CAST ALBUM, BUMPS TO SRLA TERMS|
|SPECIAL PAYMENTS||TO BE DETERMNED AFTER CONSULTATION|
|SPF PAY OUT||TO BE DETERMNED AFTER CONSULTATION|
|PRESSING CAP||10,000 COPIES|
|GRIEVANCE AND ARBITRATION||YES|
|INCREASES||DEPENDS ON WHICH CONTRACT THESE PROVISIONS ARE PLACED IN: WILL FOLLOW EITHER SRLA OR LIMITED PRESSING PATTERN|