The FMSMF Collects Money for Musicians

Where does the money come from? How do you know if there's money waiting for you?

Volume 119, No. 1January, 2019

Kim Roberts Hedgpeth

Art: Adventtr via

Please check the unclaimed residuals list at to see if you or any of your colleagues have unclaimed residuals. You can also call the fund at (888) 443-6763. For a complete list of unclaimed checks from a variety of sources, see

The Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund collects money for musicians. Specifically, when a musician provides services for a film, TV show or new media project under an AFM union contract, we identify, track and collect residuals for the use of those projects in “secondary markets.” We then process that money and distribute it to you. The Fund closed its 2018 fiscal year with the highest level of contributions in its history, by collecting residuals of more than $107 million, which surpassed last year’s record of $98.4 million. Two key factors contribute to this growth.

First, the Fund continues to make progress in expanding its compliance and collections program. Second, despite the reduction in residuals attributable to distribution of DVDs, residuals attributable to “new media” – particularly streaming video on demand – have made up for the losses in DVD-based residuals. The Fund remitted over 15,900 payments to musicians and their beneficiaries in the July 2018 distribution.

Since the introduction of “new media” residuals in the AFM agreements (e.g., web streaming, downloads, subscription services), there has been a continuing shift in secondary markets that generate residuals for musicians.

Although nothing guarantees overall residual collections will continue to increase into the future, as of this writing, the first six months of the 2019 fiscal year are slightly outpacing the first six months of the last fiscal year.  Whether residuals increase or plateau in the years ahead depends, in part, upon the future value of  licensing traditional TV and theatrical product for exclusive exhibition on  producers’ proprietary consumer pay services as such services begin to proliferate in the industry and whether the residual formulae for made-for-new-media content are altered in future AFM negotiations.


Fiscal year 2018 was the first year in which the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund forwarded a payment to the AFM Pension Fund as now required by the 2015 AFM-AMPTP collective bargaining agreements. This payment, which allocates to the pension fund 1.5 percent of the annual residuals collected by the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund, resulted in a payment of more than $827,000 to the pension fund for the third and fourth quarters of fiscal year 2018.  Fiscal year 2019 will reflect a full 12-month allocation and remittance to the pension fund from the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund. The continued growth in secondary market residuals, if sustained and expanded in the future at levels consistent with recent years, will benefit all pension fund participants by supporting funding.


The Fund received residuals for more than 230 new titles during fiscal year 2018. “New titles” refers to titles paying into the Fund for the first time.  A complete list of the fiscal year 2018 “new” titles is posted on the Fund website at 935 musicians were credited with residuals for the first time: 831 musicians as a result of work on original scoring sessions and 104 first timers as a result of “new use” of prior union covered sound recordings in a film or television program.  During the past several years, between 800-1,000 new musicians annually have been added as Fund participants because they were credited with residuals for the first time.


The Fund’s beneficiary policies and procedures were updated in December 2017 to empower participant musicians and ensure their intentions were clearly documented and verified. The updated policy provides that musicians can now name both the beneficiary that the musician wants to receive residuals after his/her death and to name an individual as the “Musician’s Final Beneficiary” (“MFB”) to receive residuals after the death of his/her beneficiary.  If you haven’t updated your beneficiary designation to take advantage of the new policies and procedures, please don’t delay: visit for more information.


Among the issues high on the Fund’s agenda in 2019 are:

  • Continued activity in a number of bankruptcy cases to protect musicians’ rights to future residuals as each bankruptcy is resolved and the debtor company, or its library of titles, is sold to a buyer.  As of this writing, the Fund is engaged in legal action involving the Relativity, Weinstein, Open Road and Our Alchemy bankruptcy cases.
  • The Fund’s community outreach mission will continue with its successful partnership with ASCAP and Columbia University via the ASCAP/Columbia University Film Scoring Workshop in New York City and expanding its partnership with the university by sponsoring a master class for graduating film students in Los Angeles with a film composer (Laura Karpman in 2017 and Germaine Franco in 2018) and co-sponsoring the recording sessions in Los Angeles of the ASCAP Film Scoring Program for young composers.
  • For the fourth year in a row, the Fund will present a panel at South by Southwest in March 2019.  On November 5th, the Fund presented a panel at the American Film Market entitled Score It Great!, with panelists Paul Broucek (President, Music, Warner Bros Pictures), Germaine Franco (Composer and Music Producer) and Kim Roberts Hedgpeth (Fund Executive Director), moderated by Dennis Dreith, Chairman of Transparence Entertainment Group, and is planning to present a panel again in November 2019.
  • If you’re a Fund participant, we hope you will subscribe to Music Notes, the Fund’s electronic newsletter.  If you have any questions, please e-mail us at  And whether or not you’re a Fund participant, we hope you’ll keep current on Fund activities by following (and liking) us on Facebook and Twitter!

On behalf of everyone at the Fund, we wish you and yours all the best in 2019!

Kim Roberts Hedgpeth is the executive director of the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund.