Union Develops New Materials to Strengthen Recording Campaign

Shining a Light on Dark Dates

Volume CI, No. 12December, 2001

Local 802 recently published two new brochures as part of its recording campaign. The brochure “Shine a Light on Dark Dates” outlines the campaign, whose goal is to ensure that all high-impact recording dates in New York are union or conform to area standards. “What’s So Special About Special Payments?” explains the special payments formula to musicians and reminds members that nonunion labels don’t pay into the Phono Special Payments fund, effectively robbing musicians of special payments money.

Local 802 launched the Shine a Light on Dark Dates campaign last year to educate members about the growing threat of major nonunion recording labels, like Jive Records. Jive, which has signed Britney Spears, ‘N Sync, Backstreet Boys and Michael Bolton, is the largest nonunion label. When one of Jive’s artists sells big, the label is not required to put money into the Phono Special Payments fund, unlike union signatory labels. This means that musicians lose out, especially in light of the fact that, in the year 2000, four of the ten best-selling albums were by Jive artists. Nor do musicians who play for Jive receive pension or health contributions, or payments for new use of their product.

One important aspect of the campaign is the creation of a liaison system – a two-way phone tree or grapevine. Members are encouraged to become “liaisons” and be responsible for keeping in touch with five colleagues in the recording field. The liaisons pass along news to the union, and the union updates the liaisons. More than 130 members are currently enrolled, either as liaisons or contacts.

The campaign also encourages recording musicians to pre-report their recording dates to the union, either anonymously on the Local 802 hotline or by calling the union’s Recording or Organizing departments.

With AFM phono negotiations under way as Allegro went to press, the Shine a Light on Dark Dates campaign was reminding all members that our strength in the field depends on our unity.

Senior Organizer and Media Project Specialist Mikael Elsila designed the flyers, which are available at the recording checks window or by request to any member. To receive a brochure, contact Mikael Elsila at 245-4802, ext. 187. For more information about the Shine a Light on Dark Dates campaign, to pre-report a recording date or to become a liaison, contact the Recording or Organizing department.