Zomba Signs!

A Letter from AFM President Tom Lee

Volume CIV, No. 12December, 2004


Zomba is now a union label.

This is one victory in 802’s “Shine a Light on Dark Dates” campaign, which we initiated to support the AFM’s efforts to unionize Zomba.

We asked members to report Zomba dates. We also produced a booklet in conjunction with our campaign.

Thanks to all of our members who supported this campaign. Now it’s our job to help Zomba enforce its new agreement.

Musicians who record for Zomba sessions should contact Jay Schaffner in the Recording Department at (212) 245-4802, ext. 161.

Nov. 2, 2004

It gives me great pleasure to announce that Zomba Recording LLC has agreed to become a covered label under the Federation’s Sound Recording Labor Agreement (SRLA) for all product recorded on or after Jan. 1, 2005.

The agreement, which was signed by Zomba and BMG Music, explicitly includes all current Zomba subsidiaries and labels, and all subsidiaries and labels established by or added to Zomba in the future, as covered labels with respect to the SRLA for product recorded on or after Jan. 1, 2005.

In plain terms this means that all Zomba labels have agreed to comply with all the scales and terms and conditions of the SRLA and, as well, the obligations to make the required pension contributions and residual payments to the Sound Recording Special Payments Fund and the MPF.

The agreement, which I signed on Nov. 2 on behalf of the AFM, will ensure that musicians represented by the AFM will receive precisely what they deserve — namely, the full range of benefits and protections in connection with any and all future recordings made by Zomba and its subsidiaries and labels, including Jive Records.

This noteworthy accomplishment was a long time in the making. It represents the successful end to an intense, lengthy, informal negotiations process that followed the acquisition by Bertelsmann, Inc. (BMG Music’s corporate parent), of a controlling interest in Zomba, Inc., and its subsidiaries and labels.

Among the most prominent high-profile artists who perform under the Jive Records label are Britney Spears, R. Kelly, Justin Timberlake, Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, Eamon and Aaron Carter.

Throughout this lengthy and sometime frustrating negotiating process I worked hand in hand with general counsel George Cohen.

I want to congratulate George and his colleagues Jeff Freund and Trish Polach for their steadfast dedication to achieving this agreement.

I also wish to thank Clemon Williams, BMG Music’s vice president for administration, and his outside counsel Norman Samnick for recognizing that this agreement most assuredly will lend even more stability to the longstanding productive bargaining relationship between the Federation and BMG Music.

Needless to say, I am confident that this significant new development will prove to be beneficial to all concerned.

I also would like to thank my staff, led by EMSD Carol Sato, for the time and effort it expended in providing us invaluable research assistance.

Finally, I am fully aware that at various stages in this tedious process local union and RMA officers alike have cooperated with the Federation’s initiative and, indeed, have urged the Federation onward while hoping for a quick fix.

In retrospect, all of our constituent groups will now be able to rest more easily knowing that a successful outcome has been achieved.

On a personal note, I woke up this morning smiling!

President, AFM