TV Musicians Slam Networks Over Lack of Payment for Online Sites

Union musicians working on late-night, award, and other live television shows have been staging demonstrations to persuade networks to pay band members when they appear on YouTube and network websites.

The musicians, members of American Federation of Musicians Local 802, leafleted Thursday at 30 Rockefeller Plaza outside “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers” and in front of the Ed Sullivan Theater outside The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

In California,  there was leafleting outside “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” by members of AFM Local 47.  The union members leafleted Wednesday in Los Angeles outside “The Late Late Show With James Corden.”

“Other performers are all paid when Jimmy Kimmel Live! streams on YouTube or other online outlets, yet musicians are paid nothing. Musicians just want to be compensated for our likeness and our music,” said Cleto Escobedo III, Musical Director of Cleto and the Cletones. “I love Jimmy, the producers, and everyone we work with. We just need to make sure the networks treat us and ALL of our colleagues fairly.”

 The AFM has been been negotiating a new contract with the networks for close to 18 months for work done on live or recorded television programs initially aired over a broadcast network or in syndication, including variety shows, awards shows, game shows, talk shows, morning shows and sports broadcasts. The previous contract expired in February, 2016.

The last round of negotiations took place in August. The next session is scheduled for Dec. 11. Reps for the networks did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“The music that you hear and watch on YouTube and streaming systems is hand made with the sweat and expertise of music makers who dedicate their lives for the enrichment of others. It is demoralizing and wrong when this is taken without equitable compensation. We are only seeking what is right and fair for our livelihoods and our families,” said Ray Chew, music director of “Dancing with the Stars” and “Showtime at the Apollo.”

The AFM said that the shows on web sites are supported by paid advertising. “Other performers are all paid residuals when live television shows stream — but musicians do not receive residuals for this type of work,” the union said.

The live TV contract covers  the American Music Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards, the Country Music Awards, the Emmys, Golden Globes, “Good Morning America,” Grammys, “Harry,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” “The Late Late Show With James Corden,” “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” the Oscars, People’s Choice Awards, “Saturday Night Live,” “The Today Show,” “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” Tony Awards, “The View” and “The Voice.”

Union members and supporters have been employing the #RespectTheBand” hashtag on Twitter to publicize the issues: