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STATE OF THE LOCAL

Defending respect for working musicians is our mission. be treated as professionals. That is what has set this community apart in an industry where exploitation is too often the norm. We should never forget that fact, and give credit where credit is due. Thanks to Harold, Owen, Chet, George, Reggie, and all those who built this business we are part of today.

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BY DAVE POMEROY

ell, 2019 has gotten off to a quick start with a lot of things happening here in the “It City.” Here are some of the highlights:

Looking back

The passing of Reggie Young and Harold Bradley in quick succession early this year, followed by Fred Foster and Mac Wiseman, really had an impact on me, and I’m sure it did for many other people as well. Harold’s daughters asked me to speak at his memorial service, and I was honored to do so. It gave me an opportunity to look back and see how this unique place we know as Music City came to be. Harold, along with his older brother, keyboardist/arranger/ producer Owen Bradley, guitar icon Chet Atkins, and longtime Local 257 President George Cooper, helped create an unprecedented business model in Nashville, based on the ethical concept of respect for working musicians and paying them fairly. When RCA and Decca opened up offices here in the 1950s and hired Chet and Owen to run them, they were told in no uncertain terms by these Nashville pioneers that Local 257 musicians were to be paid under an AFM contract. They achieved that goal without intimidation or threats. They simply asked for these companies who were about to profit from the amazing talent pool of Nashville to do the right thing. The companies said yes, and because of this, the “A Team” of top-notch studio players came together, and Music Row began to develop into a world class creative center. It was not an accident that this ecosystem of respect between employers and musicians, artists, producers and songwriters thrived and what we now know as Music City was the result. This is why countless world class musicians such as Reggie Young moved here over the ensuing decades — to be paid properly and 6 THE NASHVILLE MUSICIAN

Negotiations update

I flew to Los Angeles twice in the last month to participate in AFM film negotiations with the motion picture industry. This contract also covers episodic TV shows such as Nashville. After two rounds, it became clear that we were too far apart on the topic of streaming residuals for musicians for movies and tv shows to make a long-term deal, so we agreed on a six-month extension with a two-percent raise and we will resume negotiations in November. While I was out there, I became aware of a Lifetime movie about Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn’s friendship that was about to be scored with a nonunion soundtrack. I initiated the process of reaching out to Sony Pictures, who have never done anything on the card, except as Sony/Columbia Pictures, which they own. I wrote them a long letter explaining that both Patsy and Loretta were/are AFM members, and we have been able to get the musicians on their records paid many times for the use of their songs in movies, TV, and commercials. I made the point that Nashville’s recording community was built on a voluntary system of compliance and to put this movie on the card is simply the right thing to do. It would be very disrespectful to make this a non-union soundtrack, especially when they had already engaged the actors and stagehands under union contracts. AFM President Ray Hair followed up my letter with a phone call and lo and behold, we were able to get Sony Pictures to sign for this movie. This will be much better for everyone in the long run. Live scale increases At our last member meeting, we approved raises to some sections of our Miscellaneous Wage and Scale rates for live performances. We raised the 50-minute concert scale from $95 to $100 (+ 5.3 percent) for weekdays and the Friday-Sunday rates went up from $115 to $125 (+ 8.7 percent.) This will benefit everyone who plays the CMA Music Fest downtown shows this year. We raised the

Broadway show scales as well, but at the request of TPAC, our main employer under this agreement, those scales will not go up until August. The new rates are on our website. We also raised the Local 257 road scale significantly, as it had not been raised in quite a few years. These are not negotiated agreements, they are suggested minimums, and we are committed to raise these scales regularly over time. Thanks to everyone who participated in the process. MMA follow-up The passage of the Music Modernization Act in Congress last year was hailed as a major step forward in equalizing the various revenue streams for musicians and songwriters in the streaming world. However, just as the celebration was ending, Amazon and Spotify very quickly filed an appeal asking for a reduction in the new rates that had just been set. At the same time, they are trying to get Nashville to subsidize their move here. Metro Councilman Jeff Syracuse was one of the few who, as a matter of principle, stood up for musicians and voted against giving Amazon money to come here. Metro passed the incentives anyway and we will have to see how that plays out. Lost in the MMA shuffle was the fact that terrestrial (AM/FM) radio stations are still getting away with not paying musicians, artists and labels for radio play. The only other countries that don’t pay those royalties are China, Iran, Iraq, Rwanda and North Korea. What does that tell us? That the downside of capitalism is greed, and those who make extra money off musicians’ backs don’t want to pay them fairly. Sound familiar? You can pretty well guarantee that the main reason some people and companies try to avoid union contracts is to avoid paying musicians what they deserve. In a right to work (for less) state like Tennessee, they can legally get away with it, but that doesn’t make it right. I will never stop fighting for musicians’ rights and hope that all of you and all of our creative community understand this is not about being a thug, it’s about standing up for the working musicians that made Nashville the incredible music center it is today. We are here to help you, but your involvement in our collective effort is essential if we are to continue to succeed TNM in our quest for respect.

Profile for Kathy Osborne

The Nashville Musician — April - June 2019  

The official journal of the Nashville Musician Association, AFM Local 257. This issue features Del McCoury, Tracy Silverman, and more.

The Nashville Musician — April - June 2019  

The official journal of the Nashville Musician Association, AFM Local 257. This issue features Del McCoury, Tracy Silverman, and more.

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