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Interesting article in Variety from John Burlingame about AFM re-use fees driving score recording away from LA

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Here is the story, read it while it's free on the site to read


Fascinating stuff. That the AFM is driving people out of LA comes at no surprise to me. Hollywood has been driving film and television production out of LA as well for years now. Being too greedy!

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They don't mention whether other AFM outfits (New York, Canada) are suffering or benefitting from it. A very biased article IMO.

Not to mention some film productions can't afford to record with AFM musicians because of budget issues, not because they want to avoid paying re-use fees. It costs $2,250 an hour to hire a 50 piece orchestra in Prague -- and that also includes the conductor, engineer, studio space, and music preparation. It's a fraction of the cost than what a 50 piece session would cost in Los Angeles, and judging on the players' abilities, more economical.

It's not all 'oooh, the greedy studios don't want to pay musicians more money', but a matter of financing. The AFM needs to realize that all the studios are making less movies, and they need to make some concessions to keep more production there.

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How much would it cost per hour to use AFM musicians in LA to perform your score?

There's a comparison at the bottom of this link. The $2250/hour for Prague recordings includes the musicians and technical crew, so it rounds out to $20/hour per musician.

Recording non-union in U.S. states like Seattle, Salt Lake City, and San Diego -- the musicians are $55/hour on average, then add in fees for studio space, recording, et al. If you're recording with a London-based ensemble like the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the buyout option for the musicians is $258/hour per musician (per Tadlow music).

If you're a large budget film recording in L.A., pay per musician is around $95-97/hour. There's adjustable pay scales, depending on the budget. I've been searching for the pay scales on the AFM website, but it's filled with lots of legal mumbo-jumbo.

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