• Register
  • Help
Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 32

Topic: new composer's union

  1. #1

    new composer's union

    i'm not sure how many northern sounds members make their living as composers, but for those who do (or want to in the future) this may be of interest:


    a new attempt at unionizing composers via an agreement with the teamsters, with an initial meeting to be held on the 16th of november in burbank. anyone who can attend, please fill us in on the details.

  2. #2

    Re: new composer's union

    If you compose for the musical theater, there is all ready a union (not affiliated with the teamsters) with a contract in place. The Dramatists Guild represents playwrights, lyricists and composers.

    This is the link for their membership page:


    Allegro Data Solutions

  3. #3

    Re: new composer's union

    Quote Originally Posted by ejr View Post
    If you compose for the musical theater, there is all ready a union (not affiliated with the teamsters) with a contact in place. The Dramatists Guild represents playwrights, lyricists and composers.
    Not to be picky, but just to clarify, the Dramatist Guild is a "Guild" and not a "Union." There is a difference and there are many reasons why we are a Guild and not a Union.

  4. #4

    Re: new composer's union

    If so they are differences without a distinction. I am a member of four unions, two of which call themselves "guilds" (The Dramatists Guild and the Screen Actors Guild). Labor laws do not recognize any differences between them. All are considered "labor organizations". A labor organization is defined by statute in the U.S. as any group that, among other things, engages in negotiating collective bargaining agreements. That's really all that matters to the government and the courts. I don't think you'll find any law or decision that applies differently because one union calls itself a guild and another calls itself a federation or an association or a union.

    Allegro Data Solutions

  5. #5

    Re: new composer's union

    And......................... the thread is about............................

    Letting everyone know about a potential composers union situation with the Teamsters.

    Could be interesting and something to attend if in the area.

    Mr. A.
    Nuendo 3/ Cubase 4.5 on XP sp2 QuadCore 2.66 Ghz VisionDaw Built DAW RME HDSP 96/52 into ProTools HD3 (digi192x6) on MacPro 3 Ghz... Farm PCs x (6) VisionDaw Machines PC Dual 2.66 Ghz w- Kontakt 3.5 w/ UAD Cards Midi Over Lan

  6. #6

    Re: new composer's union

    man... I can't make it!!!

    I'd love for someone who goes to post a quick upadte on how it went and what was covered.


    Andrew K

  7. #7
    Senior Member Nigel W's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Cologne, Germany

    Re: new composer's union

    It would be great if US composers would organize as a body. There are major challenges affecting the way we all can make a living-the internet in particular- fees are at an all-time low, and some producers even think music should come for free!!

    Here in Europe, the US is often seen by producers as a "better" market- I think because buyout deals can be made. If US composers show some solidarity, that would be an important signal to everyone over here.


  8. #8

    Thumbs up Re: new composer's union

    Over at SCOREcast, the guys are covering the unionization thread pretty closely as a few of them are involved with the team that's putting it all together. Several points of commentary on it and interesting perspectives. If you have a chance, stop by.

    Jai Meghan
    Los Angeles, CA

  9. #9

    Lightbulb Re: new composer's union

    I was at the meeting, and as you would expect - with several hundred in attendance there were a lot of viewpoints that were looking for "air time".

    My take on it was that the meeting was a showpiece to 1) illustrate to all of the composers in attendance that "they're not alone" 2) introduce the union rep, and 3) to showcase a recent "win" of how the Teamsters Local 399 was able to unionize the casting directors and win some basic rights and benefits for them in the process.

    This is, in effect, the beginning of a long public conversation. There were some things asserted by the committee that I don't agree with and don't think is necessarily true - or at least can't be taken at face value without real scrutiny of the facts (which were not in evidence at this meeting). I also got the feeling that they were either unaware or unwilling to discuss some of the obvious thorny issues that exist today. Some people I sat with were frustrated, thinking that "they don't get it - they don't understand how we operate today". But I'm not so sure - I think they were purposely avoiding "wedge issues" in order to focus on the commonalities. In either case, it's something that must be addressed relatively quickly, if the organizing committee is to be taken seriously by the composer community.

    I think they're trying to get everyone to look at the big picture, and trying to "bring along" those that erroneously think that the union is going to "turn back the clock" and re-establish the working model of 20 years ago. Of course that's not going to happen, but I think they were laying the groundwork on "we were here when things were better - we've seen the erosion since then - and we want to do something about it". As you all know - the composer community is a haphazardly diverse one - and with 350 people in the room you'll get at least 700 opinions. Add to that the fact that there were (at my personal count) three generations of composers there - all of which operate (or presume to operate) in their own working model - some of which are diametrically opposed to each other. You've got "seasoned" composers railing against music libraries for undercutting their business - with a room full of younger composers that can *only* get work through submitting their cues to licensing sites and seeing them placed in shows.

    Then you have all of the people that were *not* there. It was mentioned that one or more A-list composers were dissuaded from attending by their agency representation. While I have no reason to doubt that, I also think that many A-listers understand that a union would be anathema to their current working model. As in many situations involving economics, gross imbalances create perverse incentives, and the composing "industry" (for the lack of a better term) is rife with both. You have a small group of "named" composers that take on *much* more work than they are personally capable of, and they go out and find cheap/free labor (i.e. ghost writers) to satisfy the commitment. A union would be a direct challenge to that operating model, at least on the surface. And by contrast, if the union *doesn't* address some of these imbalances that currently exist the labor model - then the obvious question is "why have a union at all"?

    And in essence, the committee that presided over the meeting postulated that very question. They were very up front that between the previous legal decisions *against* composers guilds/unions plus the current environment - the odds are stacked against a unionization effort. Even *if* all of the "internal" issues are resolved or set aside sufficiently to move forward, it still would be a 50/50 shot. In that regard, I think the meeting was useful as an opening step. However, it's the willingness to openly and honestly deal with the issues that are internal to the composer community that will make or break the decision to move ahead.

    I'm decidedly pro-union in general, and I'd love for there to be a composer's union. But like so many others I have serious reservations about whether all of the current economic and political issues can be sufficiently redressed to make a union work. Such as it is, there's something darkly attractive about embracing a lost cause - and I have a feeling that I'll be seeing this one through to the bitter end.
    Houston Haynes - Titan Line Music

  10. #10

    Re: new composer's union

    Quote Originally Posted by Houston Haynes View Post
    - and with 350 people in the room you'll get at least 700 opinions.
    What a thorough and informative response. Thanks for posting this, and as I imagined what this meeting would be like in my mind, you described it to a tee.
    "International Award Winning Arabic Fusion"

    2xMac Pro 2.66, OS 10.4.9,Pro Tools 7.4.8,Waves Plat,Altiverb
    4xVisionDaw PC,NI Komplete, All Play 1.2.5 Libraries

Go Back to forum


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts