That’s the explosive claim that the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the American Federation of Musicians are making today based on the satellite radio company’s efforts to cut deals with independent record labels giving them 100% of the royalty payments. Such an arrangement would break with the traditional practice of funneling 45% of royalties to SoundExchange — a clearinghouse authorized by Congress to handle artists’ payments – with 5% going to the unions (typically to pay session musicians), and the remaining half going to record labels. “This move is blatantly anti-artist and anti-musician,” says AFTRA National Executive Director Kim Roberts Hedgpeth. “The statutory license established by Congress and the system administered by SoundExchange ensures transparency, efficiency, accountability — and most important — direct, non-recoupable payment to artists of their fair share of royalties for SiriusXM’s use of their music.” SiriusXM didn’t immediately respond to a request to provide its views in the dispute.
LOS ANGELES (October 19, 2011) —- The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and Screen Actors Guild convened for the third formal face‐to‐face discussions of the Group for One Union. Known as the G1, the group consists of members from the Screen Actors Guild Merger Task Force and the AFTRA New Union Committee. G1 members including actors, performers, recording artists and broadcast professionals are working to facilitate the creation of a merged successor union to represent all of the members of AFTRA and Screen Actors Guild.
In a joint statement, Screen Actors Guild National President Ken Howard and AFTRA National President Roberta Reardon praised the G1 members and staff noting the achievements of the five-day meetings in a joint statement, saying: “This was a remarkably productive meeting and we made solid progress across the full spectrum of issues we have to consider. The members and staff of both unions continue to work as a true team, and our efforts continue to prove that our shared interests are far greater than any differences we have. The entertainment and media industries are evolving more quickly than ever, and the chance to bring our unions together is golden opportunity – one we plan to take full advantage of. We’re committed to preserving the best aspects of our existing organizations while we build a powerful new union that will be even better equipped to take on the emerging realities we’re facing.