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EMSD Resource Center

If you’re about to hire musicians for a recording and you’re uncertain about how to file a union contract to cover that work — or if you’re a musician being hired for a recording and don’t know what you’re supposed to get paid — you’ve come to the right place. We’ve reorganized our contract information to better help employers and musicians alike to find the resources they’re looking for.

The AFM EMSD Resource Center is designed to steer you in the right direction!

We want this process to be as straightforward as possible, so if you’re new to this, it might help first to explain why there is such a variety.

On the Electronic Media Services Division (EMSD) main page, you’ll find links to a wide variety of different types of media.

At a baseline level, there are two main parameters that determine how a musician should be paid for recording work: 1) the type of service they are performing and 2) the manner in which the recording of that service will be exhibited.

The type of service is the most important factor. Studio sessions to record album tracks are different from studio sessions to record film scores, and both are very different from appearances on a late-night television program.

However, the manner in which the work will be exhibited is also important. Let’s say you’re budgeting for a new television singing competition series, which will require a house band to perform behind the competing vocalists. This type of work is clearly akin to our live television agreements. Still, different types of television have different types of broadcast patterns, so the terms for network television don’t fit for basic cable, public television, or premium channels like HBO. These formats each have their own agreement terms that fit the broadcast patterns required by those networks.

When you’re budgeting, you may not know how the work will be broadcast, and that’s okay. Having access to wage scales for every agreement may help you decide if one format is out of your price range right off the bat.

Where Do I Begin?

The EMSD Resource Center is organized by recording medium to help you find the correct agreement, wages, benefits, and filing instructions for your project.

As always, if you have any questions regarding the information on this site, contact the AFM Local where the work will take place, or the EMSD.