Providing service and support to film and television musicians.
Dear Film & TV Music Community Member,
Thank you for visiting the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund (FMSMF) website!
When the FMSMF (a/k/a the "Fund") was created in 1972 by motion picture producers and the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), its primary purpose was to act as the agent of the Producers to distribute residual payments to Musicians and remit the employment taxes required by law. FMSMF has evolved over the years to also serve as a resource for motion picture professionals in addressing the various challenges to the industry in addition to its main purpose of tracking, collecting and distributing residual payments.
The Fund provides a unique service to the film and TV music community: for producers, FMSMF shoulders responsibility for calculating and issuing each individual Musician's residual payment and remitting employer taxes and employee withholdings, thereby relieving companies from the time and expense of this complex work. For Musicians, FMSMF sends a detailed breakdown for each title that accompanies the musician's annual payment, providing the Musician with a "one-stop-shop" making residual tracking, personal record keeping and annual tax accounting easier and efficient. As a separate 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization, FMSMF does not engage in collective bargaining on behalf of either Producers or the AFM.
How it Works: The Fund only receives contributions for residuals if a film, TV program or new media program (aka “title”) has moved from its first medium of exhibition into a secondary market that generates distribution revenue. The relevant “secondary markets” for different types of content are outlined in the chart below:
Residuals collected by the FMSMF represent a small percentage (below 1%, after taking deductions specified in the AFM agreements) of “producers gross" - think wholesale price - from distribution in a title’s secondary market. Residuals are sent directly to the Fund on a quarterly basis. Residuals collected during the Fund's fiscal year of April 1-March 31 are distributed to Musicians the following July 1st. Administrative costs for operating the Fund (e.g., legal, auditing fees, insurance, salaries, computers, rent, etc.), employer share of taxes, plus a small reserve for "omissions" are deducted from the amounts collected.
Each individual title's contribution is allocated proportionally against the total contributions received for all titles contributing in that year. Then, each musician's share within a title is determined by applying the percentage his/her original wage represented of the total wages paid to all musicians for the original score, against the residual payment collected for that title.
A second, smaller distribution is made each September to Musicians the FMSMF discovers were erroneously omitted or underreported to the Fund.
FMSMF works with producers to ensure all required payments are made, either directly or via reviews conducted by outside auditors engaged by the Fund. A fillable form that producers or distributors can download and use to calculate the quarterly residuals due to the Fund can be found on this website, along with a guide to the calculation form, at fmsmf.org/producerresources/calculation-form.
Who Participates: "Participating Musicians" include not just the instrumentalists who played on the score, but also conductors, orchestrators, arrangers, copyists, contractors and other AFM-covered positions. In addition, Musicians who worked on an AFM covered sound recording used in a covered title may be entitled to share in the residuals for that title. If a Participating Musician is deceased, his/her designated beneficiary (or beneficiaries) is entitled to receive his/her share of residuals. For more information on ensuring your intended beneficiaries are registered with the Fund, see fmsmf.org/beneficiaryresources/beneficiaries.
Recent Activity: This website also contains the annual letter from the Executive Director, located here: fmsmf.org/musicianresources/AnnualDistributionLetter.
Secondary market revenues and the resulting residuals, for an individual title can vary -- from relatively modest to more significant -- depending on its success and marketability. Generally, a title will generate most of its secondary market revenue activity within the first few years after its initial release. But some titles continue to generate revenue for many years: for example, new outlets in need of content may emerge, a new installment of a franchise may revive consumer interest in an older title, release of a special anniversary edition or other events can spark renewed marketability of a title, etc. You can find a list of films and TV programs that paid residuals to the Fund over the years here: fmsmf.org/filmtitles/paid-films.
A copy of the FMSMF's most recent audited Annual Report can be found here: fmsmf.org/aboutus/annual-report.
Whether you're a Musician, Beneficiary, Producer or Distributor, the Fund is here to support you by ensuring that the secondary market residuals collected are administered accurately and in a timely fashion and we are available to you as a resource on film and TV music related questions.
This website also offers online services for Musicians and beneficiaries to securely access accounts, update their information, sign up for the fast and easy Direct Deposit/"Go-Paperless" options and submit film-related inquiries. FMSMF.org also provides information to producers, such as constructive notices for obligated titles, various sample forms, and informational brochures.
Along with the staff of the Fund, I look forward to your feedback, suggestions and ideas on how we can do our part in supporting the music community that creates the movie and television scores that entertain and inspire audiences around the world.
Kim Roberts Hedgpeth
Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund
November 11, 2019