Providing service and support to film and television musicians.
Dear Motion Picture Music Community Member,
Thank you for visiting the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund (FMSMF) website!
When the FMSMF (aka 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 film Musicians, and pay necessary employer taxes and withholdings as required by law. As FMSMF has evolved, it now serves 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.
As with the other major industry union and guild agreements (DGA, IATSE, SAG-AFTRA, WGA), the AFM Agreements provide for residuals if a theatrical film or TV program generates revenue in a “secondary” market. However, 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 paying required taxes and withholdings, thereby relieving companies from the time and expense of this complex work. For Musicians, FMSMF sends an annual payment along with a detailed breakdown listing each title for which the Musician is being paid, providing Musicians with a “one-stop-shop” to make residual payment tracking, personal record keeping and annual tax accounting easier and more efficient. FMSMF’s website provides information, resources and tools for both Producers www.fmsmf.org/producerresources/producers.php and Participating Musicians www.musicianresources/musicians.php. As a separate 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization, FMSMF operates under the supervision of an Oversight Committee appointed by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), and AFM liaisons appointed by the AFM President to consult with the Committee on FMSMF matters. 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 or TV program has moved from its primary market to a secondary market and that secondary market generates revenue. Residuals are triggered only if a picture generates revenue in one or more of the secondary markets as outlined in the chart below:
Residuals are sent directly to the Fund by signatory employers or distributors on a quarterly basis. Residuals collected during the Fund’s fiscal year of April 1-March 31 are distributed to Musicians on the following July 1st. Deducted from the amounts collected are administrative costs for operating the Fund (e.g., legal, auditing fees, insurance, salaries, computers, rent, etc.), taxes and other required withholdings, plus a small reserve for omitted Musicians and unidentified pictures. Each Musician’s share is determined by taking the percentage that his/her original wages represented of the total wages paid to all Musicians on the original score and applying that percentage to the residual payment contributed for that film in the fiscal year.
A second, smaller distribution is made each September to Musicians the Fund discovers were erroneously omitted from a motion picture’s list of Musicians, or whose original wages were underreported to the Fund or who were previously unidentified.
FMSMF does its own research, but also depends upon the cooperation of Producers to assist in determining whether, and in what amount, residuals are due. FMSMF works with Producers to ensure all required payments are made, either directly or via reviews conducted by outside auditors engaged by the Fund.
Who Participates: “Participating Musicians” include not just the instrumentalists who played on the score, but also conductors, orchestrators, copyists, librarians and other AFM-covered positions. In addition, if a Participating Musician is deceased, his/her designated beneficiary (or beneficiaries) is entitled to receive his/her share of residuals. An important function of the FMSMF staff is to research, identify and contact those beneficiaries to effectuate the Musician’s intent for his/her heirs and loved ones to benefit from the legacy of his/her work. For more information on ensuring your intended beneficiaries are registered with the Fund, see www.fmsmf.org/PDFs/BeneCardWebVersion.pdf. Further, musicians who worked on a covered sound recording used in an AFM film or TV program picture may be entitled to share in the title’s secondary market residuals.
Recent Activity: To get a sense of the most recent activity of the Fund, in the fiscal year ending 3/31/2015, the Fund collected $92,641,562.
The FMSMF’s calendar 2015 distributions (July 2015 and September 2015) generated payments of up to $2,000 each to 10,679 Musicians and 1,859 Beneficiaries. Of the more than 2,800 individuals who received payments of more than $2,000, 1,026 Musicians and 190 Beneficiaries received payments of up to $5,000; 456 Musicians and 88 Beneficiaries received payment of up to $10,000; 397 Musicians and 64 Beneficiaries received payments of more than $10,000, and an additional 606 Musicians and 28 Beneficiaries received payments in 2015 of $25,000 or more.
A copy of the FMSMF’s most recent audited Annual Report is posted on www.fmsmf.org.
Because residuals contributed to the FMSMF represent a small percentage (well below 1%) of distributors’ gross receipts from secondary market distribution of a film or TV program, the amounts contributed on a given title fluctuate from year to year. It can take one or more years after initial release or broadcast before a picture moves to a secondary market and residuals are generated. Secondary market revenues, and the resulting residuals, can vary -- from relatively modest to more significant -- depending on the success and marketability of the title. Generally, a film or TV program will generate most of its secondary market revenue activity within the first few years after initial release or broadcast. But some films and TV programs continue to generate revenue for many years: for example, new viewing outlets in need of content 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. On this website you’ll find a list of films and TV programs that paid residuals to the Fund over the years. www.fmsmf.org/filmtitles/paid-films.php.
Whether you’re a Musician, Beneficiary or a Producer, 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 not only keeps Musicians and Producers informed of FMSMF activities, it also offers online services for Musicians and Beneficiaries to securely access accounts, update information and sign up for the fast and easy Direct Deposit/“Go-Paperless” options. 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 1, 2015
Please report any problems to:
Ron Yungul, Site Manager