SAG-AFTRA Reaches Deal With Record Labels Over Music Video Performers

Agreement between SAG-AFTRA and the major labels calls for improved working conditions, heath and retirement benefits for most performers involved with music videos

SAG-AFTRA has reached a three-year agreement with the major record labels to provide safe and fair working conditions for performers in music videos, including dancers, actors, narrators, singers, models and stunt performers.

The agreement also provides health and retirement benefits for those covered. In addition, choreographers and assistant choreographers will receive health and retirement benefits under the deal.

The agreement was struck early Friday between the union and record labels included in the Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, EMI Music and The Walt Disney Co., and will now go before the SAG-AFTRA National Board for approval.

Also read: SAG-AFTRA Merger Opponents Drop Plans for Legal Action

Under the agreement, dancers will receive a minimum daily rate, and there will be guaranteed production conditions, including water, toilets, chairs and shelters. The audition process will receive new guidelines, such as a four-hour cap on individual audition times, and scale pay if audition footage is used in a music video.

A binding grievance and arbitration process will be put in place, and additional compensation will be provided for hazardous performances.

Also read: SAG-AFTRA Approves David P. White as National Exec Director

Twelve-hour rest periods between call times, including rehearsals, makeup and wardrobe, are also included in the agreement.

The pact is the first major contract negotiated by SAG-AFTRA following its merger earlier this year.

“The industry really stepped up and worked with us to give performers a solid contract for music videos,” said SAG-AFTRA Assistant National Executive Director of Sound Recordings Randall Himes. “The changing nature of the music video industry made these negotiations more important than ever. Our agreement with the labels gives performers the working conditions they deserve, while also recognizing realities of the industry. I also want to recognize our members for leading the way.”

“We are grateful for the strong partnership that we continue to have with SAG-AFTRA,” Universal Music Group Chairman & CEO Lucian Grainge added. “This agreement not only reflects that relationship, but is testament to the vision that we share with David [White, SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director] and Randy in working together to meet the many new challenges facing the music industry.”

The agreement has its roots in negotiations that began between AFTRA and the record labels in June 2011.