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June 16th, 2014, 16:55
Gamasutra has an update on the The Banner Saga composer Austin Wintory who was threatened with a $50,000 fine from the American Federation of Musicians.

What did Austin Wintory do wrong?

Reports indicate that Wintory recorded the music for The Banner Saga in Texas. Texas is a “right to work” state, which means that those in the state cannot be prevented from using non-union workers.

In Wintory’s own words, in a posting on NeoGAF, he says that:

"The violation I’m charged with is breaking the Bylaws, which cite that I can not “perform services (whether as composer, arranger, copyist, proofreader, instrumentalist, leader, contractor, cutter, editor or in any other capacity) for the purpose of producing, editing or dubbing recorded music except where expressly authorized and covered by a contract with the AFM or when expressly authorized by the AFM.”

Now what?

It remains to be seen whether video game companies will sign on with this new agreement.

According to the AFM’s website, they have just drafted a new video game agreement, that will now be voted on by union members. While reports indicate that Microsoft has joined up, it remains to be seen whether other video game companies will sign on with this new agreement.
More information.
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June 16th, 2014, 16:55
Wrong century for contracts like these. What benefit does the consumer get for signing on with the federation? An inference of quality? An illusion of professionalism?
Never before can a consumer so easily contact an artist directly. Any attempt to insert fictitious middle men inhibits creativity.
Our company hires artists directly whether by contract, term, or project. Occasionally we get burnt by unfulfilled promises but we simply don't hire them again. Either way, 100% of the funds go to the artist and not to a manager, overhead for a union building, fees and dues.

I realize this is one view, but it is mine.
After more research this artist chose poorly. He wanted the union work AND the freelance. You can't have your cake and eat it too. That union is not mandatory to join.
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June 17th, 2014, 05:18
Seems like a pretty sad situation. Can't Austin just be freelance or would it preclude him working in the industry? Bring in the union busters.
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June 17th, 2014, 05:44
I think Wisdom got it right. It sounds like Austin wanted to be a union member but then knowingly went to lengths to avoid a union recording arrangement. I can see how a union recording may have been a bit too expensive for him, but he should have quit the union. While I agree that unions seem to have no reasonable place in crowdsourced works, they are essentially invented to give orchestral and session performers a livable wage and have been ESSENTIAL in keeping your local symphony or live backup musicians fed. My whole family was made up of symphony musicians and I assure you, they were not paid particularly well, but they swore by the AFM.
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