Music Supervisors Seek Union after Professional Equality Denied

Music Supervisors

The intersection of film and hip-hop has generated some of pop culture’s most memorable moments.  Television and movies rely on the right music at the right time. This creates moments that transcend art, and become ingrained in our cultural identity.  

These visual/auditory marriages obviously extend far beyond hip-hop, but this is a hip-hop blog afterall, so we will keep things grounded in what we know best.  Imagine some of film’s most memorable moments, without the soundtrack.  Training Day without Still DreDjango without Rick Ross’s 100 Black CoffinsCoach Carter minus Twista.

While these classic examples frame iconic examples of hip-hop’s relationship with film, more recent instances drive home the point.  We recently covered 2021 sync inclusions of Kota the Friend’s Scapegoat in Amazon film Emergency, and Keys Open Doors in Showtime series Flatbush Misdemeanors.  Issa Rae’s new HBO show Rap Sh!t is also doing an excellent job of showcasing independent and emerging artists that fit within the fabric of the show.  

Behind each, optimal song placement, is a person, a professional called a music supervisor.  They assess a script to determine music that would be a great fit and determine exactly how a song will be used. Music Supervisors liaise with artists, labels and publishers to ensure that proper licensing is in place so that these quintessential combinations of screenplay and sound can come together.  

Inequality for Music Supervisors

Unfortunately, Music Supervisor’s massive, artistic responsibility is underappreciated to the point where they are fighting for employment rights.  This June, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) denied Music Supervisor’s request to become part of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), which functions as a Union for entertainment professionals.  

According to the IATSE website, Music Supervisors are seeking the following reforms to: 

  • Be treated fairly and equitably compared to their unionized co-workers
  • Gain access to Industry Healthcare and Retirement plans
  • Standardize Pay Rates to tamp down on discrimination and pay disparities
  • Address structures that enable studios to delay workers’ pay for months at a time
  • Have a seat at the table to negotiate with employers in good faith
  • Win an enforceable and codified union contract.

With basic employment rights on the line, major changes are necessary to support these pivotal purveyors of pop-culture.  

“Every worker deserves to have rights and a voice in the workplace, regardless of how your employer values your work. The workers have spoken, and the AMPTP should respect its workers and democracy by voluntarily recognizing Music Supervisors’ union immediately,” stated IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb.

A petition targeting (AMPTP) has been formed to support Music Supervisors in their efforts to unionize.  To support, add your name today.  

2 thoughts on “Music Supervisors Seek Union after Professional Equality Denied

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *