SoundtrackNet has received some details on the latest AFM deal, and there are a lot of changes, but we're going to highlight the ones that our readers would find of interest.

  • The new deal is effective from August 14, 2005 through February 25, 2009.
  • The threshold for low-budget theatrical films has been increased to $40 million.
  • Two new "low-budget" categories have been created: $12 million and under, and $2 million and under.
  • Sideline payments have doubled.
  • New use payments will increase by 10%
  • For any television series produced under the TV Film Agreement, only one soundtrack may be released during any 12-month period.
  • When a soundtrack release hits 15,000 units, then 50% SRLA scale wages (plus pension) are due.
  • First payment (at sales of 15,000 units) are eligible for a 15% discount if 75 musicians and 40 minutes of music are utilized.

So what does this mean? Well, the cost of using a union orchestra is lower for films that previously were considered "too high" to qualify for the low-budget discount. Also, soundtracks will be re-use free for up to 15,000 units - at which point, the fees kick in- at a higher rate than previously.

This means that there is a greater chance of almost any soundtrack now recorded here in Los Angeles getting a CD release. But it also means that there is an increased likelihood that smaller record company labels will be bidding to release certain film scores. The result could very well be an all-out bidding war between labels which in turn would drive up the price to release a soundtrack, and - in the end - drop back down the number of releases because of budget limitations. But we'll see how it pans out!

In any case, this is excellent news: already we are seeing the results of this, with films like Dreamer (John Debney) and Serenity (David Newman) planning score releases.