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Business News (more headlines) 04-19-2014

AFM Musicians Kicked Off Listen Up! Campaign

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The American Federation of Musicians launched their campaign
aimed at stopping the outsourcing of film scoring work and ensuring that companies treat musicians
to the same professional standard as other workers in the motion picture industry.

Music can make or break a movie. Imagine "Indiana Jones" without its iconic theme music or the tension created by the music in "Jaws." It's the soul of any film.

But some film production companies, like Lionsgate Entertainment, are putting that in danger. Lionsgate-which has produced recent big-name movies like "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games"-is making it a practice to offshore musicians' jobs to increase its already massive profits and, in the process, undermine industry standards that have created some of the most famous movie musical scores.

And most infuriating? Lionsgate is getting millions in tax credits every year from states across the country, then sending jobs overseas. Lionsgate is squeezing every dollar out of the music community and undermining local musicians' economic ability to teach and develop the next generation of domestic professional musicians.

That's why musicians are speaking out today in Los Angeles, New York, Atlanta and all over the country, telling the company to "Listen Up!" Lionsgate must do better.

"Draft Day," a film produced by Lionsgate that opens this week, is a perfect example of the company putting profits before working musicians and communities. Lionsgate took $5 million from Ohio taxpayers for the film, then offshored all of the film's musical score to a Macedonian company-and pocketed anything that was left over.

And "Draft Day" is not the first time Lionsgate has done this. Over the last two years, only two of the dozens of films the company's produced were scored to industry standards domestically.

But it's not too late for Lionsgate to do the right thing. Other major film companies, like Warner Bros., Columbia Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. (MGM Studios), have signed on to an agreement that ensures musicians' work isn't offshored and maintains industry standards on pay and working conditions. Musicians, with labor, community and religious leaders, are calling on Lionsgate to become a leader in the industry and uphold accepted industry standards.

Stand with musicians and tell Lionsgate to end its practice of offshoring musicians' jobs and join other industry leaders, like MGM and Warner Bros., to uphold industry standards and guarantee proper wages and working conditions for musicians on all of its productions.

At 11:00 AM Pacific, the AFM went public with this campaign, with their initial focus on Lionsgate as a leader in the motion picture industry. Musicians and other labor and community supporters held press events in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and New York City.

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