Day 6

Musicians say the rise of straight-to-streaming content is making it harder to make a living

Professional violinist Joanna Maurer says that because of the way musicians are paid, she will make 75 per cent less on a straight-to-streaming movie than she would on one that went to theatres first.

Professional violinist Joanna Maurer says she will make 75 per cent less for a straight-to-streaming movie

Violinist Joanna Mauer, centre, and members of the American Federation of Musicians take part in a rally in New York in fall 2019 calling for improved compensation for musicians working on film and TV productions. (American Federation of Musicians)

The term residual income might not mean much to some, but for musicians, it's a big deal — and increasingly so.

"[Residuals] end up making about 75 per cent of our overall compensation for a production that we work on," said Joanna Maurer, a professional violinist who performs on film and TV scores.

But now that the movie and TV landscape is changing, much of that income isn't there anymore.

Residual income traditionally kicks in once a movie or TV project moves to a different platform. For example, when a movie originally released in theatres is released on DVD or on airplanes, the musicians would receive additional income.

But here's the catch: musicians do not receive any residual income for straight-to-streaming productions — unlike the writers and actors who work on that same production, says Maurer.

"It's a big pay cut for musicians," she said. "It's not going to be sustainable."


To hear more from Joanna Maurer, click 'listen' above or download our podcast

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