Local and Industry News


Failed negotiations for video game actors have led SAG-AFTRA to request authorization from members to call a a strike. In negotiations with Activision, Electronic Arts, Disney, Warner Bros., and other video game companies, SAG-AFTRA is seeking bonuses for actors when games sell over tiers of 2 million, 4 million, and 6 million copies. The union is also seeking language covering "vocally stressful" recordings.

Revenue from streaming songs grew nearly 25 percent in the first half of 2015, exceeding $1 billion for the first time. Revenue from paid steaming services was $478 million, while revenue from free streaming services was $550 million. Sales from digital downloads fell 4 percent, to $1.3 billion, while sales from physical sales fell 17 percent to $748 million. Overall music industry revenue fell slightly, to $3.2 billion.

Apple Music, Apple's new streaming and download service, has 15 million users, including 6.5 million paying users and 8.5 million users on free 3-month trials. Apple Music launched in June. By comparison, after seven years of operation, Spotify has 20 million paying users and 75 million total users.

Spotify has removed thousands of Victory Records songs from its catalog after an audit revealed that it had failed to make royalty payments on the songs. In an audit of Spotify records, monitoring company Audiam discovered that from 2012 through September 2015, publishing company Another Victory only received payments on about a third of the over 3000 songs it holds a stake in. Those songs accounted for 53 million total streams.


The Metropolitan Opera ended last season with a $1 million surplus, a substantial change from the previous season's $22 million deficit. The Met increased box office revenue by $1 million and fundraising increased by 11 percent. The Met also had 2.6 million people attend its high definition simulcasts. However, $18 million of the savings came from pruning expenses, including pay cuts for administration and union employees.

The Metropolitan Opera opened its tenth season of live broadcasts with a bang, grossing $2 million from broadcasts of "Il Trovatore" in 930 theaters. The sales put the broadcast in the top ten grossing movie theater openings for the weekend.

New York Philharmonic chairman of the board Oscar Schafer has donated $25 million to the orchestra, the largest gift in the orchestra's history. $20 million will be used to build the orchestra's endowment and renovate David Geffen Hall, while $5 million will be used in support of the orchestra's free Concerts in the Parks series.

The chairman of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Louis Ciminelli, has donated $1 million to the orchestra. The donation will launch the Crescendo Campaign, which hopes to raise $30 million and increase the orchestra's endowment to over $50 million.

Chicago Symphony musicians have ratified a new three-year contract. The contract calls for raises of one percent in the first year and two percent in each of the following years, and an increase in pension benefits of 4.3 percent.

St. Paul Chamber Orchestra musicians have ratified a new two-year contract. The agreement raises the minimum salary by ten percent over two years.

Musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra have ratified a new one-year agreement. The agreement raises salaries by three percent an restores one of the ten positions vacant since the hiring freeze in 2010.


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