In some cases, there might be more money out there for musicians than they’re aware, which is why the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund exists. The nonprofit organization researches, collects and distributes residual wage payments owed to eligible artists for their work in film, TV and digital media. As Director of Participant Services, Chris Kuhrt is responsible for overseeing much of the process of getting artists the money they’re owed. “Maybe you worked on a sound recording years ago or are part of a band that recorded music, and never thought it would be heard in a film or TV program.”
The Fund has a full-time employee actively researching to locate those without current information on file who have unclaimed checks. “I love film and TV music,” Kuhrt says. “We believe strongly in our mission to get every dollar collected out the door to support musicians to try and ensure that they can earn a living as a full-time musician. Residuals help them pursue creative opportunities and, in many cases, they depend on them.”
One of the most difficult aspects of the job can be locating those eligible musicians who may not even be familiar with residual payments or that they are entitled to them. Kuhrt encourages artists to talk with other artists and spread the word. “Some musicians who know other aspects of the business might not be particularly aware of this revenue stream,” he says. “People often know about royalties, copyright, etcetera, but these are residuals, which is a little different. There is a lot of useful information on our website.”
The Fund collected $107 million in residual payments for the 2018 fiscal year, which resulted in 15,900 payments distributed to musicians or their beneficiaries. Kuhrt says the organization gained 900 new participants (musicians) in the past year.
For more information about the Fund, please visit fmsmf.org or call Participant Services toll-free at 1-888-443-6763
Email Kuhrt directly at firstname.lastname@example.org