Hans Zimmer Supports Unionization Effort

Film Music Magazine • April 19, 2010

In a one-on-one phone interview conducted days before the 2010 Academy Awards, Hans Zimmer expressed his support for the unionization effort by composers with Teamsters Local 399.

When asked if he supported the union effort, Mr. Zimmer replied, “Absolutely. Musicians are a community and we have to protect each other.”

“I think we older composers, I think I am an older composer now (reluctantly I say this!), it is our duty to help the young composers. Otherwise the music will just disappear.”

Subsequent to the interview, Mr. Zimmer met with Teamsters’ lead organizer Steve Dayan and spokesman Bruce Broughton at Mr. Zimmer’s office at Remote Control Productions.

Mr. Zimmer, one of the most successful composers in Hollywood, is an owner of Remote Control Productions, which houses close to twenty composers working with Mr. Zimmer in what has become a revolutionary method of film composition.

“I’ve been thinking about this forever because it’s really about fairness. It’s such a complicated subject because, you know, we’ll be able to have one go at this and we better get it right.”

“Times are tough out there. Everybody knows times are tough. And we composers and we musicians, it’s very easy to abuse us because we always come at it from a completely rotten business point of view because we love playing music. If somebody asks us to go and write something, if somebody goes and asks us to play something, we’ll come and play and we’ll ask, ‘How are we going to pay the rent?’ later.”

“My daughter asked me recently what it was like to be a poor musician, what it was like when I started out and really, honestly, it was rotten because people were forever taking advantage of us.”

Mr. Zimmer drew a parallel between the protection a union could offer with how he has shepherded the careers of composers at Remote Control.

“I got a few guys started because, well, the whole point of why we need a union: it was easy to protect them, because I knew they were good. It’s as simple as that.”

“Partly, the person who protects you is your lawyer and your agent. But if you don’t have a certain standing you don’t get a good lawyer and you don’t get a good agent. So a union is a really interesting and important thing.”

“Here’s the thing I always love about music and musicians, it really is a community. We have to protect each other because that’s how we are used to working. When we play together we have to look out for each other, we have to make room for everybody, that’s how you get a good sound.”

“So the idea of a collective has always been really strong, I think. Look at my place (Remote Control)!”

RELATED ARTICLE: Writers Guild Pact Supports AMCL re: Composer Workplace Conditions and No Free Music

Comments

By Jeff Weiss on April 19th, 2010 at 8:13 am

wow. that is truly awesome and really great that he is thinking about the future so generously. bravo!

By Bob Safir on April 19th, 2010 at 9:42 am

Terrific! Between this development, the support of the Writer’s Guild, and the AMCL meeting tonight, it looks like a lot of positive momentum is building.

By Mark Brisbane on April 19th, 2010 at 9:42 am

That’s what I always love about Hans’s mentality. He believes in the future of this industry and has brought so many talented composer into the industry, That otherwise, may have not had a chance. He is a true pioneer.

By calvin hogue on April 19th, 2010 at 12:15 pm

This man has been on the scene for many years and to hear him put a company together to help other coming musicians is unique to say the least. I’m 55 years old and yet to hit it big on my songs and compositions but many young artist come by to learned how to play and arrange because we have to share.
I still need to join a union and now I’m going to after reading the comments by Han’s…to you Mr, Hammer God bless those who remember…. DrCal out!

By calvin hogue on April 19th, 2010 at 12:18 pm

This man has been on the scene for many years and to hear him put a company together to help other coming musicians is unique to say the least. I’m 55 years old and yet to hit it big on my songs and compositions but many young artist come by to learned how to play and arrange because we have to share.
I still need to join a union and now I’m going to after reading the comments by Han’s…to you Mr, Zimmer God bless those who remember…. DrCal out!

By Jesse Hopkins on April 19th, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I appreciate the support of Hans, but I think this just shows that it makes business sense as well. Unfortunately, I think part of the reason that pay has been plumetting is the percieved devaluation of an individual composer that comes from the “revolutionary” team scoring method. Music by “____” really means Music by ____ and a dozen or more hopefuls, it’s a system of depreciating returns and sends a message to producers that Artistry is not worth anything.

By toxic avenger on April 19th, 2010 at 8:39 pm

Interesting. But the union won’t solve all your problems. And it won’t improve the quality of the music being composed.

There are too many no-talents in the biz.

By toxic avenger on April 19th, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Oh, one other thing: how many scores need to be composed using “Gladiator” as a template? Enough already! Weite something original.

He’s been writing variations on “A World Apart” for years.

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