The union office that represents Nashville’s session singers and tv actors was flagged for possible closure not so long ago. But as SAG-AFTRA goes into a set of national meetings that will, in part, decide which offices won’t survive restructuring, the Music City chapter is safe.
When the Screen Actors Guild merged last year with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the combined union decided to cut costs by closing offices in the cities with the fewest members. There are about 18-hundred on the rolls in Nashville, a low enough number to raise questions about the viability of maintaining a staff and building.
Then they looked at a different figure: how much work do those offices handle? Because Music Row depends heavily on session singers, local executive director Randy Himes says the rank a
nd file recording artists here get more jobs than their colleagues in other cities.
“Pound for pound, Nashville member’s earnings, because of the Country Music artists, are some of the highest in the country. I think Nashville beats Los Angeles and New York on a per capita basis.”
Himes says Music City was taken off the possible closure list fairly early on. What’s more, the contracts for local actors, which used to be processed in Miami, are now being handled here.