Music union threatens Journey composer with $50K fine

The American Federation of Musicians has threatened Journey composer Austin Wintory with a $50,000 fine for working on video games, Wintory explains in a video. AFM President Ray Hair and a committee enacted a video game recording contract in 2012 that bars union members from working on new projects in the games industry. The contract was passed without a vote from union members, Wintory says.

Wintory composed the score for The Banner Saga, and days before the game launched, he received a letter charging he worked against union regulations and threatening a $50,000 fine. Wintory has been vocal online about his stance on AFM's anti-gaming contract.

"And now, it seems that because I was outspoken, I'm being specifically targeted by the union," Wintory says. "It seems that they are trying to make an example out of me. So I've had to seek legal counsel, and now I am sitting, awaiting judgement from the exact same union board that decided to turn their back on the entire game industry to begin with."

Wintory says the AFM's regulations are harmful to union musicians as a whole:

"Ultimately I don't think this is about me. This is about what's right. This is about composers and musicians being able to work in a medium that we love without fear of threat and intimidation, and it's about the next wave of musicians and composers who want to get into this business and dream of working in games, who shouldn't have to fear being attacked."

Wintory and Journey Art Director Matt Nava are currently working on Abzu, an atmospheric underwater game announced during Sony's E3 press conference.
[Image: Austin Wintory]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.