Streaming has made it harder for artists to make money on their work. While the DVD was a huge part of many filmmakers’ and artists’ revenue streams, those who did not make a big-budget movie rarely saw a substantial profit from streaming services. Streaming residuals are still fairly new, and many executives, unions, and artists are trying to figure out the best way to improve streaming wages and residuals. 

Now, lifelong creative partners Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are taking a step to help artists like you make a profit off streaming services

In an interview with the New York Times, the two creatives announced that they were creating the production company Artists Equity to help give artists a larger share of streaming profits. Affleck serves as CEO and Damon is the company’s chief creative officer. The company has already raised over $100 million in financing, primarily from the investment firm RedBird Capital Partners. 

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck shake hands to launch Artists Equity, a production companyMatt Damon and Ben Affleck shake hands to launch Artists Equity, a production companyCredit: Twitter/@THR

Affleck has also planned to exclusively work for Artists Equity films from this point on, and Damon has pledged to star in several films for the company to hopefully gain some traction as a legit and promising production company in the industry. Damon has also announced that he will do all of his future producing through the label.

The decision to start the company doesn’t come as a surprise to many. Damon has actively talked about the hardships that artists face in the modern world of streaming. Streaming services lack opportunities for actors and filmmakers to share box office and syndication profits.

“As streamers have proliferated, they have really ended back-end participation, and so this is partly an effort to try to recapture some of that value and share it in a way that’s more equitable,” Affleck said in the interview. “Not just writers and directors and stars. But also cinematographers, editors, costume designers, and other crucial artists who, in my view, are very underpaid.” 

Affleck and Damon hope to disrupt that business model by offering top talent a larger percentage of profits in exchange for lower salaries. 

Affleck said that the experience of running a production company has revealed how difficult the business side of Hollywood can be, but he doesn’t regret taking the risk. Instead, he says he regrets not trying this earlier in his career. 

“There was part of me, I have to admit, that was like—come on, these studio guys sit behind desks and make phone calls. The artists are the ones who have to go off and actually make the movie and do all the work. I have already been humbled,” he said. “But my only regret is that I didn’t have the sense of self to try this earlier. Now I feel very ready to do it. I’m right at that period of life where you have enough experience and confidence and self-assuredness.”

The two hope to steer that film and television business in a new direction where streaming services care more about the quality of media rather than the sheer volume. 

Artists Equity expects to have three projects released next year, but Affleck said the company’s goal is to have five films per year. The first film, which doesn’t have a name yet, was produced with Skydance Sports, Mandalay Pictures, and Amazon Studios and will tell the story of the sneaker salesman who convinced Michael Jordan to team with Nike in the 1980s, resulting in Air Jordans. 

Do you think the production company can change artists’ relationships with streaming services? Let us know in the comments!

Source: The New York Times