Residual (entertainment industry)

Residual (Entertainment Industry)

Residual (entertainment industry)

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A residual is a payment made to the creator of performance art (or the performer in the work) for subsequent showings or screenings of the (usually filmed) work. A typical use is in the payment of residuals for television reruns. The word is often used in the plural form.

Radio and television

The residual system started in U.S. network radio. Live radio programs with nationwide audiences were generally performed either two or three times to account for different time zones between the east and west coasts of the United States. The performers were paid for each performance.

Audio "transcription disc" technology became available in the late 1930s and was initially used to make recordings to send to radio stations that were not connected to the live network. As the sound quality of these recordings improved, the radio networks began using them for time-delaying the west coast broadcast and eventually eliminated the need for multiple performances. The performers were kept on standby and paid for a second performance, in case there were technical problems with the recording. This established the precedent for residual payments from recorded performances.

A similar transition between live and recorded performances occurred on television in the early 1950s. Initially, most television broadcasts were either live or broadcasts of older films originally produced for the motion theaters. Kinescope recordings were made of live east coast performances so...
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