I just read AVN’s new cover story on performer rates. Nothing makes finer reading on the commode than the fine journalism of AVN.
Their data confirmed the same conclusions that I hear on a daily basis… most producers are making less money than 5 years ago, but are paying 25-50% more in talent rates than they were during that time of wine and honey. Having done a bit of reading over the years on the subject of unions, employee economics and collective bargaining, I tried to do the impossible: apply the common sense of a real grownup business to the nonsense that is adult.
Adult producers have the immense luxury of working with a disorganized pack of workers, generally incapable of grasping economic theory, lacking leadership, and unwilling to band together for the common good. Basically on par with migrant farm workers. But on the flip side, you have these adult producers who often prove themselves equally dense, and full of a rousing cowboy spirit that makes it nearly impossible for them to work together.
What really *should* happen here is simple collusion. A la the old New York “commission,” producers should sit in a room, decide on what they will pay for a top girl’s anal rate, or a B-rate girl’s oral rate, and that number should stick. If the girl (or her agency) refuses to play ball, she has suddenly lost most of her work. Producers that do not comply should be encouraged (or coerced) to join in.
The reason this doesn’t happen in most industries is that it is pretty much illegal under federal antitrust law. When the Major League Baseball owners perpetrated the act in the late 1980s, the union sued (and won a couple billion dollars). But who is gonna sue the porn producers? Some girl and her pimp lawyer boyfriend? An agency that is already breaking half the agent/manager laws of the State of California? Not too likely.
If producers are serious about getting a handle on talent rates, this would dramatically shift the balance of power. Needless to say, I don’t expect that the producers could pull it off. But it is quite a bit more likely than the performers ever figuring out how to unionize.