Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.

As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.

The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.

Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit www.afm.org/join.

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Contract Basics for Touring Artists

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by Robert Baird, President Baird Artists Management (BAM!)

robert-bairdKnowledge of contracts is a must for every touring artist. A contract ensures that both parties communicate their understanding of the details of an engagement. And it binds both parties to honor its provisions.

I highly recommend that a touring musician utilize the AFM Contract for Travelling Engagements (Form T-2C for US bookings & LPCC for Canadian bookings). Once completed and filed, the contract has the force of law and the AFM/CFM behind it. If for some reason the purchaser fails to meet the agreed contract terms, the AFM/CFM will make every effort possible to pursue collection of the monies owed to its members, including taking the purchaser to court when there is merit to do so.

If a venue prefers to use its own contract, try to get them to initial and attach the Schedule 1 (page 2) of the T-2C or LPCC as an addendum, forming part of the contractual arrangements. When you are unable to use the AFM/CFM contract, take the following precautions:

1) Read the contract. Don’t sign anything you have not read.

2) Make sure you understand what the contract is saying and how it will affect you before you sign it.

3) A contract should be in understandable English or French. If there is anything you don’t understand consult with your local union or the national office to ensure you are protected as much as the engager.

4) You can change anything in a contract, however, the changes will not be binding until the other party agrees to them in writing.

No matter what kind of contract is used, be sure to clarify:

1) Services and duties—where, when, length, and type of show. Are there specific expectations of the purchaser?

2) Payment—the currency and form (cash, certified check, money order, etc.) that you will be paid in. The contract should address late payment or failure to pay, as well as interest charged on late payments.

3) Cancellation terms—under what conditions the contract can be cancelled and what are the applicable penalties for cancelling.

4) Liability—what insurance are you required to carry to protect yourself from injury or claims from audience, venue, staff, or crew. (It’s a good idea to have a policy in place. The CFM offers a good policy for its Canadian members, see here for more information: http://www.cfmusicians.org/services/we-ve-got-it-covered. For more information on obtaining insurance in the US visit afm.org.

5) Riders—specify your performance/hospitality and technical requirements:

Main rider: addresses such things as contact info; billing, advertising and promotion; merchandise; accommodations; dressing room; and security requirements.

Hospitality rider: addresses such things as meals; dressing room food and drink; after-show food; and bus food/stock.

Technical rider: addresses such things as sound, lighting and backline requirements; risers/staging; local crew required; stage plot and input list; and lighting plot.

Note: Riders can be changed, but any changes need to be agreed to in writing by both parties. Be sure to have the agreed-upon riders initialed by both parties.

6) Exclusivity—any geographical or time restrictions that might prevent booking other performances close by or around the same time of year.

Once you have a signed contract, you will have the peace of mind of knowing that all of the details have been addressed. If anything changes after signing, be sure to communicate with the other party immediately and seek to resolve unexpected issues. Life on the road is complicated. Detailed contracts are one way to make life easier.

—I welcome your questions and concerns. Please send an email to: robert@bairdartists.com.





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