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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President’s Message

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Ray Hair – AFM International President

    Big Radio: Deal with Us on Performance Rights Before It’s Too Late

    If you’ve been tuned in to the Federation’s congressional lobbying efforts, you know that our campaign for a performance right in AM/FM analog radio has been at the top of our legislative agenda for many years.

    Read More

    Media Talks Driven by Streaming Growth, Part 2

    This is the second of two articles on the continued rise of streaming and its effect on Federation media industry negotiations. Read the first here

    Last month, we discussed the Federation’s January 2017 deal with the sound recording industry, where major record labels agreed to earmark a percentage of domestic and foreign streaming revenue toward the American Federation of Musicians & Employers’ Pension Fund (AFM-EPF), Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF), and the Sound Recording Special Payments Fund (SPF). We also discussed the skyrocketing growth of streaming revenue from recorded music, which now accounts for 62% of total record industry income.

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    Media Talks Driven by Streaming Growth

    This is the first of two articles on the continued rise of streaming and its effect on Federation media industry negotiations.

    Mid-year revenue statistics released by the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) on September 20 underscored the value of the Federation’s January 2017 deal with the recording industry, where major record labels agreed to earmark a percentage of domestic and foreign streaming revenue toward the AFM-EP Fund (US), Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF), and the Sound Recording Special Payments Fund (SPF).

    Read More

    Donate to AFM’s Hurricane Irma Relief Fund

    On September 6, Hurricane Irma passed just north of Puerto Rico with ferocious winds of 185 miles per hour as a category 5 hurricane, then roared past Cuba and ashore onto the US mainland Sunday, September 10, battering the entire state of Florida with an enormous reach of more than 400 miles. Irma made landfall on the southern tip of Florida as a category 4 hurricane with sustained winds in excess of 130 miles per hour, causing massive flooding and storm surges, resulting in more than five million power outages, and creating catastrophic tornadoes. The fury of Hurricane Irma occurred on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall August 25 on the Texas Gulf Coast, between Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, Texas, just east of Houston and Galveston as a category 4 hurricane as well, marking the first time in recorded history that two hurricanes as powerful as category 4 made landfall in the same year, in the United States.

    These disasters have hit AFM members hard. Hurricane Harvey displaced more than one million people along the Texas Gulf Coast. The storm affected all Houston Arts District organizations, flooding Jones Hall, the home of the Houston Symphony. It totally devastated Wortham Center, which hosts performances by the Houston Ballet and Grand Opera. “No one knows when the opera and ballet can get back in there,” Local 65-699 (Houston, TX) President Lovie Smith-Wright reported.

    The Houston Symphony has managed to continue operations by moving concerts to other locations around town, pending Jones Hall repairs. The homes of dozens of Houston AFM members were totally destroyed. In South Texas and across Florida, scores of freelance musicians who work steady and short-term casual club dates and single engagements in restaurants and nightclubs have suffered loss of work.

    Hurricane Irma’s trail of wind and storm surge destruction in Puerto Rico, the Florida Keys, Miami, Naples, and up the east and west coasts of Florida resulted in a coast-to-coast pummeling. Officials are still trying to assess the extent of damage. A stunning
    13 million Florida residents were without power for days. Irma’s parting blow to Florida, as it moved on to Georgia and South Carolina, was record flooding in the Jacksonville area. Together, Irma and Harvey may have caused up to $200 billion in damage in Texas and Florida, according to Moody’s Analytics.

    In one bit of good news, Local 389 (Orlando, FL) Secretary Sam Zambito reported that Disney advised that it will pay its Orlando theme park employees, including musicians, for all shifts cancelled as a result of the storm. Bravo Disney!

    How You Can Help

    In an effort to respond to the epic devastation and to help affected AFM members and their families residing in federal disaster areas in Puerto Rico, Florida, and Texas who are fighting to recover from one of the most destructive US natural disasters in history, we have established the AFM Hurricane Relief Fund. It’s more important than ever that we stand together and help our brothers and sisters. Please open the afm.org home page and click the “DONATE HERE” link.

    If you prefer to write a check, send it to:

    AFM Hurricane Relief Fund
    American Federation of Musicians,
    1501 Broadway, Suite 600
    New York, NY 10036

    Please note: contributions to the AFM Hurricane Relief Fund are not tax-deductible.

    How to Get Help

    If you are a victim of Hurricane Harvey or Irma, here’s how you can get help.

    AFM Hurricane Relief Fund

    Download the instructions and application for hurricane assistance here:

    http://www.afm.org/hurricane-disaster-
    assistance/

    The Actors Fund

    Musicians affected by Harvey or Irma should contact The Actors Fund for information on emergency financial assistance and other resources.

    For Harvey assistance: The Actors Fund’s Los Angeles office at intakela@actorsfund.org or 323.933.9244, ext. 455.

    For Irma assistance: The Actors Fund’s New York office at intakeny@actorsfund.org or 212.221.7300, ext. 119.

    AFL-CIO Union Plus

    Musicians who have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey or Irma, and who are participating in certain Union Plus programs may be eligible for financial assistance through the Union Plus Disaster Relief Grant program. Please visit the Union Plus Disaster Relief Fund at unionplus.org/disaster to learn more about Union Plus benefits and eligibility requirements.

    Texas AFL-CIO

    Union musicians affected by Harvey may apply for assistance from the Texas Workers Relief Fund established by the Texas AFL-CIO here: http://www.texasaflcio.org/relief/

    If we stand together and act now to take care of each other, we can make a difference. Please donate to the AFM Hurricane Relief Fund today by visiting AFM.org and clicking “DONATE HERE.”

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    Unallocated Contributions Support Each Participant’s Pension

    Note: Fund updates appearing in this column are not applicable to the AFM’s Canadian pension fund, known since August 2010 as Musicians Pension Fund of Canada. 

    To improve its funded status and restore its health over the long term, the American Federation of Musicians and Employers’ Pension Fund (Fund) needs additional employer contributions as well as good investment returns. For the plan year that ended March 31, 2017, higher employer contributions and strong investment performance kept the Fund out of critical and declining status for the plan year that began April 1, 2017. Whether the Fund can stay out of critical and declining status in the future will depend in part on income each year from employer contributions and investment returns.

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Official Journal of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada