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.
January 1, 2016Bob Popyk - Member Local 78 (Syracuse, NY)
Recently I did a search on the most important social media sites for networking. Networking has taken on an entirely new meaning in the digital age. Where we used to have handshakes, word-of-mouth referrals, and stamped letters, today’s relationships are often begun and developed on LinkedIn, Google+, and Facebook. That means, as musicians, we have to know and use a variety of Internet platforms to stay relevant, not to mention taking advantage of emerging opportunities. Here are eight important sites you need to be aware of (if you are not already) as a professional musician:
1) Facebook. Considered to be synonymous with “social media” by some, Facebook is the one site where you’re likely to find friends, colleagues, and relatives all floating around. Although Facebook is mainly centered around sharing photos, links, and quick personal thoughts, musicians can use it to promote their “events” and your fans can show their support by Following your group, Liking your posts, and signing up to attend your events.
2) Twitter. Perhaps the simplest of all social media platforms, messages are limited to 140 characters or less. That’s more than enough to post a link, share an image, or even trade thoughts with your fan base.
3) LinkedIn. This is the only mainstream social media site geared toward business. The music business is no exception. LinkedIn is to cyberspace what networking groups once were to local business communities. If it matters to your career, you can probably do it on LinkedIn.
4) Google+. Social media’s big up-and-comer has really arrived over the past few years. By combining the best of Facebook and Twitter into one site—and backing it with the power of the world’s largest search engine, Google+ has given users a social site that has a little something for everyone. You can add new content, highlight topics with hashtags, and even separate contacts into circles. A G+ profile only takes a few minutes to get set up.
5) Snapchat. This app gives you the ability to take a picture, add art and text if you’d like, and send it to recipients for a set amount of time (after which the photo will be removed from the company’s servers). This is a good way to stay in touch with your fan base.
6) Tumblr. This platform is unique in that it essentially hosts microblogs for its users. Musicians can fill their blogs with multimedia (images, short video clips, etc.). The fast-paced nature of Tumblr makes it ideal for memes, GIFs, and other forms of viral content.
7) YouTube. As a video sharing service, YouTube has become so popular that its catalog of billions of videos has become known as “the world’s second-largest search engine” in some circles. The site has everything from first-person music demos to promotional clips. Users have the ability to share, rate, and comment on what they see.
8) Instagram. If you’re looking for a quick, convenient connection between the camera feature on your smart phone and all your social profiles, then Instagram is the answer. Not only will it allow you to share photos and short (15-second) videos via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, you can also choose from a variety of photo filters and invite friends to comment on your photos or ideas.
Also, don’t forget to get your group listed on AFM Entertainment. The header on this site makes it clear: “When you pay money for live music, deal with the pros. Your event is special—don’t settle for less than the best. We’re professional, we’re affordable, and we’ll make your event more memorable. Book us, we’ll prove it!” As an AFM member and professional musician, make AFMEntertainment.org part of your networking and marketing strategy.