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.
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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.
August 12, 2015IM -
This week the AFM filed suit against several recording companies over digital music distribution revenue. According to the suit Atlantic Recording Corporation (Atlantic), Hollywood Records (Hollywood), Sony Music Entertainment (Sony), Universal Music Group Recordings, Inc. (UMG), and Warner Brothers Records, Inc. (Warner) failed to make pension fund contributions from foreign audio stream revenue and foreign and domestic ringback revenue.
The major recording companies’ long-held contracts with the AFM require the companies to share a portion of sales revenue with musicians. Most of the revenue was originally from record sales and later CD sales. In 1994 AFM and the recording companies entered into an agreement, subsequently renewed, requiring the companies to pay 0.5% of all receipts from digital transmissions including audio streaming, nonpermanent downloads, and ringbacks.
“The record companies should stop playing games about their streaming revenue and pay musicians and their pension fund every dime that is owed,” says AFM President Ray Hair. “Fairness and transparency are severely lacking in this business. We are changing that.”
Last year independent auditors discovered that the recording companies had not made the required revenue payments from foreign audio streams, ringbacks, and foreign non-permanent downloads. Attempts to reconcile the issues outside of court have gone on for several months to no avail.
This is the fifth lawsuit filed against major media corporations for contract violations in the past few months. Under Hair’s leadership, AFM has begun to aggressively enforce existing contracts and stand up to large corporations that fail to pay musicians when their work is reused or offshored.
The suit seeks payment for all missing revenue owed the AFM Pension Fund, late payment penalties, interest, damages and legal costs.