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Home » Officer Columns » AFM’s Joint Venture Agreement

AFM’s Joint Venture Agreement


Online Content Must Still Be Protected

The new reality of COVID-19 has seen more musicians offer their performances online as physical venues are shut down. But self-produced online content must still be protected, and AFM has developed the Joint Venture Agreement specifically for that purpose. 

The Joint Venture Agreement evolved from AFM’s “Bandstand Records” guidelines, which allow independent bands to self-produce their own recordings with key union protections when no wages are paid and in the absence of an employer. Originally developed for audio recordings, the Joint Venture Agreement now has a video component. This makes protecting self-produced online media a breeze for musicians.

“As gigging freelance musicians, we want to share our music in every way we can,” says Nate Omdal of Local 76-493 (Seattle, WA). “As it becomes easier for all of us to put music online, it is even more important to have our work covered by a union contract. Even if we aren’t getting paid today, who knows what will happen down the road? The Joint Venture Agreement protects everyone’s contribution, whether they are a solo artist or part of a band.” 

Since Joint Venture Agreements are filed locally, it is important that local officers get the word out to their members. “This is a simple and straightforward agreement,” explained AFM EMSD Director Pat Varriale. “It captures the basic information needed on a form that is part of the agreement itself to ensure that all musicians who perform will share in future sales or uses of the product, whether audio or video content.”

Local 369 (Las Vegas, NV) members recently used the Joint Venture Agreement to stay united through music, even as the pandemic has silenced their traditional performance spaces. Members created their own “Musical Moments,” which were then shared on social media.

To ensure the Joint Venture Agreement is used properly, AFM’s Electronic Media Services Division has established the following guidelines:

• Recordings may be solicited for exhibition over the internet, as long as all musicians on the recording consent to that exhibition.

• The member(s) involved in the recording(s) must maintain control and ownership of the product.

The Joint Venture Agreement is the simplest of all AFM agreements, yet it offers vital protections to musicians who create their own media when that media is monetized later. You can find the Joint Venture Agreement in the Document Library on the website.

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