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



Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Reports Deficit

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) reported a $1.8 million deficit for its recently concluded fiscal year, citing a drop in donations as the cause. The orchestra had ended its previous two fiscal years with balanced budgets thanks to large, last-minute gifts. MSO currently depends on donations to cover 70% of its budget, and management has noted […]

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Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra Ratifies Agreements

After several months of negotiations, the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra ratified four-year contracts with both its employers: the Kennedy Center and the Washington National Opera (WNO). In the Kennedy Center agreement, the weekly performance scales for ballet will continue to match the National Symphony Orchestra’s (NSO) weekly scales throughout the contract, which include increases […]

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Minnesota Orchestra Loses Music Director

As a result of the ongoing musician lockout, Minnesota Orchestra Music Director Osmo Vänskä resigned from his position October 1, after orchestra management canceled scheduled concerts at Carnegie Hall. Vänskä had warned that he would leave the orchestra if it was not able begin rehearsing in time to save those concerts. This was a devastating […]

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The Art of Giving Back

Music is a gift. Those of us who can express ourselves through music are fortunate to have that creative outlet, yet sometimes we take that simple fact for granted as we wrestle with the realities of making a living in the music business. In a media-driven, short attention span world, it is easy to forget […]

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The Money-Go-Round: Musicians, Big Tech, and Piracy

by Adam Witkowski, Director of Organizing for Local 802 (New York City) The following article was reprinted from the October 2013 issue of Allegro, the magazine of AFM Local 802 (New York City). For more background, see The fight against music piracy has often been a battle waged against regular people. “Don’t pirate!” we’re […]

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Retired Mine Workers Recover Benefits

After almost a year of protests, rallies, and court hearings Mine Workers of America (UMWA) announced it had reached a settlement with Peabody Energy to cover health care benefits for coal miners affected by the bankruptcy of Patriot Coal. Under the agreement Peabody Energy and Patriot will provide more than $400 million to fund retiree […]

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California’s Working Families Set Example

According to Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation, California labor has led the way in bringing real equality and progress to California’s working families. Among the achievements and reforms listed on the website for the California Labor Federation were: minimum wage increased to $10 by January 2016; expanded access to driver’s licenses […]

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British Entertainment Workers Exploited

According to Britain’s The Stage, exploitation of entertainment industry performers and low-paid workers is on the rise, and the problem is only being compounded by decreased funding for arts organizations. In a report to the Low Pay Commission’s 2014 consultation, UK’s Equity claimed that its members are frequently being asked to work for nothing. Equity […]

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Tunisian Rappers Unionize

Hip-hop artists in Tunisia have formed their own union, the National Rap Union, which is affiliated with the General Confederation of Tunisian Workers. Italian news agency Ansa reports that the union is not so much about securing fair work contracts as it is about standing up for their rights. Last month Tunisian rapper Klay BBJ […]

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Vermont Home Care Workers Unionize

In the largest AFL-CIO organizing victory of the year so far, 7,000 Vermont home care workers voted to join Vermont Home Care United, a part of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). In what is the largest organizing victory in Vermont history, the workers gained bargaining rights with the state government […]

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