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


Ken Shirk

AFM International Secretary-Treasurer

Instrument and Band Liability Insurance History and Update

In the early mid-1980s, the administration of former AFM President Victor Fuentealba introduced a groundbreaking musical equipment insurance program designed expressly for professional musicians, and in particular, for musicians whose working environment placed their gear at higher risk—club and lounge players, traveling acts (whether steady or a series of one-nighters). These were musicians who insurance […]

Read More

Subways, New Yorkers, and Musicians 

I’m a native of the Pacific Northwest, born and bred. We of that soggy land always viewed places like New York City as evil, dark, and scary nether regions, to be avoided at all costs. So, when I moved to New York City for the first time to take a job with the AFM in […]

Read More

The Mayan Calendar and Us

The Mayan calendar was said to “end” on December 21, 2012, and with it would come the end of the world. Or so said the Western societal New Age Q-Anon-ish popular belief. As that supposed doomsday drew nearer, I happened to be keeping company from time to time with a First Nations elder in Southern […]

Read More

[de]Generative Artificial Intelligence, Creators, and Us

Generative artificial intelligence (AI), a sinister triad of words, has captured the interest of policymakers everywhere this season. In the US, the world of copyright law has determined that machine-generative AI product cannot be copyrighted. The US Copyright Office is now busily hoovering up comments from interest groups about how it should think about AI […]

Read More

Artificial Sweeteners, Artificial Intelligence, and Us

The modern human is a strange species—particularly, the variety of the species that is intent on amassing wealth and goods far beyond what could possibly ever be needed for a comfortable existence. Our economic system has conditioned us to embrace and honor maximally extractive behavior to satisfy our continual quest for transient comforts in support […]

Read More

Complacency, Simmering Pots, and Frogs

Complacency is a curse. It’s a curse because it lulls us into a routine, diminishes our ability to see ourselves through the eyes of others, and siphons off our wherewithal to confront authority. It’s a curse because complacency is the mortal enemy of progress. Those of us who live within the comfortable walls of what […]

Read More

Secretary-Treasurer’s Message

The delegates to the 102nd AFM Convention this past June have spoken, setting the Federation stage for the next three years. I am honored and humbled to have been elected as one of those stage props. Over the past few decades, the AFM has been graced with a long line of dedicated international secretary-treasurers, and […]

Read More