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.
February 1, 2018IM -
by Alfonso Pollard, AFM Legislative-Political Director and Diversity Director
Protecting the intellectual property rights of creative artists has long been a primary mission of the AFM. Over the years, Congress has systematically reformed copyright law, taking into account changes in technology, legal precedents, and platform changes used to create, register, distribute, and ensure a performance right for creators. In particular, it has encouraged protections for sound recordings created by artists and enjoyed by hundreds of millions of consumers around the world.
This year, Congress is set to enact sweeping changes in digital copyright law that will provide long-needed reforms in the digital environment. This comes after years of deliberation by AFM leadership, working together with prominent music organizations representing US music publishers, record labels, songwriters, composers, artists, and performance rights organizations (PROs). These reforms are set to provide even greater protections, as well as a statutory performance right law for creators and session musicians.
In a January 8 joint press release from music industry leaders entitled “Licensing Reform Legislation Wins Unified Support of Key Music Leaders,” AFM President Ray Hair expressed the importance of working together to accomplish equity and fairness along all platforms, for all creators, and more notably, obtaining a terrestrial right for musicians whose works are performed on AM-FM radio.
Hair notes, “We stand with all music creators seeking fairness, and urge Congress to act in 2018 to remedy the full range of inequities that harm creators under current law. Musicians welcome the support of the entire music community in urging Congress to enact a terrestrial performance right. It is time for Congress to end the loophole that deprives performers of fair pay for the use of their work on AM-FM radio.”
Hair backs up this notion of parity and equity through his involvement with the creation of H.R. 1836, the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, introduced by Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). The bill was developed in national partnership with the musicFIRST Coalition, which represents artists and recording labels. musicFIRST founding partners are the AFM, American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), Society of Singers, Christian Music Trade Association (CMTA), Latin Recording Academy, Rhythm & Blues Foundation, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), SAG-AFTRA, SoundExchange, and Vocal Group.
In 2018, the House Judiciary Committee, under the leadership of Chair Robert Goodlatte (R-VA), is expected to take up key pieces of music legislation designed to modernize digital copyright and intellectual rights laws, along with copyright and copyright office reform. In a joint statement, the musicFIRST Coalition formally announced their united support for key pieces of pending legislation.
These bills include HR 4706, The Music Modernization Act of 2017, which reforms section 115 of the Copyright Act and repeals Section 114; HR 3301, The CLASSICS Act, which establishes royalty payments for recordings made before 1972; and HR 881, The AMP Act, which adds producers and engineers who participated in the creation of sound recordings, giving them the right to collect digital royalties going forward. In addition, the coalition supports a market-based rate standard for artists from satellite radio.
Each of these bills takes on problems in the industry that need revision. Most importantly, the AFM, along with its partners, will continue to work toward the passage of the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, which would hold broadcasters accountable for the free use of music. This directly affects the livelihood of our members.
Look for email blasts from AFM President Hair asking AFM members to contact their legislators at critical points in the upcoming deliberations. Make sure your voice is heard!