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.
December 1, 2022IM -
As musicians return to the stage, the Canada Performing Arts Workers Resilience Fund (CPAWRF)—a $181.5 million investment established in 2021—continues to support initiatives to help independent and self-employed workers in the live performance arts sector.
The Minister of Canadian Heritage and Quebec Lieutenant Pablo Rodriguez announced nearly $10 million directed to 59 projects that will provide long-term support for cultural workers and musicians, including projects for two AFM unions, Local 145 (Vancouver, BC) and Local 571 (Halifax, NS).
“Vancouver Musicians’ Association is very excited about this opportunity,” says Local 145 President Noah Reitman of their $95,900 windfall. “We have been wanting to host a freelancer symposium for several years, and when this funding was announced we saw it as the perfect chance, and on a bigger scale.”
The first symposium, SoundCheck, will be held February 27-28, 2023, in Vancouver, with sessions that include: Best Practices for Band Leaders and Contractors; Artist Mobility Visas and Touring in the US; Live Event on Safety; Recording Contracts; and Effective Use of Digital Tools for Promotion, to name a few.
“Instead of one conference in Vancouver, we can hold three throughout the province to engage our membership far and wide.” Reitman adds, “It’s a great way to reach out to musicians who may not know us and all the things we do to improve the lives of musicians.”
In Halifax, a $25,109 Resilience Fund grant will help Local 571 educate musicians on digital performances and livestreaming. Over the past two years, the pandemic has had a negative impact on the lives of most musicians, but for some, especially those whose performance and business models did not typically include livestreaming—and whose technology experience is limited—it was extremely difficult to connect with an audience and with other musicians.
According to Local 571 President Rose Dipchand, anecdotal feedback from mature musicians (40 years old and over), who had limited digital technology skills, provided the inspiration for the local’s education series on digital performances.
The grant will support a new educational program, Digitizing the Music Landscape: Transitioning to Live Digital Performances, will be held January to March in Halifax. The two-part series starts in the classroom helping participants with key concepts of digital platforms—how to host, post, and record live music performances—from the necessary hardware and software to creating an optimal environment with lighting, audio, and video setup. The practical application part of the program includes peer mentoring with breakout sessions. Dipchand says, “It brings it all together—as musicians rotate through basic production stations. At the end, each group will perform a recorded livestream.”
The new skills will increase musicians’ confidence level with technology solutions. “There is such potential to reach a wider audience,” says Dipchand. “They will have a better understanding of how to include livestreaming into a sustainable business plan.”
Dipchand adds, “Investing in these musicians will go a long way to train, re-
energize, and bring new hope to freelance musicians to invest in themselves.” She adds, “As music has a long and valued role in our culture and economy, any opportunity to set self-employed musicians up for success and sustainability is a positive value proposition for everyone.”