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


Music Business, Resources

The Ins and Outs of Digital Performance Royalties: How SoundExchange Can Help

SoundExchange is quickly becoming one of the most important names within the music industry. The nonprofit performance rights organization collects royalty payments from more than 2,500 digital radio services—like Pandora, iHeartRadio, SiriusXM, and Music Choice—and distributes money to recording artists and record labels. To date, the organization has paid more than $2 billion in royalties […]

Local 257 Stars at Nashville NAMM

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) held its summer show for the sixth year at Nashville’s Music City Center in July. NAMM is comprised of 9,200 member companies in 99 countries. It’s no small venue, and there were almost 450 exhibitors. There were more than 1,500 brands of instruments and accessories, and talent beyond belief. […]

Are Your E-mails Brief and to the Point?

I know how it goes. You get a lead on a club gig, a corporate event, or a wedding, and one of the first things you do is get an e-mail address and send a note to see if the person is really interested and if you should pursue it further. But hold on for […]

Music Business: Sorting Out the Decision Process

by John Stiernberg, member Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) Planning is important to success in the music business. There are strategic plans, marketing plans, sales plans, and financial plans—the list goes on. They are all important. The primary value of any plan is decision support. A good plan provides a platform for making critically important […]

Does Your Demo Video Make an Impact

I try to help union musicians get more work in any way I can. Years ago, an AFM member would send me a demo CD to listen to and ask if I could possibly pass it along. Then that CD changed to a demo DVD, where agents, promoters, or anyone looking to book a group […]

How Did Your Last Gig Go?

The now defunct Eastern Airlines used to have a slogan: “We’re only as good as your last flight.” Maybe the airline is gone, but that slogan had a lot of truth in it. You’re only as good as your last gig in the mind of the people who heard you the last time you played. […]

Working Musician

There’s no end to the ways you can make money playing a musical instrument. Getting paid really well, however, is a little more tricky. You’re a professional musician. You belong to the AFM. You spent a long time learning your trade. Your paycheck for playing should reflect your qualifications. It’s one thing just to wait […]

What Are You Doing Today to Help Your Career Tomorrow?

I found an interesting book, that has been out of print for some time, in a secondhand bookstore the other day. It’s called “You Can’t Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought.”

Competing for Gigs with Mobile DJs

by Bob Popyk, member Local 78 (Syracuse, NY) Quite a few years back, I did a column about competing with mobile DJs for gigs in your local market. Nothing has changed. If you’re a casual-date musician, nothing is worse than losing a gig to a guy with a sound system, recorded music, and some patter. […]

Tough Times, or Is It Attitude?

Probably not a week goes by, where someone doesn’t tell me about how things are “getting tough.” Business has changed over the years. Weddings are using DJs, clubs aren’t booking singles or groups, shows are using more recorded music, and a lot of the gigs we used to play are nonexistent. Many bars want musicians […]