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


Officer Columns, President's Message

It’s Been Quite the Year!

Just four months into my AFM presidency, I can say that it has been quite a year. At the beginning of the year, I was honored to be designated a “Labor Power Player” by the news sites amNY and PoliticsNY, perhaps this was foreshadowing as to how busy I was about to become. As Local […]

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 […]

Well, What Do Ya Know?

As of this writing, the federal government has introduced Bill C-58, which is the culmination of decades of work by the labour movement in Canada. It aims to ban the practice of employers bringing in replacement workers during a contract dispute. There are two main components to the bill. The first makes it illegal for […]

There’s No Culture Without Artists and No Music Without Musicians

by Luc Fortin, IEB Officer and President of Local 406 (Montreal, PQ) Often the music industry, governments, CEOs, or boards of cultural organizations consider musicians to be just another cog in a company’s wheel. Their logic seems reversed, placing the cultural product above the artist, as if the product existed independently of those who bring […]

Unite in the Fight for Fair Pay and Working Conditions

As fall sets in, it brings the season of heavy negotiations. Currently, we are in the process of bargaining a new theater contract, also known as Pamphlet B. In order to stand up to the producers and secure better economic terms and protections against employment erosion, we need to remain united across the board. This […]

[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 […]

All Theater Musicians Should Be Protected by AFM Contracts

The musical theater theme of this issue happens to dovetail nicely with my focus during much of this year, negotiating local theater agreements as the president of Local 162-710 (Washington, DC). Our local administers a number of contracts with area theaters. This year, we were able to add a new agreement to that list, which […]

Unions Working Together: The AFM as a Partner in Canada’s Creative Industries Coalition

by Arden R. Ryshpan, Canadian Actors’ Equity Association Executive Director No one could have expected the extraordinary events of March 2020, when most of Canada found itself under mandatory lockdown orders due to the COVID pandemic. Within days, every single live performance activity in the country was shut down, tossing thousands of artists out of […]

Musicians Everywhere Are Standing Up and Standing Together

As we prepared to go to press with this issue we learned the shocking news that the board of directors of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (KWS) had decided to suspend operations and that the orchestra would not begin its 2023-2024 season as planned. This decision was announced to musicians and the press almost simultaneously. It was […]

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 […]