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, Vice President from Canada


Alan Willaert – AFM Vice President from Canada

Look Out, Spotify, the Clock’s Ticking

It’s not a secret that streaming companies and record labels profit colossally, some would say blasphemously, from the consumption of music, while artists are left savouring mere pennies. It follows as no surprise that the aforementioned entities are loathe to divulge information on how the artists’ share is calculated. In the United Kingdom, an influential […]

Border Crossing in the COVID Era

by Liana White, Executive Director, AFM Canadian Office Finally, as of November 8, the US-Canada land borders are officially reopened for all types of travelers. The US border (by air, land, and sea) was open throughout COVID for essential workers (US visa holders). The issue for visa holders wasn’t so much getting across the border, […]

Big Tech’s Big Fight

More and more, artists are tiring of the notion that platforms such as Spotify pay a ridiculous 3/100 of a cent per stream. And, because of the way payout is weighted, the majority of the money goes to only the most heavily streamed artists. This is part of the “value gap.” Online content sharing platforms […]

The Bad, the Good, and an Election

by Alan Willaert, AFM Vice President from Canada The Bad Despite the fact that we are all completely fed up with the pandemic, we continue to be hampered by the new realities COVID has served up. Venues are still limited, in terms of occupancy, and now access is often restricted to those who have received […]

Unions – Not a Spectator Sport

The AFM in Canada has members from many different backgrounds, resulting in similar diversity in their politics. The polarization of right and left in the United States over the past few years has influenced Canada, both in how politicians present their platforms and in the manner in which information is filtered prior to public ingestion. […]

Cutting Off Your Nose to Spite Your Face

As an author or songwriter, one has to love the concept of copyright. After centuries of debate, most effectively through the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), there are now both domestic laws and international treaties that protect your rights as a creator (with variances called National Treatment from country to country). As the creator and […]

Taking Your Shot with Confidence

For musicians, the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel—having live music resurface—will be excruciatingly slow. We already knew that. It’s common knowledge that having a large percentage of the public vaccinated and achieving herd immunity is key to venues reopening. Canada is not exempt from having its share of anti-vaxers, anti-maskers, and conspiracy theorists. Vaccine […]

Employers Beware: Don’t Poke The Bear

Canada has a long history of union victories that have defined our society, prosperity, and social programmes. Within the labour movement’s success lay pertinent lessons. The established labour scene of the early 1900s was dominated by many small craft unions—each organized according to the identity of a specific skill, and therefore very exclusive. Meanwhile, unskilled […]

Pharmacare, Tommy Douglas, and the Price of Tea in China

en français The longer the pandemic goes on, the more exposed the weaknesses in the social structure become. Those with precarious work (e.g. gigging musicians) have struggled for mere survival. When the “Great Reset” happens, certainly there are a plethora of improvements to be made. One of the major objectives of the Canadian Labour Congress […]

Low Friends in High Places—How Union Solidarity and Lobbying Helped Get Political Support for Canadian Musicians

When the pandemic effectively demolished live music in mid-March of last year, the AFM Canadian Office immediately dispatched letters to whomever in government was in a position to be of assistance, as identified with the aid of our knowledgeable lobbyist, Isabel Metcalfe. While I’m sure our plea to recognize the severity of the situation did […]