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

The Power of ‘Yes’

I believe in unionism. I always have, from my earliest working days as a carpenter. I tried to join the Carpenters Union (closed shop, had to know someone). When I transitioned into being a professional, full-time musician, I joined the AFM. I’m not sure why I always felt that unions were a good thing. I […]

Important Message from ASCAP to AFM Members

by Paul Williams, President and Chairman of the Board of ASCAP and member of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) Creating music is a collective art. Whether you are a musician or a songwriter, what you do with your musical gifts ultimately thrives when you collaborate. As the AFM has been for musicians, ASCAP has been […]

Union Benefits: More than Just CBAs

While a prime reason to belong to the union is collective bargaining agreements, there are a number of other advantages to belonging and participating in union benefits. Annually, I review some of the programs available to our members. The AFM is part of the Union Plus, Liberty Mutual, and Mercer programs. The Union Plus Credit […]

FIM: Action Speaks Louder than Words

Following is the text of the keynote speech I delivered February 25, 2014 in Oslo, Norway on the occasion of the 3rd International Orchestra Conference hosted by the International Federation of Musicians (FIM). On behalf of the entire membership of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, the largest labor union […]

Changes Coming to Instrument Insurance/Tories Back Down on C-525

The CFM is fortunate to have one of the best instrument insurance packages. It’s been available only to members, through our partners at Hub International, for more than 30 years. The plan has been so stable and successful, that premiums have not increased for 20 years. But we now live in very litigious times, and […]

Bidding Farewell to Ray Petch

AFM Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert and I recently attended the funeral of Vice President from Canada Emeritus Ray Petch, 80, who passed away February 1, after a brief illness. Ray served with us in many capacities. He had many passions, but his one true love was music. Ray spent most of his years […]

Bargaining Hard in the Jingle and Orchestral Media Industries

As previously reported in this column, the Federation recently opened two sets of industry-wide media negotiations for the purpose of concluding successor agreements for musicians working in two distinctly different sectors. On December 16, 2013, we exchanged proposals with an association of symphonic, opera, and ballet employers toward the goal of updating and improving our […]

Dick Gabriel Retires as Head of EMSD, Bill Thomas Succeeds Him

Dick Gabriel, who served Local 47 and the Federation in various capacities for more than 35 years, most recently as director of our Electronic Media Services Division, retired on January 16, closing a career that has benefitted thousands of professional musicians.

Orchestras Should Be a Valued Asset to Every Community

Carla Lehmeier-Tatum – Regional Orchestra Players Association President and President of Local 618 (Albuquerque, NM) News of the Minnesota Orchestra contract ratification was received by the industry with great relief for our brothers and sisters in the Twin Cities. The solidarity and endurance that these musicians displayed was remarkable. The frustrations and hardships they endured […]

Updates on National Music Education and Advocacy Initiatives

As your Secretary-Treasurer, it is my duty to keep you up to date on the happenings of other labor, music, and music education related organizations with interests similar to those of the AFM. My column this month covers some of these efforts. In January, Congress released a final bipartisan Omnibus Appropriations Bill to fund all […]