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


President's Message

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 […]

Update on Local 145, Vancouver

Film work in Canada, specifically music scoring, has declined significantly over the past few years. There are many reasons, but the Canadian dollar attaining par with the US dollar, producers outsourcing to Europe and Seattle, and the fact that tax credits currently do not require the postproduction to be done where the film is shot, […]

Money Makes the World Go Round

Vince Trombetta – AFM International Executive Board Member and President of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) Throughout the last few years it has been impressed upon you the serious state of the Federation’s finances. The Federation has a number of strengths, but in years past, its finances have become its Achilles heel. Under AFM President […]

The Art of Giving Back

Music is a gift. Those of us who can express ourselves through music are fortunate to have that creative outlet, yet sometimes we take that simple fact for granted as we wrestle with the realities of making a living in the music business. In a media-driven, short attention span world, it is easy to forget […]

Trouble with NAFTA?

As was discussed in a recent article by Liana White, the Canadian Government recently took a step forward, in my opinion, by transferring the Labour Market Opinion fees from the taxpayer to the user—meaning the club owner and/or promoter. While increasing the cost of hiring musicians from abroad, AFM members are exempt from this fee. […]

The Sad Demise of the New York City Opera

Tino Gagliardi – AFM International Executive Board Member and President of Local 802 (New York City) It is hard to believe, but it has actually come to pass. What the musicians of the New York City Opera (NYCO) Orchestra have long feared: the reckless and misguided decisions of management to move out of the opera’s […]

New RMALA President to Serve L.A.’s Diverse Musician Community

I am grateful for this opportunity to introduce myself, write on behalf of the Recording Musicians Association Los Angeles (RMALA) members, and to provide some perspective on RMALA to all the members of our union. This past spring, RMALA President Pete Anthony stepped aside after years of distinguished and successful service. In September, the executive […]