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


Vice President from Canada

Understanding the New “Making Available Right”

At the June International Federation of Musicians (FIM) executive committee meetings, a central topic for discussion was streaming and the possibilities of properly monetizing this delivery system for musicians’ benefit. As the major labels and independents make deals with providers for access to their catalogues, compensation to the artist is all over the map in […]

Musician Board Members: Is the Grass Always Greener on the Other Side?

by Barbara Owens, AFM SSD Field Services Representative, Midwest Territory, and Negotiator As musicians, we often lead with our emotions, whether or not we are playing our instruments. We are emotionally invested in all aspects of our musical lives, and that investment often motivates us to take on additional tasks and challenges. Unfortunately, sometimes we can […]

AFM Testimony on African Ivory Ban

As you may know, the actions of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in implementing a ban on the commercial trade in African elephant ivory have imposed severe restrictions on our members who regularly perform internationally with instruments that lawfully contain small amounts of elephant ivory. A USFWS order originally issued February 25, […]

Right to Work for Less

As I review the benefits we provide our members I am reminded that nonmembers in certain states are enjoying the same benefits due to the right to work for less. A collective agreement that provides health benefits, pension, and a living wage all are received by the freeloading nonmembers who refuse to pay their fair share. Your stand […]

Update on Low Budget Film Agreements

by Matt Allen, AFM EMSD Theatrical-Film/TV-Film Contracts Administrator Many of the independent producers who score their films under AFM agreements utilize the low budget scales provided for in the AFM Basic Theatrical Motion Picture Agreement. These affordable scales allow composers to hire more musicians on scoring dates, without breaking the film’s music budget. There are […]

Limited-Edition Historical Soundtrack Agreement

by Andie Childs, AFM EMSD Clips and Soundtracks Administrator Film and television scores represent some of the finest orchestral music of the modern era. Works such as Bernard Herrmann’s North by Northwest, Elmer Bernstein’s rousing Western scores like The Magnificent Seven, or Henry Mancini’s lovely music for Breakfast at Tiffany’s, provide immense listening pleasure, apart […]

East Coast Meets West Coast

by Maria Warner-Dowrich, AFM EMSD East Coast Office Contract Adminstrator Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” —Helen Keller Being a newcomer to the AFM Electronic Media Services Division (EMSD), and a part of the everyday ins and outs of that environment, has given me a new and intense perspective […]

40-Year Perspective on Electronic Media at the AFM

Electronic Media at the AFM by Patrick M. Varriale, AFM EMSD Assistant Director In October, I will be celebrating my 40th anniversary at the AFM—all in the Recording Department/Electronic Media Services Division. It’s been a long journey, yet in so many ways, it doesn’t feel nearly that long ago that I answered a simple newspaper […]

AFM: New Answers for Old Questions

by Wiliam F. Thomas, AFM EMSD Director and Assistant to the President Welcome to the July 2014 edition of International Musician! In addition to being my first article for this esteemed publication, the July IM also marks the return of more regular coverage of the Electronic Media Services Division (EMSD) in the publication. From our […]

RMA Represents AFM’s Recording Musicians, a Year in Review

by Marc Sazer, President Recording Musicians Association (RMA) and Member of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) We have been involved in a variety of efforts to advance the interests of AFM recording musicians over the course of this year. Looking back, it is difficult to know where to begin. The Recording Musicians Association (RMA) participated […]