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

Ray Hair – AFM International President

Performance Rights and New Media Glossary of Terms

This month I am providing a list of frequently used phrases and acronyms seen in print and heard in discussions involving new media and sound recording performance rights. This list consists of some terms that have evolved in the course of negotiations with media producers, relevant rights, legislation affecting music distribution and streaming, and finally […]

MPTF: Unlimited Opportunities for Local Recruitment and Retention

I was a 19-year-old college student when I first came in direct contact with the American Federation of Musicians. Of course, I’d heard about the musicians’ union and how it stood for good faith and fair dealing in the music business between musicians and unscrupulous employers, managers, and booking agents. As a young freelance musician, […]

Pamphlet B and Short Engagement Tour Agreements Ratified, Divisive Issues Remain

I am pleased to report that the Federation has completed discussions with representatives of the Broadway League and Disney Theatrical Productions for an extension of the Pamphlet B and Short Engagement Touring (SET) Theatrical Musicals agreement, which includes a 3% wage increase retroactive to April 25, 2022. The extension was promptly ratified and approved by musicians currently working under the agreements.

Streaming: Who Makes All the Money?

In the early days of the music industry’s transition from a retail sales-based economy to online consumption through the explosion of noninteractive streaming services such as SiriusXM satellite radio, Pandora, and the later rise of interactive subscription/rental businesses such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon, governmental statutory protection provided stability and fairness to labels and […]

How Do Musicians Get Paid on Streaming?

Musicians are entitled to streaming payments in two distinct ways: through statutory licensing for the digital distribution of sound recordings and through collective bargaining where negotiated streaming payment obligations appear in contracts with record labels, film and television producers, and other entertainment industry employers. The Federation has also established payment standards for the streaming of live local engagements, including performances that are captured and archived for later streamed distribution.

New Three-Year Deal with Public Television

I am pleased to report that the Federation has reached an agreement with representatives of public television employers including the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), WGBH, WETA, WTTW, Austin City Limits, Sesame Workshop, and Thirteen Productions (formerly Educational Broadcasting Corporation) for a successor National Public Television Agreement. This new agreement will be effective upon ratification and will extend for three years from the date of ratification.

Respecting Artists with the American Music Fairness Act

On February 2, 2022, the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), held a hearing on the American Music Fairness Act (AMFA). Co-sponsored by Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Darrell Issa (R-CA), AMFA is vigorously endorsed and supported by your union. Mirroring legislation introduced in previous congresses, AMFA would correct the inequity that has existed […]

American Rescue Plan Act to Provide Special Financial Assistance for AFM-EP Fund

Early last year, after an all-out lobbying effort by US labor unions, the Federation, and the AFM-EP Fund to mobilize rank-and-file union members and Fund participants, together with concerted action by a host of others, Congress passed and President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). ARPA provides desperately needed […]

Federation Agreements Provide Stability in a World of Pandemic Unpredictability

As I compose this month’s column, I’ve received notice from the American Arbitration Association (AAA) that musicians employed under the Federation’s Motion Picture Film and Television Film Agreements have ratified a one-year extension to those agreements, extending all provisions of the existing agreements together with a 3% increase in wages. That extension preserves and protects […]

Stand with San Antonio Orchestra Musicians

I rallied with hundreds of supporters of San Antonio Symphony musicians at their performance hall, The Tobin Center, October 29, following a unanimous strike vote rejecting an attempt to impose pay cuts ranging from 31% to 68%. Following are selections from my speech to the attendees. As we stand shoulder to shoulder with striking musicians […]