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 www.afm.org/join.

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Officer Columns, President's Message

Ray Hair – AFM International President

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 […]


Freelancers: Joining the AFM Could Be the Best Move You Ever Made!

NOTE: Local 542 (Flint, MI) President Joe Boettger recently forwarded a radio ad voice-over script he was producing that surprisingly was an excerpt from a freelance recruiting piece I wrote for AFM President Fuentealba in 1985, and I believe it’s still relevant today. Following is a slightly updated version of that article. So, you’re developing […]


Born of Common Purpose, Our Vision Still Stands

October marks the 125th Anniversary of the American Federation of Musicians. This column describes the founding of the AFM, introducing a special anniversary supplement included in this issue of the International Musician. I hope you enjoy this historic look back at the beginning years of our union. It was October 1896, 125 years ago. Musicians […]


Broadway Is Back on the Road

by Ray Hair, AFM International President I am pleased to report that the Federation has completed negotiations with the Broadway League and Disney Theatrical Productions for an extension to the Pamphlet B Touring Theatrical Musicals and Short Engagement Touring (SET) Agreements and for a comprehensive Health and Safety Manual (“Safety Manual”) applicable to all musicians […]


The Reopening: Anxiety, Excitement, Uncertainty

It’s been 17 months since the COVID pandemic brought live entertainment to a screeching halt around the world. Emergency government regulations, mask mandates, and social distancing regimens are being relaxed in the US, but conditions are still in flux. Canada is only now beginning to ease lockdown restrictions. One of the longest indoor-dining bans in […]








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