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, Secretary-Treasurer

Ken Shirk – AFM International Secretary-Treasurer

Secretary-Treasurer’s Message

The delegates to the 102nd AFM Convention this past June have spoken, setting the Federation stage for the next three years. I am honored and humbled to have been elected as one of those stage props. Over the past few decades, the AFM has been graced with a long line of dedicated international secretary-treasurers, and […]


This month’s column (July 2023) will be my last as your AFM international secretary-treasurer since I will retire at the end of the month. I must admit to feeling somewhat ambivalent about my retirement. While I look forward to the free time retirement affords, the idea of not working (having worked all my life either […]

Looking Back at Seven Years as AFM Secretary-Treasurer

For those of you who have not heard, I have made the decision to retire at the end of my term, which will be July 31. Therefore, this will be my penultimate column for the International Musician. This is the 83rd column I have written for the IM and my final column next month (July), […]

A Visit from the FIM Presidium

by Jay Blumenthal, AFM International Secretary-Treasurer Globalization has created the imperative for the AFM’s continued membership in the International Federation of Musicians or Fédération International des Musiciens (FIM). It has become increasingly important that the AFM has a seat at the table where conversations are taking place between musician unions around the world. Conversations include […]

What Is the Employee Retention Credit (ERC)? 

“The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is a refundable tax credit for businesses that continued to pay employees while shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, or had significant declines in gross receipts from March 13, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2021. Eligible employers can claim the ERC on an original or adjusted employment tax return for […]

Updates from the Secretary-Treasurer’s Office

The first quarterly AFM International Executive Board (IEB) meeting will take place the week of March 27. Since the International Federation of Musicians (FIM) will be meeting at our New York Office, the IEB will have an opportunity to meet with FIM in the morning on Tuesday, March 28. Over the years, the AFM has […]

Congratulations to the Music Performance Trust Fund

For the past 75 years, the Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) has had the primary mission of supporting live music. This noble goal has been realized year after year. To receive MPTF funding for an engagement, the event must be live and admission-free. Free MPTF concerts have brought the joy of live music to those […]

Looking Toward Our AFM Convention in 2023

by Jay Blumenthal, AFM International Secretary-Treasurer The 102nd AFM Convention will take place Monday, June 26 through Thursday, June 29, 2023 at the Westgate Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Delegate registration will be Sunday, June 25, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Monday, June 26, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Please see the 2023 Convention […]

Much Accomplished—And Much Remains to Be Done!

Happy holidays to all. I don’t know about you, but every passing year seems to go by more quickly than the one before. Where did this past year go? We experienced some legislative successes in 2022 but there is still much work to be done in 2023. The mid-term elections have resulted in the Democrats […]

Membership Decline, a Vexing Problem

A vexing problem that has been, and continues to be, a challenge is the slow but steady decline in AFM membership. At one point in our history, the AFM had over 300,000 members. Of course, those were the days that many radio stations had entire symphony orchestras on staff, theaters had orchestras to accompany the […]

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