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


Orchestra News

NLRB Issues Formal Complaint Against Fort Wayne Phil

On February 24, Region 25 (Indianapolis) of the National Labor Relations Board issued a formal complaint against the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. It alleges that during the course of bargaining for a successor collective bargaining agreement, the Philharmonic failed and refused to bargain in good faith when it “presented and subsequently withdrew bargaining proposals; reneged on […]

Utah Symphony Brings Back Live Performances

The Utah Symphony was scheduled to resume concerts for live audiences on March 25 with the re-opening of its home venue, Abravanel Hall. Social distancing, face coverings, and other health and safety guidelines were laid out in re-opening plans. Altogether, the Utah Symphony has six programs planned through the end of May. Abravenel Hall had […]

Colorado Springs Philharmonic Enters into Arbitration

Musicians and management of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic are in arbitration after meetings with a federal mediator failed to produce a resolution to a six-month labor dispute. In September 2020, management canceled the orchestra’s 2020-21 season and backed out of the musicians’ contract, invoking force majeure. The next day, management offered the musicians an alternate […]

IMA COVID Side Letter – Take 2

On March 8, the AFM reached agreement with the Employers’ Electronic Media Association (EMA) on a new Integrated Media Agreement (IMA) COVID Side Letter for the 2021-22 season. This agreement is available to IMA signatories whose musicians are guaranteed compensation for the 2021-22 season. We had certainly hoped that we would return to some semblance […]

NAAS Rolls Out Recommended Audition and Tenure Guidelines

On January 15, the National Alliance for Audition Support (NAAS) rolled out its “Recommended Audition and Tenure Guidelines.” NAAS is a collaborative effort of The Sphinx Organization, the New World Symphony, and the League of American Orchestras, with substantial input and leadership from Black and Latinx professional musicians. The audition and tenure guidelines were the […]

Knoxville Symphony Orchestra Ratifies New Contract

A new contract for musicians of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra (KSO) went into effect January 4. The agreement comes after a period of high tensions between musicians and management. Representing KSO’s musicians, Local 546 (Knoxville, TN) filed a labor grievance after the musicians were furloughed with less than a week’s notice in August. Under the […]

Pacific Symphony Agrees to Three-Year Contract Extension

On January 14, the Pacific Symphony announced a three-year musicians’ contract extension, effective through August 31, 2024. The agreement reduces wages by 30% in the current season, but restores salaries by the 2023-24 season. It also establishes a bi-weekly, rather than per-service, pay structure. Orchestra musicians are members of Local 7 (Orange County, CA).

San Francisco Ballet Ratifies 2-Year Extension Agreement

On November 26, 2020, the musicians of the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, members of Local 6 (San Francisco, CA), ratified a two-year extension agreement of their 2015-20 agreement that runs from December 1, 2020, through November 30, 2022. The musicians and management had steady communication from March until reaching agreement in late November; a mediator […]

Metropolitan Opera Outsources, Uses Non-AFM Musicians

Failing to pay its own musicians since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Metropolitan Opera has hired non-Metropolitan Opera musician ensembles for Met produced events and fundraisers. Most recently, the Met hired European string musicians for a New Year’s Eve gala streamed from Germany. “All of these fundraising events can—and should—be done safely right […]

Los Angeles Philharmonic Ratifies Side Letter

At the end of November, Los Angeles Philharmonic musicians—members of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA)—ratified a side letter to their current contract, which will be in effect through September 22, 2022. The side letter creates a four-tier system for compensation, with salary during tier one set at 70% of the previously bargained rate. Salary will […]