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


Symphonic Services Division

Symphonic Media in a Pandemic

The symphonic community entered a dark age the week of March 9, 2020. Over the course of that week, concerns dramatically increased about the new coronavirus and its spread. Walking through Penn Station each day on my way to work in Times Square was frightening. As the week progressed, musicians were sent home, concerts were […]

Bargaining Variances and Returning to Work

As the arts industry begins a slow recovery from the devastation of COVID-19, we face an uncertain future. Recovering from the recession of 2000 or the great recession of 2007, we knew there was a way out once we hit bottom. We were just not certain of how significant the cost. The difference between the […]

Virtual Negotiations Offer Challenges and Advantages for Organizing

Just as the workplace for musicians has changed from concert halls to virtual rooms, meetings for orchestra committees and contract negotiations have converted from face-to-face deliberations to virtual conversations. Whatever your choice of online meeting space, whether Zoom, Webex, Skype, FaceTime, or Google Meet, these platforms offer both challenges and advantages for organizing and negotiating […]

Musician Compensation Is Possible – and Essential – Even When Performance Is Impossible

Collectively, as musicians we are enduring a chapter of our professional lives more painful than any we have ever before experienced. We have been exiled from concert hall stages and orchestra pits and sent into solitary confinement in our home practice studios. Our incomes and our identities as musicians are suddenly precarious. Our contact with […]

Update from the SSD Director

Find out what has been going on in the Symphonic Services Division amidst COVID-19 with this update from the SSD Director Rochelle Skolnick.

Symphonic Electronic Media During the COVID-19 Crisis

The Symphonic Services Division (SSD) of the AFM jumped in early to negotiate a side letter to the Integrated Media Agreement (IMA) with the Employer’s Electronic Media Association (EMA) to cover electronic media that could be distributed to our audiences in place of live performances.

Symphonic Services Works to Protect Musician Compensation During Coronavirus Crisis

The Symphonic Services Division has been fielding inumerous calls and emails working to protect musicians compensation during this COVID-19 outbreak.

ICSOM Provides Legal Guidance Regarding the Application of Force Majeure Due to Coronavirus Threat

By Kevin Case, ICSOM Counsel and Member of Local 10-208 (Chicago, IL) Editor’s note: This article was a memo sent to International Conference of Symphony and Opera Musicians (ICSOM) delegates and committee chairs, and a version of this is appearing in the ICSOM newsletter Senza Sordino. It is being reprinted with permission. Dear Delegates: As you […]

The Care and Feeding of Solidarity

What does unity look like for an orchestra? To our public, we appear unified in our formal attire performing with unity of thought and action.

“Gig”— An 800-Year-Old Word Musicians Have Used for Almost 100 years

Freelance symphonic musicians share common ground with “gig economy” workers, from the multiple sources of their income to the variety of work they perform.