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.
September 2, 2014Alan Willaert - AFM Vice President from Canada
One year into this term of office, we look back on a year of internal conflict and turmoil on the Canadian scene. While continuing to look for the best solutions for all concerned, there is much work to be done, especially in the area of negotiations.
The rewrite of the CBC/SRC Agreement, other than grammar check and translation, is complete. Renamed the General Production Agreement, it represents a radical change, and contains five modules: Module One—variety programming, Module Two—drama, episodic, documentary, and children’s programming; Module Three—remotes; Module Four—rules for excerpt use and outside distribution, and Module Five—schedule of fees. Updated to deal with digital platform uses, in its simplicity, the agreement represents, by far, the most progressive language the CFM has produced in years.
Due for renewal this fall is the Canadian Commercial Announcements (Jingle) Agreement. The AFM has just successfully completed negotiations on its jingle agreement, which has been revamped to emulate the SAG-AFTRA contract, and includes many improvements to fees and benefits. The agencies we negotiate with have been suggesting a rewrite of our agreement for years as well. Could this be the year we turn that corner and make it happen? With negotiations scheduled for September, we will soon know if there is a mood for change, which must include recognition of the Internet as a third broadcast platform that is equal in value to television and radio.
Also in September, we will be negotiating with the National Film Board (NFB). Since the NFB is a fairly conservative entity, we do not anticipate any radical changes to either language or conditions other than modest increases in fees. We will also be talking to the Ontario Educational channels, formerly TVO/TFO, and updating language and fees in those agreements.
For years, the Canadian locals have been asking the Canadian Office to serve notice on what is now Bell Media (CTV), and Rogers, which is no longer “just a community channel.” While I have intentions to do just that, I believe the first target—and crown jewel—would be the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA, formerly CFTPA). This is the alliance of independent producers that now supplies most of the content for Canadian broadcasters, since those companies now find it too expensive to produce in-house. A slightly modified version of our new General Production Agreement would be the perfect document to begin negotiations.
With work for musicians dwindling at CBC/SRC, it is incumbent upon us to establish relations with the independents. And, it’s time we started seeing the CFM logo in the credits along with the other organizations.
While this many negotiations represent a significant amount of time and effort, especially when attempting to obtain first agreements, there is little choice in the matter. Our contracts must reflect the new business models adopted by the industry. That includes modifying fees and language to allow for digital uses that did not exist a few years ago. In addition, we must structure monetization of archival programming, and allow for use in lieu of offshore library tracks.
The CFM also has plans to ramp up the billing and collection of new use fees owed to our members when their recordings are used in a different medium or synched or resynched in audiovisual product. Now more than ever, it is paramount to ensure that the proper AFM agreement is in place and the corresponding report form filed with the local where an engagement takes place. Only then can the CFM hold the signatory of record accountable, and collect for these supplemental uses.
Stay tuned for updates.