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.
December 1, 2021Alfonso Pollard -
As we count down to the passage of our two most important remaining music issues in this Congress, partnering with our allies and counterparts will lead to our success.
Our labor coalition has branched out and embraced others in the music industry that often lobby an alternate agenda. This time around, the two remaining issues on our agenda—tax relief and performance rights (royalties)—have struck a meaningful chord with both management and labor. Coalition leaders of all groups have come together to impress congress with the growing strength of our resolve.
On taxes, the AFM and its labor coalition partners of the AFL-CIO Department for Professional Employees—Arts, Entertainment and Media industries group have joined forces with the Congressional Arts Group (CAG), led by the League of American Orchestras. This expands our message to convince congress that the restoration of tax benefits lost under the 2017 law signed into effect by former President Trump is supported by both labor and management.
The result is a bipartisan labor/management lobbying effort toward passing the bipartisan relief bill introduced by Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-CA) and Congressman Vernon Buchanan (R-FL). Aside from restoring critical tax deductions previously used by entertainment professionals, the bill also updates the tax code by increasing the income ceiling to $100,000 for individual artist filers and $200,000 for married, joint filing performing artists.
AFM International President Ray Hair says, “Working musicians continue to struggle while recovering from the loss of a bulk of their live music performance income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Performing Artist Tax Parity Act is sensible legislation that we can all agree on. It will restore these deductions and help musicians and other entertainment professionals recover from the ravages of the pandemic, which brought our industry to a screeching halt, while helping working artists and their families become whole again.”
Our labor coalition has reached out beyond its own congressional universe and garnered support from important House caucus staff. We are also working to expand cosponsorship of US Senate companion legislation (S 2872), which was introduced by Senators John Warner (D-VA) and Bill Hagerty (R-TN) in September 2021.
Our quest for a performance right for musicians continues to grow and make inroads in congress. That legislation, the American Music Fairness Act (HR 4130), was introduced in June 2021 under the strong leadership of the musicFIRST Coalition and SoundExchange, in conjunction with the leading international law firm Squire Patton-Boggs. The Washington, DC, firm has experience in congressional lobbying as well as 45 offices in 20 countries around the globe, which will be important as we negotiate reciprocal payments from international collectives.
In addition to the effective lobbying techniques of the AFM Office of Government Relations, AFM Executive Board member Dave Pomeroy, as well as Recording Musicians Association President Marc Sazer and 1st Vice President Danny Rader, have joined the effort. Augmenting the marvelous work of the musicFIRST Coalition led by chairman Joe Crowley, the CAG has joined us to help push this legislation through.
Many thanks to those of you who have weighed in on these issues. I feel secure, barring some legislative glitch, that we will get this legislation through.