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


Home » Organizing » Crises Show Why We Organize

Crises Show Why We Organize



by Michael Manley, AFM Organizing and Education Division Director

Times of crisis are a stark reminder of why our union matters, and the ever-changing impact of COVID-19 on our lives brings challenges none of us expected. Alone we beg for what we need, but together we achieve it.

Here are some examples of how our collective power can make a difference for musicians:

  • Strong contracts mean services cannot be arbitrarily canceled with no pay, or benefits cut. A union agreement means we have a say in what happens, even in extraordinary circumstances.
  • Because we’ve fought for—and secured—employee status in many workplaces, unemployment benefits are available to many musicians.
  • Freelance musicians throughout the US and Canada have been achieving better working conditions by joining together in Fair Trade Music chapters.
  • Several AFM locals are building relief funds to aid freelance musicians whose gigs are being canceled.
  • Musicians in the symphony/opera/ballet fields are being paid for virtual performances and streamed concerts, through the strong media agreements we have bargained.
  • AFM members are joining our other union brothers and sisters in advocating for aid to all workers affected by COVID-19.
  • Having strong contracts in media work means that many musicians are being paid for the airing of reruns and can count on residual checks arriving on schedule.

Take Action

Below is a list of current AFM advocacy efforts related to COVID-19. Take action now to ensure all musicians get what they need as we weather this
unique crisis:
Petrillo Memorial Fund
Save Live Arts in Canada initiative

Please consult your local union’s website for available local resources.

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