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.

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Home » Recent News » An EMSD Perspective on the AFM Officer Training Program


An EMSD Perspective on the AFM Officer Training Program

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Electronic Media Services Divisionby Patrick Varriale, Director AFM Electronic Media Services Division

I have had the privilege of participating in the AFM Convention mandated Officer Training Program, joining my AFM colleagues in bringing valuable information to local officers in an up close and personal way. These training programs take place prior to AFM regional conferences. So far, sessions have been held at the Eastern Conference in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania; the Southern Conference in Orlando, Florida; and most recently the Canadian Conference in Hamilton, Ontario, where I gave a presentation with Contract Administrator Dan Calabrese, the electronic media representative for Canada.

My role in the training is to help “demystify” electronic media. There are so many facets and possibilities in this day and age. I advise local officers about the many tools available to them to help make AFM projects a reality. 

My presentation starts with an overview of the national agreements administered by the Electronic Media Services Division—the Sound Recording Labor Agreement (SRLA), Commercial Announcements Agreement, Motion Picture and Television Film Agreement, Television Videotape Agreement, and more. My intent is to bring clarity and relevance of those agreements to the local. As an example, the SRLA and Motion Picture and Television Film Agreement have low budget options available that can make lower volume recording projects possible. The Commercial Announcements Agreement has regional and local provisions that provide flexibility for producers of those types of commercials.

I then review the many other agreements available to capture AFM work—Local Limited Pressings, which now contains a visual component for concert DVDs; Demonstration Recordings, which also contains a visual component; Local Made and Played Commercial Announcements for local stores, restaurants, etc.; Local Broadcast Media; Limited Videocassette Release; Visual Archival Recording; Single Song Overdub; and Joint Venture, to name a few.

The Joint Venture Agreement is one of the more popular items. It enables a self-contained band to record itself and make the recordings available. Under this agreement, the only AFM-related requirement is the filing of a form with the local where the recording takes place to document the session. The understanding is that the musicians share equally in proceeds from the sales of the recording. It offers protection for future uses of the recording that were not contemplated by the Joint Venture Agreement.

Throughout the training, I stress the importance of ensuring that the company engaging the services of the musicians is a current signatory to the appropriate agreement for the work that is being performed and that the B (session) Report Form and music preparation invoices reflecting the activity of the musicians are properly completed and filed with the AFM local where the recording activity takes place. When a B-4 Report Form is filed for work under the SRLA, the musicians who performed services on that session automatically qualify for payments from the Sound Recording Special Payments Fund (SPF) and for potential new use of the recordings in motion pictures, television films, commercial announcements, or other media.

To help ensure that the B-4 Forms are properly filed, we provide recorded product CD jackets from the recorded product to locals. Signatory companies are required to provide the jackets to the AFM. The liner notes contain recording information such as where the sessions took place and the names of the musicians. The locals can check to see if they have the B-4 Forms and if those forms are consistent with the liner notes. If the local has no B-4 Forms for a project, local officers have the opportunity to make the proper inquiries and secure the forms.

Participating in these training programs gives me the opportunity to catch up with local officers, some of whom I have known for many years through interaction at conventions, conferences, and discussions of electronic media projects over the telephone.

I applaud local officers who have participated in this program. In addition to the above, there are many anomalies in the world of electronic media. I am more than glad to work with local officers in all aspects to demystify the many intricacies of the EMSD.







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