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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 » Officer Columns » Growth for Some, Scraps for Others

Growth for Some, Scraps for Others

  -  AFM IEB Member and President, Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA)

Ah, 2023—a year of dizzying highs and frustrating lows in the music industry. The money train kept rolling, driven by an 11.2% jump in subscription streaming revenues. But hold your applause because, despite this boom, many musicians are still stuck in the proverbial backseat, wondering when their turn will come.

The latest IFPI Global Music Report is like the music industry’s Christmas letter: a 10.2% increase in global recorded music revenues, with paid streaming subscriptions making up nearly half the market. Record companies are throwing cash at A&R (artists and repertoire) and marketing like it’s going out of style. But for musicians, this isn’t the golden ticket it appears to be. Streaming platforms like Spotify and Tidal may have opened the gates wide, but they’ve also widened the income gap.

Spotify’s new rule that demands 1,000 streams to start making money and Tidal’s move to a single-tier subscription model are playing favorites.

Established artists are basking in the limelight while emerging musicians are left scrounging for crumbs. Our union must be on the case, pushing for a more equitable slice of the streaming pie so every artist gets a fair shake.

Wrestling with Streaming Fraud and AI Gremlins

Streaming fraud and digital piracy are the industry’s unwanted houseguests. Sure, Spotify is cracking down on the bad apples, but they’re often missing the deeper issues. Our union must shout from the rooftops for more transparent and effective anti-fraud measures to protect legit artists without making life harder for everyone else.

And then there’s the rise of AI—those sneaky algorithms that can whip up a tune, clone a voice, and create deepfake masterpieces faster than you can say “hit single.” Artists are understandably anxious about being replaced by machines or seeing their work pirated by digital doppelgängers. Our union must call for strict regulations and ethical guidelines to ensure artists retain control over their creations.

Job Security and Fair Treatment: Not Just Buzzwords

Financial instability isn’t just a musicians’ problem—it’s hitting the whole industry workforce. Recent layoffs at big players like Universal Music Group, Warner Music, and Spotify have shown just how shaky things can get. These layoffs are often dressed up as growth and restructuring but usually end with employees left out in the cold.

We must fight for stronger labor protections, fair wages, and job security, striving for a “degrowth” approach that focuses on sustainability and well-being over the relentless pursuit of profits. The idea is to create a more stable and fair industry for everyone, from the artists to the backstage crew.

We must insist that technology benefits both artists and audiences without tipping the scales toward exploitation. The continued relevance of video content, the rise of niche genres, and expansion into regions like the Middle East, North Africa, and Latin America present new opportunities to create a more inclusive and dynamic industry.

Ultimately, 2023’s growth is a testament to the music industry’s resilience and potential. But for this growth to be sustainable and fair, we must address the challenges head-on. Our union must remain committed to fighting for fair treatment, strong protections, and real solutions so every musician and industry worker can thrive. As we look forward, it’s crucial to prioritize long-term stability and fairness, crafting a music ecosystem that’s just and inclusive for all.

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