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.
February 1, 2024Dan Beck - Trustee, Music Performance Trust Fund
Over the past five years, the recording industry’s Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) has enjoyed renewed revenue afforded by the more recent labor agreements between the AFM and the major labels. The MPTF has, in response, greatly ramped up the distribution of grants for admission-free performances across North America. The grant budget has grown from approximately $500,000 to distribution of more than $3.7 million in our 2022-2023 fiscal year.
With this enormous growth, it is essential to consider the huge effort it took for union locals to organize, develop, and grow performance schedules to accommodate over 4,000 events this past year. Yes, the MPTF funds these performances, but it takes the work of AFM locals throughout communities in the US and Canada to activate our funding. We salute the efforts of the officers and members of these locals to bring our funds to their musicians.
The increased funding has also provided an opportunity for the MPTF to focus and expand efforts into music education. It has improved the quality of life of our senior brothers and sisters through our MusicianFest initiative. We have been able to support and bring attention to Broadway musicians via the annual Curtain Up! celebration in Times Square and to support the players and culture showcased at admission-free festivals such as the French Quarter Festival.
The MPTF formalized its jazz appreciation program six years ago, and despite the negative impact of COVID-19, it has grown rapidly. In 2019, the initiative provided 125 fully funded performances, which grew to 270 events in 2022. This past year, MPTF’s JAM events more than doubled again to 575 performances.
Over 2,500 musicians participated in the events in 77 North American markets in April 2023. In addition, 75 concerts were livestreamed free through the MPTF Facebook page. Combined, the MPTF sponsored well over another 1,000 jazz performances throughout 2023.
This year, our Jazz Across North America campaign during Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) will have an added feature that we expect will bring more people to individual concerts. We have selected two media partners: www.AllAboutJazz.com and www.JazzNearYou.com. We hope to post most of our sponsored events on the Jazz Near You calendar, bringing more jazz enthusiasts to the actual performances. Meanwhile, All About Jazz will bring new attention to our campaign and highlight the excitement around this MPTF initiative.
The MPTF will be providing extra signage for JAM events and a fun photo contest for participating locals to highlight their performances throughout April. We look forward to another big year celebrating jazz and jazz musicians. Thank you to AFM officers and local teams for making it happen.