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


Officers Columns

Here are the latest posts from our officers


Ray Hair – AFM International President

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    TV, Film Agreements Extended Again; Contract Streaming Fight Begins

    On March 18, after a week of intense negotiations, an agreement was
    reached with major Hollywood film producers and their television film
    counterparts to extend the existing Theatrical and Motion Picture Film
    agreements until November 14, 2019, with a 2% increase in wages. As was agreed
    one year ago, the parties deemed a short-term contract solution as the better
    alternative to the existing deadlock resulting from the producers’ failure to
    adequately address the Federation’s goal of creating residual payments for
    films and content made originally for streaming platforms.

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jay blumenthal

Jay Blumenthal – AFM International Secretary-Treasurer

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    We’re In!

    The long-awaited move to our new office space
    happened April 1. The construction timeline to build out the new space was very
    tight, so things went right down to the wire, which created plenty of angst and
    nail biting. The AFM International Executive Board (IEB) meeting scheduled for
    April 2 was the first official meeting in the new space. While the vast
    majority of the construction work was completed, some work continued into the
    next month. The “punch list” (things needing further attention to make sure
    everything is working properly) will be addressed during April/May.

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alan willaert

Alan Willaert – AFM Vice President from Canada

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    Canadian Office Prepares for Busy Season

    Pour voir cet article en français, cliquez ici.

    we enter the spring and summer seasons, the Canadian Office will be embroiled
    in a plethora of negotiations, both for successor and new agreements. Added to
    that is a very busy conference and convention schedule, beginning with the
    Canadian Labour Conference’s celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the
    Winnipeg General Strike in mid-May. A significant event in Canadian history,
    the six-week action resulted in many labour reforms followed by a golden age of
    prosperity for the labour movement.

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Other Officer Columns:

The Music Performance Trust Fund Is Back!

I am very happy to report that the new revenue
stream from online interactive digital distribution bargained by the Federation
in 2017 is paying real dividends. A recent report from the Sound Recording
Special Payments Fund reflects that this revenue is now more than $1.5 million,
which translates to an additional $250,000 available for distribution from the
Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF). This new revenue stream has brought the
MPTF back from the dire straits in which the fund found itself just a decade

The newly revitalized MPTF is a valuable resource
that locals across the country can take advantage of by pursuing projects and
partnerships with community organizations for events that meet the guidelines
for MPTF grants. Among the possible projects are educational programs, park
concerts, and music festivals. Free to the public events are perfect for the
mission of the MPTF and offer our locals the opportunity to strengthen
relations with diverse constituent groups in their municipalities and

From an organizational and recruitment perspective,
MPTF projects open the door for local officers to connect with musicians
performing within their local jurisdiction. They will be able to discover what
bands are popular and drawing big audiences in the local clubs and whether or
not they have a connection to the union. If not, local officers can provide
them with information and guidance about tapping into MPTF resources. This can
be an effective introduction to what our union can do for them. By building a
local MPTF event, such as a music festival, you are not only creating real
relationships with the communities you serve, but also offering meaningful
opportunities for local musicians to perform, all under an AFM agreement.

Many public events are funded in part by grants from
state and local arts councils. Approaching organizations that rely on such
public funding with an offer to bolster their events with musical groups
offering diverse styles of music, along with 50% funding for the musicians
employed, will get their attention. AFM President Ray Hair’s February 2019
President’s Message in the IM goes into further detail on
these types of community-based organizations. I urge everyone to take a look.

The reinvigoration of the MPTF provides all AFM
locals with a real opportunity to build bridges and create authentic connections,
not only with our communities, but also with the musicians who call those
communities home. Regardless of genre—jazz, classical, hip hop, folk, rock or
any of the other genres in which our members expresses themselves—nothing
brings people together like live music.

I have been asked by President Hair to help connect with locals that may have been missing out on the wonderful resource available to them from the MPTF. My goal is to support your efforts in this regard, whether they involve finding ways to make existing projects fit within MPTF guidelines or developing new and creative initiatives that advance the mission of the MPTF and enhance your local community. Email me at I look forward to working with you to help you remind your communities of this fundamental truth: Live music is best!

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The AFM: Finding Strength in a Diverse Membership

John Acosta

by John Acosta, AFM International Executive Board Member and Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) President

within our union cannot be celebrated enough. While our membership runs the gamut in ethnicity, musical
genre, age, and gender, the paucity of diversity within many of the workplaces
in which we have representational duties continues to impede our effectiveness
and growth. While progress has been made within our profession to foster and embrace
diversity, an increasingly concerted and deliberate effort is needed to provide
a clearer path to increase diversity among officers and members alike.

Last year, the
League of American Orchestras, along with partners the Sphinx Organization and
the New World Symphony, announced the National Alliance for Audition Support,
an initiative that began with a discussion at a Diversity Forum convened by the
League and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation some years back.

Our employer
partners recognize the need to diversify the workplace in order to reflect the
ever growing and evolving communities they serve. While the AFM embarks on
programs of our own, we should also support and engage with our employers on
joint initiatives that will help elevate underrepresented communities.

This February, as
we celebrate Black History Month and look ahead to our triennial convention, we
have a twofold opportunity to highlight diversity within our Federation and
help kick off the AFM Diversity Awards application process. The AFM Diversity
Awards were created to recognize outstanding examples of diversity that foster
underrepresented communities within our organization, such as minority and
LGBTQ groups. The awards are also designed to recognize exceptional artists who
are actively engaged in underrepresented music genres.

By recognizing
these noteworthy individuals, we will help to unlock the transformational
potential that has always existed within our union, but is far too often
overlooked. A recent Brookings Institute study informs us that new census
data confirms the importance of racial
minorities as the “primary demographic engine of the nation’s future growth” and that “by
2045, whites will comprise 49.7% of the population in contrast to 24.6% for
Hispanics, 13.1% for blacks, 7.9% for Asians, and 3.8% for multiracial

Our union need only
tap into an already diverse membership, a membership that I believe may be a
great organizing vehicle. When you look at where our Federation already
represents musicians, we are truly a reflection of the current and increasingly
diversifying America. From the Grammy Awards to the American Music Awards, from
the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show, our musicians are already ambassadors from
minority communities across America. Our challenge is how to engage and
activate our multicultural membership to inspire them to organize the next
generation of musicians into our Federation, and ultimately become the future
leaders of tomorrow’s AFM.

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Career Pathways: A Potential Bridge to Diversity

John Acostaby John Acosta, AFM International Executive Board Member and President of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA)

Increasing our presence within the community of young musicians throughout the US and Canada should certainly be a major priority for all of us. Increasing awareness of the AFM among younger generations will only improve our ability to recruit new members, expanding and diversifying our ranks.

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In Troubled Times, Stand Up and Fight Back

by Tina Morrison, AFM International Executive Board Member and
Vice President of Local 105 (Spokane, WA)

“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.”

—Leonard Bernstein’s response to the assassination of John F. Kennedy

We’re in a pivotal time in the history of the United States. We can agree to disagree on many things, but as musicians, we have to acknowledge the great wealth that immigrants brought to our country. The music we make and listen to every day carries the voices of many cultures intertwined to create beauty in the moment. The idea of closing our borders and shutting out the artists of our future is simply not acceptable to me. Families being separated has undertones of ideas and behavior that cannot be allowed. We have to maintain a legal, ethical program allowing for immigration. Compassion should have a place in such decisions.

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