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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Officers Columns

Here are the latest posts from our officers

AFMPresidentRayHairW

Ray Hair – AFM International President

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    Status Report—AFM Pension Fund

    If you’ve been
    following the status of the American Federation of Musicians and Employers’
    Pension Fund (AFM-EPF), you know it has been facing severe funding problems
    since the Great Recession, despite earning relatively good investment returns
    since then and receiving a significant contribution increase. As detailed more
    below, however, these have not been enough to “right the ship.” As a result,
    the trustees are preparing for a critical and declining certification in the
    spring and an application to the Treasury Department under the 2014 federal law
    known as “MPRA” for approval to reduce benefits to the extent necessary to
    remain solvent for the next 30 years.

    Read More

jay blumenthal

Jay Blumenthal – AFM International Secretary-Treasurer

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    The Perfect Storm

    In the first half
    of 2019 our New York Office is facing “the perfect storm.” A confluence of
    Federation events, culminating with our June AFM Convention, will be
    challenging to say the least.

    During February
    and March we conduct the annual audit and submission of our Labor-Management
    report to the Department of Labor. While totally normal, this is always a busy
    time that puts our finance department into overdrive. 

    Read More

alan willaert

Alan Willaert – AFM Vice President from Canada

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Other Officer Columns:

diversity

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

Diversity
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
populations.”

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Joint Venture Agreement

Are You Using the AFM Joint Venture Agreement to Protect your Intellectual Property?

dave pomeroyby Dave Pomeroy, AFM International Executive Board Member and President of Local 257 (Nashville, TN)

How does it work?

The AFM Joint Venture Agreement is designed for self-contained bands who want to document their recordings and business relationship with a no-cost contract that protects everyone involved. For every successful band, there are many more who don’t make it, and loose ends can come back to haunt you. When you are in your creative and exploratory mode, it’s not always easy to talk business with collaborators. But at some point, it is important to make sure you are all on the same page. A handshake agreement is great until it doesn’t work, and then it really doesn’t work! Along with completing the process of publishing your original tunes, you need to protect the intellectual property rights of your musical performances as well.

Read More




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