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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President’s Message

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Ray Hair – AFM International President

    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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    Musician’s Streaming Income: Growing and Glaring Disparity

    Below are my remarks from a rally hosted by Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) immediately prior to our negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and TV Producers toward a successor film agreement.

    Good morning, brothers and sisters. I’m proud to be here with my colleagues from the AFM International Executive Board, AFM staff, Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) officers and staff, members of our sister union SAG-AFTRA, the good folks from the LA County Federation of Labor, but most importantly, great musicians, members of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada—the oldest and largest labor union in the world representing professional musicians.

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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.

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    Recruitment, Retention, and Organizing with a Revitalized Music Performance Trust Fund

    If you missed the excellent article by Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) Trustee Dan Beck in our January 2019 issue of the International Musician, entitled “Accelerating the MPTF Mission for 2019,” I encourage you to go back, find it, and read it. Dan’s article can be read together with my June 2018 column about the employment, audience-building, and community recognition advantages that can be realized through smart MPTF programs.

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    Live Concert Venues and Media Rights: Are Musicians Sold Short?

    When we consider fair wages and working conditions
    for musicians working roadshows, the Federation’s Pamphlet B and Short
    Engagement Tour Agreements (SET) are the gold standard. Pamphlet B establishes
    fair conditions for musicians on the road in touring theatrical musicals, where
    the shows are booked for a given number of weeks. The SET contract was
    structured to cover tours where most engagements are one-nighters or run for
    less than a week.

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