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.
July 1, 2021Jay Blumenthal - AFM International Secretary-Treasurer
It’s been just over 15 months since the AFM New York City headquarters was first forced to close in order to comply with federal and state COVID-19 shutdown restrictions on March 19, 2020. While the office did reopen three months later (June 2020), it was for essential staff only, with strict COVID-19 procedures in place. Most staff continued to work remotely, however, some in the finance department came in so that arriving checks could be deposited and new checks to musicians could be cut and mailed. Also, mail arriving at the office needed to be sorted, reviewed, and managed so bills could be paid.
Before any staff returned to the premises, our office needed to be marked for social distancing and other COVID-related signage was displayed. Masks and COVID supplies were procured and made available for those staff members who were coming into the office.
Now that COVID-19 vaccines have become readily available, we decided it was time to bring remote staff members back to the office. As of June 14, AFM staff who were working remotely have returned to the NYC office. However, we remain closed to outside visitors until further notice.
While this story will be covered at length in the August organizing issue of the IM, I wanted to acknowledge the bravery and unity of the musicians who were engaged for the HBO miniseries The Gilded Age, being filmed in Troy, New York. After learning that terms and conditions for this engagement were not as expected, the musicians informed the employer that they wished to be represented by the AFM. Shortly thereafter, the employer called a meeting and the musicians were summarily fired.
However, there was a happy ending when the musicians’ solidarity and our local affiliates (with help and guidance from the Federation) turned things around. HBO agreed that this work would be performed under an AFM contract, proving once again that “musicians standing together have the power!”
The International Federation of Musicians (FIM) recently held its 22nd FIM Congress (via Zoom meetings). FIM is the international organization for musicians’ unions. There are approximately 70 members in 60 countries throughout the world. With the changing landscape of the music industry and the exponential growth of music streaming, the necessity of having a powerful voice that can speak to global concerns is essential. FIM is that voice.
The recent convening of FIM resulted in the passage of numerous proposals. Of particular note is the FIM Statement on Online Music that congress delegates adopted. It can be viewed in its entirety on the FIM website www.fim-musicians.org. It addresses the following topics:
1.Right to a fair remuneration
2.Scope of the right of making available on demand
3.Adaptation of remuneration schemes
4.Transparency and access to information
5.Value of music
7.Duration of reference for the count of plays
The 22nd FIM Congress concluded with the election of the FIM governing body. The presidium consists of the following persons: President John Smith (United Kingdom); Vice Presidents Ray Hair (United States), Edith Katiji (Zimbabwe), Anders Laursen (Denmark), Beat Santschi (Switzerland), and Horace Trubridge (United Kingdom). The new executive committee consists of the following countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, Costa Rica, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Norway, Romania, Senegal, Sweden, and Uruguay.