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 29, 2016Bob Popyk - Member Local 78 (Syracuse, NY)
If you’re an indie musician or group, you want to have a great promo kit, good PR, and a fan base to support you. Of course, you already have a cool website, a YouTube presence, and an e-mail list.
You just might want to take some time to ramp things up a notch. For example, start with your photos. Your website isn’t going to be that cool if you’ve got crappy-looking photos. Don’t underestimate the importance and power of professional photos.
Spend some money and hire a photographer. Make sure the vibe of photos resonates with your sound, or your band’s sound. If you want to look your best onstage and online, don’t settle for four iPhone pics from several years ago. People (unfortunately) will judge you on your image, before ever listening to a song or booking you. Put your best foot forward when showing people what you look like. Also, update your photos regularly.
Photos are one thing, but you also want to have high quality professional-looking videos on your website and YouTube channel. YouTube continues to be the number one destination to check out a new act or single. If someone searches your name on YouTube and shaky iPhone-shot videos with distorted sound come up, that’s not going to make a very good first impression.
The technology to make videos that look and sound high quality is not only accessible, but it’s relatively inexpensive. Check out what’s available. Invest a little time and money in learning how these programs function and how you can make them work for you. People want to see what you look like in action. Have decent lighting. Use good mikes. Get creative.
Then there’s your emailing list—the addresses of the people who like and support you and who can help you get work. They’re the people who you can rely on to buy CDs, merch, and tickets everywhere you perform. Social networks come and go, but the one thing that has remained consistent over the years is email.
Your fans’ (and support group’s) email addresses are assets. Build those addresses constantly and send out regular email blasts (at least once or twice a month). Let those people know what you are up to, where you are playing, and what you have just recorded. Tell them how you can be reached and update them on what’s going on in your life. Make it readable. Make it interesting. Do it regularly.
Another thing is, if you want people to take you seriously, you need to continually work on and update your image. Having a strong visual presence online and in person helps.
Because your personal brand is built from the thoughts and words and reactions of other people, it’s shaped by how you present yourself publicly. This is something that you do have control over. Always think about how you can take your image to the next level. You decide how you would like people to see you and then simply work on publicly being that image. It takes a little time and thought, but it’s worth it in the end.