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


Home » Music Business » Tools to Help You Succeed in the Business of Music

Tools to Help You Succeed in the Business of Music


As musicians, we spend a lot of time and effort constantly improving our musical chops and performance skills. Even with perfection, however, there’s no guarantee of success in the music business. The reality of our chosen career path as professional musicians is that our creative vocation is still a business.

As a member of the AFM, here are some tools that can help you build a sustainable career in the music industry. A little savvy with the nonmusical aspects of your live performance career can go a long way.

Contracts: The Federation offers a wide variety of engagement contracts to cover every possible type of live gig. These are legally binding agreements between the musician(s) and the purchaser/engager. Should a default occur, the local and/or the Federation help enforce the contract. It is almost impossible to defend agreements unless a proper contract is on file. Get to know these contracts and use them correctly and you’ll always be protected.

AFM Booking Agents: As the world’s largest organization of professional musicians, the Federation’s franchised booking agents are signatories to the AFM’s Booking Agents Agreement. These agents act as the “sales force” for AFM members. Entertainment purchasers are provided with legitimate agreements, members are provided with protection of their earnings, and the booking agents earn commissions for their sales. Find more information in the Document Library section of the website.

Referral Programs: All AFM locals are required to actively participate in an employment referral or booking program in accordance with Article 5, Section 15, of the AFM International Bylaws. Finding and securing additional employment opportunities is an invaluable asset for both members and locals. Make sure your local knows exactly what musical services you and/or your group provide and how much you charge for those services. This information is essential for locals to effectively assist members in getting more gigs. The online booking/referral service at connects purchasers to the Federation’s talented members across the US and Canada and helps promote the benefits of hiring professional union musicians. AFM members in good standing can post a full biography/description, high-quality images, sound files, and links to YouTube videos. The site was recently relaunched with vastly improved functionality. As we broaden our user base, there will be further improvements in the coming months. To register and place a listing on AFM Entertainment, visit

Website: A personal website for yourself or your band further legitimizes your brand. Take steps to make your site as professional as possible. The AFM offers extremely affordable domain registration and website hosting services at

Social Media: A strong, dynamic, and up-to-date social media presence is always a great way to share your music and gigs. Staying active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can help you connect with new audiences.

These are just a small handful of things to think about. As you hit roadblocks or have questions, reach out to your local. As a member of the largest union of professional musicians in the world, you never have to go it alone.

The Freelance Services Department is always available to help as well, and we’ll continue to explore new ways to support independent musicians and demystify the more complicated aspects of the business.

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