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.
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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.
August 31, 2020Pat Varriale - AFM Electronic Media Services Division Director
Welcome to this month’s issue of the International Musician, which focuses on the Electronic Media Services Division (EMSD)—the division of the AFM charged with serving the interests of non-symphonic recording musicians. (Symphonic orchestras are handled solely by the AFM Symphonic Services Division – SSD).
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on many aspects of the AFM. Electronic media was no exception. With the government-mandated shutdowns in states such as New York and California, all forms of recording work were reduced drastically. When work began to come back, many films and recording musicians were engaged to work remotely from their homes. This was due to the closure of many sound stages and recording studios, and the limit as to the number of musicians that could gather in one place in observance of the social distancing guidelines.
For a limited period of time and under certain conditions, we permitted musicians working under the Motion Picture and Sound Recording Labor Agreements on a remote basis to perform such services without applying the “Leader” provisions of those agreements to one musician performing alone that would ordinarily be applicable. We also established a special set of guidelines for streaming of performances on a restricted basis. This also includes Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF) gigs.
On page 15, you will find an article that underscores the importance of AFM-covered work that has come up big during the COVID era as producers utilize existing material to create programming to replace award shows, etc.
On the subject of streaming in this issue, you will find a comprehensive article from EMSD Assistant Director John Painting on “Internet Streaming in the COVID era” on page 13.
Also, on page 13, Contract Administrator Matt Allen contributes an updated article on sideline work under the Basic Theatrical Motion Picture and Television Film Labor Agreements.
On page 12, immediately below this welcome article, you will find an article on how two divisions within the AFM—EMSD and SSD—have worked together on “crossover” projects.
We have also updated our EMSD agreement “cheat sheet” and “EMSD 101” questions that should be asked when you are approached for a recording project. We have also brought back “The Recording Game”—a popular item that illustrates the importance and benefits of AFM-covered work.
I want to thank RMA President Marc Sazer for contributing an article to this issue. It is most appreciated.
I want to thank the hardworking EMSD staff on both coasts for their day-in and day-out dedication to the cause, especially during the time when both offices were closed due to COVID-19 and the staff worked exclusively from home. It should be noted that certain staff members went into their respective offices to process checks and take care of time-sensitive functions so that musicians could receive their much-needed payments. I am deeply grateful to them. There is an updated list of the staff and their functions (see page 14). I am very proud of their accomplishments and the expertise they bring to musicians on a daily basis.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge our colleagues who administer Canadian electronic media projects (see page 15). They work under the direction of Vice President from Canada Alan Willaert and Executive Director Liana White, and I greatly appreciate their efforts on behalf of recording musicians.
Finally, I would like to thank in-house counsels Jennifer Garner and Russ Naymark for their invaluable assistance in negotiations, Joint Cooperative Committee Meetings, resolving claims, and lending their expertise to the many special agreements and projects that the division tackles on an everyday basis.
I am confident that all readers will find this issue to be informative and enjoyable. Please let us know if you have any questions. We are just a phone call or email away.