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 » Legislative Update » Your Money: Musicians’ Federal Policy Updates

Your Money: Musicians’ Federal Policy Updates


On January 31, the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) published its long-awaited rules on O and P visa fee adjustments. The AFM and national arts community are currently reviewing the rules. Critical questions on interpretation remain.

AI White House Executive Order

On October 30, 2023, President Joe Biden signed and released a far-reaching executive order outlining national standards to protect working Americans against the dangers of unregulated artificial intelligence (AI) technology. AFM Secretary-Treasurer Ken Shirk and I attended an AFL-CIO Department of Professional Employees (DPE) hosted meeting with Department of Labor officials to impress upon them the importance of working together in developing AI guidelines for American workers.

Performance Arts Tax Parity Act (PATPA)

The provision in the tax code that allows performing artists to deduct qualified business expenses is outdated and obsolete. The PATPA bill would have made critical, above-the-line business expense tax deductions available to a broader group of performing artists, moving the threshold from $16,000 to $100,000 ($200,000 for joint filers). However, despite meticulous work by our labor coalition, significant differences between the US House and Senate regarding the contents of this session’s tax bill mean that once again it will not contain this vital arts-oriented tax relief legislation.

This should serve as a reminder of the work the AFM National Legislative Office in Washington, DC, does to help preserve your fiscal and job related music industry interests on Capitol Hill. In terms of federal policy, it is important that our office report to you exactly what Congress and the Biden Administration are getting done and not getting done.

Divided, Distracted Congress

At this time, the politics of the divided government chambers, combined with the highly charged political dynamic of this year’s election cycle, are having a negative impact on creative professionals’ ability to move important legislation, despite the overwhelmingly labor friendly posture of the Executive Branch. The distraction of the presidential election has resulted in a strongly divided Congress where talking points are more important than issues that affect the average American citizen.

For musicians, we can be assured that our allies in Congress remain willing to double down on those key issues that positively impact our daily lives, namely: tax relief, intellectual property residuals, protection from AI, an effective final ruling on visas, and reciprocal travel between international borders, most specifically between the US and Canada.

The conservatively controlled House of Representatives is focused this election cycle on advancing tax protections for big business, to the exclusion of the PATPA. Little time is being devoted to issues like the protection of intellectual property and northern border creative professionals’ concerns. This year, musicians may once again be cheated out of a real opportunity to make progress on our issues before this government.

The good news is the ongoing, intrepid work of the AFM, the DPE labor coalition, SoundExchange, musicFIRST Coalition, combined with the Congressional Arts Caucus and Immigration Working Group (including the AFM Canada and US immigration offices). All remain committed to staying the course and dogged in their efforts to represent your issues every single day in front of a seriously distracted Congress of the United States.