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In the more than 125 years since its inception, the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) has had one goal: to elevate, protect, and advance the interests of all musicians who receive pay for their musical services.

While technology and the state of the music industry has changed, the AFM’s mission has not. There have been many challenges and even some defeats along the way, but the AFM has been unwavering in its dedication to working musicians everywhere.

From the AFM’s fledgling years to now, the issues affecting its members have been vast, including: legislation, strikes, lobbying efforts, federal funding, organizing, financial challenges, updating of agreements and scale, performance rights, payola and regulation, royalty disbursements, diversity efforts, traveling challenges, and competing in a globalized industry.

The AFM has taken on each and every one of these issues with tenacity, persistence, and a lot of hard work. AFM members continue to benefit from all of these efforts.

Read more: AFM Evolves to Meet Needs of Today’s Music Industry


To commemorate our 125th year, we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight the beginnings of this great organization and reflect on how far we’ve come today. This celebration will continue into 2022 as 20 more locals will reach their 125th anniversary next year.


For more on the history of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada, click here.