With the WGA and SAG strikes in the headlines for the past several months, unions have been at the forefront of pop culture for some time. Plenty of music listeners have likely found themselves whether there is a similar guild for recording artists and musicians… and, as it turns out, yes, there is! In fact, there are two: One is the American Federation Of Musicians, while the other is SAG-AFTRA’s sound recordings division. This may lead to another question:
Who Is In The Musicians Union?
According to the American Federation Of Musicians website, 70,000 musicians comprise the AFM. These musicians are generally instrumentalists who work in the realms of film, television, on Broadway, and in live settings such as orchestras, backup bands, and more.
Some examples include International Vice President Dave Pomeroy, who has played electric and acoustic basses on over 500 albums with stars like Elton John, Willie Nelson, and more. The AFM’s International President, Tino Gagliardi, was a trumpet player in New York City, playing with the Met Opera, New York Philharmonic, NYC Ballet, and others.
And while this is good news for those musicians who play in orchestras for black-tie events, there’s a still a ways to go in terms of organizing on behalf of artists in the popular music field, who negotiate directly with major and independent record labels — and often feel like they got burned in the process.