International Musician

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  The magazine of the American Federation of Musicians

International Musician began publication in 1901 as the membership magazine of the American Federation of Musicians. It continues to be published today and selected current content may be seen at the AFM website.
The history of the AFM became connected with the radio and broadcast industries from the very beginning of electronic communication.

Here is a bit of AFM History.

Our history began in 1896 when musicians gathered in Indianapolis and organized the American Federation of Musicians (AFM) for “any musician who receives pay for his musical services.” Representing 3,000 members, AFM was granted a charter by the American Federation of Labor (AFL).

Wherever there was music, there were musicians organizing in the early 20th century—in theaters, restaurants, night clubs, hotel ballrooms, amusement parks, carnivals, symphonies, operas, ballets and increasingly at theaters as accompaniment for silent films.

In 1927 the first “talkie” film was released and within two years, 20,000 musicians lost their jobs performing in theater pits for silent films. This was not the first—or the last time—that technological advances would transform musicians’ work.

Yet musicians remained strong and established minimum wage scales for vitaphone, movietone & phonograph record work. In 1938, film companies signed their first contract with AFM. Musicians continued organizing in orchestras, radio and in the making of film scores. But musicians were losing income as phonorecords replaced radio orchestras and jukeboxes competed with live music in nightclubs. In 1942, AFM members embarked on one of their biggest campaigns—a recording ban.

Musicians went on strike in 1942 shutting down the U.S. recording market for two years until they won. By standing together, they forced the recording industry to establish a royalty on recording sales to employ musicians at live performances.

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