AFM Helps Musicians Find New Work

By Lee, Thomas F. | International Musician, March 2010 | Go to article overview

AFM Helps Musicians Find New Work


Lee, Thomas F., International Musician


One of the defining characteristics of the last 10 to 20 years has been the increasingly rapid pace of change, particularly with the great advances in technology and the rise of a global economy.

These developments have sent a message to organizations and businesses all over the world: adapt or be left behind. Today's reality is that organizations cannot hold onto the past and hope that things will get better. Those who have tried to do so are no longer with us or are on their way out the door.

The fact is that organizations, including labor unions, must create initiatives that work in today's environment. Workers want results, not rhetoric. And generating results for union members in a world that is more competitive than ever before demands a serious commitment to forward thinking and problem solving.

We all know by now that the greater ease with which economic activity moves around the globe has had a tremendous impact on musicians. Nowadays, a person or company wishing to employ musicians is not confined to their geographical region. Because of advancements in the Internet, improved recording technology, and cheaper travel options, musicians in one part of the world can easily be hired by someone in another part of the world.

The AFM understands this new reality and has been working tirelessly to create solutions that make a difference, so that members can find meaningful employment. One of the key opportunities in this new approach has been in the area of video games.

Unlike in the old days, video game music has become much more sophisticated and the demand for recordings by live musicians-not by synthesizers and computers-has grown significantly as video game consumers demand better products. The reason is simple: a video game with live musicians creates a compelling soundtrack, elevating the game to a more immersive and appealing experience.

This development is terrific for musicians. However, if left alone, much of the work would continue to go to Eastern Europe, Seattle, and other nonunion locations. The AFM recognized this potential problem and worked with the industry and the musicians to ascertain what kind of agreement would advance the interests of musicians while, at the same time, provide the producers with incentives to record with AFM musicians, under a competitive video game agreement.

As a result, the AFM promulgated a ground-breaking video game agreement in 2007. The International Executive Board created this agreement after extensive deliberations and solicitation of input from composers, musicians, producers, and others involved in the industry.

I am pleased to inform you that the feedback from our musicians and producers in the video game industry regarding this new agreement and its later improvements has been overwhelmingly positive. …

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