Member Services Catalog

Nashville Musicians Association, AFM Local 257
11 Music Circle North
P.O. Box 120399
Nashville, TN 37212
Fax: 615/259-9140

Office Hours:
9:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday

Quarterly as announced in the Nashville Musician, at union headquarters.

Local 257 Jurisdiction

In Tennessee, the following counties: Stewart, Montgomery, Robertson, Sumner, Macon, Clay, Benton, Houston, Dickson, Cheatham, Davidson, Wilson, Trousdale, Smith, Jackson, Overton, Humphreys, Hickman, Williamson, Rutherford, Cannon, DeKalb, Putnam, White, Decatur, Perry, Lewis, Maury, Marshall, Bedford, Coffee, Hardin, Wayne, Lawrence and Giles.

In Kentucky, the following counties: Fulton, Hickman, Carlisle, Ballard, McCracken, Graves, Livingston, Marshall, Calloway, Crittenden, Lyon, Warren, Simpson, Allen, Barren, Caldwell, Hopkins, Trigg, Christian, Todd, Logan, Butler, Monroe, Metcalfe, Cumberland, Union, Henderson, Davies, Hancock, Webster, McLean, Ohio and Muhlenburg.

In Illinois, the following counties: Alexander, Pulaski, Massac, Pope, Hardin, Lawrence and Wabash.

In Indiana, all of the following counties: Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Knox, Martin, Pike, Posey, Vandenburgh, Warrick, Spencer and Perry.
Our members usually call us "the Federation", or "the AFM" or " the Union". Whatever you call us, the Federation and the Nashville Musicians Association, AFM Local 257, offer programs and services that greatly enhance the working life of a professional musician. Your owner's manual will explain in clear, straightforward language exactly how this dizzying array of benefits can help a very important, an AFM member.

The American Federation of Musicians has been serving professional musicians since its founding in 1896. It is made up of over 90,000 members belonging to approximately 275 Locals. The American Federation of Musicians is an international governing body of Locals representing musicians within specific geographic areas. The Federation bargains collectively for all members involved in network radio and TV, videotape, educational TV, music videos, theatrical motion pictures, TV films, Internet projects and other electronic recording. Locals negotiate minimum wage scales for local engagements and deal with most matters within their own regions.

National Contracts in the United States and Canada

The Federation has negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreements with an International group of producers, agencies, labels and packagers in the U.S. and Canada covering national and international electronic and touring employment, and are the accepted standard for all such employment. Examples of these contracts are available through Local 257, where the staff can show you how to complete them correctly.

* Agreements covering electronic work include:
* Phonograph Record (includes tapes & CD's)
* Documentary Industrial
* Theatrical Motion Picture
* Television/Radio Commercial Announcements (Jingles)
* Television Videotape
* Television Film
* Internet
* Symphonic Audio/Visual

Agreements are also in place for PAY-TV, Station "ID's", Public Television and Radio, and syndicated Radio and Transcriptions.

Many of these electronic agreements provide for additional payments to you in the event of New Use or Re-Use of your recording. National and international touring employment covered by Federation-negotiated agreements include ice shows, circuses, musicals, operas, ballets and stage shows. Before you accept touring employment, check with an officer of Local 257.

Pension Plan

All national and international agreements call for mandatory purchaser contributions to your pension account in addition to scale wages. When the proper AFM agreement is signed and filed, the employer will automatically deposit pension contributions into your account in New York. The majority of AFM-negotiated studio and touring contracts listed above call for AFM-EP Fund contributions of nine to ten percent. The AFM-EP Fund requires a five-year vesting period before you or your beneficiary can collect. See the pension booklet further explanation of benefits (copies are available at Local 257).

If you move or wish to change your beneficiary information, you must contact the AFM-EP Fund with this new information yourself.

American Federation of Musicians' and Employers' Pension Fund (AFM-EP)
One Penn Plaza
31st Floor
New York, NY 10119
fax: 212/284-1300

Toll-free Road Help is only a phone call away

When you're on the road, far from home, and a gig goes bad--you get fired, canceled or stiffed--the Federation's Emergency Traveling Assistance Program is there to bail you out.

One telephone call puts you in contact with a Federation staffer who will give you advice and assistance. You may even be advanced emergency cash based on Federation scale. The Federation will even go to court to collect the rest of your money, at no cost to you. Your signed, filed contract is all you need to benefit from this service.

1-800-ROADGIG (1-800/762-3444)

Music Performance Trust Fund (MPTF)

Through agreements negotiated between the AFM and the recording companies, the MPTF - a special trust fund - exists to pay scale wages (as set by Local 257) to members who perform at events where no admission is charged. Such events include parks concerts, educational concerts, music festivals and performances for hospitals and senior citizens. To participate, you (as the leader) and a cosponsor (who must pay 50% of scale that is matched by MPTF) must apply to our MPTF Coordinator at Local 257 well in advance of the event.

Special Payments Funds

If you make an audio recording or a motion picture soundtrack for an employer who has signed a Federation Agreement in that medium, you will receive additional pay for several years from a pool of funds created from contributions by all AFM-contracted film and record producers.

Each year, all AFM members who have played in film or audio recording sessions divide the pool, according to the number of sessions each musician has played. The more session you play the larger the distribution you receive.

We hate to repeat ourselves, but to qualify for the Special Payments Fund, members must file signed contracts.

As with the AFM-EP, should you move, you need to contact the Special Payments funds directly with your change of address.

Phonograph Record Manufacturer's
Special Payments Fund
570 Lexington Ave.
New York, NY 10022

AFM Theatrical & Television Motion Picture
Special Payments Fund
6500 Wilshire Blvd.
Suite 2350
Los Angeles CA 90048


...Group Insurance Rates

The Federation periodically endorses a variety of insurance packages for our members, including Instrument Insurance. You will receive information about these companies from time to time from the Federation.


If you're a member of an American AFM Local, the AFM will act as your sponsor for engagements in Canada. NO more hassles from Canadian Manpower. Just complete an EMP-AFM-1 form--available from Local 257--at least 30 days prior to the performance date. Have this form signed by an AFM officer and send it with a copy of your contract to the AFM office in Canada. They will present it to Canadian Immigration and obtain your work permit. Canadian Immigration requires a fee of $150 for individuals and $450 for groups of up to 14.


Every month members receive the highly respected music industry publication of the AFM, The International Musician. This newspaper covers the players, the issues and the innovations of the international music scene, as well as Federation news and commentary.

Four times a year, you'll also receive the industry newsletter of Local 257, The Nashville Musician.


Any member of the AFM can log onto the Members area of the AFM web page to participate in various forum discussions ranging from a particular instrument to symphonic to freelance to labor information. You can find out information about other locals in the U.S. and Canada, find out about additional member benefits, and even shop on-line with special AFM discounts.

Conferences, Conventions and Workshops


Delegates from Locals regularly attend regional conferences and workshops where they discuss issues and problems unique to their areas and membership. Workshops and seminars focus on improving service to members.

Local 257 is affiliated with the Southern Conference.

Professional Conferences

Members who play specialized kinds of categories of music have formed self-help organizations within the Federation. They meet regularly to discuss the problems and challenges they have within their unique professions.

A number of these groups are recognized by the Federation, including:

· ICSOM - International Conference of Symphony & Opera Musicians (the oldest AFM Conference - represent major orchestras in the U.S.)
· ROPA - Regional Orchestra Players' Association (represent regional and smaller orchestras in the U.S.)
· OCSM/OMOSC - Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians (represent small and large Canadian orchestras)
· RMA - Recording Musicians Association (represent recording musicians in various chapters around the U.S. and Canada)
· TMA - Theater Musicians Association (newest AFM Conference - represents theater musicians in various chapters in the U.S.)

AFM Conventions

Once every two years, elected Local delegates attend and participate in the International Convention when AFM Bylaws (rules) are reviewed and International Officers are elected. Then Convention is the supreme governing body of the Federation.

National and International Affairs

The Federation is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, its Department for Professional Employees in the U.S. and the Canadian Labour Congress. Internationally, the Federation is a member of the International Secretariat for the Arts, Mass Media, and Entertainment Trade Unions (ISETU).

The Federation's labor affiliations and conferences are important links in the AFM's network of Provincial and State Representatives and U.S. State Legislative Directors, who participate in an ongoing dialogue with American and Canadian governmental agencies and bodies, for the purpose of encouraging the enactment of legislation beneficial to professional musicians.


Nashville is the third largest local in the country when it comes to electronic media recording. When accepting a booking for a session, be sure to confirm the signatory employer, artist, producer, studio and record label, if different from the signatory. You should arrive at the session early enough to be fully set up and prepared to start at the appointed time.

AFM Local 257 Time Card:

AFM Local 257 Time Cards are used at all legitimate sessions. The leader should have filled out the top portion prior to the session. The leader is responsible for providing accurate information but you should also double check for accuracy. Song titles are required.

As a side-musician, you are required to fill out the signature area of the time card:

Provide Social Security number
Check boxes that apply
Doubles (specify how many)
Doubles requested but not used (specify how many)
Double scale (approval required)
Cartage bill included or mailed
Local number if not a member of Local 257
Overtime in minutes
Check session you worked if card is for multiple sessions
Professional Security for the Professional

As a musical professional you should only work with authorized AFM contracts that provide complete, specialized protection. Customized contracts are available at Local 257 for most kinds of steady performing and recording engagements including TV, radio, records, film, jingles, Internet use and touring. The most commonly used contracts cover day-to-day work for clubs, lounges and steady engagements. If you are a leader or single musician, you need to know how to fill one out, how to file it and how to make a claim if something goes wrong.

In order for your contract to be enforceable, it must be filed and distributed before the engagement date. File one copy with the local where the engagement takes place, file one copy with the purchaser and, of course, save one signed copy for yourself.

Don't take chances: File correctly.

You will find an example of a completed L-1 contract, the most commonly used contract for live local engagements. We have noted those items on the contract that deserve special consideration. Use it don't lose it! It is your passport to professional treatment.


There are 6 different forms:

· L-1 covers local engagements and includes claims/dispute arbitration by the local or the American Arbitration Association (AAA).
· LP-1 is same as L-1 with additional AFM-EP Fund pension contribution.
· L-2 covers local engagements without arbitration provisions. Claims may be processed in civil court.
· LP-2 is same as L-2 with additional AFM-EP Fund pension contribution.
· T-2 is for traveling engagements with no arbitration provisions.
· TP-2 is same as T-2 with additional AFM-EP pension contribution.
When filling out a contract with an employer be sure to follow these guidelines:

1. List establishment address, name and room (if necessary); leader and group name; and number of musicians.
2. Specify days and hours as well as any required breaks.
3. Be specific so they cannot try to withhold payment because of "unsuitable music".
4. Specify wages, any rooming, per diem and other fringe requirements.
5. Specify to whom, in what form and when payment will be made.
6. Parties signing: list both the establishment and the authorized person signing for the establishment. The leader must sign unless someone else has power of attorney.
7. All musicians, local numbers and social security numbers must be listed.
8. On the back of the form (L-1) check A or B for claims resolution.
9. #11 Additional provisions should list other agreed-upon conditions and a safeguard against last-minute cancellations.

Use Authorized Booking Agents Only

Only agents who have signed AFM agreements are authorized to use AFM contracts. Authorized AFM agents have agreed to use AFM contracts, secure scale pay or better, and charge no more than stipulated commission percentages. Check with Local 257 for the names and numbers of authorized agents in your area.

Be sure your Agent is filing your contracts!

Claims for Unpaid Wages

- The phone rings just as you leave your hotel for your gig. "We don't need you," explains the purchaser. "We got Johnny B. Goode instead." You've been canceled before you even took the stage after signing a contract and traveling a thousand miles.

- You walk off the stage after a show during a two-week gig, and the manager grabs you to say he's closing and can't pay you for the rest of your performances. He's canceled his live entertainment policy and you with it.

- You've completed your engagement and are sitting down with the owner to collect your fee. But he gives you less money than had been agreed upon in the contract. "But we signed a contract," you remind him. "Well," he says, "I thought we'd make more gate. I can't afford to pay you that much. It's this or nothing."

We hope for the best but it is possible that experiences such as these will befall a professional musician sometime in his or her career. While you may never experience a canceled or unpaid engagement, your Local and the Federation have established procedures for recovering wage claims.

To fight for unpaid wages, you must follow these Federation rules and procedures. If you don't have a signed, filed contract, your claim could fail!

Close to Home

If you have a claim resulting from an engagement that took place in the jurisdiction of Local 257, contact your Local. An Officer of Local 257 will examine your situation and follow these procedures:

1. You will be asked to write a claim letter or fill out a claim form.
2. The Local will attempt to collect the claim or reach a settlement through direct contact with the purchaser.
3. A hearing may be held at Local 257 that you may attend.
4. If the Local processes the claim through the courts, you will be asked to attend.
5. Most Locals absorb partial or complete lawyer and court fees. Talk with Local 257 Officers who can bring you up to date on policy. You may be covered.

 Member Dispute

If you have a claim against a Local member, it must be processed through Local 257. We have an anonymous "whistle blower" clause so that you can file a grievance through the Executive Board without revealing your identity.

1. You must write a claim letter or fill out a claim form.
2. A local hearing will be held by the Hearing Board. You and the other member(s) will be asked to appear and testify.
3. The Hearing Board will make a judgment that must be honored by the member(s) involved unless either party appeals the decision.
4. Appeals from Local decisions are heard by the International Executive Board of the Federation who can uphold, overturn, or modify the Local decision.
5. The Federation's decision is final and binding and will be enforced by Local 257.

On the Road

All wage claims for contracted traveling engagements fall under the jurisdiction of the Federation.

For al claims resulting from an engagement that took place outside your home Local's jurisdiction ("runouts"), contact an Officer in the jurisdiction where you’re working or contact the New York office at 1-800-ROADGIG (762-3444).

1. You will be asked to complete a claim form and write a claim letter.
2. If you wish, the Officers in the jurisdiction where you performed may contact the purchaser directly and attempt to collect or settle. If they are unsuccessful your claim will be forwarded to the New York Office for collection.
3. Or you may forward your traveling claim directly to New York. In any case, when New York receives your claim, they will attempt to collect/settle through mail or by telephone with the purchaser.
4. If the claim is not paid or settled, the New York office will appoint a lawyer in the area where the claim occurred who will take the claim to court for you. Your attendance at a court hearing may be required.
5. The Federation will absorb all court and legal expenses.

Keep in mind:

· Phone a Local Officer at the first sign of trouble. Don't wait until the purchaser has taken action.
· Don't sign a settlement with a purchaser until you consult with a Local Officer.

 Local 257 is responsible for the standards and services that most affect your everyday professional life. The scales and contracts for your area are negotiated by Local 257 who is also responsible for enforcing these contracts and minimums with purchasers.

The jurisdiction of Local 257 incorporates the area south to the Alabama line, all of western Tennessee except the four counties in the southwest corner of the state, east to include Cookeville but not Crossville, the western third of Kentucky up into Indiana to Vincennes, as well as seven border counties in Illinois. We also incorporate the southwestern counties in Missouri that include Springfield and Branson, northern Arkansas, 3 counties in northeast Oklahoma and Cherokee county in Kansas.

Local 257 will handle all problems you encounter while performing within that geographic area.

Every AFM Local is charged with an array of significant jobs, such as establishing and maintaining the Bylaws (Local rules) for your area; administering local services and benefits to local and traveling AFM members; servicing local wage claims and enforcing AFM contracts; encouraging the employment of AFM members and promoting a professional music industry; and establishing events and services that build solidarity among professional musicians in your area.



Once you're a member, listed in the directory, you've posted a notice on the lobby kiosk and put your name in the referral book, don't just sit back and wait for the work to come to you. A good place to start is at the Local membership meeting. These meetings are open to all members and are scheduled at times that are convenient for working musicians. Bring a few business cards. Show up early and ask an officer or friend to introduce you to other members you don't know. Meetings that are about Local scales or contracts can be particularly lively and draw musicians who work in the part of the business that you're interested in.

The best contacts are made on the job where your skills are on display. Unfortunately some musicians become so focused in one particular area that they turn down job offers for other types of work. That can be a fundamental mistake. The next time you get a call about a wedding, an MPTF job or playing a union rally, think twice about accepting. You never know who you'll meet because some of the most important contact you can make in the music business aren't the leaders and contractors but other musicians who play your instrument. If you're on good terms with these musicians they can be a great source of work by suggesting you as a sub when they're offered a gig they can't take.

Be reliable and easy to work with. Show up on time and be prepared. In music, as in any field, those who work the hardest are the most dedicated stand the best chance of succeeding.


Local 257 has negotiated exclusive Collective Bargaining Agreements in several areas. These agreements provide professional wages, working conditions and automatic pension contributions over and above scale to your personal account in New York for all covered employment. Some of the agreements and pension percentages are listed below:

Nashville Symphony . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5%
Grand Ole Opry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10%
Nashville Road Scale . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10%
Tennessee Jazz & Blues Society . .. . . . . . . . . none

In addition, AFM-EP Fund contributions are mandatory in the following areas of employment as dictated by the Local's Price List Scales:

Opera, Ballet, Shows and Theater . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 1/2%


Moving to Another City

If you move to a new part of the country outside the jurisdiction of Local 257, advise Local 257 of your plans. The Local in your new home can't accept you until your obligations to your present Local are satisfied. Your present Local office will advise you on how to move your membership to another Local easily and efficiently.

Getting Out of the Business

Don't just "drop out" if you leave the music business for the short or long term. Resign in "good standing" by clearing your obligations with Local 257 and notifying the office of your plans in writing. Otherwise, you will eventually be expelled from the Local and the AFM, making rejoining at a later date an expensive and time-consuming proposition.


Membership Dues

Each year every AFM member pays membership dues to their Local. These basic membership fees are required of every full member, and each member pays the same amount, except Life Members, who must have had continuous membership in the AFM for 35 years AND be 65 or older. A portion of the membership dues, called the Per Capita Dies, is forwarded to the Federation once every three months to support International activities.

· Members who have not paid by Annual Dues January 31st are suspended and will be assessed a $10 reinstatment fee.

· Members who have not paid Annual Dues by April 1st are expelled and will be subject to an additional $25 reinstatement fee.

Work Dues (Dues based on Scale Wages)

Many Federation Locals collect a small percentage of money paid to members for certain engagements they play, based on scale. These "work dues" form the fairest possible system for funding both the Federation and Locals. This way those members who are not working pay nothing. Those who do work pay a modest percentage of scale to the AFM. The more you work, the more you are likely to need services. Without a work dues system, funding for both the Federation and Local services would have to be generated through annual dues of several hundreds of dollars per year.

Local 257's work dues rate is 3 1/2% on recording work and 3% on all other miscellaneous work. Work dues for all trust fund engagements are 5% and are automatically withdrawn.

Local work dues are billed monthly.

The Federation (for traveling groups) and some Locals have established Escrow Account payment systems. This system allows you to make bulk payments in advance and avoid billing on a per-engagement basis.

Traveling Engagements

When you're working in another Local's jurisdiction, you will be billed for work dues by that Local, not you r home Local (unless a Traveling Escrow Account has been established). For more specific information, you can contact that Local directly. Call Local 257 for the phone numbers or addresses of other AFM locals.

...Get Involved

It's an old rule, and we'll say it again. The more you participate, the more you benefit.

You have strength through participation.

Does attending General Meetings sound boring? In fact, they're very important.

Members set Bylaws (rules), scales (prices) and dues at General Meetings. When you don't participate, you allow others to make these important decisions for you, and you give up your voice in AFM affairs.

The meetings of Local 257 are also terrific for meeting other musicians and making professional contacts.

Laying Down the Bylaws

Both the Federation and Local 257 operate under sets of ground rules, called Bylaws. These are regularly revised at meetings and conventions. The Bylaws include professional, business and ethical standards. Take the first step in participating in Local 257 by honoring these standards. Every time you do, you strengthen the team.

Federation and Local Bylaws are available to all members. Get a free copy from an Officer of Local 257.

Local 257 has a series of committees whose job it is to advise the Executive Board. These committees are always looking for new ideas. We welcome the suggestions of our new members as well as our old! You'd be surprised at the rewards and satisfactions of Local activities.


Elections of Officers and Convention Delegates are held triennially in December by referendum ballot.

Bylaw Changes

Proposals to amend the Bylaws are considered at membership meetings. Proposals are filed with the Secretary and presented to the Board for a recommendation, and are then referred to the next membership meeting for a vote. Proposed changes are published in The Nashville Musician at least two weeks prior to the meeting at which they are to be considered.

Scale Changes

Proposals to adopt or change scales are considered at membership meetings. Proposals are filed with the Secretary and presented to the Board for a recommendation, and are then referred to the next membership meeting for a vote. Proposed changes are published in The Nashville Musician at least two weeks prior to the meeting at which they are to be considered.


All present Officers, Trustees, Delegates, and members of the Executive Board and Hearing Board of Local 257 are musicians too. They joined the Local just like you. They are not bureaucrats or unfeeling law enforcers. They're just musicians who what to make a contribution to the betterment of our diverse profession...

...And they need to hear from YOU!