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What is the AFM?

The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada is the largest professional entertainment association/union in the world. The AFM has approximately 256 local offices situated throughout North America. There are approximately 67,000 members in the AFM.

What is the VMA?

The Vancouver Musicians’ Association is a local office of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada. There are approximately 1500 members in the VMA at the present time. We are membership driven, self-governing and a self-supporting labour organization. Our jurisdiction covers all of BC with the exception of the Columbia River Valley, Vancouver Island and the surrounding Gulf Islands.

Is the VMA a union?

Yes and No. For the vast majority of our members, the VMA is a professional association made up of self employed, independent contractors who solicit their own engagements or have booking agents or managers secure bookings for them. On the other hand, the VMA does have Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA’s) with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, the Prince George Symphony Orchestra and the Vancouver Opera Orchestra. The VMA is the certified bargaining agent for these orchestras in accordance with the Labour Code of British Columbia.

Who can join?

All performers on musical instruments of any kind, vocalists, DJ’s, producers, composers, or other individuals who render musical services are eligible for membership, subject to AFM laws and jurisdiction.

How much does it cost to join?

The current fee to join is $285.00. This fee includes the AFM and VMA initiation fees, the current and next quarter's membership dues, the current year's Benevolent Society assessment fee, and the Benevolent Society Entrance Fee. To maintain your membership in the VMA, quarterly dues in the amount of $62.50 (2024) are payable. This fee is subject to change without notice.

What is the Musicians' Benevolent Society?

The Musicians' Benevolent Society (MBS) is a separate society founded in 1923. Upon your death, your beneficiary or estate will receive a lump sum. After one year of membership, you are eligible for this benefit. 

All members automatically become members of the MBS and remain members so long as they are members in good standing of the VMA.

This is not life insurance; it is members helping members. Members pay a $25.00 fee annually and the member's designated beneficiary will receive $3,500.

Should I join the VMA?

When you are considering membership in the VMA, Local 145 of the AFM, you might first ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you think of yourself as an aspiring or professional musician?
  • Are you earning your living, or a significant portion of your income, as a musician?
  • Do you live and do most of your musical work in the province of BC?
  • Do you want to put your career on a solid business foundation?

If the answer to any of the above questions is YES, then you are ready to join the VMA.

How much are membership dues?


Regular: $62.50 per quarter, or $240.00* per annum
Life: $32.50 per quarter, or $120.00* per annum

Inactive Life: $75.00 per annum


Regular: $65.00 per quarter, or $250.00* per annum
Life: $33.75 per quarter, or $125.00* per annum

Inactive Life: $75.00 per annum

*Discount is already applied to rate displayed.