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date: 05 April 2020

Unions, musicians’locked

  • Abram Loft
  • , revised by Tim J. Anderson


American organizations designed to regulate, protect, and improve the working conditions of their members (professional performing musicians) and to act as agents in negotiating contractual terms through the power of collective bargaining. Trade unionization of musicians in the United States began in the 19th century. Beginning in the 20th century and continuing into the 21st, musicians’ unions have had to contend with important technological changes that pose significant structural threats to controlling the production and distribution of entertainment.

The Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, a benevolent organization founded in 1820 and modeled after the Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain, and the American musical fund society , founded in the same city in 1849 (providing sick benefits, aid, and pensions to members, their widows, and orphans, as well as funeral expenses to members), were typical of early associations formed by professional and amateur musicians in the United States. Such societies also sponsored musical performances, lectures, and discussions by their members but did not regulate working conditions or represent members in their negotiations with employers. The Philadelphia Musical Association and the Musical Mutual Protective Union of New York, both founded in ...

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Journal of the Society for American Music