5 Reasons Why You Should Join ISM

5 Reasons Why You Should Join ISM

The Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) has striven to support musicians and advocate musicians’ rights since it was founded in 1882. Today, they support almost 10,000 members in the UK and Ireland – everyone from working musicians and music teachers to music students and retired musicians can benefit from becoming a member.

Find out below how they can help you progress in your musical endeavours, supporting and protecting you every step of the way.

1 Bespoke legal service

It may be a sweeping generalisation that creative types tend to shy away from the business aspects of their career, but most contracts and agreements you’ll encounter are likely to be riddled with complex legal jargon. The ISM therefore provides a bespoke legal service in-house, wherein they read through any contracts and agreements with a professional pair of eyes before you sign them, and offers templates and assistance when it comes to drafting your own contracts. They also keep their legal helpline open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so you’ll never have to feel like you’re facing an uncomfortable disagreement alone.

One such uncomfortable situation most musicians find themselves in at some point in their careers is not being paid for their services. The ISM’s legal team recovers thousands of pounds in unpaid fees every year for their members, so if your run-in with an unscrupulous venue owner or your dispute over a clause in a contract leaves you out of pocket, you’ll soon receive the support you need.

2 Insurance

The ISM also provides Public Liability Insurance (PLI), which is essential for any musician considering a career in performance. You can never quite predict what can go wrong on the night. Moreover, PLI is often a requirement for concert venues, or for live music agencies you’re looking to sign up with. As an ISM member, you’ll receive free liability insurance with cover up to £10m, whether it’s public liability for an accident caused by your performance or during a lesson you’re teaching, product liability for an accident caused by something you’ve designed or repaired, or employer’s liability for accidental injuries inflicted on someone while they’re working for you, so as a member you’ll be fully prepared for your next musical undertaking. And the best thing is, you’ll be protected from the day you sign up.

Don’t worry – the ISM doesn’t just protect others from you! They also offer musical instrument and equipment insurance with discounts of up to 20% - and there’s no limit on the number of instruments you can cover. Many musicians don’t trouble themselves with insurance – but when you find yourself heading to the side of the stage to bring out your priceless early sixties Stratocaster only to discover someone’s accidentally knocked it over, you’ll be glad to have taken advantage of the ISM’s exclusive offer!

3 Professional community

When you join the ISM family, you’re more than just a customer – you’re part of a community. As such, you’ll be given the opportunity to attend Special Interest Groups and various networking events to discuss and shape the course that the music industry is taking, building useful professional relationships along the way. Not only will this help shape your own musical career, but it will also help ensure a better future for generations of musicians to come.

The ISM is also heavily involved in campaigning for the rights of musicians, whether they be performers, composers or educators. If you have any concerns about how you or other members of the music community are treated, the ISM will give you a voice, and that voice will be heard.

4 Professional and personal development

To help you become the best musician you can be, the ISM offers regular seminars and special events which provide valuable opportunities to network with other professional musicians and gain essential knowledge. They also offer webinars and other online advice on such key topics as royalties, self-promotion and copyright.

Another significant part of your development as a musician is your personal wellbeing, something the ISM takes very seriously. In addition to their legal helpline, their personal advice and support line is also open 24 hours, so they can lend you a friendly ear anytime, anywhere. If you start to feel the strain at any point in your musical enterprises, the ISM also works with their sister charity, the ISM Members Fund, to offer face-to-face counselling and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). The ISM Members Fund has also just launched a pilot physiotherapy scheme, the first service of its kind offered on this scale in the music sector.

5 Enhanced visibility and presence

The ISM is more than willing to share their enhanced status with you. For example, if you’ve been teaching music to under 18s for six months or more, you can apply for Registered Private Teacher status, which includes a DBS check and certificates for you to display. If you’re a performer, session or otherwise, your affiliation with ISM will serve as a recognised credential.

Furthermore, the ISM can list your musical services for free on their Music Directory of music professionals – the only one of its kind in the UK – as well as promoting your gigs or concerts in their bi-monthly magazine, ISM Music Journal. It’s a fantastic way to hear about and be heard by the best professional musicians working today.