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About us

The Independent Society of Musicians (ISM) is the UK’s largest representative non-union body for musicians and a nationally recognised subject association for music. We are financially independent with no political affiliation. Since 1882, we have been dedicated to promoting the importance of music and supporting those working in the music profession. The ISM changed its full name to the Independent Society of Musicians to coincide with its 140th anniversary on 7 October 2022.

The ISM has seen significant growth in recent years and we currently have over 11,000 members across the UK and Ireland. Members receive unrivalled legal expertise from our in-house legal team, comprehensive insurance and specialist services, to meet the professions and needs of those who work in music. Our members come from all areas of the music industry, and from a wide variety of genres and musical backgrounds. This includes those who are studying and starting out, as well as those with established, multi-faceted careers in the industry.

We campaign tirelessly in support of musicians’ rights, music education, diversity, sustainability and the needs of the profession. Our independence allows us the freedom to campaign on any issue affecting musicians, and to work alongside politicians, people and organisations to make change happen.

The ISM has won awards including an Association Excellence award for our 2016 conference, Make Music Work, and for our ISM Trust resources, notably the Primary Music Toolkit, which was the winner of the 2019 Music Teacher Awards for Excellence in Primary/Early Years music.

The ISM was named Individual Member Association of the Year at the UK Association Awards 2021, with the judges praising the society’s ‘strong member-centric approach’ with ‘a wide range of achievements under incredibly difficult conditions’ noting our work during the COVID-19 pandemic and campaigning for musicians’ touring rights following Brexit.

The ISM also has two sister charities, the ISM Trust, which as part of the ISM’s commitment to corporate social responsibility delivers professional development to the whole of the music sector, largely on a free basis; and the ISM Members Fund, which provides a range of health and wellbeing services to members.

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