American Guild of Organists, In the Matter of

Last Updated:
In the Matter of American Guild of Organists, a corporation.
FTC Matter/File Number:

151 0159

Enforcement Type:

Part 2 Consents

Case Summary

The American Guild of Organists agreed to eliminate rules that restrict its members from competing for opportunities to perform to settle charges that the guild’s rules restrained competition and harmed consumers in violation of the FTC Act. The guild represents approximately 15,000 member organists and choral directors in 300 chapters in the US and abroad. Under the guild’s code of ethics, if a consumer wished to have someone other than an “incumbent musician” play at a venue for a wedding, funeral or other service, the consumer was required to pay both the incumbent and the consumer’s chosen musician. The code of ethics stated that “members are advised to protect themselves as incumbents” through contracts that secure fees even if they don’t perform. The guild also developed and publicized compensation schedules and formulas, and instructed its chapters and members to develop and use regionally applicable versions to determine charges for their services. The Commission's consent order requires the American Guild of Organists to stop restraining its members from soliciting work as musicians, and to stop issuing compensation schedules, guidance, or model contract provisions for members to use to determine their compensation. The guild must implement an antitrust compliance program, and is required under the order to stop recognizing chapters that fail to certify their compliance with the order’s provisions.