Posted in industry | music on August 2, 2007

ASCAPIn response to my post yesterday entitled 'ASCAP suing Hiro Ballroom & others' (and the many associated comments), ASCAP has written in with their side of the story:

Here's some background. ASCAP represents music creators, not artists. ASCAP is a non-profit membership association that distributes all of its net-revenues back to its songwriter, composer and publisher members. ASCAP is not the recording academy or the RIAA and is in no way involved in the sale (or profit) of music sales. Songwriters and publishers join ASCAP (or another performing rights organization) to collect public performance royalties. Often a songwriters' primary income comes from their performance royalties. Most writers can't tour or sell tee shirts. On behalf of them, we offer licenses to perform their musical compositions - given that Federal Copyright Law makes it clear that anyone who publicly performs copyrighted music needs permission to do so. It doesn't matter if it's a radio station, a cable channel, an Internet site, a ringtone provider or a club. ASCAP protects the rights of music creators and for over 90 years has been collecting for our members so that they can earn a living.
Continued below...

Just as a bar needs a liquor license (which costs money), they can obtain permission to publically perform copyrighted music through an ASCAP license (a performing rights license). Being a music blog, you know that music adds real value to many environments. A bar without music is rather dull. Having music in an establishment is an enhancement and a music license is an investment in that business. A small establishment's license from ASCAP can be under $1 a day to play any of ASCAP's 8.5 million musical works 24/7.

In terms of how these 'venue licensing' fees go back to the songwriters, it would be cost prohibitive to track all venue plays and pay based on that method so we use local broadcast surveys and distribute based on them. We are aware that there are some writers whose copyrighted work is performed locally but who aren't getting played on local radio. So we set aside nearly $3 million for members below a certain earning level whose performances are not picked up. This program is called ASCAPLUS http://www.ascap.com/ascapplus/index.aspx and is available to all qualifying members.

We at ASCAP are of course passionate about music, and we only use legal action as a last resort - after many attempts at an amicable resolution have failed. There is a reason why ASCAP wins all of these lawsuits.
Federal law protects the intellectual property of music creators. The intent in publicizing these lawsuits is to build education and enforcement of the law and awareness of the plight of the music creator.

This situation is indeed regrettable, but it has long been ASCAP's experience that if we do not engage with club owners and other music users, many of them simply avoid their obligations to comply with the law - which in the end really hurts the individual songwriters who are in reality, the smallest of small business owners.

Previously
* ASCAP suing Hiro Ballroom & others

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Tags: ASCAP

Comments (124)

We're listening to Daft Punk's "Discovery" out loud in my office right now. Please don't tell ASCAP.

Posted by Joey | August 2, 2007 2:27 PM

yeah i'm sure they don't charge substantial fees for their "service"...of sending U2 a bunch of money because a bar in williamsburg plays art brut songs.

Posted by MATT DAMON | August 2, 2007 2:34 PM

I work at a local bar as a DJ and the owner has told me that several members of ASCAP have contacted him for payouts. Once it was 3000 dollars, then they lowered it, then came back wanting more. He is trying to find a way to LEGALLY see if this is possible.

There is also BMI to deal with later on if people start accepting this ridiculous shit. How can you charge someone to play music? Do they charge the radio stations for playing the records and driving them up the charts? Do they charge retail outlets that play music through the speaker systems?

Posted by Ron | August 2, 2007 2:36 PM

Well said ASCAP representative. Hopefully this will put an end to all the criticism from those who have no idea what the purpose of organizations such as these are. although based on the above comment, it's sadly doubtful

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 2:38 PM

yes they do charge radio stations and record stores. that is what performance rights cover

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 2:40 PM

I don't understand when people started feeling as though they have the right to consume music for free? Yes music is art and it's purpose is not one solely for profit, but people who create music need money. ASCAP is not perfect, but neither is it "ridiculous shit". If an artist wants their music to be distributed and performed publicly for free, then he/she likely wouldn't have chosen to sign with a label in the first place. They should go get a creative commons license which would give others the legal rights to perform their music in any way they choose.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 2:45 PM

to answer your question yes, radio stations, supermarkets etc all have to pay.

i read that letter and it kind of answered my question, although as usual its not precise (the 1 dollar per day for small establishment figure). why dont they just reveal the scale of what the establishemnts have to pay, im figuring its based on attendace.

i do think the radio station plays is a bad way to track how money is distributed(and they distribute something like close to 500 mil per year according to wikipedia) so 3 mil out of that is chump change. but i wonder if a club could just keep track of what they play and report it directly by submitting set lists.. they could definitely do this, and it would be more equitable.

Posted by nyc noise fan | August 2, 2007 2:45 PM

What a pile of horseshit.

Yeah, ASCAP is looking out for the little guys. Look at this ridiculous application process to get these "awards" to the lesser-played writers:
http://www.ascap.com/ascapplus/index.aspx

And when you're done reading that page, here's what you get:
"ASCAP PLUS AWARDS
THE 2007 SUBMISSION DEADLINE HAS PASSED. NO FURTHER APPLICATIONS FOR THE CURRENT YEAR WILL BE ACCEPTED. THE NEXT SUBMISSION DEADLINE WILL BE JUNE 1, 2008."


Posted by anonymous | August 2, 2007 2:45 PM

damn BV...direct response to your post? you got some clout!

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 2:46 PM

yes ron. even retail stores get charged to play music.

Posted by jason | August 2, 2007 2:47 PM

"yes they do charge radio stations and record stores. that is what performance rights cover"

So what about the Sony Music payola scandal last year? So what's happening is the record companies are paying the DJ's at the radio stations who pay ASCAP and BMI? C'mon, these are the reasons that the record industry is in the shitter. It's not like anyone is going to "bootleg" a DJ set at a bar. They will hear a good song and go out and buy it. That's the way it works and that' sthe way an artist makes money. This ASCAP stuff is petty bullshit. The guy that wrote the letter in the post has to get paid right?

Posted by Ron | August 2, 2007 2:48 PM

hey ascap, if i get my oldmusicteacher to say that you are ugly you can have my money.

anyone rememebr the otherday when lenard cohen said 'hey ascap yr ugly?'??

such a coincidince cause he'snot my musicteacher but he could teach me about music if he wants cause herules.

ghetto socks, ghetto socks. i hate the sho entourage. and you a$cap.

Posted by Taco Time for Mom & Dad | August 2, 2007 2:55 PM

People need to stop confusing the recording industry with the songwriting industry. They are two COMPLETELY different entities of the music biz and not related AT ALL.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 2:57 PM

"People need to stop confusing the recording industry with the songwriting industry. They are two COMPLETELY different entities of the music biz and not related AT ALL."

That are both ways the artists make income so they are indirectly connected. Have you ever seen an ASCAP invoice for an artist? A person I used to work with was in a semi-successful band in the early '90s and wrote one of the more recognizable guitar riffs of that "grunge" era. His songs were played in movies, TV and other outlets. You know how much his monthly payouts from ASCAP were? it ranged from $5 - $15 a month. C'mon... I'm just waiting for the big headline... "ASCAP bigwigs dipping in the till"

Posted by Ron | August 2, 2007 3:04 PM

"People need to stop confusing the recording industry with the songwriting industry. They are two COMPLETELY different entities of the music biz and not related AT ALL."

They're related only in their similarly deplorable practices that alienate consumers and drive people to find their music for free.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 3:04 PM

Joey - It's a PUBLIC performance fee so only those venues open to the pubic have to pay a fee. And I'm pretty sure that Ascap has some sort of a formula based on square footage that they use to charge the owners of places that play the licensed music.

Posted by fratster | August 2, 2007 3:06 PM

ASCAP is a decent organization - run by artists and people who care about music. I know some of you love to jump on companies and anyone who charges money for ANYTHING but look, it's not easy to do what they're doing. And what they're doing benefits the artists without whom you wouldn't HAVE any music. If someone bakes a cake should everyone in the world be entitled to a piece for free?

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 3:13 PM

That's a poor analogy, 3:13. It's more like charging people for smelling a cake that's baked.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 3:18 PM

BMI pays better

Posted by Rerun | August 2, 2007 3:20 PM

Don't just bitch, do something about it. Use creative commons licenses. We publish all our music under a CC license that expressly permits DJs, sampling, and nonprofit uses, like mashups. If you wanna play our music between periods at Knick game, that's a commercial use, so you pay, for example.

By the way, ASCAP once sued the girl scouts for singing happy birthday.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 3:30 PM

What part of this thread have you not understood? ASCAP pays out $500 Million a year to artists. These "artists" are the ones who receive airplay, and whose CDs actually sell in stores.

ONCE A YEAR ascap spits out %0.08 of its annual awards (3 million) to artists who don't get enough radio airplay to share in the pie. This is after the artist fills out an complicated application.

Posted by anonymous | August 2, 2007 3:32 PM

i think it's funny how all these people who read blogs think they know how the music industry works. if you feel like songwriters should not get paid for their work, perhaps you should start your own lobby group against paying songwriters. i'm sure at least then you'd get schooled and probably change your opinion. ascap isn't asking for unreasonable royalties. for what hiro ballroom charges for a drink and how much they feature music in their programming, i think they can afford to share some of the wealth. if you say that no one should pay money -- and we're only talking commercial institutions that use music to garner customers and business aka businesses that use music to make money -- then you're probably on limewire right now downloading albums for free. and that just ain't right.

Posted by addison | August 2, 2007 3:33 PM

BMI supports broadcasters. ASCAP supports artists.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 3:33 PM

fuck the riaa, fuck the fcc, and fuck ascap

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 3:35 PM

if you fuck them, you might as well fuck the artists too. and fuck music. and fuck music blogs. get over yourself.

Posted by addison | August 2, 2007 3:37 PM

So many of these comments are straight up lies/misinformation. It actually borders on slander. BV...please editorialize and set some of these idiots on here straight.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 3:46 PM

"yeah i'm sure they don't charge substantial fees for their "service"...of sending U2 a bunch of money because a bar in williamsburg plays art brut songs.

Posted by MATT DAMON | August 2, 2007 2:34 PM"


Art Brut couldn neither wash The Edge's jockstrap nor skullcap.

If you're so concerned about Art Brut being the underdog and starving, then adopt them, feed them, bathe them, and clothe them, and give them your money, you hipster-hypocrite.

But check this out first:

Art Brut have a quite widespread following of "franchises", whose names range from AB0 (the original Art Brut) to AB3.14/Pi, AB2 or even to AB17. The band We Are Scientists are also an Art Brut franchise, AB47. These franchises often record and play Art Brut songs during performances.

Posted by east coast promo man | August 2, 2007 3:52 PM

ASCAP is a non-profit organization that helps songwriters. I don't get what makes them the bad guy here.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 4:00 PM

I understand why people don't want to pay for music -- who doesn't like free stuff? and if people could get away with it without any risk, they'd take anything, even if they didn't want it -- but I don't understand why they get upset when commercial establishments which are using songs to attract customers to make more money for themselves actually have to pay for the use of those songs. Do they all hold artists in such contempt that they enjoy seeing them ripped off?

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 4:02 PM

What if your bar only plays singer-songwriter material? Then, by purchasing the music in the first place, dont we have the right to play it?

it takes a dozen people to write something like "SexyBack" or "Slave4You." Maybe if the CD actually listed "Justin Timberlake (and his band of songwriters!)" rather than simply, "JT," writers could get paid when the CDs are purchased.

Can a DJ purchase a license directly from ASCAP to play any of thier 8.5 million works? Then you are in the clear no matter WHERE you spin!!

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 4:03 PM

i think it's funny how addison, who read blogs thinks they know how the nightclub industry works. if you feel like club and bar owners should not get paid for their work, perhaps you should start your own lobby group against paying club owners. i'm sure at least then you'd get schooled and probably change your opinion.

tool

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 4:03 PM

Hey tool,
what are you smoking? that reply didn't even make sense.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 4:08 PM

Say you are a songwriter and a member of ASCAP. You make a deal with a band to record your song. Then Old Navy decides to play the record in their store. Do you think that Old Navy should pay ASCAP because they use your song in order to sell khaki shorts? yes.

They are using the music to enhance their business. You are a songwriter who will not get a percentage of the master payments... So, you rely on performance fees, and for those fees, you rely on ASCAP or BMI to act on your behalf and claim those fees for you.

Posted by el192 | August 2, 2007 4:08 PM

"Maybe if the CD actually listed "Justin Timberlake (and his band of songwriters!)" rather than simply, "JT," writers could get paid when the CDs are purchased."

Writers do get paid when CD's are purchased - if I remember correctly, the performer gets one type of royalties, and the writer gets another type. If the performer is the writer, they get both.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 4:09 PM

oh please, you don't have any idea. club owners do get paid. they don't have to use music. they choose to. why? because it helps earn them money. if you didn't think the music was valuable, you wouldn't use it at all. why do you think films, tv shows and commercials use music? because it sells and enhances their product. why should club owners be excluded? they use music to make a profit too.

Posted by addison | August 2, 2007 4:11 PM

It's not about good guys/bad guys. And I think you could say I know how the music industry works and suffice it to say it isn't a meritocracy. The best artists don't sell the best. The artists that sell the best are the ones whose companies can afford the best publicity and distribution. Record racks have limited space. A radio station can play 4-8 songs an hour. These are not chosen by taste. It's commerce.

In the digital world, what scares record companies the most is that any artist can distribute effectively. RIAA are suing to shut down peer to peer neworks not because of "piracy" but because of competition. Record sales have slumped not because more people are downloading them but because people are downloading other things. I'm buying fewer records because I'm finding and buying more new, independent music than ever. I'm not forced to pick everything I hear through record store racks.

So what makes ASCAP the bad guy? That they are wed to old models of business, and are blocking new ones through things like support for draconian changes in copyright law that lock up songs for 150 years, and that hurts future creativity. They also charge commercial fees for noncommercial uses. I wasn't kidding about them suing the girl scouts. Internet royalty rates, anyone?

ASCAP could be a more effective organization for more artists. But it's becoming a litigation machine, trying to sue its old ways of business into the future.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 4:17 PM

"It was this reasoning that inspired ASCAP to send thousands of letters to summer camps across the country, demanding hundreds of dollars in annual royalties from, among others, Girl Scouts, presumably for songs sung around the campfire. An ASCAP official explained, ''They buy twine and glue for their crafts... they can pay for the music, too.'' He was right as a legal matter - indeed, it is against the law to sing ''Happy Birthday'' in public without paying a royalty - and disastrously wrong as a practical one."

http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/terribletowel.htm

Posted by anonymous | August 2, 2007 4:25 PM

exactly...perfect choice to excerpt!

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 4:30 PM

Ask yourself this question. For all the millions, perhaps billions of people who make music, why just four major labels to distrinute it? Does that seem effective? For all the millions, perhaps billions of songs, why ASCAP and BMI? Does this seem sensible to anyone?

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 4:34 PM

wow! ASCAP really is evil. That "statement" makes me hate them even more.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 4:51 PM

Dicks like you are evil.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 4:56 PM

what's evil is the constant harrassment and threats that my friend who owns a restaurant puts up with on a DAILY basis from ASCAP pieces of shit.
People on this site should realize that the rich venues and businesses (i.e. the ones that actually PLAY the garbage that is written by the people who are paid by ASCAP for their compositions), have no problem paying the thousands of dollars per year that these licenses cost.
The places that support the kind of music WE LIKE, are typically not raking in money, and can not afford these licenses. THESE are the places that ASCAP goes after (with great enthusiasm).

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 5:02 PM

"Do they charge the radio stations for playing the records and driving them up the charts?"

"yes they do charge radio stations and record stores. that is what performance rights cover"

Not according to some recent items posted on Idolator. These items say that in the U.S., radio stations don't have to pay the holders of the recording copyrights (i.e., usually the record labels) because radio airplay has been regarded as a promotional tool to boost sales of recordings. The record labels are trying to change that now.

I don't know if radio stations currently pay ASCAP and BMI, though.

Posted by Hyman Decent | August 2, 2007 5:05 PM

"The places that support the kind of music WE LIKE, are typically not raking in money, and can not afford these licenses."

So that means they should get to play music for free? Bullshit.

Don't go into business unless you understand the costs of doing business. This stuff didn't just get whipped up overnight...it's common knowledge.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 5:09 PM

Actually there should only be ONE society to collect all the performance royalties and pay writers/publishers. Every country in the world except the US is set up that way. It would be much simpler for everyone involved. It would be cheaper for ASCAP to do business and have more money left over to distribute.

ASCAP/BMI/SESAC do not sell or distribute the music... It is completely different than a label which has limitations as to how much different "product" they can properly promote and distribute (and as a result even short-change the attention they can give to many of the artists on their rosters).

Everyone - Please read a great book called Everything You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald Passman. I have given a copy to every act I have ever worked with to learn where their money comes from and where they get screwed out of it! ASCAP is pretty much one of the good guys (their board is all songwriters and publishers).

Posted by John | August 2, 2007 5:11 PM

I was in a shitty hardcore band that got ripped off day and night by labels and toured for half a dozen years making just about enough to pay for gas money and our recording bills. However, our songs were in jukeboxes, played in clubs and were broadcast on internet radio. It was the only money I ever saw. ASCAP really is protecting artist's interests unlike the RIAA which is completely profit driven. They do not even charge the artist a membership fee.

As for why there are only two -- there aren't (SECAC - which is invite only). There are three in the US and each country has its sister own sister companies that collect internationally. Tis is not a monopoly. This is a government sanctioned entity.

Posted by Poop Face Killer | August 2, 2007 5:13 PM

Anon 5:02
is completely correct. ASCAP calls on SMALL bars in nyc CONSTANTLY. Anyone who thinks it is easy to make it as a bar owner in this city withOUT dealing with threats from ASCAP, is severely wrong.

Anon 5:09
YES. they should get to play the music for free. The small bars are ADVERTISING for "small" music. ASCAP should realize that.

you think an up and coming band is going to be upset if i play their cd in my bar and talk about how great they are to all of my customers, but i didnt pay ASCAP?

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 5:19 PM

"you think an up and coming band is going to be upset if i play their cd in my bar and talk about how great they are to all of my customers, but i didnt pay ASCAP?"

Please - don't you think an up and coming band would love for you to play their CD AND get paid?!

You must be paying ConEd to refrigerate the beer...are they more deserving of your cash?

Posted by John | August 2, 2007 5:27 PM

is anyone getting any work done in the ASCAP offices today? seems like you're all posting pro-comments under "anonymous" on this blog

Posted by jock strap | August 2, 2007 5:29 PM

this could go on forever.

being a music lover is never enough, i guess...

being a music lover vs. being a music freedom fighter?

cant we all get along?

no. guess not.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 5:30 PM

"don't you think an up and coming band would love for you to play their CD AND get paid?!"

the point is that they DON'T get paid! ASCAP said themselves, "it would be cost prohibitive to track all venue plays and pay based on that method so we use local broadcast surveys and distribute based on them".
How can they pay an artist if they don't know their music is being played? They don't! They operate on the assumption that all venues are playing the top-selling artists and distribute the money to these artists.
I would totally support ASCAP if, for example, every time a bar played a track by Deerhoof, they actually got a deposit in their band account. it doesn't work this way.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 6:14 PM

"A small establishment's license from ASCAP can be under $1 a day"

BULLSHIT! they wanted $2000/year from the bar I work for. Then, once you pay ASCAP... you STILL have to pay BMI and SESAC.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 6:24 PM

next time you complain about how expensive a drink is...

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 6:28 PM

let's just face it...there are people out there who think everything should be free. they are the same people who would sneak into a show without buying a ticket. they're also the same people who would steal a t-shirt from the merch table if given a chance.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 6:44 PM

let's just face it...there are people out there who think everything should be free. they are the same people who would sneak into a show without buying a ticket. they're also the same people who would steal a t-shirt from the merch table if given a chance.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 6:44 PM

If it was up to most of you "supportive music fans" you'd only pay for music when you had to face the artist eye to eye (i.e. seeing them live). Otherwise you think it's all owed to you and for free to boot. I don't know how we got to this point but it's a major bummer with a capital k. You're probably the same people who bitch when bands sell their songs to ads. Musicians need to live somewhere and eat. They don't live in the magical lands depicted on their album covers (especially the band Yes who probably have plenty of money but whose album covers are often extra crazy nonsensical landscapes).

Posted by Billy Wilder | August 2, 2007 6:46 PM

"Anyone who thinks it is easy to make it as a bar owner in this city withOUT dealing with threats from ASCAP, is severely wrong."

Try making it as a songwriter/musician you piece of crap! At least when someone walks into your crap bar there's an expectation that they'll have to actually PAY FOR THEIR DRINK!!!

More and more people don't even expect to have to pay for music. I mean why should we have to pay for music, right? Music should be free because I'm some smelly hippy hipster who knows dick about shit. Try making an even modest living when your customers don't even expect to have to pay for your product. Man you really suck. You have
no idea.

You think its harder to sell 2 beers for ten bucks than a CD for the same price? Go Fuck yourself.


Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 6:52 PM

"there are people out there who think everything should be free. they are the same people who would sneak into a show without buying a ticket."

an ASCAP guy said that almost word for word to me when I answered the phone at the bar and asked him what he wanted.

the last 4 comments were so obviously ASCAP employees.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 7:03 PM

corrected it for you

the last 4 comments were so obviously starving musicians.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 7:07 PM

Nope...I'm a BMI employee. We're basically the same thing.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 7:13 PM

corrected again...those comments were made by people who know how the music industry works. all contradictory comments are made by people who are so ignorant on the subject that it's not even worth of debating them.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 7:16 PM

On the off chance that hearing certain songs in a bar will only prompt people to come back to that bar, and not to run out and buy the band's album, a system of payments to songwriters is necessary (though I do agree that ASCAP's current m.o. is imperfect).

I don't work for BMI, ASCAP or SESAC. Nor am I a starving musician. I like bars.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 7:23 PM

I work at a pretty hip restaurant in NYC near Soho where we often (not always) play GREAT indie rock, etc from employees ipods. I can't even tell you the number of times a customer asks who the artist is that's playing and I write down the name and album. All the time, probably everyday. It creates an atmosphere in the restaurant, sure, but it's also free advertising for the artists. I'm just sayin'.

Posted by lowlips | August 2, 2007 7:27 PM

Just sayin',

I recommend bars and restaurants all the time, that's free advertising too.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 7:52 PM

I drink my beers with the label still on the bottle. Is that free advertising for the beer manufacturers?

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 7:59 PM

Didn't get to finish my post...
I drink my beers with the label still on the bottle. Is that free advertising for the beer manufacturers? Does that mean my beer should be free?

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 8:10 PM

No one is saying artists shouldn't get paid. What we are saying here is this...

If a bar turns on the radio does the bar then have to pay for what songs are broadcast over it within the bar?

Someone mentioned Old Navy. If Old Navy buys a compilation album from a distributer - which is intended for retail broadcast, do they have to pay additional fees?

If the Rolling Stones talk about a band they enjoy and play a cover of their songs, do they have to pay for that?

If someone is hanging out at a park and playing music that other people can hear, does that person have to pay for them hearing it because they are "broadcasting it in public?"

If I have a party and I play CDs or MP3s that I purchased, do I now have to pay a fee because I'm "broadcasting" it to my partygoers?


I can see if a bar/club has a house band that plays covers all the time or they have "so and so band night" where they play entire albums. But come on, some of these just don't make any sense. We are going to far here.

Posted by Jeff | August 2, 2007 8:54 PM

What about TV's on in bars, restaurants, electronic stores?....do the actors get paid royalties, do athletes get money from sport bars?
I think once a CD is purchased it should be allowed to be played in a bar, restaurant, etc for people's enjoyment for free as long as you are specifically charging them to listen to it... You put money in jukeboxes....isnt there a way for ASCAP to get paid without shaking down bars ? I'm all for musicians earning a living but I don't think they are being taken advantage in alot of these cases...

Posted by RT | August 2, 2007 9:55 PM

Radio? Yup.. you still gotta pay:

"By law, any public playback of material belonging to someone else is public performance. This includes the radio (in some cases), live bands, CDs, karaoke or any other form of playback. If used to enhance a business, licensing is required.

"From what I understand, there are about three companies, and each one of them tries to get you to pay $1,500 apiece just to play the radio," Conner said. "It doesn't make sense to me."

http://www.decaturdaily.com/decaturdaily/news/050302/cafe.shtml

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 9:59 PM


>>>as long as you are specifically charging them to listen to it..<<

oops I meant to write.. as long as you are NOT specifically charging them

Posted by RT | August 2, 2007 10:33 PM

If a bar turns on the radio does the bar then have to pay for what songs are broadcast over it within the bar?
Answer: Yes. They use this music to enhance the ambience of their establishment in order to generate business and create overall enjoyment amongst employees/patrons. The people who own the copyrights (the intangible property known as the song) have the legal right to get paid when their copyrights are being exploited in any way.

Someone mentioned Old Navy. If Old Navy buys a compilation album from a distributer - which is intended for retail broadcast, do they have to pay additional fees?
Answer: Yes. They've paid for the physical product and the record label has been paid. However, they haven't covered securing the right to exploit those copyrights to the general public. I however know (because this is my job) that companies like Old Navy are serviced by audio programming companies who put together playlists for them.

If the Rolling Stones talk about a band they enjoy and play a cover of their songs, do they have to pay for that?
Answer: Yes. There's many factors to consider though. Are they going to record and sell that song? If so the copyright owner(s) get paid for record sales called mechanical royalties. They also get paid everytime that song is played on the radio etc. If the Stones just play that song in concert, the promoter or venue usually secures the ASCAP/BMI/SESAC license and the rest is taken care of.

If someone is hanging out at a park and playing music that other people can hear, does that person have to pay for them hearing it because they are "broadcasting it in public?"
Answer: No. Unless they begin drawing crowds, it's basically the same as driving around with your radio up and windows down.

If I have a party and I play CDs or MP3s that I purchased, do I now have to pay a fee because I'm "broadcasting" it to my partygoers?
Answer: No. It's your private party and you can do what you want at it. If you're charging money at the door, it could be of concern. You could also have issues with the IRS if you're generating income. If you have a large party at a bar or club, that establishment would take care of ASCAP/BMI/SESAC.


I can see if a bar/club has a house band that plays covers all the time or they have "so and so band night" where they play entire albums. But come on, some of these just don't make any sense. We are going to far here
Response: All establishments are assessed differently for their licenses. If one has a public place and wants to play music, they by law need a license to do so. Also, keep in mind, the companies who collect and distribute these monies to copyright holders do so as non-profit companies. This means they do what they do in the interest of artists.

Posted by mike | August 2, 2007 11:10 PM

"What about TV's on in bars, restaurants, electronic stores?....do the actors get paid royalties, do athletes get money from sport bars?"

I know that bars that show baseball, football, etc. games owe the leagues money. Some years ago the NFL took legal action against some bars that showed NFL games without paying the NFL.

Posted by Anonymous | August 2, 2007 11:46 PM

this is why people don't like hipsters. you complain about hiro ballroom all the time and then when hiro ballroom gets any flack you run to its defense. its hard to listen to people who are constantly complaining. especially when they are pretending like they know what the hell they are talking about. just shut up.

Posted by come on now | August 3, 2007 12:55 AM

i just gotta shout out "east coast promo man" up there for being so straight up gully man - art brut franchises - that's freakin priceless!!!

Posted by su | August 3, 2007 2:09 AM

I don't think anyone is defending Hiro Ballroom. In fact, one person said they hope Hiro Ballroom goes away.
What people are saying is that they hate the ridiculous practices of ASCAP.
You (come on now 12:55am, probably an ASCAP employee) say that people speaking against ASCAP are "hipsters" who don't know what they are talking about.
Did it ever occur to you that some people on this site actually work in the music business and DO know what they are talking about? They see through the scam that is ASCAP.
It's funny how whenever someone speaks out against the government or some corporation, the defense of the powerful ones is "you don't know what you're talking about. We do. Just pay up and shut up."

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2007 8:23 AM

"Didn't get to finish my post...
I drink my beers with the label still on the bottle. Is that free advertising for the beer manufacturers? Does that mean my beer should be free?"

Does watching you drink that beer make me want to buy that beer... or stay far away from it?

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2007 9:01 AM


>>> know that bars that show baseball, football, etc. games owe the leagues money. Some years ago the NFL took legal action against some bars that showed NFL games without paying the NFL.
<<<

God knows NFL players are underpaid !.... go get those bars for supporting the local teams & giving a place where the average Joe Sixpack can to go to watch the games with their friends because they cant afford tickets to the real games because they are either too expensive or gobbled up by rich companies who hand them out like candy to impress clients

Posted by Dave T | August 3, 2007 10:26 AM

This comments section contains a whole lot of stupid today. Here's a tip: if you don't know what/who ASCAP are, please shut up. They aren't the same as the RIAA. For the most part they do a lot of good work for songwriters. I know that a lot of you love to steal music and are letting that cloud your judgement, but the dumbassery that many of you are posting is way too ignorant.

Do you really not get how copyrights/publishing rights work?

Posted by beedlebaum | August 3, 2007 10:55 AM

these are the same vile bastards that sue the girl scouts for singing copyrighted campfire songs

i hope they and every other megalomaniacal cartel in the industry continue the trend of marginalizing themeselves.

Posted by eric | August 3, 2007 12:02 PM

the Girl Scouts is a business and should be treated like one.

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2007 12:05 PM

all of you dont understand the purpose of these organizations.

they have nothing to do with us (the consumer)

a song writer (writes a song) and deserves to get paid (royalities) for usage of that song

rather then the writer hunt down everyone (who is promoting there own business's) who has used that song (radio, cable, internet) they go to ASCAP/BMI to collect that money on behalf of their clients

they are non profit organizations. that have been around for many decades. they didnt just appear yesterday.

in a time where song writers need to find other sources of revenue outside cd sales, public performance is one that many songwriters depend on. they do not hurt the industry and do not effect the consumers.

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2007 2:05 PM

it doesn't sound like there is anyone who DOESN'T get it.
People are not complaining about ASCAP collecting royalty money for musicians. What the complaints are about are the harassing of small businesses for money that is dispersed to wealthy rock stars when ASCAP does not even know what these businesses are actually playing>

Posted by Anonymous | August 3, 2007 2:31 PM

Because a sample of a top 40 radio station at rush hour is in any way related to what music is being played in small dive bars and art gallery's?

I know one art gallery that makes ever artist sign a waver saying that they will only preform original materials that they are being compensated for and ASCAP is trying to hit them up for more money because according to them 50% of all songs played in EVERY club are covers. They don't seem to realize that that average is from cover bands in sports bars who play all covers with bands in art galleries that play no clovers.

Some one at ASCAP needs to take a 101 class on statistics at a local community college in the ghetto so that they realize that their assumptions are completely wrong.

Posted by Steve | August 4, 2007 12:50 AM

man, no wonder most bands hate their fans

ASCAP all the way

Posted by Anonymous | August 4, 2007 6:01 PM

Don't get me wrong, I am all about bashing corporations and lambasting them for caring more about making a buck over caring about the individual. However, ASCAP is not one of those corporations, it is a non-profit organization set up to ensure songwriters and publishers are paid properly for the performances of their works. I am a songwriter member of ASCAP. I do not have a record deal, nor do I have no publishing deal. In fact, the only money I have received up until this point is from my ASCAP checks. I get them because my works were performed on MTV, CBS and other networks. I also receive 400 dollars a year from my ascap plus award, the very award one of your readers was bashing. I am not U2 or some other huge artist, yet I am still getting paid from ASCAP. Pretty good money too. Hmmm... I guess that kills the argument that ASCAP only pays top 40 artists...

Posted by anonymous | August 5, 2007 7:17 PM

I see, one writer received his whopping $400 "award" for a year and that "kills the argument that ASCAP only pays top 40 artists." There is no "argument". ASCAP allocates %0.08 of its annual awards to artists who don't show up on their surveys of radio station playlists. That's a fact. You got your pittance, that's great. It doesn't change the overall numbers.

Posted by Anonymous | August 5, 2007 8:02 PM

For all the tools complaining that people want music to be free - NO, that's not what's being discussed! No one is saying music should be free.

What many people are saying is that the licenses that businesses are forced to pay out are outrageous and arbitrary. If you have already bought music why should you pay, once again, for a performance license?

Live performances should be paid for. Paying to play music through a sound system or cd player at your place of business - music you already bought - is a rip-off.

I don't know any artist or songwriter who would get angry because some bar or other venue is playing their music. If anything it's free publicity.

Posted by Anonymous | August 6, 2007 4:42 AM

For all the tools complaining that people want music to be free - NO, that's not what's being discussed! No one is saying music should be free.

What many people are saying is that the licenses that businesses are forced to pay out are outrageous and arbitrary. If you have already bought music why should you pay, once again, for a performance license?

Live performances should be paid for. Paying to play music through a sound system or cd player at your place of business - music you already bought - is a rip-off.

I don't know any artist or songwriter who would get angry because some bar or other venue is playing their music. If anything it's free publicity.

Posted by Alex | August 6, 2007 4:43 AM

I used to work at a venue. We got harassed by ASCAP. We told them that if we were to pay their fee, the artists would be paid less because we would deduct a portion of their payout for ASCAP licensing fees. The ASCAP guy said- "there you go! that's a good way to pay for it!" I pointed out that this is ripping off the very musicians that ASCAP claims to look out for. He did not care, he just wanted his licensing money.
We ended up paying because we were tired of the constant threats of lawsuits and harassment. As a result, musicians made LESS money.
And it's not the top 40 artists that are paid all of the venue licensing money It's actually the top 200 I believe.
And, as someone already pointed out- no one is saying that ASCAP is 100% bad and never pays any money to the smaller artists. We're talking about venue licensing fees here.

Posted by Anonymous | August 6, 2007 8:43 AM

a case of rich rock stars getting richer off of the sweat of working-class musicians. That's what ASCAP is all about.

Posted by Anonymous | August 6, 2007 9:12 AM

I farted and it sounded like Jingle Bells - Who do I pay

Posted by Anonymous | August 21, 2007 6:38 PM

ASCAP, BMI and SESAC extort small business for money because they can. All three hound me at least once a week. They now have my cell phone. I agree that if you profit from music you should pay but the way they go about it is unfair. I don't play a lot of music and I considered turning it off. They said do you watch Monday Night Football. I said yes. They said they own the rights to the Monday night football theme pay us. They say they can list all their artists. Go to their site. they list it in such a manner you can't figure out who has the rights to which song. BMI has the music, ASCAP has the words and SESAC has the artist. They created a way to ensure they all get paid. When I told them I don't understand the contract would they send a representative to my location to explain it to me. I am a customer. They said no, pay us or we will sue you. They have threatened just about everyone of my employees. I am calling my congressman and asking them to force them to provide a code of conduct or maybe regulate the fees so they can't charge what they want. Go to the site and find out how much a place has to pay. they won't even list it. I wonder why so many small business fail.

Posted by Steve | August 21, 2007 10:29 PM

so, how much are they extorting you for?

Posted by Anonymous | August 22, 2007 12:46 AM

ASCAP $2400 per year BMI $2400 and SESAC not sure I think it is $1,200. Keep in mind I do not make a lot of money off music. I play the radio unless their is a sports event. And to add insult to injury after I pay this, they tell you that this does not include your juke box or if you want to play a CD. Also if I have a band and charge at the door I'm not covered for that. Read their contracts on the web. Bottom line I could pay them all this money and they could still sue me. They suck.

Posted by Steve | August 22, 2007 10:28 AM

They starting coming after the place I work at last week. All we do is play the radio. And most of the time it is classical. Somehow I don't think they are paying Bach for his music.

The music doesn't "enhance" our business. No one is coming in because we play the radio (they can sit in their cars and listen to it). It just adds a little background noise.

So when we said we wouldn't need a license because we would just get rid of the radio instead, they started demanding back fees for all the years we had been in business.

Personally, the whole royalty thing needs be done away with or extended to every single job out there. You should have to pay a fee to every person who helped build your car every time you drive it and they should get a cut when you sell it. Brush your teeth and pay a fee to all the people at the plant that produced the toothbrush. Take a step wearing shoes and pay everyone that had anything to do with making it. Sounds pretty stupid doesn't it.

When I do a job I get paid for it once. No matter how many people benefit from my work afterward, I get one bite of the apple. Honestly, why should writers, musicians or actors be any different?

Posted by JamesKP | August 24, 2007 11:05 PM

Thank you, thank you, thank you! The entertainment industry is the only industry where SOME artists and songwriters feel that it is their God given right to get paid for something they created fifty years ago! even after they're dead!

Maybe we should go back to the time when they were paid like everybody else - by the job!

Posted by vargas | August 25, 2007 1:04 AM

yeah ascap. you definitly look out for your members. is that why i published and wrote on a top 60 song this year and haven't made a dime. so really you are saying you take legal action for your own benefit. go fuck yourselves.

Posted by john | September 17, 2007 4:52 PM

Well here is the thing that no one seems to mention - ASCAP has seemingly hired people who used to work for collection agency's and know very little about the music business. Let first look at the basic and simple fact here - the concept is good. If I own any sort of public venue and I allow someone to come in and play someone else's music I need to license to do that. If I play a CD over the sound system, and sound system from a boom box to an arena PA, I need a license to do that. Ok - so makes sense. Fine and I don't think most people have an issue with that and really the key word here is "public". if I buy a CD and play it at my house for 20 people who came over to play a game I am ok. But if I take that same CD and play it for 5 people at the corner dunkin donuts I need a license.

Now that is where the problem starts coming in. And this is where ASCAP is no taking it to the extreme and also why I think they are using collection agency workers. Over the last year more small business have been getting letters and then calls from someone in the Georgia ASCAP office, a female, who uses threats such as "Pay of we will shut you down" "Pay or we will sue you for each song you play". here is one example - and it had NOTHING to do with how ASCAP tries to sell themselves - a restaurant that has people come in and do stand up comedy one night a week has been harassed for over a year now because the people doing stand up "might be" doing "cover material" yes - you heard correctly. The ASCAP lady insists that ASCAP needs to pay money to the stand up comedians whose material might be being performed. Ok...tell me please - WTF?!?!?!?! When pressed the ASCAP lady says she has done "research" on the restaurant, but as she is in Atlanta she had never actually set foot inside the place...she admits she looked on a web page and saw that the place did stand up on the weekend. But again - look at what ASCAP always says - they are there for people who write music - so tell me again what this had to with stand up comedy?

Now another example - a small coffee shop that hold 20 people at the most but on average no more than 4 - 8 people are ever in the place. Some of the kids from the high school talk one day about how they wish there was someplace local they could play their music. An idea is born so for about 10 nights over the summer the place hosted an open mic. keep in mind not only is this a small business but also in a small town - so it is mainly the same people over the 10 open mic nights. it was outside, the most people were maybe 40 on average it was maybe 20. No admission, no pay - mostly hight school age kids learning how to sing and play in front of people. There was a 7 year old who did some knock knock jokes. There was an Irish guy who read some limerick's. it really was not any sort of huge money maker for anyone, just some fun. So ASCAP gets wind of this and sends letters saying they play CD's every day and have live bands on Fridays. Also that the venue is 50 people and they need to pay 600.00 a year. SO now enter the bill collector ASCAP lady from Atlanta on the phone - "pay us or we will sue you for $100,000.00" When told the coffee shop hold 20 at the most ASCAP lady says 50 people is the lowest ASCAP can enter so that is just how it is. As for high school kids singing there own songs ASCAP lady says "How do you know it is there own songs?" When told one performer has a CD out, is member of ASCAP and sing her own stuff from the CD ASCAP lady says "If the music is published than ASCAP collects money when it is played and you need a license to have them sing their own music." Again - WTF?!?!?!?!?!?

When asked about places like Dr's offices and supermarkets and even the local dinner ASCAP lady gets serious and says "I need names!!" When pressed on why small mom and pops business who, on a good day, make maybe 200 bucks were being targeted ASCAP lady says "We have complaints from other business's there" and add on "We had an agent go there and they observed the open mic" Now this is clearly someone who uses collection agency tactics because you have someone who admits they are in Atlanta talking to someone in a town they have never heard off that is so small everyone knows everyone else saying that, basically, a stranger came this open mic and took notes on the whole business and went unnoticed. Not even close - you think over 10 open mics with most of them having about 10 people who came every time and a few where friend of people who were doing the open mic came - remember people - kids in school so these were like their little brothers/sisters/dads aunts/uncles - not anyone "unknown". Point is no ASCAP agent came and observed anything. Nothing more than collection agents tactics that ASCAP is using to extort money from people who don't know anything about the industry and who are doing nothing more than hanging out with friends...except because the "friends" happen to be in a public place it is somehow illegal.

So - ASCAP is not really addressing the core issue here - and that is not collection money for the public performance of songs but what do they seriously think they are doing by using collection agency tactics on small places that make less than $1,000 a week, barely covering costs, in small towns that most people will never hear of until ASCAP sues some mom and pop business in said small town. And as a side note - when asked about ASCAP the open mic performer who had their own CD out said they could play every day for a year doing their own material and ASCAP would send them nothing. However you ask the lady from Atlanta and you get that any place that plays music of any kind, original or not, needs to have an ASCAP license - oh, and lets not forget stand up comics who clearly do "cover material" that ASCAP is now paying out money on.

Yeah - ASCAP has gone over the edge. I know for a fact that several small mom and pops who have been harassed by this ASCAP lady in Atlanta are in talks about a class action lawsuit against ASCAP because of the tactics being used.

I am, in the industry and have been for over 3 decades now. It is very hard to explain to someone what public performance is or that just because you buy a DVD or CD does not mean you can do whatever you want with it in public - but the thing is that *I* get that - ASCAP of late does not care to get that. Nor do they care that Joe Schmo in butt fuck Idaho has no clue, and means no harm, when they play a CD in their dinner that caters to the same 3 old men each morning that they need, by the letter of the law, a public performance license to do that. All ASCAP seemingly cares about by hiding under the guise of "it is the law and we are protecting songwriters" is that some 70 year old who sells a 90 cent cup of coffee to 5 locals while Benny Goodman plays on a CD player should pay their SS check to ASCAP or be sued.

I mean really ASCAP - WTF?!?!?!?

Posted by Dave | September 26, 2007 10:24 PM

you're right Dave. There is this BASTARD named JAMES RIDGE who works out of the Georgia ASCAP office. He keeps harrasing my employees (I own a bar). Accuses us of being "thieves" who want to steal music. I don't play any of the corporate rock. We play mostly indie music and I KNOW that very few of the artists whose CDs we play see any money from ASCAP (from venue licensing). I often have customers come up to us and say "what band are you playing?" THIS helps the artist directly because this customer will likely go out and buy the artist's record.

I can't afford to pay all of the "performer rights" organizations.
This man (JAMES RIDGE) definitely uses the tactics of a collection agency. He is rude (and has the most annoying GA accent) and constantly harrases us.

Posted by Anonymous | October 7, 2007 12:43 PM

I've read nearly every comment posted here, but not one has touched on the realistic truth. As a mid size bar owner in the Nashville, TN. area, I am bombarded by every tom dick and harry from every state local, federal and "private" organization, trying to profit off of my business. Each organization firmly believes in it's purpose and their cause, but at the end of the day it totals up the same. There is only so much money to go around and the small business owner like my self has nothing left when every one else gets their cut or "fair share". ASCAP, BMI and SESAC are large corporations sponging off small business's in the name of the little guy. When a band comes here to perform, they decide what songs they will perform, they provide the product and I pay them for their time. I pay comcast for television, should I have to pay every network or perhaps every studio or actors organization. If anybody should have to pay for the use of music, it should be the bands performing the music. When any other vendor comes in, I pay them for their product period. Greed is the bottom line, nothing less nothing more. And where does it stop, the music, NFL, every other tv network or actors and writers union? Because I can not scrape up an extra 4,000 to grease ASCAPS and the others palms, should I have to face losing my ass in a law suit? I may have to halt the use of the ten or so bands we rotate which ultimately hurts the musicians doesn't it? And that's ridiculous!

Posted by Anonymous Bar owner | December 11, 2007 4:23 PM

ASSCRAP are a bunch of wankers. They are a rude lot who have threatened my employees on thhe phone, call them liars and have generally been proved to be pond scum.

I love the fact that they are non profit... all that means is thhey can pay them selves more and more each year just as long as they keep screwing the small/big businness owner out of whatever they deem "reasonable".

BMI just as bad.

How can those pukes sleep nights doing the job they do.

I legally have to pay the low lifes for just whistleing a tune in my bar, hell, a customer whistles a tune I have to pay. Rediculous to say the least. Luckily for them the biggest dippers into the over flowing bucket are the lawyers at the top of the food chain, and we all know who makes the laws.. ex lawyers and their ilk. This country would be a lot better place to be if 3/4's of them would get a real job or just cease to exist as a lawyer would do.

Posted by gilly | December 20, 2007 5:59 PM

Okay, I'm a musician. I play gigs at bars, clubs, small rock venues, etc.

I think it's great that theres an organization out there for musicians. Musicians should get paid for their products.

BUT (and I can't stress this enough)
ASCAP is KILLING small music venues! There are small music venues all over the place who are being sued/charged thousands of dollars because why?

Heres why: The LOCAL artists they book may play a COVER song or two.

Are you fucking kidding me?

So if I play 12 original songs, and throw my rendition of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" at the end of a set, it's illegal?

Yes. It is. And ASCAP wants these small clubs to shell out much more than they can afford just in case a band plays a cover.

So... in an off-shoot way... ASCAP is KILLING the venues where bands get their START.

The small music venue.

So, I (a musician for my entire life) say FUCK ASCAP.

Posted by Matt | January 15, 2008 1:57 PM

Suckers, do you really believe ascap gives a rats ass about it'd members the majority of them from probably never see a dime. They charge the radio station to broadcast it, then charge the restaurant, again when there customers listen to it, what a bunch of horse shit. Ford builds a car, they sell it. They don't go around and charge everyone who drives it for the rest of its existence! Check out this site http://www.ascapsukz.com The Stiff Kitties claim they have been stiffed by ascap and they have 3 platinum air albums. Fools all of you who think ascap is helping anyone but themselves. Get a clue to what is really happening before you post something you know nothing about. In my opinion Ascap are liars and thieves and extortionist..

Posted by Anonymous | March 31, 2008 2:26 PM

The ignorance of the people who supposedly know copyright law and public performance on the board is alarming. Music is not yours to duplicate, nor is it your property to profit from re: public performance. It's the law, you complete douchebags. Why haven't any of you cited a case where ASCAP lost?

Posted by Anonymous | January 7, 2009 10:36 PM

The last comment was on point. It's amazing how many people on a music blog have no knowledge of how copyright law works

Posted by Anonymous | January 17, 2009 1:08 PM

I am a musician so I understand ASCAP, on one hand. On the other, I own a rental venue. People call me, they rent the space and then I do not make a dime from anything other then the piddly rental fee. NOT ONE PENNY. The building is 22,000 square feet and I pay $33k for the honor of renting it, every month. The official capacity is 900, but that includes every inch of the facility (including kitchen, office, bathroom, storage, etc). The "public" space holds about 300..yet, I am still charged for 941 people that never show up.
Oh, and, by the way...if this is all about the musicians...why do I pay $5 per person to PLAY the music..and an additional $2 per person "enhancement fee" if..God Forbid..they enjoy the music enough to dance?!?!?!

Posted by Jules | March 4, 2009 12:57 PM

As a muscian I am curious, does ASCAP read you your rights before it searchs your business for the illegal use of music.. .? Well I guess we should be used to vigilantes in Montana. It looks like they have taken over music in my town. For many years now ASCAP has periodicaly strong armed very small businesses here for much more then a dollar a day... try $1500 for a coffee house in town of 25,000 ... . you see they team up with BMI and others who all want cash and make threats of $10,000 per song fines.. . Recently here in Helena Montana they went after guitar students who were trying to experience live performance at an open mike.. . But lets not forget these are the same people who went after the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for campfire songs.. . I wonder how much they get for when someone plays the Star Spangle Banner.. . As a music creator I would never let these thugs represent me.

Posted by Jim Richerson | May 25, 2009 10:53 PM

As a musician I am curious, does ASCAP read you your rights before it searches your business for the illegal use of music.. .? Well I guess we should be used to vigilantes in Montana. It looks like they have taken over music in my town. For many years now ASCAP has periodically strong armed very small businesses here for much more then a dollar a day... try $1500 for a coffee house in town of 25,000 ... . you see they team up with BMI and others who all want cash and make threats of $10,000 per song fines.. . Recently here in Helena Montana they went after guitar students who were trying to experience live performance at an open mike.. . But lets not forget these are the same people who went after the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for campfire songs.. . I wonder how much they get for when someone plays the Star Spangle Banner.. . As a music creator I would never let these thugs represent me.

Posted by Jim Richerson | May 25, 2009 11:24 PM

Lots of bs here from pro-ascap types. Here's why. Small business. Not the Repub small businesses (a million in rev's per year.. lol) ... the real small businesses- the ma & pa type places.. the folks just getting by. It's not possible for all of the people struggling in America just trying to find an economic way through life to all be so unique and beyond all legal copyrightable possible boundaries. It's not possible. The problem is that there is no recognition whatsoever of the economic benefit given to the music creator by the business AND there is no recognition whatsoever of a simple fact of life: Music is a human reality, not a legal reality. The rolling stones pay the ascap fee.. how on earth does that compare to a little diner in rural america? If the stones record your song, you're instantly rewarded with worldwide publicity. A struggling little ma & pa store out there somewhere in America paying all these fees? It is simply ridiculous. It is simply impossible. So-called creators of music have to recognize the limits both ways. Sure, U2 is big business. But suing every little shop across America .. is that the outcome you want? Hey there clever songwriter, when you wrote that song, was it your intention to destroy the livelihoods of little people? That ice cream shop? That diner? That place where an old couple is trying to make it just one more year? Well guess what~ ASCRAP is suing them. For you.

Posted by dccc | August 2, 2009 1:40 AM

ASSCRAP - yep! well said.

And yes it is true...We've never seen not so much as one penny from our illustrious Performance Rights Organization. That's after 30 years, 6 Grammy noms and 4 air platinum records? Go figure.

Sera de Morte'
The Stiffff Kitties

*interesting note...ASCAP owns http://www.ascapsucks.com

Things that make you go hmmmm?

Posted by Sera de Morte | August 6, 2009 12:15 AM

ASCAP is a ripoff...plain and simple.

The law needs to be amended so that a representative of ANY of these organisations would have to PUBLICLY identify themselves when conducting an "investigation" of a business....who is allegedly infringing on the copyright laws (specifically 110(5) )

You should have the right to face your accuser according to the 6th Amendment to the US Constitution....or are we living somewhere else now?

Posted by Jeremiah Foonsclarger Jr | September 14, 2009 6:49 PM

Instead of paying the lawyer extortion fee, er I mean BMI ASCAP license fee, could we please donate to the drown a lawyer day fund, or the politician funeral pyre foundation? At least my money would do some good to make the country better.
My answer is retire early, move to tax friendlier states, and then see how long the socialists take to figure out that they are running out of other people's money. (Several states are already there, and still don't get it.)

Posted by Ben Cheated Andhow | October 14, 2009 8:57 AM

Ascap pays many of us to sit and challenge the anti-licensing bloggers... Remember the proceeds come from songwriters payouts... ASCAP is "non-profit" afterall.

Posted by Ed | October 30, 2009 11:50 PM

I am a small restaurant owner who offers live music performances. I already pay licensing for music thru' my sound system, but ASCAP wants to double up on me now for the LIVE performances too. They just sent via certified mail their newest threat of pay up or this is your last chance. I've gotten this letter 4 times a year for 6 years. I disagree with their practices, and know full well that their minions running around policing small establishments are the ones profiting. I also agree that songwriters should be paid for their work. If ASCAP could regulate thru local city business licensing on their behalf, it would cut out the need for undercover agents spying on people like me, and reduce or eliminate all lawsuits. My city determines how much my license is based on how many employees, whether I serve alcohol, and the type of business it is. They could simply apply the (now greatly reduced) fee on this and pass on to the songwriters.

Posted by currentlybeingthreatenedbyascap | November 3, 2009 4:08 PM

fuck ascap

Posted by Anonymous | March 8, 2010 11:11 AM

3 years later and ASCAP is still thriving, because its what the songwriter wants. I am an ASCAP member for a little over a year now, and have got paid well. I write music to be placed in Film/TV and other multimedia. I do expect to get paid when it is used. In the world of performing artists...Bars do not intentionally promote bands when playing their IPODs or jukebox over their house sound. They do it to create an atmosphere in which a certain paying crowd will enjoy. Sure maybe I'll ask "who this is" over the airwaves. It's just going to make me comeback for another drink there, maybe purchase the piece at the same time. Maybe. Guess what the bar just did though. Promoted itself. In regards to TV broadcasts doubling a cable bill and ASCAP payment from an establishment....Maybe ASCAP should approach things differently. I do not want out rage my listners. Maybe "go after" the cable company which in turn can add that extra to their bill to include these fees so it takes some heat off of ASCAP. When it comes down to it, ASCAP helps its members just as any union, employeer or law would help another.

Posted by Anonymous | March 23, 2010 12:10 PM

My daughter owns a dance studio and must play music to teach lessons. She buys every piece of music that comes into the studio. I honestly believed that everyone involved in the creation of each song received their royalties from every sale of a CD, or music download sold. If I am purchasing the CD then why should I not be able to use MY property any way I wish to use it? In my opinion, the creators, producers, writers, etc. of songs should receive their royalties from the sales...period. ASCAP is now using their threats against my daughter to pay for a license, or else. She has also been contacted by SESAC. Which one is she supposed to use? Can we request certain information from the Corporation before buying a license? Apparently buying a license from ASCAP will not save you from BMI or SESAC. I feel it grossly unfair to first BUY the music, then get charged for USING it. It's a good thing this doesn't apply to everything we purchase or we would not be able to afford to live.

Posted by Barbara hathaway | June 23, 2010 11:07 PM

I have read with interest all of the blogs on this long thread. However something has been grossly missing in the discussions. The venues that hire live bands do not ask the bands or performers to play copywrited music, if they the performers, have not paid for the right to do so. Has anyone considered who the real copyright violators are? Of course it is the performers and bands. I do not ask for copyrighted music to be played and in fact in my contract I have a clause requiring that the responsibility for having a license to perform copyrighted music lies with the performers/bands. To threaten to sue and in many cases actually sue a place of business because a paid or free performer violates the copywrite law is wrong and has no legal merit. If a contracted landscaper mows your lawn with stolen equipment, the home owner is not legally liable. The perpetrator is and there are hundreds of analogies that can be made.
The point here is the performers are making a living from using other folks material and should pay for that right. The reason that the places of business are being assessed these fees is business they are concrete & steel, at a fixed location and cannot and will not be relocated therefore they are easy pickings for ASCAP.
I think the time is right to form a legal entity to fight ASCAP back. I know they are huge and well financed but we are a country of laws that can be written and can be rewritten. There must in excess of 10,000 American businesses that have paid, are paying and/or are being threatened with a pending lawsuit if they do not begin paying the ASCAP fees. If, just to make a point each of the 10,000 business joined a legal society with say a $100/year membership fee, it would raise $1,000,000.00 a year for legal cost to accomplish the following:
1. File a law suit in the Federal courts to place an injunction against ASCAP's practices until the existing law could be reviewed and revised to pass a litmus test of fairness, constitutionality and to pass a test of meeting all requirements of Interstate commerce.
2. File a "Class Action Suit" on behalf of all commercial and charitable institutions to receive a full refund when it is proved that they have been unlawfully and without due process of law charged for copywrite infringement.
I have almost all of the above posts and it appears that many are confused about what a copyright is and what it does for the songwriters, authors and publishers. I fully promote and accept paying the writers, authors and publishers for the blatant abuse of their materials like renegade copying and selling their works on the black market without paying that right. There are probably many more unfair practices that exist from ASCAP's harrassing practices and I am open to add these to the legal lawsuits.
I have inquied to my intellectual property attorniesd and received a almost instance response, that I must pay ASCAP's fees are be sued. ASCAP is the major paying customers to this lawfirm and all other law firms in the intellectual property business.
I rest,
Ray

Posted by Raymond | June 30, 2010 4:07 PM

From ASCAP's very own 2009 annual report: they collected a mere $5000 for concerts? This oranization has scam written all over it. And the Board of Directors? What a joke.

http://www.google.com/search?q=ASCAP+scam&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

Posted by Anonymous | July 30, 2010 12:46 AM

I drink my beers with the label still on the bottle. Is that free advertising for the beer manufacturers?

Posted by شات كتابي | October 28, 2010 4:36 AM

Although the original reason behind ASCAP, BMI and SESAC's existence is legitimate, the definition of "public performance" has become overreaching. One poster's questioning of the right to consume music for free is misleading. None of the music in my collection was free to me. I paid for every one of my albums. In addition, even though I hear music on hold or in a department store for free does not mean that no-one paid for it. Only when people pay to see or hear a public performance should royalties be considered earned.

When other forms or art are publicly displayed (such as a statue in a park) does that artist receive ongoing royalties? Probably not.

Posted by Kevin | November 17, 2010 1:22 AM

We have FOUR "AIR" PLATINUM PLAQUES...And please let me clarify, that's AIR as in AIR PLAY..which equates to Four Million plays, as well as FOUR Million performances...but we have never received a single penny from ASCAP! Every report ever received from ASCAP Always reflected ZERO performanes.

So we are talking about performance royalties Or lack thereof for the songwriter.

How could ASCAP state they are looking out for songwriter...and miss FOUR million plus logged air plays?

Listen to David Lawrence's radio about the Stiffff Kitties story which was aired on both satellite radio & ASCAP reporting FM stations. David was spining & reporting our tunes since the interview. The performance reports FROM ASCAP still say ZERO!?


KISS MY ASSCAP!!! -- The Stiff Kitties

Posted by stiffff kitties | January 15, 2011 8:49 AM

I don't think ASCAP should double dip. If I play music that I have legally paid for over my speakers in my store they want me to pay them royalties. Well how about refunding my purchase price? If I play the radio I have to pay also. Where's my commission for you reaching my customers? I know the songwriters deserve compensation but how many times should I have to compensate them? Every time I play something? Up until I received my letter from ASCAP I had never downloaded a song without paying for it. Now I don't seem to have a problem doing it. If I have to pay to play it then I'm not going to pay for the album.

Posted by Supe | March 1, 2012 2:50 PM

This is the way ASCAP bmi and the others should work
It- do a two part lisence- first then venue, bar or restaurant gets the music "permit" from it's local gov, since it is a law- shouldn't they be the ones responsible, to have live music just like u would a liquor license or food lisence. It should be within reason to how many venues a week,month year etc- just like they do booze for type sold, off premise etc. I'd say 300 a year for once a month 500 a year twice a month 700 a year for every week ect.
Then require bands to register or get a performancers license. any person 18 yrs or older (an adult) whom wishes perform has to pay a yearly fee depending on the venue- Class a for 200 a year for audiences of 20-40 class b 300 a year for venues of 20-60 and 400 for class c venues of 20-100 ppl. Etc. this Bs about only the small business should pay is ignorant as many of the small biz are barely making a dime off the entertainment. It is really the bands who are infringing and making profit on said music.
Enforcement would be done by local police who already must come in and check on bars and restaurants periodically. For food and liq lisence and enforce the law. They can figure how many people are listening and make sure the band is in said class. If not then both parties should be fined.
Sure I'm sure rates would go up and so on but this would be better then harassment from said companies. It would also become a source of rev for local gov like said liq and food lisence are.
But it would insure that ever establishment and artist are paying to play.
As far as radio or satellite music. That is bs as small biz are already paying cable and dish for said music channels and should be covered as those biz are the ones profiting.
Only fair way in my option.

Posted by Kc | June 23, 2012 4:56 AM

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