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Topic: ASCAP Rears its ugly head!

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Mar 2004
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    West Seneca, NY
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    Angry ASCAP Rears its ugly head!

    I good friend of mine who owns a restaurant had asked my brothers blues band to play one night just for fun at a private party he was throwing for friends. The band played ALL ORIGINAL compositions AND NOTHING ELSE and had a good time doing so! Unfortunately, someone PRed the band in the local entertainment paper and ASSCAP found out about the gig.
    The restaurant was hit with a $650 fee for having a band play in the bar EVEN after the owner specifically told them it was a private party and the band did not play any cover tunes!
    Verification needed? No problemo mamo!
    ASSCAP needs to stop being so GODLY! The band rarely plays cover tunes unless asked for by the club owner. Besides, it was a private party!
    I suppose when I sit down on the end of my bed at night and sing a few Beatles tunes, ASSCAP is going to send me a bill for $650 payable to Michael Jackson!
    Lame brains!
    First the R.S., now ASCAP. Who's next?
    Styxx

  2. #2
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    Re: ASCAP Rears its ugly head!

    Did you know that singing "Happy Birthday" in a restaurant may also be a violation enforceable by ASCAP.

    According to unhappybirthday.com

    Although the melody for Happy Birthday written by two sisters from Kentucky, Mildred J. Hill and Patty Smith Hill in 1893 the words were written by another sister Jessica Hill who published and copyrighted Happy Birthday in 1935. Due to the new copyright laws, the copyright for Happy Birthday will not expire until at least 2030. Through a series of purchases, the copyright for Happy Birthday To You belongs to the Time Warner company.
    Happy Birthday's copyright is licensed and enforced by ASCAP, and brings in more than $2 million in annual royalties.

  3. #3

    Re: ASCAP Rears its ugly head!

    Sung to that every-famous tune:

    Although it's absurd,
    Just leave out the words.
    Your GPO opus
    Can safely be heard.



  4. #4
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    Re: ASCAP Rears its ugly head!

    Quote Originally Posted by David Collett
    Sung to that every-famous tune:

    Although it's absurd,
    Just leave out the words.
    Your GPO opus
    Can safely be heard.


    HA!

  5. #5

    Re: ASCAP Rears its ugly head!

    You can thank Mikey Mouse's lawyer, Donald, for much of our current copyright madness.

    -JF

  6. #6
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    Re: ASCAP Rears its ugly head!

    Umm Whats Ascap?......the first word is american i hope???? (says the aussie )


    i think therefore i owe the Descartes Estate a lot of royalties
    Grim Fandango explained jazz to me.

  7. #7

    Cool Re: ASCAP Rears its ugly head!

    Quote Originally Posted by OHNO
    Umm Whats Ascap?......the first word is american i hope???? (says the aussie )


    i think therefore i owe the Descartes Estate a lot of royalties
    The "American Society of Composers, Arrangers, and Publishers" (http://www.ascap.com/), one of the three main performing rights organizations. These orgs give copyright licenses for the right to perform songs in public venues, typically based on average number of customers, amount of music (or number of songs) typically played, etc. They collect royalties from TV networks, radio stations, nightclubs, concert halls, etc. - wherever music is played in public. They then take the royalties and distribute them to members, based on their calculations of how often each piece is played. For example, if you have a top 40 hit (does anyone else here remember top 40?), and it gets played 0.05% of the time on top 40 radio stations, you would receive something like 0.05% of the royalties that ASCAP collects from those stations (probably minus administrative charges, etc.). I suspect that you have to be pretty popular in order to get a noticable return: if your song is played twice in a year, chances are it will be overlooked when they go to calculate your rate.

    As you might guess from the name, it is mainly concerned with music. Publishers are included because they frequently own most of the copyrights.

    The other main org is BMI. My recollection is that together ASCAP and BMI account for something like 90% of the music performance copyright licensing. The third place (whose name I don't remember) does mainly gospel songs, if I remember right.

    In Australia, you'll be dealing with APRA instead.

    Grant

    BTW, which icon should I use for "long-winded explanation most likely to kill a thread dead"?
    ==============================
    Grant Green ||| www.contrabass.com
    Sarrusophones and other seismic devices

  8. #8
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    Exclamation Re: ASCAP Rears its ugly head!

    Well, danged if you do and danged if you don’t! I don’t think we can legitimately talk out of both sides of our collective mouths.

    As composers and musicians, we should be happy that ASCAP and BMI (in the US, at least) are going to bat to get “our” due. If those organizations just gave every little restaurant, bar, club and disco a “pass” when your hit single is played 40 times a night you won’t benefit from it for one cent! How’s them apples?

    It’s through licensing that ASCAP and BMI get royalties to return to artists. If you are running a business (small, though it may be) there are legit ways of getting it licensed and no one would then be surprised with a $650 fee (or levy) for one night. Chances are that same restaurant play some sort of background music for the pleasure of their diners. I believe that both ASCAP and BMI have programs to license such establishments so that they are legitimately covered. Chances are what your place (Styxx) ran into is an ASCAP “enforcer” who decided to “make an example” of a place that hadn’t come forth for voluntary licensing.

    ASCAP and BMI are there to protect OUR interests. Don’t make them out to be the “bad guys”!

    my $0.02 anyway … KevinKauai

  9. #9

    Re: ASCAP Rears its ugly head!

    To defend ASCAP (of which I am a member) they are on our side as composers. The restraunt shouldn't have a problem if they pay the blanket fee. If ASCAP would have been around when Mozart was alive, he would have been a very rich man.

    Just being devil's advocate. They do have several good programs for classical composers. They are not perfect though.
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  10. #10

    Re: ASCAP Rears its ugly head!

    I am on the side of Kevin & Jess on this. We have our equavelent of ASCAP - SAMRO here, who has become totally defunct (meaning artists are being ripped off). I feel for the restaurant owner and I'm not sure how it works in the USA, but here one licence a premises for whatever use - not the event (Licence per event is available as well). The licence fee here per event is actually very cheap.

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