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Re: OT: ASCAP/BMI and music licensing

Doh!  Repost this time to group!

All of this would strongly suggest that there should be an alternative to 
ASCAP and BMI, yes?

This thread is one of the great reasons for this list to exist IMNSHO.

I had thought in the past that BMI would be a better candidate for a 
composer/etc whose work leaned more towards film-video-game-internet play, 
as I'd noticed circa 1996 that ASCAP didn't have much of a strategy 
regarding anything more modern than film-video-radio play.  While this has 
most likely changed in the past nine years, the feedback from members of 
both in this thread gives one pause to consider.

I too object to the idea of non-played artists I've never heard of being 
able to be paid despite not being used.  As if joining ASCAP or BMI makes 
one legitimately eligible for A Slice Of The Big Pie - as unreasonable a 
concept as the dinosaurs at the Musician's Union would have us accept.  If 
nobody listens to my work it's still my Art, and I don't feel that I 
to be paid just for existing; but if someone uses it in a manner involving 
some mode of financial profit, I believe I have the right to compensation. 

I accept of course the fact that a good number of people who work in and 
around the music business consider it more of an Employment Medium than an 
Entertainment or Artistic Medium, whether or not I agree with such 
bloodsucking middleman tactics - and one has to navigate those 
self-appointed Necessary Transactions if you're going to ever get even 
Distribution, let alone compensation for use-play for your work.  In the 
past I've had membership in either ASCAP or BMI presented to me in a 
of clothes, the most popular being "Don't you want someone to defend your 
rights to compensation?" (though once I unwisely asked why that wasn't 
"compensation for use of your work", as this is a different thing 
altogether).  And while I'm rather solid about the rights of the creators 
work, I'm not so sure I'm interested in someone representing my work going 
after something silly like in the case of the Girl Scouts incident.  On 
level, of strong defense of your IP rights, one wonders if the owners of 
works-in-question have the ability to decide whether someone like the Girl 
Scouts can have free use of the works, or whether entering into an 
arrangement with ASCAP or BMI means that you'll have to accept whatever 
actions they perform, and keep your mouth shut.  If the latter's the case 
then it's a bit of a devil's contract, isn't it?

In the midst of all this, the Hunter S. Thompson quote doesn't just make 
sense.  And it begs the question, "Where else do you go for this?"

Stephen Goodman
* Cartoons about DVDs and Stuff
* http://www.medialinenews.com
* http://www.earthlight.net/HiddenTrack
* http://www.earthlight.net/Gallery

"Travis Hartnett" <travishartnett@gmail.com> put forth:
> The irony of these shops coughing up money to ASCAP or BMI for a
> performance license, which often has nothing to do with the actual
> performers in that shop (leaving aside the stuff played on the CD
> player) yet still not paying the performers directly (the usual
> coffeshop deal) is painfully humorous.
> Most coffeshops don't have a dedicated performance area (such as a
> stage) and just move a couple of tables out of the way to make space.
> Thus, the number of paying tables available for the evening is fewer
> for music nights, so the music has to justify an automatic income
> decrease of say, fifty dollars from those tables over the course of
> the night.
> But, life goes on.
> On 5/21/05, Ronan Chris Murphy <looper@venetowest.com> wrote:
>> Ronan Chris Murphy
>> www.venetowest.com (Production & mixing: King Crimson, Chucho Valdes,
>> Steve Morse, Terry Bozzio, CGT...)
>> www.homerecordingbootcamp.com (Workshops around the world teaching the
>> art and craft of recording )
>> www.livesofthesaints.net (The hottest ambient noise duo since Sonny &
>> Cher)
>> On May 20, 2005, at 2:48 AM, Travis Hartnett wrote:
>> > I received an email from the booking agent at a local coffeeshop which
>> > now requires all performers to play 100% original music.  Now, to me
>> > this is a good thing, but the overall effect is chilling:
>> >
>> I am not an expert on this but some what well informed. Its really
>> pretty simple, you pay a blanket license to cover all of the artists
>> that BMI or ASCAP represent. Its apparent that the owner of the coffee
>> shop in question did not want to pay this. You also have the right to
>> not pay the blanket license and do a separate contract for each song
>> played in your public venue, but that sure seems like a lot more hassle
>> than a coffee shop pony-ing up a few hundred bucks a year or less.
>> Music is an integral part of the experience of most restaurants or
>> coffee shops and to pay a buck or two a day for that hardly seems
>> unfair. They make more than that off selling me one iced coffee.
>> As a guy that makes 100% of his living in music, I have to say I like
>> the idea of other business that benefit from our labor, kicking in a
>> couple bucks.
>> Ronan (BMI composer and owner of Veneto West Music, BMI)