ASCAP, BMI And SESAC Continue To Screw Over Most Songwriters: 'Write A Hit Song If You Want Money'

from the well-that's-just-great dept

We keep hearing from folks how the collections societies in the US for songwriters and composers, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, are supposedly the "good guys" in that they actually give money to the actual musicians, and they aren't like the RIAA at all. But the evidence continues to be lacking on that front. In fact, it increasingly looks like they're doing a lot more harm to most musicians. Earlier this year, we noted that their aggressiveness in getting just about any small venue to pay up fees was killing off open mic nights and other sorts of venues that allowed musicians to play live. Mike points us to the news that many venues are simply giving up on live music. The problem? Well, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC are all demanding huge fees. Even the restaurants that don't bring in cover bands are being told they need to pay up, just in case a musician happens to do a cover in the middle of a wholly original set. The licensing organizations don't seem to care, they just want you to pay, just in case. When asked how they know that covered music is being played, they admit they don't:
"Basically, we don't know," said Dave Ascher, the SESAC Music Licensing Consultant who sent the letters. "To make a long story short, there's no way, logistically, for us to know whether on a day-to-day basis they're playing SESAC music."
But, just in case, you need to pay up. Of course, rather than doing that, the venues are just giving up on live music, providing fewer places for musicians to perform, hone their craft, and build up a following (and a business model).

As for the claim that these organizations help bring in money for those musicians, well, that's not seen either. We've already seen how they only give money to big name artists in most cases, because that's all they're able to track. In fact, the article talks to one musician who's upset about all the venues closing, but is still registering his songs with ASCAP. When asked if he's received any royalty check at all, the answer was no. So, how do the collections organizations respond? They tell them to become more famous:
"I'm sorry to hear that, but what I would like to tell him is that he needs to write a hit song," BMI's Bailey said.
How nice. They funnel all the money to big name artists, force venues to close so new artists can't become famous, and then when asked about giving money to those up-and-coming artists, they flippantly tell them to become more famous.

At some point, musicians and songwriters need to learn that these organizations are not doing things in their best interests at all. They're simply bureaucracies to funnel money to big names, while limiting the competition.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    well, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 8:26am

    remember these people usd ot hate rock n roll

    remember back ten years or more ago all the fighting about music and laws around just getting to hear it, seems like they have WON now cause ONLY the music they approve will get ever heard now, this has and should and will create an underground for music that THEY will have no control of and with all the devices we have IT WILL BE SHARED

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      moore850 (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 9:14am

      Re: remember these people usd ot hate rock n roll

      I concur, this is all a thinly veiled attempt to shut down the independent for-profit musician.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 8:31am

    ""Basically, we don't know," said Dave Ascher, the SESAC Music Licensing Consultant who sent the letters. "To make a long story short, there's no way, logistically, for us to know whether on a day-to-day basis they're playing SESAC music.""

    Guilty until proven innocent. Our society is really progressing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      TheStupidOne, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 10:18am

      Re:

      I vote someone should simply not pay and wait for a lawsuit. Prove they they only played original, non-SESAC music. And see what the courts have to say about this practice.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    TDR, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 8:33am

    These organizations need to be shut down. Now. All of them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    fogbugzd (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 8:37am

    It's about the control

    I've said it before, it's not about the money, it is about the control. However, I'm not sure that is entirely true in this case. I am not sure the recording industry is clever enough to shut down small venues and open mike nights to prevent new artists developing outside of their control. I think in this case it is more about money. ASCAP et.al. just want to collect more money. After deducting heavily for administrative salaries and other costs, they still make a tidy profit on what they get to keep because they "can't find" the artists they owe money too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 9:01am

    In my experience, it just means that open mic nights forbid any sort of covers, only allowing people to play their own songs. The result is that people who don't write songs can't preform at all, and people with great voices whose song-writing isn't so good just seem terrible.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 9:24am

      Re:

      In my experience, it just means that open mic nights forbid any sort of covers, only allowing people to play their own songs.

      Your "experience" seems to be "unusual". Most venues that can't pay the fees are just killing off open mic nights because they can't chance that someone might utter some little part of some obscure song, or at least be accused of it which is about all it takes.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    moore850 (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 9:12am

    It's only a matter of time

    Any day now, a 100% independent artist will release an album of hit songs and totally circumvent this system. When this happens, the labels will completely freak out and try to steal the music or pull shenanigans, at which point the artist will sue them out of existence. Just keep digging deeper, folks.

    By the way, did Elvis write any of his songs? Would he have been turned down at open mic night because of some stupid attitude about singing original songs? What do these folks think of: American Idol, the "Rock Band" game, etc.?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Marcus Carab (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 9:42am

      Re: It's only a matter of time

      What do these folks think of: American Idol, the "Rock Band" game, etc.?

      The same thing they think about cover bands and everything else that involves music: "how can we milk as much cash out of this as possible"

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 9:15am

    Cake

    "I'm sorry to hear that, but what I would like to tell him is that he needs to write a hit song," BMI's Bailey said.

    So let them eat cake.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    christopher mchale, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 9:19am

    You guys scare me.

    I've been reading articles like this on techdirt for months, and I have to say, as a working musician and composer, you guys scare the crap out of me. Most of your contentions have an oddly uniformed and misunderstanding of how a working musician pays the rent. I love to embrace new ideas and concepts, but I rarely see that here. Sorry. I want to join the army, I just see nothing in your proposals to pay my rent. Most musicians I know don't want to be small businessmen, sell t-shirts, tour, and musicians like me, composers, song writers, film scorers, well, we're just guys with kids, backyards, college tuition. Music is our day job. We ARE small businesses, yes, and most of us are pretty good at earning a living, but the techdirt blog constantly attacks our livlihood without taking the time to understand; not the push and pull of rock stars selling out arenas, but the journeymen workers in the trenches.

    Music has always been a pyramid of talent. If you have it you make a living, if you don't, you don't. Most of us studied for years, have college degrees (and the debt) and work nine to five a these jobs. The royalty societies collect our earnings and distribute them. Are we happy with ASCAP, BMI, etc. ? Not in every case. I spend a lot of time on the phone with these guys. Part of the job. However, the bottom line as misrepresented in your article is correct. If your music is not performed you don't get paid.

    What would expect a royalty society to say? The opposite?

    Another point overlooked: many of these venues have the jukebox on, or the radio. The music IS being performed. Cracks about 'open mic nights' are entirely disingenuous on your part.

    I understand the emotional values behind crusades, however, you may in fact be doing more harm than good.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      The Infamous Joe (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 9:34am

      Re: You guys scare me.

      I'm sorry Chris, but playing the starving artist card doesn't work. You are trying to confuse the issue. You claim you work "9 to 5" at being a musician-- but you still expect to be paid even when you're *not* working. Just because I ignore your music while drinking a glass of scotch at my favorite bar doesn't mean the bar owner should pay you. If I play a song on a jukebox, you don't get a phone call to wake up and perform it for me, do you? There are many fields that require expensive college degrees but that doesn't entitle all of us to get paid for each USE of our work, does it? No, just for musicians? Why? What makes you different?

      I applaud your dedication to doing what you love, but that doesn't give you the "right" to get paid for doing nothing.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        AJ Russell (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 10:57am

        Re: Re: You guys scare me.

        Just because I ignore your music while drinking a glass of scotch at my favorite bar doesn't mean the bar owner should pay you.

        Yeah, it does. He paid for the paint and the pictures on the walls and the neon light in the window. Why shouldn't he pay for something else that adds to the ambience of his bar?

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Another AC, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 11:17am

          Re: Re: Re: You guys scare me.

          Yeah, he already paid for the jukebox and the media inside as well.

          When the wallpaper company requires a monthly fee for the use of the printed design your argument might work

          Nice try though.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          AJ Russell (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 11:21am

          Re: Re: Re: You guys scare me.

          ...whether or not you choose to ignore it.

          Also, you're seeing music as live performance alone, which is in my opinion an inaccurate point of view, but one which is killing my line of work. I'm a recording engineer. I share Chris McHale's point of view about Techdirt offering much in the way of criticism of failing music business models, but disagree with him in that the blog does also highlight new ideas and models which work. Unfortunately for me, most of these models lean towards giving recorded music away for free, with the artist relying on gigs and merchandise and sources of income other than album sales and royalties. This is fine, as a music lover, I'm more than happy to see artists taking control of their own music and getting by on the income from it. As an engineer, though, I'm screwed. As artists continue to use recorded music as a mere marketing tool, then my value to musicians (now small business owners) diminishes. And I get paid less and at some point, stop being able to afford rent.

          Recorded music is a product like the paint on the walls or like any other. Music IS unique in that it is time-limited - a song only lasts so long before you have to play it again or hear another. Yes, you only pay once for a tin of paint, but that does not mean you get free paint for the rest of your life. Every time you repaint the walls, you pay. Every time you replay a song, you pay.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Enemy of DH, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 11:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: You guys scare me.

            As a part time musician and full time jackass, I'd like to say that if you can't pay the rent, do what the rest of the world does. Find another job or change what it is you do. As long as people still make music, engineers will still be necessary. If the wages in your field go down, then that's the nature of business. If your value diminishes it's because you refuse to change what you're doing to show value.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Ryan, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 11:39am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: You guys scare me.

            If the market is changing to make the position of recording engineer obsolete, that sucks for you but nobody gives a shit. Adapt or find a new line of work. To reiterate an analogy used a lot here, we didn't stop the adoption of cars as a method of transportation because it put buggy whip makers or carriage drivers out of business.

            Recorded music is a product like the paint on the walls or like any other. Music IS unique in that it is time-limited - a song only lasts so long before you have to play it again or hear another. Yes, you only pay once for a tin of paint, but that does not mean you get free paint for the rest of your life. Every time you repaint the walls, you pay. Every time you replay a song, you pay.

            Umm...no. The digital copy of a song is not time-limited, or are you saying that I should have to repay for my books everytime I read them again? You pay for more paint when you repaint the walls because its new paint -- there is a marginal cost for a vendor to resupply you with it. On the other hand, there is no cost to listen to your song again, or read your book again, or sit in your chair again, because it is the same song/book/chair and it cost nobody anything for you to do it. What an awful analogy.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            icon
            DocMenach (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 11:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: You guys scare me.

            Yes, you only pay once for a tin of paint, but that does not mean you get free paint for the rest of your life. Every time you repaint the walls, you pay.

            Exactly. When he repaints the walls, that would be comparable to him buying new CDs to put in his jukebox. But when he plays the CD that he already paid for and you say he owes more money because he wants to actually play the CD, that would be more comparable to the paint company charging him for the ongoing use of the paint, simply because it is on his walls.

            Every time you replay a song, you pay.

            Really? I sure don't, and I'm sure you don't either. When I take a CD or MP3 that I purchased, I don't have to pay again every time I play it. You haven't given any reason for WHY the business should have to pay every time the song is played, when he already paid.

            Also, you're seeing music as live performance alone, which is in my opinion an inaccurate point of view, but one which is killing my line of work. I'm a recording engineer.

            Then you haven't been paying attention to what Mike says. He has put forth many ways in which musicians get paid besides live performance.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          DocMenach (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 11:29am

          Re: Re: Re: You guys scare me.

          Yeah, it does. He paid for the paint and the pictures on the walls and the neon light in the window. Why shouldn't he pay for something else that adds to the ambience of his bar?

          Well then, it's a good thing HE ALREADY PAID FOR IT. You know, by buying the Jukebox and the CD's in it (or paying the Jukebox company). Or if he is playing the radio then that music has already been paid for by the radio broadcaster, and the broadcaster is paid through advertising. Either way the music HAS ALREADY BEEN PAID FOR, why should he have to pay twice?

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            icon
            AJ Russell (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 11:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: You guys scare me.

            There's two kinds of jukebox manufacturers, just to make the situation even more complex.

            The first kind lease their jukebox to a bar/venue. The owner pays the jukebox company a fee, and traditionally a rep comes around, empties the money in the machine and changes the discs in the jukebox to newer and/or more popular songs. All the legal stuff and logistics are handled by the jukebox company, the bar staff never have to even think about it. And these jukebox companies pay ASCAP or the PRS themselves, a license to play the music is almost always included with the lease.

            The second type sells jukeboxes. That's it. It's up to the venue to fill it. If artists themselves are saying that they don't see any money from ASCAP et al., then what chance to do they have of seeing money from jukebox manufacturers? I work in the industry, and I don't think I could name three of these jukebox manufacturers. It's not that I don't know my own industry, it's that jukebox manufacturers aren't even a part of the equation; charging jukebox manufacturers who just sell jukeboxes would be like charging Pioneer or Bose for making hi-fis. So then it's up to the bar owner to pay for the performance. If he's smart and his music selection is good (as far as his clientele are concerned), then the jukebox will pay for itself, because let's not forget that drunk people plough money into these things. Profits from jukeboxes are slim, but not non-existent.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              icon
              DocMenach (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 12:14pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You guys scare me.

              So then it's up to the bar owner to pay for the performance

              You still haven't addressed the point of WHY he should have to pay again. If he purchased the Jukebox and bought the CDs to fill it up why should he have to pay again to play those CDs? HE ALREADY PAID FOR THE CDS. He wasn't buying them because he thought they were pretty, he bought them so he could play them. Now he has to pay again to use his purchased goods for their intended purpose?

               

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              •  
                icon
                AJ Russell (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 12:41pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You guys scare me.

                Why shouldn't he? He's using something that you as the artist or I as the engineer created really just for the purpose of marketing himself. His motivation is that his customers will like it and continue drinking in his bar and return one day.

                It will be argued that it's also free marketing for the artist, since they're getting played to a large room of people. To that I ask, have you ever tried asking what song is playing in a busy bar? "Oh, it's erm... hang on... Hey Jimmy, what song is this?... Give us a minute, we'll try and find the case..." This does nobody in the music industry any favours. A potential customer has heard a great song which they've shown enough interest in to at least investigate further, and both the customer and the industry has been failed at the first hurdle. We should be recompensed for that loss of a sale.

                I'm being greedy and generalising wildly, but I ask again, why shouldn't they pay more?

                 

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                •  
                  icon
                  ChrisB (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 1:11pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You guys scare me.

                  "Why shouldn't he? He's using something that you as the artist or I as the engineer created really just for the purpose of marketing himself."

                  What about that Painting behind the bar? Should the bar owner pay the artist each day that a customer walks up to the bar and looks at the Painting? That is art, sold by an artist, but somehow musicians are special because their artwork only last 3 minutes and then has to be replayed?

                  How about those custom bar stools? Do we need to pay that artist a fee everytime somebody sits their drunk ass down on them?

                  What about that Sculpture in the corner?

                  Those photo's of bar patrons hanging on the wall to the bathroom?

                  "A potential customer has heard a great song which they've shown enough interest in to at least investigate further, and both the customer and the industry has been failed at the first hurdle. We should be recompensed for that loss of a sale."

                  I call bullsh*t on this. It is not a lost sale if the customer who hears that song would never have bought it in the first place, nor chose to play it on the jukebox! It's not a lost sale if that customer put money into the jukebox to play the song in the first place.

                  It is a false assumption to think that everybody who likes a particular song would purchase it if it wasn't available on a jukebox at their local pub.

                  Personally there are some songs that I like to listen to but I would never purchase them, nor would I miss them if I never heard them again. This situation is not a lost sale, ie: if I keep hearing the song or if it disappeared off the face of the earth I would never have bought it.

                   

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                •  
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 10:43pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You guys scare me.

                  We should be recompensed for that loss of a sale.

                  You aren't entitled to any sales at all.

                   

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              •  
                identicon
                Random Lurker, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 12:57pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You guys scare me.

                Did he pay for the CD's? or just download them for free on some music sharing site where somebody was excersising their "right" to redistribute the music? Because if he actually did *pay* for the music (just once) then I don't think too many artists are going to be upset with him playing it in the bar. It's the whole well why should I *ever* pay for a perfect copy crap by unrepentant downloaders who refuse to actually pay for anything digital. That is what upsets artists.

                 

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                •  
                  icon
                  DocMenach (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 1:05pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You guys scare me.

                  Sorry, Mister Random Lurker, but your argument has now devolved to the point of complete idiocy. Do you really think that there is a widespread problem of business filling their Jukeboxes with pirated music? There isn't.

                   

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                •  
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 1:47pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You guys scare me.

                  As an artist I am anything but upset. If anything, artists who ignore the reality of the present and what will be possible in the future, well, that's what makes me kind of sad.

                   

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 11:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: You guys scare me.

            Becuae if the public doesn't pay for artistic human expression multiple times, three or five times over, then creativity will up and die.

            I hate the idea of artists actually supporting this nickle-and-diming of everyone because they can't get a real job. Oh no! If they have to get a real job then creativity will up and die.

            Or you could just start getting creative yourself. You are an artist, right? There's more than one way to make the public pay. And they will pay. They'll pay dearly.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            icon
            AJ Russell (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 12:29pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: You guys scare me.

            Really? I sure don't, and I'm sure you don't either. When I take a CD or MP3 that I purchased, I don't have to pay again every time I play it.

            Fact is that you might not think you do, but you do. £10 is not good value for an album you're only going to listen to once, but is excellent value for something you're going to listen to over and over again. That's why you don't buy bad albums. £20 is not good value for a tin of paint that you'll have to paint over in a month, but excellent value for paint that lasts for years. That's why you don't buy crap paint. I'm not in favour for every play of a song being quantized somehow and charged. I'm much more in favour of the initial charge for an album being kept high, because asking your customer for a reasonable investment keeps them careful in what they invest in, and that in my view promotes innovation by forcing musicians to release the best material they can in an effort to win that customer's hard-earned £10.

            I don't mean to slate Techdirt, it's one of my favourite blogs, I read the feed every day. My complaint, and it's a personal one, I admit, is that Mike's view of a good modern music business model rarely involves people paying for recorded music. And that's a concern to me. I get the CwF+RtB ideal, but I struggle with how to give my customers (they're mine along with the musician's) a "reason to buy" with recorded music alone. But that's for me to figure out. And I am trying to adapt. I've not been in the industry long enough to be set in my ways. But it's not an easy industry to adapt inside. Most engineers I see coming out of college either go into sound for film, games, or leave the industry altogether.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              icon
              DocMenach (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 12:44pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You guys scare me.

              £10 is not good value for an album you're only going to listen to once, but is excellent value for something you're going to listen to over and over again.

              Okay, if you've admitted the point right there that the £10 price is so that they can play it over and over again, then why are you arguing that they have to pay additional licensing fees on top of that?

               

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 1:54pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You guys scare me.

                Because they are being greedy. Art is a gift unless you have to pay a morgage in which case . . .

                Pay up! Give me more money! I make art for money! Money! Give me more money! Pay me! I did that one thing once! Pay up!

                 

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              icon
              Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 3:08pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You guys scare me.

              My complaint, and it's a personal one, I admit, is that Mike's view of a good modern music business model rarely involves people paying for recorded music. And that's a concern to me.

              It's not my view, it's what's happening. Look, if there were a good business model that involved paying for music, that would be great. Tragically, that's not how the market works.

              I get the CwF+RtB ideal, but I struggle with how to give my customers (they're mine along with the musician's) a "reason to buy" with recorded music alone. But that's for me to figure out. And I am trying to adapt. I've not been in the industry long enough to be set in my ways. But it's not an easy industry to adapt inside. Most engineers I see coming out of college either go into sound for film, games, or leave the industry altogether.

              Cool. I'm glad you're trying to adapt. I think there are many opportunities for those in other roles to adapt as a part of the wider ecosystem. There's still a demand for recorded music -- it still makes the rest of the system work. So there's still a demand for sound engineers. Yes, some folks are ignoring that and trying to do stuff on their own, but I think there will be a role for good engineers for a long, long time -- though, parts of that role may change.

               

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        hegemon13, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 2:16pm

        Re: Re: You guys scare me.

        "Most musicians I know don't want to be small businessmen, sell t-shirts, tour, and musicians like me, composers, song writers, film scorers, well, we're just guys with kids, backyards, college tuition. Music is our day job."

        Sure. And I don't want to work 40 (or often 60+) hours a week to get paid for my job, either. I would love it if someone would just start giving me money because I think I deserve it.

        But that's not going to happen. If you want to be self-employed, you have to take care of business. If you don't like it, hire someone who does. If you don't want to do either, well, sorry, you'll fail, just like any other self-employed individual or small business owner who doesn't run his/her business well. If you plan to ignore the business side of your...business, you better find a new career.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Nov 21st, 2009 @ 3:16pm

          Re: Re: Re: You guys scare me.

          "I would love it if someone would just start giving me money because I think I deserve it."

          As an artist, I fully support this position. You're free to make as much art as you want but don't expect anyone to suddenly give you money because, hey, look at all this art!

          You're free to try and make a living.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        The Dude, Aug 18th, 2010 @ 12:45pm

        Re: Re: You guys scare me.

        This may be a few months late, but this is the most RETARDED thing I've ever heard.

        Have you ever heard of Intellectual Property? Hopefully someday you create something that I can just steal, market better than you, and make a ton of money off of.

        I'm pretty sure we'll see your attitude change. Idiot. Hahaha.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 9:41am

      Re: You guys scare me.

      Most of your contentions have an oddly uniformed and misunderstanding of how a working musician pays the rent.

      For a supposed "working musician and composer" you seem to be the one with a "misunderstanding of how a working musician pays the rent". Most do it by performing rather than through monopoly privileges.

      I love to embrace new ideas and concepts, but I rarely see that here.

      Then it doesn't sound like you've been reading Techdirt "for months", as you claim.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Derek Reed (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 9:57am

        Re: Re: You guys scare me.

        It sounds like he's limiting his view of working musicians to the composers / producers / film scorers such as himself. And you're right anonymous coward, there's a lot more musicians out there besides those folks that do actually play music. But the composer/scorer types do exist right now, and a lot of them do make money as he is describing. If I were him, I'd be a bit nervous too. But I'd also start looking for my long term options.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Derek Reed (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 9:51am

      Re: You guys scare me.

      I'd agree that there is a lack of real world experience in Mike's opinions, when it comes to composers, song writers, film scorers etc in particular. I'd also agree that there's a lot more "omg the lawyerz iz bad" than "here's a business plan to make money" on here. But, there is some of the latter.

      Most musicians I know don't want to be small businessmen, sell t-shirts, tour, and musicians like me, composers, song writers, film scorers, well, we're just guys with kids, backyards, college tuition. Music is our day job.

      I think I agree with you on that point also, but it's also true that most eletricians I know don't want to run their entire business either. Some of them do, and they do. Some of they don't, and they work for large or small businesses that handle the "selling t shirts" aspects. Internet and technology has changed what opportunities there are for promoting and selling music. The industry, by which I mean existing and upcoming large and small businesses have yet to catch up, but the opportunities are there for either the entrepreneurial musician, or for the entrepreneurial businessman to help the musician.

      All in all, I wouldn't take anything Mike says here too seriously as it's not his words that are changing the industry. But if I were you, I would worry about the inevitable changes that technology is driving. A lot of the aspects of the old model just aren't the best or most realistic ways to make money any more, and change will happen. Maybe look for some hope in the few articles that do talk about the positive aspects of change, and be ready for it.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      DocMenach (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 10:24am

      Re: You guys scare me.

      Christopher Mchale said: Another point overlooked: many of these venues have the jukebox on, or the radio. The music IS being performed.

      Why should you get extra money just because the Jukebox or Radio happens to be playing in the background?. The last time I checked, radio stations already pay for the music they broadcast. The CDs in the Jukebox have already been purchased and paid for. It sounds like double-dipping to me.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Hephaestus (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 10:28am

      Re: You guys scare me.

      Yeah I got something that will really scare you, I am setting you up on a date with Lily Allen ....

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Another Ac, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 10:28am

      Re: You guys scare me.

      So you really think every establishment that plays any kind of music at all owes you money?

      I say this due to the fact the these collections agencies are trying to get paid when "their" product is not necessarily being used but because it may, or it may not be.

      This means to me that you not only expect to get paid over and over again for the same work, but that you also expect to get paid over and over again for the work of others as well.

      and No, a jukebox should NOT be cause for a performance fee any more than a damn ringtone the music in the box was already purchased once.

      God forbid should a beginner musician give your artwork more exposure for free.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        John, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 6:52pm

        Re: Re: You guys scare me.

        Most Jukeboxes are rented. The Jukebox owners PAY a hefty yearly fee per jukebox to place these in a business. Try and get a master list of every one on the payout. By law they have to give you a complete list as they are non profit, but I have tried for 2 years to get ascap and bmi to issue me a copy but they ignore all my phone calls and emails. Record companies raped most artist in the 50-60's and they are just trying to keep that bank account full.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      ChrisB (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 10:35am

      Re: You guys scare me.

      > ... how a working musician pays the rent.

      Most musicians have a day job.

      > ... the techdirt blog constantly attacks our livlihood ...

      Warning people of an oncoming tsunami is not attacking their livelihood. Don't shoot the messenger who is also trying to help.

      > I spend a lot of time on the phone with these guys. Part
      > of the job.

      So you'd rather spend time on the phone with bureaucrats rather than connecting with your fans? Do the distributions warrant the time you spend on the phone with ASCAP, etc?

      > ... you may in fact be doing more harm than good.

      How can a blog be doing more harm than good? Wake up. The monopoly rents are over and the unnecessary middle men are dying. Would you rather make 1% of $20 or 100% of $0.20?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 10:51am

      Re: You guys scare me.

      I've been reading articles like this on techdirt for months, and I have to say, as a working musician and composer, you guys scare the crap out of me.

      Hmm. I scare the crap out of you? For describing what's happening? Shouldn't you be more worried about what's happening than the guy explaining it?

      Most of your contentions have an oddly uniformed and misunderstanding of how a working musician pays the rent.

      No, I'm quite aware of how many of them pay the rent. We talk to lots of working musicians. Doesn't mean that just because you paid the rent one way the market is going to let that happen going forward. I once "paid the rent" by working at a company that went out of business. Should I have had the "crap scared out of me" when that company shut down, or should I have done what I did: and move on and find another way to earn a living?

      I love to embrace new ideas and concepts, but I rarely see that here.

      On a regular basis we post examples of tons of musicians, big, medium and small, embracing new models and making money (usually more than they made in the past). I'm surprised you've missed all of those articles.

      Most musicians I know don't want to be small businessmen, sell t-shirts, tour, and musicians like me, composers, song writers, film scorers, well, we're just guys with kids, backyards, college tuition. Music is our day job. We ARE small businesses, yes, and most of us are pretty good at earning a living

      Huh? So you don't want to be small businessmen, but you are small businessmen? Which is it? If you are a small businessman, then you need to figure out how to earn money. If you don't want to be one, then you need to team up with those who do. It's called the real world.

      most of us are pretty good at earning a living, but the techdirt blog constantly attacks our livlihood without taking the time to understand; not the push and pull of rock stars selling out arenas, but the journeymen workers in the trenches.

      How is it an "attack" on your "livelihood" when I'm just describing what's happening in the market, as well as giving examples of how to make money off of that change? I'm really perplexed here.

      Music has always been a pyramid of talent. If you have it you make a living, if you don't, you don't.

      Sure. Who said otherwise? But, just "having it" isn't enough to make a living. You need to work at it too.

      Most of us studied for years, have college degrees (and the debt) and work nine to five a these jobs.

      And that's good.

      The royalty societies collect our earnings and distribute them.

      In some cases yes, but as the article highlighted, in many cases, no, it does not. And it's making it much more difficult for others. I'm glad you earn a living. Do you feel good that those representing you are making it harder for the next generation to do the same?

      However, the bottom line as misrepresented in your article is correct. If your music is not performed you don't get paid.

      Pray tell, what was "misrepresented"?

      Another point overlooked: many of these venues have the jukebox on, or the radio. The music IS being performed. Cracks about 'open mic nights' are entirely disingenuous on your part.

      Again, that's speculation on your part. The venues quoted in the article say the complaints were about live music, not the jukebox. Are you suggesting they are lying, and then blaming us for that? That seems rather obnoxious.

      I understand the emotional values behind crusades, however, you may in fact be doing more harm than good.

      Again, how am I doing "harm" by describing how the market is changing? I recognize that you might not like to admit that the market is changing, but I'm not sure how that's my fault.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous1, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 9:19am

    logistically, for us to know whether on a day-to-day basis they're playing SESAC music."
    But, just in case, you need to pay up. Of course, rather than doing that, the venues are just giving up on live music, providing fewer places for musicians to perform, hone their craft, and build up a following (and a business model).

    How about telling these guys to *(&(*&&%##!@@ OFF!!!

    Does not a single person have the guts to ask where their legal authority is with no proof of violation of the law?
    Does not a single organization/venue have the guts to simply ignore them. I remember a phrase along the lines of evil winning when good men do nothing....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 9:20am

    List there a list?

    How do *I* know which artists fall under these organizations? Do they have a Master List? Do **they** even know? (It sounds like they don't.)

    A comprehensive list of the music that cannot be played unless protection money is paid would be quite useful business owners. In fact, if someone were to make and maintain a list of "safe" artists they could probably get owners to pay a (much smaller) yearly fee. Like Anti-virus software for music. :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 10:15am

    As a music performer, this is deeply troubling to me. Why, again, do we have these useless middlemen who do nothing to make the music, yet somehow take a cut of that music while destroying my opportunities to perform?

    Eventually there will be a breaking point, and there will be violence when it happens. I certainly don't want that to happen, but with the collision course things are on I can't see any way around it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 10:46am

      Re:

      There doesn't have to be violence. Just convince as many people as possible to break dumb laws. They can't throw everybody in jail.

      Can they?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Random Lurker, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 12:47pm

    Re: You guys scare me.

    Dude, Don't worry about these T-dirters. They don't make music for a living so they Just. Don't. Get it. If it's silent in the bar - I agree with them. Don't pay me anything. If music is playing, then it had to be made, meaning somebody made it- which is work. More work than these TDer's seem to understand, and people get paid for work that others benefit from. In some way shape or form, directly or indirectly.. you should pay for it. Should you pay a lot? No. of course not. Maybe some fraction of a cent that the establshment rolls into the cost of your drink, or the cover you paid to get in. Listening to music in a bar for free is fine, if you're drinking your scotch in your car out in the parking lot. Otherwise you are indeed paying for the priviledge of having your drink among the lights, A/C or heat, served by a bartender, between painted or wallpapered walls, while sitting on some furniture, and hearing some music. The cost to renovate the place 3 years ago should be *and is* charged to you.. the customer. even after the owner has paid for the materials furniture and paint and whatnot. You know why? because that money is what he calls profits and screw you if you don't want to pay him for his investments. Those investments are no different than making the investments needed to create and record music.

    Should video game programmers give their games away for free and sell t-shirts as their primary monetization of their work? No. But when it comes to music or video, these techdirters feel for some reason that they shouldn't have to pay for it unless the artist is performing it live. For some reason they think artists need to function like day laborers - or maybe night laborers :-)

    Look Guys, creating music isn't a service, its an investment that (if the market likes it) should generate a return. Thinking that is should be free just because I'm not there to sing it to you personally, is bullshit. when you pay for music, You're paying me (paying me back actually)for the time and effort I spent writing it, recording it, distributing it, advertising it, etc. whether I am in independant artist or a big conglomerate.

    Just be cause you CAN get it free due to technology doesn't mean the investment to create it doesn't deserve a return.

    Drink your scotch in silence, or sing for yourself, no one is forcing you to turn my music on. I've been in plenty of establishments that don't play music at all and hence don't pay for the sound system, don't pay for the electricity, don't pay for anything. Free is NOT a fair return for the time you get to hear my song.

    Now I say all that... but that doesn't mean I don't share your feelings of disgust about RIAA or ASCAP. I do... so I lurk.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      DocMenach (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 12:56pm

      Re: Re: You guys scare me.

      And once again some guy who also DOESN'T GET IT make the completely incorrect statement that we are all saying that music should be free. WE ARE NOT SAYING THAT!!!!

      The problem is in the continuing ongoing payment over and over again just to play the music that has already been purchased. If the business owner ALREADY PAID for the CDs, why should he have to pay again to play them?

      You still have not answered that one basic question.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 2:00pm

        Re: Re: Re: You guys scare me.

        I think music should be free but than I'm a crazy artist who thinks that money has so corrupted artistic human expression there can only be one solution.

        An art tax. Everybody is taxed. Of course, everybody should also be declared an artist, so, wait, how does that work again? I had figured this out a long time ago?

        It had something to do with stopping useless middlemen from charging a pittance whenever anyone used art for any purpose. How many times did you hear that song? 100? Well, that will be $12.87 please.

        Pay up! Give me money! What do you mean I should make another song? Give me money! Pay up!

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 10:32pm

      Re: Re: You guys scare me.

      Drink your scotch in silence, or sing for yourself, no one is forcing you to turn my music on.

      He didn't. You're saying that anyone who hears your so-called music should have to pay up, even if they didn't even want to hear it. You, sir, are a greedy ass.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    TonsoTunez, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 1:11pm

    Setting the record straight ... again.

    At ASCAP you don't have to write a hit to get paid if your songs are performed in venues Masnick addresses in this blog. In fact, just today there is an article describing a program unique to ASCAP that makes such payments. All writers have to do is apply. No other PRO offers a program like this. Gee, Mr. Masnick, perhaps a little research on your part rather than making things up as you go would have been useful. But, of course, getting at the truth has never been your M.O..


    ASCAP Distributes $2.7 Million In ASCAPlus Cash Awards
    http://www.mi2n.com/press.php3?press_nb=124981
    Approximately $2.7 million in cash awards for 2009 - 2010 has been made to writer members of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) by the Society's ASCAPlus Awards Panels. The purpose of these special awards is to reward writers whose works have a unique prestige value for which adequate compensation would not otherwise be received, and to compensate those writers whose works are performed substantially in media not surveyed by ASCAP.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      DocMenach (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 1:28pm

      Re: Setting the record straight ... again.

      HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

      $2.7 million? Over two years? Okay, lets do the math. Taking a very conservative estimate(actually, a complete guess) that one tenth of one percent of the 300,000 ASCAP musicians are part of this ASCAPlus award program means that 300 musicians are sharing that award, resulting in around $9,000 each. For two years. Time to break out the champagne and caviar!!

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 2:04pm

      Re: Setting the record straight ... again.

      I honestly believe that everyone should behave as if they are owed something. Plumbers should be paid everytime someone flushes a toilet. Dentists should be paid everytime you chew food or smile. Useless middlemen should be paid everytime you do anything.

      And when no one has any money left, we can all start over.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      anymouse (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 2:29pm

      Re: Setting the record straight ... again.

      Wait a second here.....

      ASCAP collects money on behalf of all artists, and normally only distributes it to the top 200 groups (or am I thinking of a different extortion racket? it's so hard to keep the track of the mafia without a program), many of those they can't even seem to locate.

      Now there's apparently a big pot of 'leftover' money that really belongs to all those little 'up and coming' artists that weren't in the top 200 list, but instead of giving it to them (you know the ones they collected it on behalf of), they turn around and 'AWARD' it to "writers whose works have a unique prestige value for which adequate compensation would not otherwise be received and to compensate those writers whose works are performed substantially in media not surveyed by ASCAP".

      So they collect on behalf of many, but only distribute to the top few, then they take the rest and award it to people who weren't even in their 'media survey'? Why do I get the feeling that the list of Award recipients (I couldn't find one on the site, but didn't waste too much time) would have a very close affiliation with the list of family, friends, and related associates of the ASCAP administration?

      Today's tinfoil hat brought to you by Reynolds Wrap, when you're concerned enough to use the very best...

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    writer, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 2:25pm

    How true it is

    I am a songwriter at the beginning of my career. Just spent three months investigating why ASCAP held royalties from over 1600 radio plays nationwide in 2008. I am not famous...but had good radio promo, and was played on mostly college radio. I did not receive a check however my BMI co-writer did. After sending ASCAP proof my my radio plays, and contacting most of the stations to confirm they did submit their lists to ASCAP during those quarters....ASCAP tells me sorry we did not receive or survey during that period of time..therefore we have no money for you. Then I decided to end my membership...which then they told me I can not at this time, and would need to submit a termination form during june and sept of 2010...to be able to terminate on the date they gave me which is march 6 2011. So anything i put out on the radio for the next two years will probably not make me any money....wasting more of my time and preventing me from moving up in my career. I know these are small check we are talking about but its just proving its all true. It makes me sick....and in response to this article..while ASCAP fails to pay me... and protect my rights has a composer they went to a recent club I played at and made them pay for booking a ASCAP artist saying you don't have permission to play our clients songs...even though I was there playing it...so basically I don't have the right to play my songs...and when I do they charge the venue and keep that money too...its a crime...and hopefully someday they will be shut down.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    assjacker, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 3:09pm

    read your music biz 101 books you idiots

    ASCAP, BMI and SESAC collect and pay performance royalties to songwriters and publishers. I crack up every time I hear another "expert" spouting off about how they pay "artists." Sure, the writer may also be a recording artist, but these are royalties generated by performances of the copyright - not the sound recording (you stupid shits) - the inherent copyright.

    So shut your fucking mouths until you know what you're talking about - please.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 4:57pm

      Re: read your music biz 101 books you idiots

      ASCAP, BMI and SESAC collect and pay performance royalties to songwriters and publishers. I crack up every time I hear another "expert" spouting off about how they pay "artists."

      You don't consider songwriters artists? Sorry, I do. But I was pretty clear in the post explaining that this was for songwriters and composers.

      Sure, the writer may also be a recording artist, but these are royalties generated by performances of the copyright - not the sound recording (you stupid shits) - the inherent copyright.

      Um. Ok. Thanks for the insults. Though, before spewing such profanity, perhaps you should practice your reading comprehension, since we didn't say anything wrong at all.

      So shut your fucking mouths until you know what you're talking about - please.

      Or, learn to avoid cursing people out until you've actually learned to comprehend what was written. Might help.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 5:34pm

      Re: read your music biz 101 books you idiots

      Your name is Assjacker? You must have been tormented silly in your youth.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 8:46am

      Re: read your music biz 101 books you idiots

      This just goes to show the mentality of intellectual property maximists. NO REGARD FOR MORALITY, NONE, ABSOLUTELY ZERO. They see us finally being able to communicate the corruption in our society and the harm that intellectual property is causing and they see this as a potential threat to their stolen monopolies. So what do they do? They cuss and demand that everyone stop discussing the harm they are causing to society. No character, no morals, nothing but pure selfishness.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    TonsoTunez, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 4:01pm

    How true it is

    All performing rights societies have specific rules for resigning membership ... The real question to ask is, "how long are you committed to the relationship." At ASCAP you can resign at the end of every year ... at BMI you must commit for 5 years. If you miss the resignation requirement to get out at the end of 5 years, you are automatically committed to another 5 years ... and so on and so on and so on.

    Both organizations are not for profit and strive to keep expenses as low as possible ... ASCAP's overhead is among the lowest in the world for PROs. The most important thing for me is that ASCAP is owned by its members - writers and publishers and run by a board of directors democratically elected from its membership by its membership. BMI, on the other hand is owned by broadcasters, with a board of directors made up of broadcasters. BMI's members (affiliates, actually) have no say whatsoever in the running of BMI ...

    What strikes in my mind as being important about the governance of each organization is that the primary source of income for all PROs is BROADCASTERS!

    Knowing what you know now, which organization would you think has the best interest of writers and publisher in mind ... one run by writers and publishers or one run by broadcasters who, with their broadcaster hats on, spend millions of dollars a year in legal fees trying to reduce the amount of money they have to pay to ... writers and publishers!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    musician, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 5:28pm

    This Article Is Misleading

    Techdirt continues to mislead its readers with propaganda.

    "ASCAP, BMI And SESAC Continue To Screw Over Most Songwriters: 'Write A Hit Song If You Want Money"

    This is a ridiculous statement and absolutely false.

    Performing rights societies protect artists, composers, musicians period. Take it from me a working musician and composer. We depend on these societies for our livelihood.

    Don't listen to the propaganda that this site is spewing support the arts & music - support performing rights societies...or not.... what do I care it's protected by copyright law anyways...thank god

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 5:36pm

      Re: This Article Is Misleading

      Copyright will be rendered obsolete within the decade.

      Good luck in the future. You'll need it.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 8:40am

        Re: Re: This Article Is Misleading

        I HONESTLY wish this were true. Save some HUGE protests from LOTS AND LOTS of people ALL OVER THE WORLD, I do not see intellectual property going away any time soon. Though I do think we would be better off without intellectual property than with our current intellectual property laws. Our current laws hinder innovation and are unilaterally beneficial to the rich and the powerful at public expense. I do think that intellectual property can help advancement IF used correctly. Currently intellectual property rights last WAY too long, they keep getting extended for no good reason, and (as we've pointed out on techdirt before) the penalties for infringement seem to outweigh the penalties for fraudulently claiming a monopoly on something that's not patented or copy written or something that's in the public domain (and lets face it, it's not even illegal for big corporations to falsely claim something in the public domain. Sure there maybe a law written as a formality but it's unenforced against big corporations and an unenforced law is not a law at all).

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 10:37pm

      Re: This Article Is Misleading

      This is a ridiculous statement and absolutely false.

      The quote was directly from BMI. Who are you claiming is incorrect? Us? Or them?

      Performing rights societies protect artists, composers, musicians period. Take it from me a working musician and composer. We depend on these societies for our livelihood.

      No one denied that some folks relied on them. That's your mistake. It's dangerous to rely on others for your living, especially when they're making it that much harder for your music to get heard. If you were willing to actually build a smart business model, you might realize you don't need to rely on them at all.

      I don't see how it's propaganda to show you how the organizations that you support are harming many up and coming musicians.

      Don't listen to the propaganda that this site is spewing support the arts & music - support performing rights societies...or not.... what do I care it's protected by copyright law anyways...thank god

      I love how all the people swearing that we're wrong don't point to a single factually incorrect thing. They just scream "you're wrong!!!!!!! they give me money!!!!!"

      Ok. Good luck to you.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Daemon_ZOGG, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 11:42pm

    Hmmmm.. ASSSSCAP.. SESUCKS.. ButtMunchersInc.. huh? Oh gee, Was I thinking outloud again? Damn! I hate it when that happens!
    ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    TonsoTunez, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 8:36am

    Daemon_ZOGG

    Don't think you were thinking at all, Daemon_ZOGG ... a common state when one subscribes to the precept that ignorance is bliss.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    pjodonnell, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 11:03am

    morality . . .

    I have to confess, I have never heard one example of anyone ever being harmed by having to pay to use copyrighted work. Seriously. There are all kinds of things that people have to pay for -- food, shelter, clothing -- which, if they can't afford it, will cause serious harm. A copyrighted work is not among these.

    Public performance is one of the rights embodied in copyright. The performing rights organizations collect money for public performance of songs and compositions. If someone sings a Gershwin song in a performance at a theater, they collect a fee for that. If someone plays that song on a jukebox, or the radio, they collect a fee for that. The promoter for the theater and the owner of the bar are making money on those performances, otherwise they wouldn't bother to have the music played in the first place, but they do so because they think it will attract people to their establishment. Tickets and drinks are not free, and part of the price goes to pay the owner of the copyright which the establishment used to get someone to sit down in their venue or to order a drink.

    There are arguments against intellectual property, as there are arguments against all kinds of property, but I never see anyone on these forums arguing for the outlawing of real property, business property or personal property. My belief is this is because they do not ever imagine themselves creating something of value, so they do not want to grant protection to those that do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 2:33pm

      Re: morality . . .

      There are arguments against intellectual property, as there are arguments against all kinds of property, but I never see anyone on these forums arguing for the outlawing of real property, business property or personal property. My belief is this is because they do not ever imagine themselves creating something of value, so they do not want to grant protection to those that do.

      So-called "intellectual property" is a misnomer. It isn't like real property at all yet there are those who spend their time going around spreading the false belief that it is so they can exploit that belief for their own personal benefit.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 20th, 2009 @ 3:43pm

      Re: morality . . .

      I have to confess, I have never heard one example of anyone ever being harmed by having to pay to use copyrighted work. Seriously.

      Then you really ought to look harder. We point to examples nearly every day.

      There are all kinds of things that people have to pay for -- food, shelter, clothing -- which, if they can't afford it, will cause serious harm. A copyrighted work is not among these.


      Indeed. And free speech... you can live without that too? So you don't complain if the gov't tells you not to speak, right?

      Public performance is one of the rights embodied in copyright.

      Indeed. No one said otherwise.

      The performing rights organizations collect money for public performance of songs and compositions.

      Again, no one said otherwise. But we're pointing out how the actions actually harm up and coming musicians. Are you disputing that?

      If someone sings a Gershwin song in a performance at a theater, they collect a fee for that. If someone plays that song on a jukebox, or the radio, they collect a fee for that. The promoter for the theater and the owner of the bar are making money on those performances, otherwise they wouldn't bother to have the music played in the first place, but they do so because they think it will attract people to their establishment.

      Sure. But they also paid for the music in the first place. So this is them double paying. Just as others have pointed out, they also paid for the painting of the walls and the artwork on the walls, but the painters don't ask them for a cut of the revenue every day.

      There are arguments against intellectual property, as there are arguments against all kinds of property,

      Copyright is not "property." Don't get fooled by the words used by lobbyists.

      but I never see anyone on these forums arguing for the outlawing of real property, business property or personal property.

      Indeed. We're strong property rights believers. But copyright is not property, and these issues are not property rights issues.

      If someone sings your song, you haven't "lost" anything. There is no property taken away from you.

      My belief is this is because they do not ever imagine themselves creating something of value, so they do not want to grant protection to those that do.

      Your belief is wrong (and obnoxious and pedantic). We create tons of things of value, and we've learned to make more money by giving them away and not using copyright.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Nov 21st, 2009 @ 3:22pm

      Re: morality . . .

      "My belief is this is because they do not ever imagine themselves creating something of value, so they do not want to grant protection to those that do."

      As an artist who gifts their work to the public domain and would like to see the utter destruction of intellectual property let me just say:

      Value, when it comes to art, is a very difficult thing to define. Which is why we should tax intellectual property like real property. But that will never happen.

      It's a good thing that the majority of everything created in the 20th century will never enter the public domain.

      Can't get people used to thinking about artistic human expression as a gift. Can't have that.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    garry hillman, Nov 21st, 2009 @ 9:06pm

    the truth

    only the rich get the cream the big publishing co. have been screwing the little guy for years they along with the record co. only play what they want us to hear.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    DONNA L, Dec 8th, 2009 @ 10:16am

    HARRASEMENT

    I RECENTLY BOUGHT A STEAKHOUSE AND LODGE. WE ARE A STEAKHOUSE!!! ABOUT ONCE A MONTH, WE HAVE A PIANO PLAYER THAT PLAYS HIS OWN TUNES (FOR FREE), TRYING TO BECOME FAMOUS.
    I HAVE BEEN CONSTANTLY HARRASED BY BMI TO PAY UP!!! THEY CERTIFY MAIL, CALL MY EMPOYEES AT WORK, NOW THEY HAVE MY CELL PHONE NUMBER.
    I WILL NOT!!
    MY NEXT MOVE MAYBE, CONTACT AN ATTORNEY AND PRESS CHARGES?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 21st, 2010 @ 3:07pm

    The Big Picture

    Everybody is getting ripped off. The Musician, The Musician, and The Musician. These orders probably have a higher gold, and that is World Domination. Take and control all of everything and take all the money and pay peanuts to the members, anyway, and when they do, noone get anything but told what to do. What a hip!!!. Can't you see the underlying big group from afar , somewhere, headquartered in
    Communist !!!!!&#@#.

    Total Control of the World

    Fighting for God and Democracy

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Steven Graff, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 8:21am

    ISRC codes = tracking = payment

    It is not a widely known facet of recording and releasing music that by giving each music file an ISRC code, that file will be tracked on whatever machine it is played through. For example, your CD has tracks, and some artists include pictures, lyrics, etc. on the physical disc.
    Applying for an ISRC code, and using the code on all of your released material, helps your PRO effectively track airplay (since all radio stations, including local and college)need to track what they play, and log ISRC codes.

    Stop whining, get educated, and apply the FREE tools out there to help yourself earn a little bit of money. The only scam here is a lack of knowledge. I only found out about ISRC codes when the guy who mastered my first CD told me about them. Perhaps musicians need to communicate with each other more?
    Robert Fripp said it's better to be a businessman who happens to be a musician than the other way around.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Dorian, Jul 14th, 2010 @ 5:32pm

    Encouragement

    It is apparent that there are many folks who seem to believe that Royalty/residual checks are a thing of the past. Performers and creators from all aspects of life should put aside the idea that there is value in their genius. We should all be relegated to the notion that our worth is now embedded in our ability to be savvy business entities able to tickle the fancy of the dispassionate with nifty promotional drives aimed at getting little by giving much.

    Talent, passion and dedication are now the least important prerequisites to a career that seeks to rely on social patronage. Anyone who creates anything which the public is intended to enjoy needs to have more passion for business then they do the creations they labor on. I know, I know, the world has changed, we are supposed to adapt, there are no promises in life, you're an artist be creative...
    If every artist that creates something for public consumption follows this directive the quality of artistic expression will suffer - plain and simple. It already has. Soon enough every note you hear, every voice that tries to move you, every word that makes you think will be fed to you from the tit of incorporated mediocrity. That too has already begun.

    So enjoy your American Idol and America's Got Talent and whatever else comes after because that is what you truly support by extricating yourself from the more traditional ways of taking part in the time honored relationship of patron/artist appreciation.

    As time passes and more of what you get is less than what you want, you may reconsider your practice of belittling the artistic process.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Fred Rodgers, Aug 10th, 2010 @ 3:57am

    Why not use a computer to fix this?

    This is the digital age - isn't the solution obvious?

    Create a company that builds internet-connected jukeboxes.
    Charge XX cents per play (price may vary based on who "represents" the artist/composer)
    If no patron-requested jukebox music is playing, play something from the independent artist playlist.

    Give the venue owner a choice of playlists when the configure the system:

    [ ] SESCAP
    [ ] ASCAP
    [ ] BMI
    [ ] unsigned artists (ie none of the above)

    Reimburse the "licensing groups" monthly, based on play counts.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Skitch, Sep 3rd, 2011 @ 10:40am

    This is total nonsense hyperbole built up by OTHER 'evil' businessman who are more than happy for musicians to GIVE THEIR ART AWAY.

    OF COURSE you want the right to have musicians play for free. Of course you want the right to exploit the enthusiasm and vigor of musical artists. You exploit their care for their music by giving them, maybe on a split with the other bands, 10% at the door? You bar owners are NO DIFFERENT. Your methods may be, but for YOU it's about getting free entertainment to sell liquor. These musicians go home with nothing except being able to continue the cliche of a Bowery band who makes it big. You, in particular, play on the dreams of youths who dream too much and know too little and nievely think you bar owners are doing THEM a favor. You're full of shit. You want them to play for free and all the time and you RARELY give them anything more than a slap on the back.

    Musicians, don't fall for exaggerated arguements like these 'the man's stickin' it to us mannnnn'...i'd be more careful with the bearded 'evil' businessman than I would the one in the suit...at least you know EXACTLY who and what you're dealing with instead of the MONUMENTAL hypocrisy of 'nice' club owners who will 'let' you play for free...

    gimme a break...go pull someone else's leg...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Paul, Sep 3rd, 2011 @ 10:51am

    Personally, I'd be embarrassed to quote anything Fripp has to say. Is he even still alive?

    I guess if you like eating asbestos for fun, Fripp will suit your tastes.

    But back to the topic at hand...

    There are pro's and con's to everything in Life. It is not a perfect world and never will be. Your Utopian ideals and values will always be frustrated so long as you have to deal with other people. Sorry.

    So pick your poison and stop freaking whining!! Join, don't join, whatever. But all the witch hunts in the world won't result in anything but picking the wrong battles and losing the bigger war. This article, therefore, is beyond retarded. It's rat poo.

    That's my opinion, just like the Fripp opinion ( you're welcome Robert for free advertising...wait, shouldn't I be paid for this effort?!! ).

    If Little Richard, the King AND Queen of Rock n Roll, can be ripped off...so you can you.

    Somehow I have a feeling he'd suggest you get your crap copyrighted and put your funds into org's who will use existing laws to protect said crap.

    Bar owners who want FREE entertainment on the sweat and work of local musicians, need to stuff a sock in their cheap mouths or..hermmmm....PAY them!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Tony Marcus, Apr 20th, 2012 @ 3:37pm

    ASCAP, et al

    While it's true that songwriter royalties are quite unfairly biased towards the few who get massive airplay, I get payments for other usage of songs I've written, tv, motion pictures, etc. While this may not be what we'd wish for, it's better than having no mailbox money at all.
    On the live music front, I agree that there's no excuse for shutting down marginal venues who are unable to pay licensing fees...I know of many of these examples.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    John Hourigan, Sep 7th, 2012 @ 6:48pm

    bmi ascap other music collection agencies

    I have been a musucian for 55years and made a decent living at it.
    Sometimes it has been better then others. I have played everthing from teen sock hops, honkey tonks, night clubs, collosiams,outdoor arenas and everthing in between. I can only speak for my career and tell you for a fact if those colletion agencies had stopped me and all of the other up and coming artist from doing our thing at the early years, there would be nothing but known artist as there would not be a place for newcomers to develop their talent.
    So as the known names die off there would not be anyone to take their place. Where would they come from? We are not all lucky enough to be instant stars. Many of us work very hard for a long time and pay a lot of dues before things swing our way and we can finally make some decent money. I don't remember BMI being there to help me out when I was struggeling. However I do remember them collecting from radio stations that played my records but I sure as hell never saw a penny of that money.
    we didn't all start with hit records that we wrote and performed so if you stopped cover music because of non payment to BMI you will eventually stop music.
    I have written hit songs and I knew what the process of getting paid was. I never expected to make money off of young musicians trying to get a start who might play my song as that would be a plus for me on record sales. If you penalize them they simply wont be able to promote published music and how is that helpful to anyone? certainly not to writers!
    I felt very fortunate if the record companies paid what was owed so if you want to go after anyone there would be a good start and leave the small businesses that are the learning grounds and opportunity venues for the new kids alone.
    When BMI collects from radio,tv and piped music for their own self interest and so they can pay superstars that is one thing but when you punish new artist by taking away their opportunities for a place to perform and hone their skills during their learning years that is certainly not good for the art.
    So I think it would be best for the art if they would leave the learning grounds alone and we will be rewarded with a influx of new talent which is good for everyone. Most of those places are lucky if they can pay the electric bill for our amps.
    The music world should not only be for the fortunate few who have already made it but for all of those who struggle to scratch out a living while chasing a dream.
    That is from an old road warrior who has been everywhere in the music business from the bottom to the top and up and down many times. I am very grateful that BMI did not stop me in the beginning when I was playing for 20 people at some little bar somewhere that could barley pay the band, or had to pass the hat as we used to say, much less the BMI fees. They would have simply quit playing any kind of music live or otherwise and we would not have had any place to perform, and how is that a good thing.
    I wonder if their next move will be to go around neighborhoods and collect a fee from the doo-wop groups singing on a corner as they practice with stars in their eyes, or will they make them stop and go home?
    What a shameful way for an organization to fill thier coffers and pay big bucks in commisions to the enforcers to stop a young man from becoming a artist is all I can say.
    So stay away from the struggeling musicians and the whole industry will continue to thrive as it has in the past. I will say BMI has its place for the good of well known writers by dealling with the bootleggers who put togather CDs and sell them on the internet without ever considering paying the artist. Also from radio or tv or piped music but dont overkill. Where do they draw the line as to what is their namesake which is Broadcast music Inc. not live music Inc. Is it simply because it goes through a speker or amplifier it is considerd broadcast music. What a sad deffinition. I guess ther would be an argument that acoustical music of original material is the only thing we can do in small venues. KIss Rock and Roll goodbye.
    Please don't close the kindergarten and empty the schools BMI.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This