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  • Oct 15th, 2011 @ 6:21am

    PROs screwing the little guy (as gene@winterstreammusic.com)

    It is more insidious than you realize. The PROs (Professional Rights Organizations) have been extorting money from club owners for years. They use a formula based on the total square footage of the facility, so Borders and Barnes and Nobel no longer have live music because the fees were too great.

    If a club pays the money to ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, etc., the PROs do not demand play lists, so they do not know what songs were played and who to send the money to. Instead, the PROs use a formula based on the highest grossing touring acts. The top 20% of these acts get the money collected from clubs. Play a Neil Young song and the money goes to the Eagles, or Brittany Spears, or, whomever.

    More importantly, the agent gets a large share of the monthly extortion money, so they have incentives to enforce.

    I believe that the PROs in Canada and Europe are forced to collect play lists and dole out the money accordingly. I have songwriter friends who get checks from the Canadian PROs, but never from the US PROs.