SOCAN Wants To Charge Buskers Performance Fees
from the you-have-to-be-kidding-me dept
One of the themes of 2009 was that collection societies around the world went nuts trying to charge for anything they possibly could, while also trying to increase the rates they could charge. Remember how one collection society wanted to charge a woman because she put on music for her horses? Or how about the woman who worked in a grocery store, who was told to stop singing while stock the shelves, or the store would have to pay a performance fee. And, of course, we had ASCAP trying to claim that ringtones were performances, and mobile operators needed to pay up — beyond the license fee that was already paid on the recording.
SOCAN, up in Canada, has been no exception, pushing for drastically increased rates that cover new places as well. But the most ridiculous may be the one sent in by a few people (Jesse was the first) about how SOCAN is trying to get buskers — street musicians — to pay a performance fee if they perform in SkyTrain stations in Vancouver. SOCAN is claiming that TransLink, the transit authority for the trains in Vancouver should be paying up to $40,000 in performance fees for all the buskers singing in stations, and TransLink’s response is to pass those fees on to the buskers.
Of course, many musicians actually got their start as buskers, and built up their performance chops that way, but SOCAN is about to put them out of business by making it pretty damn costly to busk where it often makes the most sense. Nice work, SOCAN, in harming the very musicians you’re supposed to be helping.