ASCAP Continues Propaganda Campaign With Laughably Bad Video [Updated]

from the but-you're-giving-it-away-for-free dept

While ASCAP is apparently too busy to debate Larry Lessig, they aren’t too busy to produce silly and ridiculous propaganda. ASCAP member Damian Sol notes that he recently received an email from ASCAP asking him to “spread the word” about ASCAP’s new propaganda video that compares getting songwriters paid for music to getting chickens and cows paid for their eggs and milk. Seriously. I’d embed it here, but the technologically savvy folks at ASCAP are apparently too clueless to figure out how to include an embed on a video they claim they want people to “share.” Update: Aha. While they don’t make it clear on the page, the video has also been uploaded to YouTube, where it is embeddable:

Anyway, since ASCAP believes that every public performance needs to be paid for, and the idea of “free promotion” is a myth, I do have to ask: is ASCAP paying Peter Himmelman, the guy who made the video, each time it’s played?

Update 2: Also, as many in the comments have noted, they’ve also produced a second video, which is just ridiculously misleading. You can watch it here:

Two major problems with the video. The first is that ASCAP continues to falsely portray “open source” believers as being somehow against compensation. It includes a guy in a t-shirt that says “open source dude,” which morphs into “fair payment man” in the video.

The bigger problem is that it sets up a total strawman to knocks down, in saying that people don’t think music is “as valuable” as a variety of tangible goods because you can hold/eat/watch those goods “and because people made them.” The conclusion of the video? Music is valuable because “people made it.” Uh, ok. Except that the debate isn’t over the value of music. It’s about the price of music, and it’s intellectually dishonest to pretend that value and price are the same thing. And while some people might actually find a TV set or a pair of shoes more valuable than music, it’s not because one is tangible and the other is not. It’s because they simply value one more than the other. What people are actually arguing — a point that ASCAP won’t address because it can’t — is that setting up a bureaucracy that gets a government granted ability to demand money from venues promoting musicians music can actually do serious harm to musicians by making it that much more difficult to find venues that can promote their music.

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Comments on “ASCAP Continues Propaganda Campaign With Laughably Bad Video [Updated]”

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Marius says:

Not accurate

The movie doesn’t even make sense.

Cows and chicken complaining about not getting a fair price for their milk and eggs – how about receiving a stable, warm hay to sit on, salt that they can’t find in nature easily, protection from other predators (such as wolves, hawks and so on).

It’s basically a relatively fare trade, a relation between humans and animals.

Movie should at least be appended with something saying “Join ascap and if you’re big enough to sue ASCAP, you may get your fair share of money, otherwise you’ll be ignored or you would get bogus, very small payments”

fogbugzd (profile) says:

Bunch of bull

I noticed a bull complaining about not getting paid for milk. He must represent the ASCAP execs who don’t make music but expect to get paid. In fact, the bull seemed to be running the show, so he must be an exec who expects most of the royalties on the eggs and milk will be going to him because he recruited the chicken and cow.

It sort of makes me want to go out and eat a steak.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

False statement in video one: people says music is not valuable.
False statement in video two: people don’t pay the chicken for the eggs. Ok this is not false, it’s simply absurd. The analogy (people don’t pay the composer for the music it composes) is only true for members of ASCAP and people who haven’t figured out how to get paid.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position.”

Propaganda isn’t necessarily false, although these videos are very, very wrong. In any case they’re certainly propaganda.

btw “not the best story line” has to be among the most overly generous reviews of any movie, ever.

Anonymous Coward says:

I like how they don’t even provide sensible links. There’s 2 videos (the cow nonsense being the second one) at the time of this comment. The first video is extremely absurd. I want to be paid for everything I do!! It’s valuable because I do it!! There’s a very simple strawman here: people think music isn’t as valuable as x. Nobody ever said that, AFAIK. Then there’s the confusion between value and price.

Ima Fish (profile) says:

is ASCAP paying Peter Himmelman, the guy who made the video, each time it’s played?

Sure they will. Out of the profits from the video. You see, they produced the video by setting up a shell company. That shell company owes a lot of money to ASCAP. After that money is paid, and if there is any profit left over, I’m sure Peter will get what’s coming to him.

Anonymous Coward says:

So I dunno if anyone else noticed, but the cow and chicken were complaining about the farm industry taking all their money. To me that sounded more like the cow and chicken (the “artists”) were complaining that the people who employ/own them (the “labels”) are taking all their money. Doesn’t even closely resemble people taking their milk/eggs for free, it sounds like people are buying their milk/eggs and then the assholes who “employ” them are taking all the money for themselves. Way to go ASCAP, putting in a message against record labels!

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

Is ASCAP Revealing Its True Ambitions?

I don’t know whether chickens and cows are the best analogy. Laying hens and milk cows are commonly converted into chicken soup and hamburger (‘cutter’-grade beef), when their production of eggs and milk falls below a certain economically calculated threshold. In the case of chickens, it is not even an individual matter, but an average for 50,000 chickens in a single “battery cage.” What can’t be sold as the raw material of fast food gets sold as dog food. What can’t be sold as dog food gets cooked down into fuel oil. Efficiency above all else. In human terms, that is basically the system of Auschwitz and the Gulag.

If the music industry really did own artists as chattel-slaves, they could adopt the same system. When executions were conducted in public, say until the 1860’s or the 1870’s in most parts of the developed countries, they were a popular spectator sport. All kinds of people made money from public executions in much the same ways they would now make money from a football game: selling seats, either in temporary bleachers, or on buildings overlooking the place of execution; selling food and drink; selling “broadsheets,” one-off tabloid newspapers about the person being executed; and selling souvenirs, such as pieces of the hangman’s rope. I doubt human nature has changed very much.

Rabbit80 says:

From here on in...

I will always remember that ASCAP is the “American Society of Cows And Poultry!”


“It’s basically a relatively fare trade, a relation between humans and animals.”

It’s hardly fair… Would it be fair to give a pregnant woman a house – then attach her boobs to a milking machine and eat her children?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: is this an April Fool's joke?

[citation needed]

According to Mike, an ASCAP member has received an email from ASCAP pushing these videos. “ASCAP member Damian Sol notes that he recently received an email from ASCAP asking him to ‘spread the word’ about ASCAP’s new propaganda video that compares getting songwriters paid for music to getting chickens and cows paid for their eggs and milk.”

If this is not true, then posting evidence to refute that the email Damian Sol has received as being fraudulent or invalid would be nice. Also, proof that the ASCAP website has been hacked and the videos uploaded by a 3rd Party would also work, since the videos are being served from Otherwise, it didn’t happen and you sir are a moron/shill/etc.

One of the great unwashed... says:

if the analogy doesn't hold, you must ....

I’m going to ignore the first video, it’s just plain silly (in my opinion, feel free to have your own)

In the second video, let’s follow these examples in the direction that ASCAP wants to go with music…

each time I put on my shoes and go for a walk the cobbler should get paid.
each time I use a bowl to hold my soup, the bowl maker should get paid.
each time I go for a sail in my fishing boat, the boat builders should get paid.

and why stop there,each time I wear the shoes, the designer of the shoes, bowl, boat should get paid.

your thoughts?

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Does anyone have the number from ascap on

New sign ups
Current membership
Members leaving

Here are my thoughts on ASCAP and this silly set of videos.

1) They have hit the market saturation point and are beginning to see a slide in profits as people start using CC open source type music to avoid paying them.

2) They are hyping and propagandising before a lobbying effort to increase their reach and what they can charge for.

3) They are beginning to see artists walk away from ASCAP. If I remember their contract correctly, you have to give notice to them 1 years in advance to leave. So this might be a leading indicator.

4) The stress of the failure of the recording is causing “Media Mogul Stress Induced Disfunction Disorder” also know as “Crazy as a Shit House Rat Disorder”, or they are just plain Asshats

In a year or so we will see what they are actually up to and the reason for this media campaign. I look forward to what they do next, it is really amusing.

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