Nice Work ASCAP: Convinces Yet Another Coffee Shop To Stop Promoting Local Bands
from the all-about-the-money dept
"I am 100 percent in compliance," Hopper said. "I'm not charging cover at the door. I'm not paying the bands, and they are just playing songs they wrote. They essentially said to me, 'We don't care. We have this low-end licensing fee you must have because there is a chance your band might play a cover song.' "This has been happening all over the country, and the end result is actually causing massive harm for up-and-coming artists. That's because these kinds of coffee shops and small bars that used to be where most musicians would get their start via open mic nights, are now banning all music to avoid having to pay these licenses. It means there are fewer places for musicians to have a chance to perform in front of a live audience. ASCAP/BMI/SESAC claiming that they're helping artists is a flat out lie. Their mission is really to support the largest acts at the expense of smaller acts, and ridiculous demands on coffee shops like the one above contributes to that situation. They even admit it at times, when you catch them talking candidly.
Some folks have been willing to stand up to these collection societies, like the town in Connecticut who received license demands for music played at the town center. In response, the town council voted to ignore the threats. But, it seems that it's just easier for most little shops to just stop playing music altogether. Of course, that goes against ASCAP's public claims of being in the interest of artists, but ASCAP and BMI have made their real goals clear through their actions, and it has little to do with actually helping up-and-coming artists. After all, they might compete with the big stars.