Music Industry

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
collections, licensing, music, restaurants

Companies:
bmi



BMI Hurting Artists, Yet Again

from the making-it-more-expensive dept

For many years, we've written about how, for all their talk of "helping" artists, ASCAP and BMI are often harming up-and-coming musicians. That's because many musicians get their start playing local gigs at coffee shops and restaurants and the like, who often don't pay ASCAP or BMI. That should be fine, so long as the artists play only original songs, but ASCAP and BMI usually tell venues that they need to pay anyway, just in case someone plays a single covered riff. TorrentFreak has yet another such story, of a restaurant that stopped having a local band perform every Friday night after BMI demanded $3,000:
"I said the hell with it! We only have music on Friday nights. Itís not worth $3000. How is a neighborhood restaurant running on a razor-thin margin in this economy supposed to afford an extra $3000? So I cancelled the band. Net result? Our customers suffered, local music suffered. A complete lose-lose situation."

The bottom line to BMI and other collective rights organizations? Your customers are not your enemies. Promoting live music is good for BMI and the artists they collect royalties for. Working together with local businesses rather than trying to bully and intimidate them will leave all parties better off.
Of course, BMI and ASCAP don't really care. In the end, they're not there to protect the up-and-coming guys, but the huge acts who get the large checks.

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  1. icon
    Richard (profile), 17 Oct 2011 @ 1:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    To clarify.

    Actually, it isn't up to BMI to prove much of anything, beyond that there is live music at the venue

    1) Does BMI operate on the basis that this statement is true?

    Yes,

    2) Is this statement true? Maybe. It has never been really well tested in court because most of BMI's victims don't have the resources to pursue it.

    3) Is it good business practice for BMI to operate on the basis that this statement is true?

    Probably not - it makes them lots of enemies.

    4) Is it good for musicians in general for BMI to operate on the basis that this statement is true?
    No - because it reduces their opportunities - and very few make enough royalties to cover the loss.

    5) Is it morally acceptable for this statement to be true - absolutely not.

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