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Thread: Anyone ever had any dealings with ASCAP

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    REDSBROWNSBUCKEYES
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    Anyone ever had any dealings with ASCAP

    I own a bar and have live music every saturday night. I have recently started to recieve letters and phone calls from ASCAP wanting me to pay for the rights to the music these bands are covering. Has anyone dealt with this, and what is the best way to handle it. Alot of the bands have told me to ignore it but I would love to hear some advice from someone who has been through it.

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    Member VR's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone ever had any dealings with ASCAP

    Quote Originally Posted by 5DOLLAR-BLEACHERBUM View Post
    I own a bar and have live music every saturday night. I have recently started to recieve letters and phone calls from ASCAP wanting me to pay for the rights to the music these bands are covering. Has anyone dealt with this, and what is the best way to handle it. Alot of the bands have told me to ignore it but I would love to hear some advice from someone who has been through it.
    I'm not aware of any way around it....they are pretty nasty
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    For a Level Playing Field RedFanAlways1966's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone ever had any dealings with ASCAP

    That is so ridiculous. I'd ignore them.
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    Member JaxRed's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone ever had any dealings with ASCAP

    Why wouldn't the bands be responsible? They are the ones receiving payment for using those songs.
    The lowest acceptable payroll amount for ownership to show they are not greedy pigs is 15 million more than they are currently paying. No matter what that currently is.

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    Member 919191's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone ever had any dealings with ASCAP

    I've just read a thread of emails on a musician's fan's listseerv, and there are both venue owners and artists. They all pretty much said if you pay ASCAP, BMI and a couple others will show up with their hands too. Some blew them off with no repercussions, and some I think backed off and dropped the shows.
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    High five! nate's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone ever had any dealings with ASCAP

    Quote Originally Posted by JaxRed View Post
    Why wouldn't the bands be responsible? They are the ones receiving payment for using those songs.
    No. It's the venue owner's responsibility because he's providing the venue that people are paying money to be entertained in.
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

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    Re: Anyone ever had any dealings with ASCAP

    Quote Originally Posted by 5DOLLAR-BLEACHERBUM View Post
    I own a bar and have live music every saturday night. I have recently started to recieve letters and phone calls from ASCAP wanting me to pay for the rights to the music these bands are covering. Has anyone dealt with this, and what is the best way to handle it. Alot of the bands have told me to ignore it but I would love to hear some advice from someone who has been through it.
    It's probably best to consult a lawyer. You might be able to settle with them by simply saying you won't allow cover tunes any longer. You can still have live music but it will have to be all original material.

    They can do the same thing if you have a jukebox. When a certain number of people congregate in an entertainment environment and you have music, you have to pay for it.

    I once played at a place where the club owner literally stopped us in the middle of a cover tune because he had been caught by BMI.

    At least that's why he said he stopped us.

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    Member PedroBourbon's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone ever had any dealings with ASCAP

    At least that's why he said he stopped us.

    [/QUOTE]


    Good thing you added that, I could see this being teed up for a good shot.
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    Member durl's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone ever had any dealings with ASCAP

    Quote Originally Posted by nate View Post
    No. It's the venue owner's responsibility because he's providing the venue that people are paying money to be entertained in.
    Exactly right.

    To the OP, there are exceptions for certain businesses. Things such as square footage and the number of speakers can be factors that determine if you can obtain an exemption.

    I would NOT recommend ignoring them. They have a legal right to collect royalties for the songwriters. They're probably not testing you to see if they can get some money. If they want to pursue it further, they can take you to court to force you to pay.

    See if you qualify for an exemption. If not, getting an annual license from ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC is the right thing to do.
    Last edited by durl; 01-21-2009 at 10:03 AM.

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    Re: Anyone ever had any dealings with ASCAP

    Quote Originally Posted by durl View Post
    Exactly right.

    To the OP, there are exceptions for certain businesses. Things such as square footage and the number of speakers can be factors that determine if you can obtain an exemption.
    And number of people. It's similar to the NFL not allowing churches to hold Super Bowl parties. They want a piece of the pie if that many folks are congregating to see their product.

    I would NOT recommend ignoring them. They have a legal right to collect royalties for the songwriters. They're probably not testing you to see if they can get some money. If they want to pursue it further, they can take you to court to force you to pay.

    See if you qualify for an exemption. If not, getting an annual license from ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC is the right thing to do.
    Right. It might not be that expensive.

    Say what one will about the music industry but those organizations (disclaimer: I'm a member) serve to collect royalties for the people who wrote the songs. Even though it might not make a difference to Bruce Springsteen, it does make a difference to the guy playing a $50 gig at the Station Inn on a Saturday night.
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

  12. #11
    REDSBROWNSBUCKEYES
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    Re: Anyone ever had any dealings with ASCAP

    Quote Originally Posted by nate View Post
    And number of people. It's similar to the NFL not allowing churches to hold Super Bowl parties. They want a piece of the pie if that many folks are congregating to see their product.



    Right. It might not be that expensive.

    Say what one will about the music industry but those organizations (disclaimer: I'm a member) serve to collect royalties for the people who wrote the songs. Even though it might not make a difference to Bruce Springsteen, it does make a difference to the guy playing a $50 gig at the Station Inn on a Saturday night.
    The problem is that the songs that the bands are playing are songs from people like Bruce Springsteen, a cover band playing songs by a guy playing a $50 dollar gig at the station Inn isn't going to attract many listeners to a show. My goal in booking a band is to take in enough money at the door to pay the bands fee, therefore the people who come in to see the band are paying the band to play the music they perform not me.

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    Re: Anyone ever had any dealings with ASCAP

    Quote Originally Posted by 5DOLLAR-BLEACHERBUM View Post
    The problem is that the songs that the bands are playing are songs from people like Bruce Springsteen, a cover band playing songs by a guy playing a $50 dollar gig at the station Inn isn't going to attract many listeners to a show.
    My point was that the guy playing $50 dollar gigs could be a co-writer of one of Bruce's songs. Or Garth Brooks, or anyone. I meet these guys all the time at the supermarket and they're not as flush with cash as the "artists" who play their tunes. So if they legally have rights to get paid whenever their song is performed, they should get it.

    ASCAP and BMI can get you even if you have a jukebox or a DJ. It doesn't really matter if it's a band.

    My goal in booking a band is to take in enough money at the door to pay the bands fee, therefore the people who come in to see the band are paying the band to play the music they perform not me.
    There's a difference between paying for the performance and paying for the right to play someone else's material. It's similar to burning a CD, you _paid_ for the blank media to copy on to but you didn't pay for the right to copy the tunes.

    I mean, you have some sort of beer dispensing system at your place that you own. You still have to buy beer.

    I know, it sucks. It's not a good model. People don't understand the value of intellectual property and the fault is as much the IP owners and their agents as it is technology's.
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"

  14. #13
    First Time Caller SunDeck's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone ever had any dealings with ASCAP

    Quote Originally Posted by 5DOLLAR-BLEACHERBUM View Post
    The problem is that the songs that the bands are playing are songs from people like Bruce Springsteen, a cover band playing songs by a guy playing a $50 dollar gig at the station Inn isn't going to attract many listeners to a show. My goal in booking a band is to take in enough money at the door to pay the bands fee, therefore the people who come in to see the band are paying the band to play the music they perform not me.
    I don't know, the band is playing someone else's music, so doesn't it also reside with them to contribute to paying for the intellectual property? It's overhead, just like the gas they buy to cart their stuff to the show and I am sure that if they had a hit song of their own creation they would be happy to have ASCAP pursue their rights to royalties.
    At the same time, does ASCAP pursue this equally or do they just try to roll bar owners seem like easy marks?
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    Viva la Rolen kaldaniels's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone ever had any dealings with ASCAP

    How much typically does ASCAP charge for lets say, a night of songs?

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    Re: Anyone ever had any dealings with ASCAP

    Quote Originally Posted by SunDeck View Post
    I don't know, the band is playing someone else's music, so doesn't it also reside with them to contribute to paying for the intellectual property?
    I think the venue owner is responsible since he's the one wanting music. He can, of course, reflect that expense in the band's pay which is probably why most bar gigs suck.

    It's overhead, just like the gas they buy to cart their stuff to the show and I am sure that if they had a hit song of their own creation they would be happy to have ASCAP pursue their rights to royalties. At the same time, does ASCAP pursue this equally or do they just try to roll bar owners seem like easy marks?
    Dunno what their strategy is but it's probably a lot like a building inspector. If he's in your neighborhood and someone's building something, he's gonna check it out. If you have a permit, cool. If not...
    "Bring on Rod Stupid!"


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