I don’t like to get involved in causes. Many are overblown and have more to do with political ideology than ‘Bread & Butter’ issues but this one directly impacts independent musicians like the Roaring Kelly Band and especially the types of small, Mom & Pop venues we love to play. I signed a petition to Paul Williams, President of the Board, ASCAP, Michael O’Neill, President and CEO, BMI, and 2 others which says: “Grant venues and cafes under 350 capacity exempt status from the prohibitive licensing fees levied by ASCAP, BMI and SESAC for the public performance of copyrighted material.”
ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC are NOT FRIENDS to independent musicians. That’s the absolute truth. The money ASCAP and these other organizations collect from dues or litigation goes to pay attorney’s fees and the organization’s overpaid CEO’s and administrators. Musicians are treated like feudal serfs who are then left to scratch their heads about the money collection. These fees, strong armed by threats of litigation, significantly reduce the budgets of small venues often causing them to eliminate live music. This rapacious policy can be devastating to both artists and the communities where they perform. An exemption will assure that small communities can enjoy performances and musicians can thrive. The fees collected are arbitrary and prohibitive. ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC never ask for set lists so how are they supposed to know who to pay? In short, these organizations are fleecing venues and musicians with nothing more than a legal boondoggle (work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value). Support independent music and put an end to prohibitive licensing fees.