ASCAP's Live Performance Royalties No Longer Reserved For Top Touring Acts

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7 comments posted

The introduction of ASCAP’s

Submitted by Leslie Elmore (not verified) on October 17, 2012 - 12:53pm.

The introduction of ASCAP’s OnStage program ultimately increases ASCAP’s presence in the live music performance industry. When considering the evolution in copyleft licensing companies (Creative Commons), the advent of file sharing programs (MegaBox), and digital piracy at large, ASCAP’s role in music licensing is being increasingly threatened as digital business models aim to eliminate third-parties. Through OnStage, ASCAP is trying to increase its presence in a market it had not before – live performance – which coincidently, is how many musicians are making their money these days. Many musicians are giving away their music for free on the Internet to promote themselves and then make money through ticket sales. So I ask the question – is ASCAP launching OnStage to increase their presence in the live music market in part to save its business? Also, will the licensing fees simply be passed on to the musicians themselves in their settlements? In which case, they truly would be paying ASCAP to play their own songs.

Interesting questions,

Submitted by kevin on October 17, 2012 - 1:12pm.

Interesting questions, Leslie. My take is that ASCAP is simply following after BMI and SESAC in an effort to make their payouts more representative of the full range of their catalog that is performed, not to "increase their presence in the live music market". After all, every live music venue is already required to pay annual ASCAP fees if any ASCAP music is played. I can't imagine how you'd get a bigger presence than that! I've also seen no evidence that ASCAP's business is in trouble. I'm really not sure there's evidence that copyleft options or even widespread piracy makes the PROs role in the space any less relevant. Currently, fees for ASCAP, BMI, or SESAC may be passed on to the artist in the settlement sheet, depending on the venue. If this is done, though, the nightly cost of PRO fees is usually deducted before the split, so it's shared between artist and venue. (This also entitles the artist to perform cover songs of his/her choosing).

If someone volunteers to

Submitted by Dale (not verified) on June 5, 2013 - 2:09pm.

If someone volunteers to perform at a bar or restaurant and sings covers or songs written by other artists, is the establishment still required to pay royalties for the covers even though they are not paying the performer anything?

Dale, the short answer is

Submitted by kevin on June 7, 2013 - 9:56am.

Dale, the short answer is yes, the establishment is required to purchase the required blanket license for the public performance as part of the cost of doing business. Most bars/restaurants purchase a license anyway so they are covered for the background music or jukebox that they play.

Singer/songwriters BEWARE.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on March 23, 2015 - 4:23pm.

Singer/songwriters BEWARE. The real purpose of ASCAP's On Stage program (like BMI's Live program) is not to make sure you get paid for publicly performing your own songs. The real purpose is to have you report the small venues (coffeeshops, barbeque joints, etc) where you've played to them so that, if these small venues are not already paying licensing fees, they can go after them for those fees. While many will argue that music licensing fees are "just another cost of doing business" bear in mind that for most of these small venues, offering live music IS NOT a necessary or even major part of their business model. Many of them ALLOW you to play because they like you and/or want to support live music. Unless the music you play brings in enough ADDITIONAL business to cover what it costs them to allow you to play (eg, free meal, free drinks, a small pittance if they actually pay you anything, slower turn-over in tables because your friends hang out all night drinking two brews, PLUS the cost of those PRO licenses) the small venues will stop offering live music. How many of the venues you used to play at no longer offer/allow live music? Have you ever asked the owners WHY they stopped?

I am trying to find out where

Submitted by Video Producer (not verified) on May 5, 2015 - 1:41pm.

I am trying to find out where I stand as far as recording video of performances and then posting them. The videos are not being sold and may not be downloaded legally. ASCAP wants me to buy a separate licence but this all seems to me to be "double dipping" since the third party websites are paying ASCAP fees and the venue is paying performance fees. What gives?

We would need more

Submitted by kevin on May 5, 2015 - 1:51pm.

We would need more information about where you are uploading to be able to answer this question.

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