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Coffeeshop Blues.

So I come into work this morning here at Nani's Coffee to some rather disturbing news. We received a call from the ASCAP this morning. They informed us that they had reports that we were playing music covered by their agreement and that as such, we needed to pay them a yearly fee of nearly $600...

So the story goes thus: They apparently send representatives into clubs, bars, restaurants, and girl scout summer camps. All under cover, in attempts to find out of they are playing music for their customers that is protected by the ASCAP's listing of nearly 68,000 artists, composers, and publishers. If their representative hears music, he writes down the artist, time, and date, and reports it to the home office... In 1996 they went after a girl scout camp and won a yearly fee of $591...

edit:
ASCAP is a membership association of over 170,000 U.S. composers, songwriters, lyricists, and music publishers of every kind of music. Through agreements with affiliated international societies, ASCAP also represents hundreds of thousands of music creators worldwide.


Ok, so what it comes down to in reference to us here at the coffeeshop is that we can't play the cd's that we already bought and paid for without paying another fee. The theory behind this is that since we are using the music in a business manner to affect the abiance of the business, and therefore gather more customers, that we should pay the artists whose music we are playing. They would want a yearly fee based on our squarefootage, number of speakers, and revenue.

This reeks of mafia-style extortion to me. I understand them asking a fee from clubs and karako bars. That makes sense. Those are places that people go to listen to the music specifically.

Here, I'll make an analogy:
Say we buy our coffee from a small local company that does all their own roasting and imports it from Brazil. Good. Fine. Now imagine how you would react if the farmer who grew that coffee in Brazil had a daughter... now imagine that daughter coming into your business and asking for a yearly fee because you were making money off of her father's coffee that you already paid for.

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So I come into work this morning here at Nani's Coffee to some rather disturbing news. We received a call from the ASCAP this morning. They informed us that they had reports that we were playing music covered by their agreement and that as such, we needed to pay them a yearly fee of nearly $600...

So the story goes thus: They apparently send representatives into clubs, bars, restaurants, and girl scout summer camps. All under cover, in attempts to find out of they are playing music for their customers that is protected by the ASCAP's listing of nearly 68,000 artists, composers, and publishers. If their representative hears music, he writes down the artist, time, and date, and reports it to the home office... In 1996 they <a href="http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/communications/ASCAP.html">went after a girl scout camp</a> and won a yearly fee of $591...

<i>edit:
ASCAP is a membership association of over 170,000 U.S. composers, songwriters, lyricists, and music publishers of every kind of music. Through agreements with affiliated international societies, ASCAP also represents hundreds of thousands of music creators worldwide.</i>

Ok, so what it comes down to in reference to us here at the coffeeshop is that we can't play the cd's that we already bought and paid for without paying another fee. The theory behind this is that since we are using the music in a business manner to affect the abiance of the business, and therefore gather more customers, that we should pay the artists whose music we are playing. They would want a yearly fee based on our squarefootage, number of speakers, and revenue.

This reeks of mafia-style extortion to me. I understand them asking a fee from clubs and karako bars. That makes sense. Those are places that people go to listen to the music specifically.

Here, I'll make an analogy:
Say we buy our coffee from a small local company that does all their own roasting and imports it from Brazil. Good. Fine. Now imagine how you would react if the farmer who grew that coffee in Brazil had a daughter... now imagine that daughter coming into your business and asking for a yearly fee because you were making money off of her father's coffee that you already paid for.

<font size"+2">WHAT FUCKING SENSE DOES THAT MAKE?</font>

Maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way. Maybe I should just accept it like all the other little coffeeshops and restaurants around here do. Maybe I should be part of their $38million revenue for this year.... Mayb... Wait.. What the fuck? $38 million?! Yes, $38 Million. How many people is it that are already paying this bullshit fee just to be allowed to listen to music that they paid for.

Scare tactics do not work on me. I will not submit. I will not lie down and let the big Corporate world run down small business like this one. Fuck that. I am not a girl scout camp.

_X

Comments

kragen
Nov. 21st, 2003 09:54 pm (UTC)
Re: aggregation for economic efficiency

They collect royalty fees, also known as license fees. Your previous post about the difference is nonsense; it's pure speculation. The post to which I am replying is simply a lie, and a libel at that. From http://www.ascap.com/about/:



ASCAP protects the rights of its members by licensing and distributing royalties for the non-dramatic public performances of their copyrighted works.



Apparently, ASCAP distributes about 84% of the royalties they collect to their members.



Anyway, ASCAP does enough bad stuff in reality --- you don't need to make up stuff, like you've been doing, to make them look bad. Stick to the truth.

digitalgoth
Nov. 22nd, 2003 01:24 am (UTC)
Re: aggregation for economic efficiency
royalty:
A share of the product or profit (as of a mine, forest, etc.), reserved by the owner for permitting another to use the property.
Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.


As such, the 84% that you stated is the actual royalty. The entire amount (that which they collect from the businesses) is a FEE, and mislabelled a royalty.

My post about the difference is not nonsense, nor speculation. There's a difference. If they tracked what music we played here and gave all $600+/year to the artists that we played, then it would be a royalty. They do not track, or give all 100% to the artists. Since they do not, it is a fee, not a royalty.

I really would like to know what I have made up though. So far, to my knowledge, everything that I have posted here is true. I love you to death big-brother, but I got over my 'making things up' phase many years ago, despite your convicted belief to the contrary. I'm aware that they do enough bad stuff in reality, and I haven't 'made up stuff' in any of this thread. If you think that I have posted something untrue, please quote and correct me... Please don't just drop accusations of me making things up.

For note: Slight correction from first post:
Based on this excerpt from your link, I am forced to assume that the ASCAP collects a bit more than $38million:
The RIAA collective will handle royalty distribution for non-interactive webcasting, while labels are negotiating their own royalty deals with interactive webcasters, which let users skip songs and choose artists. Licensing royalties from subscription services and webcasting (including radio stations on the 'Net) could come to $400 million per year -- double what ASCAP and BMI collect from radio -- according to Gertz.

If The ASCAP and BMI collect $400 million/year together as that says, I find it hard to believe that only $38 million of that is ASCAP considering the following information:
from bmi.com:
BMI is an American performing rights organization that represents approximately 300,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers in all genres of music. ...(snip)... The license fees BMI collects for the "public performances" of its repertoire of approximately 4.5 million compositions -...(snip)

and this information from ascap.com:
ASCAP is a membership association of over 170,000 U.S. composers, songwriters, lyricists, and music publishers of every kind of music. Through agreements with affiliated international societies, ASCAP also represents hundreds of thousands of music creators worldwide.



Please let me know if I'm in error, but don't be an ass about it. Don't just rampantly accuse me of making things up when I -am- actually basing them off of facts provided by the company that I am talking about.

_X
digitalgoth
Nov. 22nd, 2003 01:35 am (UTC)
Re: aggregation for economic efficiency
The RIAA would like to take 16-20% of the total for administrative expenses, according to Simson. "Our goals is to keep [expenses] in line with other performing rights organizations like ASCAP and BMI," he says.

"History has shown that if administrative costs approach 20%, managers lose their heads," says Andrew Sanders, director of international legal and business affairs at ASCAP, which took 15.9% in administrative costs in 1999. ASCAP's percentage is less than BMI's, he said, which is around 18%.

The final administrative percentage will be negotiated at an upcoming Copyright Arbitration Rate Panel (CARP) proceeding, supervised by the U.S. Copyright Office.


Given an administrative cost of 15.9%, $63 million of that $400 million went to BMI and ASCAP. And that was just counting radio. That was not including the fees that they collected from clubs, bars, restaurants, live performances, webcasts, and television.

My estimate of $38 million was a little underrated. Sorry.

_X

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