[Editor Charlie sez: Remember when the government set the price of mechanical royalties at $0.02 in 1909 and “forgot” to raise it until 1978? And then–in 1978–started giving songwriters increases based on inflation (Consumer Price Index) with no compensation for the government’s past mistakes? Gee, thanks government. If they’d given inflation adjustments in 1909, minimum statutory would be at least $0.50. And then they froze the $0.091 minimum statutory rate again in 2009 when inflation has been about 14% since then. Gee, thanks again government. And why do they call it “minimum” statutory rate as if anyone is getting paid more than statutory when the reality is songwriters almost always get paid less than statutory? Big thank you to ASCAP and the songwriter delegation, you can tweet support to #standwithsongwriters!]
SONGWRITERS TO CALL FOR REFORMS TO OUTDATED MUSIC LICENSING REGULATIONS DURING ASCAP “STAND WITH SONGWRITERS” ADVOCACY DAY ON APRIL 26
Paul Williams, Peter Frampton, Rob Thomas, Eric Bazilian, Rob Hyman, Ledisi, Jimmy Jam, Terry Lewis and other award-winning American songwriters ask Congress to support updates for the modern music economy
WASHINGTON, DC—APRIL 25, 2016— Joining together as some of the most heavily-regulated small business owners in the country to fight for vital reforms to decades-old federal music licensing regulations, award-winning songwriters and composers from various music genres will be in Washington, DC tomorrow, April 26, to meet with elected officials as part of the annual American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) “Stand with Songwriters” Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.
“Songwriters are the foundation of this nation’s thriving music industry. But even though our music is being used more and more, it seems to be valued less and less, thanks to antiquated regulations. In fact, it takes one million streams of a song across the top music streaming services for a songwriter to earn about $170 on average. Even people who write hit songs are struggling to get by in this new music economy,” said ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams, an Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe-winning songwriter. “The fact is U.S. music licensing regulations are out of step with how people consume music today, and with how the rest of the world works. If millions of people around the world are streaming your song, you should be fairly compensated for it.”
Today, three-fourths of U.S. songwriter income streams are subject to regulation by the federal government, hindering songwriters’ ability to negotiate fair market rates for their work. This is unlike any other creative industry, including books, television, film, video games and art, where the free market decides the value of copyrighted works. In their meetings on Capitol Hill, ASCAP members will discuss these and other challenges facing songwriters in the digital music age and urge policymakers from across the political spectrum to update the outdated and overreaching federal regulations that govern how songwriters collectively license their work.
When it comes to specific legislative reforms, ASCAP members will emphasize the need for periodic review of ASCAP’s 76-year-old antitrust consent decree with the Department of Justice to ensure it encourages, rather than hinders, more vigorous competition in the marketplace. They will also underscore the critical importance of improving the outdated and inefficient rate court system with a faster, less expensive process for dispute-resolution and rate-setting.
The meetings will follow tonight’s “We Write the Songs” concert at the Library of Congress, sponsored by The ASCAP Foundation. The event features performances by popular ASCAP members who will be introduced by Members of Congress, including: Peter Frampton & Gordon Kennedy (“Baby I Love Your Way” & “Change the World”); Rob Thomas (of Matchbox Twenty) (“Smooth”); Eric Bazilian & Rob Hyman (of The Hooters) (“One of Us” & “Time After Time”); Ledisi (“Pieces of Me”); Raul Midón (“Keep on Hoping”); and ASCAP Foundation Award-winning young jazz composer, singer and musician Camille Thurman.
The delegation of ASCAP members participating in tomorrow’s Congressional office visits will include: Paul Williams, Peter Frampton, Rob Thomas, Eric Bazilian, Rob Hyman, Ledisi, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.