September 18, 2008
ASCAP and band
I don’t have all of the details yet, but it appears that the stink I first raised three years back with ASCAP has finally led to a beneficial policy change. As I wrote a few weeks ago, ASCAP had a policy of not paying for every college band performance. Instead, they conducted a sample survey, paying for only certain college performances. (This meant that if I had, say, 50 college performances, I might have been paid for 20.) They did pay for every professional performance, but for band, there aren’t many of those to be had. BMI (the “other” music licensing agency) had no such policy, and paid for every college band performance.
Thanks to some lobbying, the voice of John Corigliano, a whole lot of documentation of how many performances weren’t being paid, and over 100 pages of letters of support from composers and band directors, Fran Richard (Director of Concert Music for ASCAP) raised the issue with the CEO of ASCAP, and the policy has been corrected. As of October, every college band performance reported to ASCAP will generate a royalty payment for the ASCAP composer and publisher of the performed works.
For many composers, this is a life-changing policy revision. Composers who write wind band music should see a huge increase in ASCAP royalties, and that income could make the difference between earning a livable income or not. For others, maybe they can finally afford that tanning bed they’ve had their eye on.