Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 39

Thread: Another Licensing Question...

  1. #1
    Registered User Mandobart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Washington State
    Posts
    2,748

    Default Another Licensing Question...

    Here is a follow-up on an earlier question related to PRO licenses that venues need, not only for live music but for anything played over a sound system - CD's, iPod playlist, even TV. Again, I don't seek a debate over good/bad/other - just looking for info. Suppose a musician or group of musicians gather at a pub, tavern, restaurant, etc. and play music/sing completely without sound reinforcement - no amps, no mics, no PA. I am a member of three different 501c.3 organizations that sponsor acoustic music in my area. Sometimes we have get togethers at different local businesses and play tunes, 100% acoustic. We don't get paid, we don't have a tip jar, just pizza, beer and music. Not advertised as any kind of intentional entertainment for anyone but ourselves. Do those businesses have to be licensed by ASCAP/BMI/SESAC in order to allow us to play there? Thanks again.

  2. #2
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    4,531

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    As I understand the system (and I'm not a lawyer with all the usual disclaimers), then these businesses do need an ASCAP/BMI license.

    You, as the performer, can ignore this completely. You don't have to ask, or care, about whether the venue is paying a license or not. Don't ask questions, don't worry about it.

  3. The following members say thank you to foldedpath for this post:


  4. #3
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.191N -74.2W
    Posts
    20,856

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    From the ASCAP site:

    A public performance is one that occurs either in a public place or any place where people gather (other than a small circle of a family or its social acquaintances). A public performance is also one that is transmitted to the public; for example, radio or television broadcasts, music-on-hold, cable television, and by the internet. Generally, those who publicly perform music obtain permission from the owner of the music or his representative. However, there are a few limited exceptions, (called "exemptions") to this rule. Permission is not required for music played or sung as part of a worship service unless that service is transmitted beyond where it takes place (for example, a radio or television broadcast). Performances as part of face to face teaching activity at a non-profit educational institutions are also exempt. We recommend that you contact your local ASCAP representative who can discuss your needs and how ASCAP can help you.
    I don't see anything there that excludes music played without a PA system.

    https://www.ascap.com/help/ascap-licensing
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  5. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to MikeEdgerton For This Useful Post:


  6. #4
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    15,196

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Hold the jams at your house -- OK. Hold the jams at a "public place" -- club, church basement, Grange hall, library, community center, public park -- it's a "public performance" by ASCAP's definition.

    Could this be challenged in litigation? I assume it has been, and the status is what it is now. Amplification is irrelevant; so is advertising, admission charge or lack thereof, "private" vs. "public" group sponsorship, profit-making vs. non-profit status.

    I asked in the other thread about the status of playing music in seniors' facilities, which, I'd be willing to bet, seldom get ASCAP/BMI licenses. As the performer, I don't need to worry, but I wonder what the licensing organizations think. As US demographics change, there are going to be more and more seniors' residences that book entertainment. A potential bonanza for ASCAP? Time will tell.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  7. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to allenhopkins For This Useful Post:


  8. #5
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.191N -74.2W
    Posts
    20,856

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Let's throw another wrench in here. From the BMI site:

    Q: If a business has a license with another performing right organization, do they still need to license with BMI?

    A music license with another performing right organization allows you to perform only copyrighted music represented by that organization. It does not cover public performances of the award-winning music licensed by BMI. This is because each songwriter or composer may belong to only one performing right organization at any given time, so each PRO licenses a unique repertoire of music.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  9. The following members say thank you to MikeEdgerton for this post:


  10. #6
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    4,531

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    I asked in the other thread about the status of playing music in seniors' facilities, which, I'd be willing to bet, seldom get ASCAP/BMI licenses.
    As I mentioned in that other thread, I don't think you can make this assumption. Assisted living and nursing homes come under the same rules as everyone else, and I'll bet most of them are making more income than the average bar that gets hassled by ASCAP/BMI. They can afford it. It's bupkis, compared to the rest of their operating costs.

    As the performer, I don't need to worry, but I wonder what the licensing organizations think. As US demographics change, there are going to be more and more seniors' residences that book entertainment. A potential bonanza for ASCAP? Time will tell.
    Just stating this again... if you're hired to play in these facilities, or doing it pro bono, you can't know what the underlying finances are. I've dealt with assisted living facilities and nursing homes as a caregiver for elderly parents. The one who has to pay the bills and arrange for insurance payments. Compared to your average bar or restaurant facing ASCAP/BMI licensing, trust me... these outfits are not hurting for money!

  11. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to foldedpath For This Useful Post:


  12. #7
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    40.191N -74.2W
    Posts
    20,856

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Compared to your average bar or restaurant facing ASCAP/BMI licensing, trust me... these outfits are not hurting for money!
    Agreed, If a care facility is hurting financially they aren't doing it right.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  13. #8

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    As I mentioned in the previous thread, I have been through the exact scenario you describe, informal group of musicians, jamming in a small cafe with no sound system, no cover, no compensation, mostly the musicians and their friends there. It was in a small town of under 5000 people so there was not a lot of traffic or publicity. The local old time music association put it in a list of jams on their website. BMI sent a letter to the owner informing him that if he would have to pay licensing fees if it continued. The owner chose to end the jam because the fees were more than he could afford.

  14. The following members say thank you to CarlM for this post:


  15. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,072

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    As I posted in the other thread, we sat in a circle, on the slowest night, no PA, no payment, not even beer or pizza, if they thought they would be busy they told us not to come. BMI demanded payment and shut us down. Good luck, you may get by for awhile.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  16. The following members say thank you to pops1 for this post:


  17. #10
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    AS I have pointed out on various other music forums, BMI and ASCAP are not in the business of shutting down venues or otherwise preventing live music from being performed. Come on, think about it: BMI and ASCAP make their money from the performance of live music! And because of that, their fees (which are available on their web sites, for those who want to find out for themselves instead of blindly accepting anything they read on the internet) are directly related to factors like the size of the venue, the frequency of performance, etc. If a venue owner tells performers they can't come around any more because he can't afford PRO fees, he is either (1) lying, or (2) really really bad at running a business.

  18. The following members say thank you to jesserules for this post:


  19. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandobart View Post
    Do those businesses have to be licensed by ASCAP/BMI/SESAC in order to allow us to play there? Thanks again.
    Why don't you go to the ASCAP/BMI/SESAC web sites and ask them?

  20. The following members say thank you to jesserules for this post:


  21. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    S.W. Wisconsin
    Posts
    4,072

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    We were playing pre/post civil war songs/tunes. Old time music for dance. BMI's response was it is all copyrighted, and you may play a song that is copyrighted so the establishment needs to pay. Pay to have NOT a performance, just a place to play with friends, on their slowest night, playing what should be public domain tunes. While BMI didn't shut us down literally, they did by demanding the venue pay fees for something that made them no money. They were paying for the TV's as they were a sports bar, we were in the back room and the TV's were left on. Few people even cared that we were there.
    THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE JUST FOR YOUR SMILE!

  22. #13

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    And because of that, their fees (which are available on their web sites, for those who want to find out for themselves instead of blindly accepting anything they read on the internet) are directly related to factors like the size of the venue, the frequency of performance, etc. If a venue owner tells performers they can't come around any more because he can't afford PRO fees, he is either (1) lying, or (2) really really bad at running a business.
    I saw the letter and fee schedule at the jam I was attending. You are absolutely wrong. The fees were crippling for a small restaurant in a small town where the owner is just making a living and not getting rich.The fees reflect a bar band drawing in dozens of customers not a small jam with six or ten friends and a few spouses. They may reflect larger city environments where the money is being pulled to but not the small towns.

  23. #14

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    CarlM, for the benefit of the discussion, are we talking $50 a month, $100 a month, or $500 a month or more? I was assuming we are talking about collecting pennies per song, which is why I find this topic frustrating.

    Of course, I also find it frustrating that the bar never pays the band out of beer sales......

  24. #15
    Registered User Kevin Stueve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    371

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    okay I was curious so I went to ASCAP's web site there is no pricing generally available on that site other than the 50 dollar application fee. More googling indicates the minimum fee from ASCAP is $356 per year in the US for a small venue playing only recorded music. For live music they factor in number of musicians, seats in the house .... I've seen prices of 800 to 1000 a year for ASCAP so assuming that BMI and SESAC are similar we are talking $3000 US dollars a year for live music. This article suggests double that http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/music...venues-6590267. so 6 grand a year or roughly 20 dollars a day. I find it hard to believe that number breaks a restaurants business plan. Just my opinion.
    Last edited by Kevin Stueve; Feb-26-2018 at 12:45pm. Reason: fixed typo
    2012 Weber Bitterroot F5.

  25. The following members say thank you to Kevin Stueve for this post:


  26. #16
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    15,196

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    ...Compared to your average bar or restaurant facing ASCAP/BMI licensing, trust me... these outfits are not hurting for money!
    Agree wholeheartedly, but that's not really what I was asking -- not whether the assisted living facility or nursing home can afford to buy an ASCAP/BMI license, but whether the thought has even crossed their administrators' minds. I have seen that over the last few years, some of these places have gotten a bit more -- you will excuse the vulgarity? -- "pissy" about things like insurance. The first place that specified I needed to name them as "additional insured" in my policy, before I could cross their threshold to give a $75 performance for their residents, got immediately crossed off my "places to play" list.

    What relevance this has, if any, is that seniors' facilities are getting a bit more organized and concerned about dealing with "outside" recreational providers. Many of them have music therapists on staff who provide therapeutic music sessions for residents, presumably playing licensed as well as PD material. I don't know if "music therapy" is exempted by the licensers; the website doesn't say so, but the question may extend too far "into the weeds" to be addressed in website generalities.

    So, am I an entertainer or a therapist when I show up to play You Are My Sunshine etc. to the residents of the Bitter End Nursing Home? It's not "educational" –– I'm starting a ukulele class for a town recreation department tonight, with You Are My Sunshine as the first song I'll teach them -- and, anyway, ASCAP seems to define "education" as one-on-one lessons, not a group class. (Ain't it nice when you can define words to your own personal standards, like Alice's friend Humpty Dumpty?) My uke class is educational, by most standards (not ASCAP's); my job at Bitter End Nursing Home isn't.

    So, should Bitter End buy ASCAP/BMI licenses, in case the school kids volunteering to sing there over the holidays, might include Frosty the Snowman ( Jack Nelson & Steve Rollins, 1951) in with the PD carols? (Article on this subject.) I'm not worried as a performer, and I know that the Bitter End management can afford the licensing, but I'm wondering if the licensers will suddenly start trying to enforce, and what the facilities' response will be.

    Over two-thirds of my current performances are at seniors' facilities, so any restrictive reaction would affect me. We'll see.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  27. The following members say thank you to allenhopkins for this post:


  28. #17
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Stueve View Post
    okay I was curious so I went to ASCAP's web site there is no pricing generally available on that site other than the 50 dollar application fee. .
    Here ya go:

    https://www.ascap.com/-/media/files/...rate.pdf?la=en

  29. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to jesserules For This Useful Post:


  30. #18
    Registered User foldedpath's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    4,531

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    Agree wholeheartedly, but that's not really what I was asking -- not whether the assisted living facility or nursing home can afford to buy an ASCAP/BMI license, but whether the thought has even crossed their administrators' minds.
    It usually hasn't, until they get the first letter or in-person visit from ASCAP/BMI. Then it just becomes a consideration for business overhead, like liability insurance, or any other licensing they need to stay in business and offer their services. If music is important enough for their business, they'll pay the fees.

    Over two-thirds of my current performances are at seniors' facilities, so any restrictive reaction would affect me. We'll see.
    I hope this doesn't affect you in the future. If it does, it might be worth finding out what type of music the facility still has, if any. Then adapt if you can, by performing under the umbrella of music education, or "music therapist" instead of just live entertainment.

    There's been an explosion of "music therapy" in my own community, and I don't know how much of it involves any formal licensing or training. From what I've seen around here, the requirements can't be too stringent. Some of it is right up there with crystals and aura therapy, like chanting while making drones on quartz bowls.... not exactly "You Are My Sunshine," although there's plenty of that too. Maybe you just don't have the right label for what you do.

  31. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to foldedpath For This Useful Post:


  32. #19

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    CarlM, for the benefit of the discussion, are we talking $50 a month, $100 a month, or $500 a month or more? I was assuming we are talking about collecting pennies per song, which is why I find this topic frustrating.
    It ran from $800 to $3000 per year depending on exactly how you counted occupancy and square footage. Not a huge number to a bar in Chicago or Minneapolis. This was a small town cafe, no alcohol or bar business where I would be surprised if the owner was netting more than 50 or 70 thousand a year from the business. Just making a living not getting wealthy. Then the thousand or or so dollars a year becomes significant.

  33. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to CarlM For This Useful Post:


  34. #20
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Rochester NY 14610
    Posts
    15,196

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Quote Originally Posted by foldedpath View Post
    ...There's been an explosion of "music therapy" in my own community, and I don't know how much of it involves any formal licensing or training. From what I've seen around here, the requirements can't be too stringent. Some of it is right up there with crystals and aura therapy, like chanting while making drones on quartz bowls.... not exactly "You Are My Sunshine," although there's plenty of that too. Maybe you just don't have the right label for what you do.
    Interestingly enough, for a couple years my friend Jan Maier and I -- she's got a medical background in gerontological research and elder-care -- have done a workshop at the New England Folk Festival on Playing For Senior Audiences, in which we discussed the therapeutic benefits of music and dance performance and participation for seniors in residence facilities. The effects are ones I observe myself as I perform; audience members who seem withdrawn and unresponsive starting to mouth the lyrics of a familiar song, becoming more involved and animated as the program goes on.

    So there's at least some support for the claim that playing music for seniors, at least in some settings, has a therapeutic value. And while I know that some of the "music therapy" is new-age-y and a bit questionable, there are academic institutions giving degrees in music therapy, and there's a licensing procedure. Locally, Nazareth College turns out music therapists, and there's surely a job market for them.

    But, getting back to the thread topic, I didn't see any provision in the ASCAP definition for a music therapy exemption, so if a therapist were singing You Are My Sunshine...? Perhaps the facility would still need that license, to let its therapy staff used licensed material.
    Allen Hopkins
    Gibsn: '54 F5 3pt F2 A-N Custm K1 m'cello
    Natl Triolian Dobro mando
    Victoria b-back Merrill alumnm b-back
    H-O mandolinetto
    Stradolin Vega banjolin
    Sobell'dola Washburn b-back'dola
    Eastmn: 615'dola 805 m'cello
    Flatiron 3K OM

  35. The following members say thank you to allenhopkins for this post:


  36. #21
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Mando View Post
    CarlM, for the benefit of the discussion, are we talking $50 a month, $100 a month, or $500 a month or more? I was assuming we are talking about collecting pennies per song, which is why I find this topic frustrating.

    Of course, I also find it frustrating that the bar never pays the band out of beer sales......
    I'm not CarlM, but:

    Quote Originally Posted by jesserules View Post

  37. The following members say thank you to jesserules for this post:


  38. #22
    bon vivant jaycat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Boston, Mass.
    Posts
    2,448

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    . . . So, am I an entertainer or a therapist when I show up to play You Are My Sunshine etc. to the residents of the Bitter End Nursing Home?
    Allen, I am just hoping that's not the real name of the facility.
    "The paths of experimentation twist and turn through mountains of miscalculations, and often lose themselves in error and darkness!"
    --Leslie Daniel, "The Brain That Wouldn't Die."

    "The days tell, the years speak, the centuries decide . . ."
    --Chas. Bukowski.

    "You're never appreciated in your own country." --Joan Bennett, "Scarlet Street."

    http://untilsoon.weebly.com/

  39. The following members say thank you to jaycat for this post:


  40. #23

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    . . So, am I an entertainer or a therapist when I show up to play You Are My Sunshine etc. to the residents of the Bitter End Nursing Home?
    Allen, I am just hoping that's not the real name of the facility.
    I'm kind of hoping it is.

  41. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to CarlM For This Useful Post:


  42. #24

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    Quote Originally Posted by allenhopkins View Post
    ... play You Are My Sunshine etc. to the residents of the Bitter End Nursing Home ...
    Not exactly the best choice of song either, it doesn't mean what people sometimes think it does. "You Are My Sunshine" lyrics:

    "But now you've left me and love another
    You have shattered all of my dreams"

    Gee. So cheerful. Not!

    Another song that IMO is totally inappropriate for nursing homes, even though to my dismay I keep reading of people playing it for nursing home captive audiences like they think they're doing them some kind of favor, is "Goodnight Irene". Lyrics:

    "Sometimes I have a great notion
    To jump in to the river and drown"

    In case that's not obvious enough, it's spelled out at the Wikipedia page:

    "Several verses refer explicitly to suicidal fantasies, ..."

    So yeah, playing songs about suicide and loved ones leaving... Nursing home residents already have plenty of those kinds of depressing issues surrounding them daily. Why add to it with songs that have dismal lyrics.

    IMO it would be far preferable to play music that gave people a little break from all their troubles, instead of rubbing their noses in it more.

    Then again, probably a good percentage of nursing home residents don't listen any more carefully to the words of such songs, than the rest of the population who continues to think of these songs are cheerful songs when they're actually not. Of course lots of people don't listen to *any* lyrics anyway, especially if the singers mumble, so maybe it's just as well that people aren't aware of the lyrics in some of these songs.

  43. #25
    Adrian Minarovic
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, Europe
    Posts
    2,075

    Default Re: Another Licensing Question...

    I would ask who decides what exactly IS public place and what not? For the seniors is is shared home, not a public place, only friends and family can visit (other than the employees).
    Other thing, if your jam is in separate room behind closed door with "Private party - do not enter - only for invited guests" label on door does it still count as public performance? You are renting the room (even if just by the costs of your drinks) so it is no more venue of the restaurant.
    I understand public place as one that anyone and his unce can visit either without paying or by paying admision fee.
    Adrian

  44. The following members say thank you to HoGo for this post:


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •