Are ASCAP and BMI Killing Local Music Scenes and Shops?

ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC are performance rights organizations. They collect fees from shops that play licensed music and distribute them to the original songwriters. Though they claim to protect the rights of musicians, they may be hurting up-and-coming artists playing live music at local venues by driving shops to shut down live performances. If a band plays a cover song, penalties can range from $750-$30,000 per song against the shop. And the problem is that money collected from live performances, which are usually smaller genres (blues, folk, or any music other than mainstream) often don’t go to the composers. Because of the immense fees, many shops have closed down venues for live music and struggle with their business leading to bankruptcy.

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