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.

Notes from Quiet Ann Arbor Meeting

We held a meeting on August 16, 2017. Thank you to those who came out! Here is a summary of our Quiet A2 action ideas!

Action Ideas
  • Compile a list of restaurants, bars, or shops with no piped music.
  • Compile a list of restaurants, bars, or shops that agree to turn off music when asked.
  • Employee rights: Interview employees on their thoughts on piped music at their work places.
  • Track decibel levels using phone apps at various public places.
  • Send thank you notes to quiet places.
Spread Our Message
  • Keep music special (Support for live music)
  • Help businesses understand customer and community concerns with piped music.
  • Promote benefits of quiet, emphasizing on how quietness can make conversations more engaging and valuable.

If you’d like to participant in any of these ways and/or add new ideas to the list, feel free to comment or email

UK’s First National ‘Quiet Hour’

UK initiates a national ‘Quiet Hour’ in 13 shopping centers. Starting on October 2nd, shops will dim the lights and turn down music for an hour each day for a week. This initiative follows on from a survey showing that 64% of people with autism avoid going shopping due to loud pubic noise. This is a very important initiative as it spreads awareness of autism and encourages people to make the world more autism friendly. Here’s a link to this wonderful news!

A quiet night out? City pub and Chorlton café win award for their ban on playing ‘muzak’ to customers

Popular Edinburgh cafe, band member owner, plays no muzak! Here’s an article about his cafe. “Piped music is one of the great evils of our time, if you want to listen to music just put on some headphones,” says Adam Berlyne, music lover and band member. The cafe has been voted ‘best quiet cafe’ described by voters as ‘a wonderful place with no music, that no matter how crowded it is they can always squeeze you in’.

Adam Berlyne manager of the North Star Deli by Manchester Evening News