Thursday, August 20, 2009

Protection Can Hurt Sometimes

We just had a gig cancel. Now I've had gigs cancel before for various reasons: sickness, groom backed out of wedding, plumbing problems at club, etc, but this one was a first. The person who hired us called me and told me was so sorry, but he had to cancel us because he was being threatened by the Performance Rights Organizations, including BMI, ASCAP & SESAC. They were demanding thousands of dollars for the rights to have music from their artists played at his venue. This is not something new which is happening, but it's the first time it's happened to me.

In these tough economic times, the performance rights organizations are more vigorously protecting their artists by trying to "go after" the places where music is played, be it by live band, DJ or even radio. I can understand that. On the other hand, they're choking off the chances that starving or lesser known artists have to play music, hone their craft and make a little pocket change.

I have to think this aggressive campaign is aimed more at getting additional revenue for Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks & The Rolling Stones (not to mention BMI, ASCAP & SESAC) than it is for Lew Jetton. Ironically, I'm SIGNED TO BMI, and they've helped me in the past, but by the same token, I have a house payment coming up, and I could have used that money. I know they're "protecting" me, but it hurts the pocketbook.