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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

No Cover Charge From Me

A musician friend who I haven't seen in about a year, BB Ward, popped in at the end of my gig the other night at Althea's. I bought him a beer and asked about a place we both used to play. He said they only allow original music now and only instrumentals. That kind of limits them. Apparently the ASCAP people leaned on them and threatened them if they didn't pay fees for cover tunes. This is the third place I play in that they've tried this on. It's the only one who didn't tell them to just please evaporate. They're new in the business and scared, I guess.

I'm a strong union guy and I make no apologies for it. I'm a member of the other royalty protection organization, BMI. And I hope to hell somebody would want to play my tunes anywhere. I don't want any money. I just want credit. Maybe people will look me up and buy my CD. A musician making a few bucks a night and a coffee house making enough to pay the rent in the off season, is not hurting my income by playing my songs. They are helping me. And I'm not Jimmy I-Can't-Sing-For-Shit-But-Rich-as-Hell-Anyway Buffett.

So far the owners who sent ASCAP packing have not had any repercussions. I urge other small venue owners to follow suit. If legal push comes to litigatious stomp, then local singer/songwriters have to work together and promise to only cover each other's tunes. Or write our own words to familiar songs in a different key to quench the insatiable thirst of Snow Birds who come to Florida to hear nothing but, You-Know-Who.

posted by Bud @ 9:06 AM

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