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Industry groups killing live original music

June 20, 2010

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JOAN ANDERMAN’S article about performance licensing fees for small venues (“Pay to play," Page A1, June 9) understates the awful practices of the performance rights organizations. First, unlike in Europe, live performance revenues are not calculated on the basis of actual songs performed. If someone performs my song at a club, and I’m a member of BMI, then BMI collects the fees and distributes them on the basis of overall airplay; in other words, the unknown songwriters never see a dime. Second, there’s no option in the BMI contract for BMI songwriters to waive fees for live performance of their own music; so, if I perform my own song at a club, and I’m a member of BMI, the club still owes BMI performance fees. It’s especially this last issue that’s killing live original music at small venues.

Sam Bayer,
Cambridge

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