Live Venue ASCAP/BMI licensing

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Bassassin31, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. Bassassin31

    Bassassin31

    Feb 4, 2014
    Baldwin, WI
    So I'm reading through a contract for a summer "outdoor park music" series I booked with two of my bands. They are specifically looking for only country music covers and the city is hiring the bands to play as "independent contractors". If there is a copywrite "spy" at either of these shows and they keep track of all the covers my band plays, will the band get stuck with the fine?

    After talking with some local musicians, they don't believe that the city has paid for any music licensing in their huge outdoor public space. Should I request a clause be added to my contract before I sign it?

    Thanks for your help in advance!!!
     
  2. garp

    garp

    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    The venue – in this case, the city – is wholly responsible for obtaining any necessary licenses from the performing rights organizations, not the bands. If the city has stipulated "only country music covers," then their staff counsel ought to realize that royalties will be an issue. It's not your job to remedy the city's lack of understanding of how things work, but if you want to include an addendum to your contract which calls their attention to the matter merely as a gesture of good faith, you can certainly do so. I'm not an attorney, so please don't take the following text as gospel.
    In reality, these things are normally taken care of through "blanket licenses" that cover a wide range of performance types. But by offering to provide a set list in advance, no one can later accuse you of "We didn't know they had ASCAP, BMI and SESAC songs in their repertoire."
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
  3. Performing rights organizations understand that the venue is the one ultimately benefiting from performances (and have deeper pockets) and so they go after the venues for the licensing fees. You'll be OK.
     
    RSBBass likes this.
  4. ThePez

    ThePez

    Apr 19, 2000
    HRVA
    strike through any clauses in the contract you don’t agree to, initial and date. sign, make copy and return.
     
  5. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    And if you strike out clauses that are part of the agreement, it will do you no good.
     
  6. ThePez

    ThePez

    Apr 19, 2000
    HRVA
    nope. contracts are a two way document. the key
    phrase is you mentioned is “agreement”. if they choose to not accept the contract with your edits, then they don’t sign. or they do sign, and agree to the contract with your edits.
     
  7. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    Yes. And if you cross out a phrase they want, they don't sign, and there is no agreement. So if one of the licensing organizations send you an agreement and you cross something out, sending them money won't protect you.
     
  8. ThePez

    ThePez

    Apr 19, 2000
    HRVA
    my understanding was that said contract was with the venue.
     
  9. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Connecticut
    Then they cross out the clauses in that contract, and the venue tells them what pole they can piss on.
     
  10. I'm digging up this thread because my band is having issues tied to this. I'm trying to determine what songs are under each agency's blanket and I can't.

    Am I misunderstanding how this works? Is there overlap? Is there a way to search a song for who enforces the license? Help
     
  11. nomaj

    nomaj

    Apr 2, 2012

    Again, this is not the band's problem - it is up to the venue to pay the licensing fee, not the band.

    The only time that a band should be concerned with performance copyright issues is if a band promises a venue that doesn't pay licensing fees that the band will play only songs that are in the public domain.
    But that would be an agreement between the venue and the band, solely to remain on good terms - if an ASCAP/BMI rep heard a copyrighted song being played in this instance, the venue would still be the responsible party, not the band.
     
    Bunk McNulty likes this.
  12. Our contract stated we were to cover songs outside of BMI and ASCAP, and now SISAC (an entity I was unaware of) is looking to collect. It's frustrating because I don't even know how to cover myself and the webs (usually a pretty good ally) aren't interested in helping on this one.
     
  13. nomaj

    nomaj

    Apr 2, 2012
    Ouch. You need to talk to a lawyer. Not sure if this would be an enforceable contract, holding a band responsible for copyright performance.

    And what kind of venue puts the onus of copyright adherence on the band, anyway?
    If you are recording something that someone else has written - then yes, sure, the band should take the copyright into account, but not for performing at a venue.
     
  14. JKos

    JKos

    Oct 26, 2010
    Surprise, AZ
    And you did?

    That between the venue and SESAC.

    - John
     
  15. I was hoping to figure out who the @#$% covers what tunes, but I can't even figure that to try to settle.
     
  16. nomaj

    nomaj

    Apr 2, 2012
    This should not be your problem - you covered songs outside of ASCAP and BMI, just as your contract said.
    The cheapskate venue needs to pay up. It's not that expensive, anyway.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2019
  17. I probably wasn't clear, we were to license the songs we played not covered by ASCAP/BMI and it appears we failed to do that.
     
  18. nomaj

    nomaj

    Apr 2, 2012

    And SESAC came after the band, not the venue? Or did the venue tell SESAC that "hey, this is on the band?"

    Either way, this sux.
     
  19. Venue came to us. Either way, knowing how this works isn't bad.