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View Full Version : My Uke Gig Is Over



BBQUKER
11-29-2012, 05:18 AM
About 9 months ago I got a small gig (one night a week) at a local bar & grill. It has been a cool experience getting to play in front of strangers and actually have a couple of them come just to see me (although not sure why as I am far from being an expert player). The experience has also forced me to learn new and harder songs (I just do instrumentals) so my skill levels have increased.

So what happened? The "copywrite police" showed up saying they learned that this establishment had live music a few nights per week. Therefore the establishment must pay some organization (not sure of the name) for the right to have musicians play copywrited music. If the owner did not pay he would be slapped with a lawsuit. When asked whether he would pay the owner said NO, but he would no longer have live music in his establishment.

Guess I need to find something else to do on Wednesday nights.

Dan

Cornfield
11-29-2012, 05:42 AM
You could play public domain songs or originals. No copywrites on these.

Wicked
11-29-2012, 05:42 AM
In reality, the owner should have a blanket license to have any type of copyrighted music playing (including recordings). It is really not expensive, and allows people to make at least some money from their work. I know that the bottom line is important to a small business owner, but using someone else's work for profit and not providing some compensation is not the best way to go.

drbekken
11-29-2012, 05:51 AM
In reality, the owner should have a blanket license to have any type of copyrighted music playing (including recordings). It is really not expensive, and allows people to make at least some money from their work. I know that the bottom line is important to a small business owner, but using someone else's work for profit and not providing some compensation is not the best way to go.

Sad, but true. We have the same thing over here, and as a musician/composer I'm ok with it. Small venues/clubs/bars may have a minor problem with it, but I believe they will profit from live music in the end. It's only fair that people who composed their own copyrighted music get something back from the stuff they created. Imagine if you arranged public movie screenings in your cafe/bar on a regular basis...would you be surprised if those holding the copyright actually made just a tiny bit of fuss?

Harold O.
11-29-2012, 06:24 AM
...It's only fair that people who composed their own copyrighted music get something back from the stuff they created. Imagine if you arranged public movie screenings in your cafe/bar on a regular basis...would you be surprised if those holding the copyright actually made just a tiny bit of fuss?

We have a stage at Guitar Merchant and the copyright police dropped in saying that a monthly fee of $400 would cover the rights. We challenged them to tell us how many covers were played each month, who the rights belonged to, and how much they (the CP) were going to distribute to the copyright holders. We don't have a bar or food, most of our bands are just starting out with original work, and no one keeps track of what songs get played. Suppose one of them slips in an old Beatles tune, how much of our $400 goes to John/Paul/George/Ringo?

We don't pay it. We used to post "NO COVERS" signs and it's in the contracts as well. Oh...and there is more than one branch of the copyright police. So when you pay one, you may not have paid them all. We've had this thread before on UU and it touches some nerves.

Sorry to hijack your thread, Dan. Sounds like you like being on stage. Good thing that.

Plainsong
11-29-2012, 06:25 AM
In reality, the owner should have a blanket license to have any type of copyrighted music playing (including recordings). It is really not expensive, and allows people to make at least some money from their work. I know that the bottom line is important to a small business owner, but using someone else's work for profit and not providing some compensation is not the best way to go.

Yes we have the same thing as there and in Norway. If he even has so much as a stereo going, he has to pay. It's part of his overhead and it seems like he's punishing you for it. Not exactly fair, but as has been suggested, you could always do public domain and originals?

Kanaka916
11-29-2012, 08:25 AM
The same thing happened to our Friday Night Kanikapila (when we had it). The owners of HSG got a letter saying they needed to pay some sort of fee in order to play music (recorded or live). Since the Friday Night Jam lured an increase in business, they decided to pay the fee (it was inexpensive) on an annual basis enabling their establishment to host music. It worked out for the best for owner and customer . . .

The Big Kahuna
11-29-2012, 08:28 AM
the establishment must pay some organization (not sure of the name) for the right to have musicians play copywrited music. If the owner did not pay he would be slapped

Was one of the guys called Vinny ?

ricdoug
11-29-2012, 09:14 AM
Play songs from He Mele Aloha, The Daily Ukulele 1 & 2 and Rise Up Singing, where the rights were obtained (as long as you're not getting paid to perform). ASCAP & BMI are hurting for $$$ and are going after the small guys. Ric

BBQUKER
11-29-2012, 09:18 AM
Part of my post was because “inquiring minds” wanted to learn more about this. I definitely want originating artists to be justly compensated for their work (my compensation by the way was a free meal and a beer after I played). One of the main reasons for even doing this gig was to introduce the ukulele to this smallish Midwest town. So many times I was asked if the uke was a mandolin or a small guitar. I guess I will just continue to play in the confines of my abode.

Just to continue my learning process I suppose any bar, etc that has an open mic would be subject to the same conditions? And further, how does any fee get allocated back to originating artists (or their heirs)? Should we not have to provide a playlist?

And Big Kahuna, I thought the same thing.

ksiegel
11-29-2012, 09:22 AM
They are trying to get radio stations to pay license fees to play recordings.

Guess what? We don't play yer records, you don't sell yer records.

And technically, if a bar has a radio, and there are more than 2 speakers, they have to pay licensing fees.

Ukuleleblues
11-29-2012, 01:44 PM
Hey BBQUKER, Don't be bummed, it's just your CURRENT gig that is over, they all end sometimes. It sounds like you had a great run! I kind of look at it like this, it's all one big gig, just keep on playing out there and you will be at it again in front of folks. Any coffee shops round WR? You can also try out some retirement homes, folks there very appreciative and it is very rewarding (at least to me) personally. Best of luck!!!

OldePhart
11-29-2012, 01:52 PM
Play songs from He Mele Aloha, The Daily Ukulele 1 & 2 and Rise Up Singing, where the rights were obtained (as long as you're not getting paid to perform). ASCAP & BMI are hurting for $$$ and are going after the small guys. Ric

The rights to publish the songs were paid for - that doesn't confer rights to perform them in public, even if not for profit.

Honestly, I don't see why more businesses just don't cough up the dough - for small venues it is not that expensive and then they are covered. They are supposed to make an effort to keep track of what copyrighted songs are played but ASCAP and BMI rarely actually require the reports and I've never heard of them actually auditing a report.

Even churches pay an agency for the songs they use in worship (different agency, I can't recall the alphabet soup of it right now but I've seen it in our church budget). They have a sliding scale based on average attendance and number of songs played per service. If I remember right we pay around $400 a year.

I suspect that those folks who think that paying for the right to publicly perform music is a ripoff might feel differently if they were songwriters. :)

That said, the US copyright laws have been amended in ways that make them just a free lunch for huge faceless corporations and that stinks. I've remarked on that here before.

John

ukegirl
11-29-2012, 02:09 PM
Play songs from He Mele Aloha, The Daily Ukulele 1 & 2 and Rise Up Singing, where the rights were obtained (as long as you're not getting paid to perform). ASCAP & BMI are hurting for $$$ and are going after the small guys. Ric

They have been brutal around Chicago as well...even if you are just playing public domain stuff, they still want a piece of the action....if it really went to the artist I would be fine with it...but as I understand it 90% of it goes to admin cost etc...correct me if I'm wrong...

BBQUKER
11-29-2012, 02:46 PM
Ukuleelblues - I'm not bummed. Just wished more people around here played the uke. Been trying for a few years. I'm now retired and my wife just voluntered for some retirement home work. They are looking for someone to play for the old folks (like I am not). I will be doing that. But I'll bet it will be hard to get some 80 year old to pick up the uke. Wished I lived near LaCrosse or Milwaukee where they have uke clubs.

Hey OldePhart - remember me? I had the camper next to you at UWC. Can't wait until next year.

And Ukegirl - that is exactly what they told the owner. Still want money even if just public domain. Apparently some court said any public performance had to include non public domain songs whether it did or not. Therefore, pay up to whoever.

OldePhart
11-29-2012, 04:26 PM
Hey OldePhart - remember me? I had the camper next to you at UWC. Can't wait until next year.


Yep, I remember you. I'm terrible at faces but I never forget BBQ. :)


And Ukegirl - that is exactly what they told the owner. Still want money even if just public domain. Apparently some court said any public performance had to include non public domain songs whether it did or not. Therefore, pay up to whoever.

Actually, what they did was change the law to allow the agencies to assume that a song is copyrighted, collect on that assumption, and then if after a "good faith effort" they can't locate the copyright owner they get to keep the money collected. Yeah, we've got the best government that big money can buy. Anyway, if you can prove that everything performed is public domain or that the copyright owner is using the material with permission (as in the case of originals, for example) - you can tell the agencies to take a hike. The problem is, if you screw up even once and let somebody perform a copyrighted song after taking that route the fines are ridiculously high.

John