Venues are being attacked for PLAYING THE RADIO on their premises, where patrons can hear the music (therefore promoting BMI artists & ALL artists).
On an average, (at least) five people a day ask what is playing on the venue system in question. When asked, the employees routinely state the artist and suggest that they buy the music, naming locations and outlets to do so.
The said venue has even offered to distribute BMI materials to new artists. Penalizing a cafe & gallery for supporting music and simply playing the radio is ludicrous . In the same vein, BMI is suing venues who's artists play a cover tune. Therefore making "cover bands" into villains & music venue owners into criminals. Artists can plainly see, this is obviously not an action made in the support of artists, nor made to protect them. These are actions made the line the pockets of BMI, and take the food off the plates from the business owners who strive to promote art, artists, and the industry. BMI would do well to recognize they are biting the very hands that feed them.
We demand that BMI cease all lawsuit actions against business owners for playing the radio, and allowing cover bands to perform.If these blanket fees actually paid the artists whose music is playing within backspace, then this would be a great fee! Backspace and many other venues would support the fee. But that isn't what is occurring. BMI is surely educated enough about the music industry to know they should be ashamed of themselves for suing a small artist run venue. No one is stealing here, but BMI is sure trying to!!! BMI can actually sue you for singing "Happy Birthday" to your child without paying a royalty fee! If BMI needs to sue a small cafe & gallery for playing the radio, they should acquire something called BUSINESS ETHICS. How BMI expects artists to sell their creations without the support of venues such as these, frequently operating with a minimum profit (or breaking even if they are lucky), is beyond understanding. BMI should drop the lawsuit immediately, and revise the way they fund their operation, as currently they function more like gangsters with suits.
It's the greatest scheme of the century!! Think about it, an artist must pay a fee to a company, who then charges the venue a fee on behalf of the artist (they charge both parties), and then they simply keep the money, and sue people who didn't even know they existed ("Mr. Smith, you owe us $22,000 in back fees since the day your pub opened in 1997 - pay up or we will lock your doors") -- nobody is checking their practices. (I feel this is the MOST important thing) the whole "Music insurance" industry is FEDERALLY UNREGULATED, therefore making it out of control and illegal. People need to know that these companies have NO WAY of knowing who plays what in their venue/coffee shop/bar/hair salon = so at first they only came around to live music venues. Then, when the venues said "but we're only doing original music here", BMI said "bands play cover songs so you still have to pay". So, venues decided to ban cover music & BMI/Ascap returned saying, "you are playing iTunes in your cafe, and you must pay" (even though we already paid for the music in iTunes), so, cafes switched to only playing local bands' cd's - and local radio stations (which we all thought was "public" domain?) and now they have returned to say that they "assume" many of the local artists whose cd's we are showcasing are registered with BMI and therefore we have to pay, and furthermore, the radio isn't "public" if you are playing it within your hair salon. That's right, they have no way of tracking or proving that any business played any specific music, and those who are going to great lengths to track their music plays in order to defend themselves against BMI/Ascap are being sued anyway under a very large and nebulous umbrella system. Most artists sign up, hoping to get a check in the mail. IF ONY all those artists knew their favorite venues would go out of business because of these companies, and they would never get paid anything for anything, Also it might be good to mention that MOST bars, venues and coffee shops that people go to on a daily basis are under scrutiny and either have lawsuits pending or are trying desperately to figure out how to pay them. It's so common that it's just spectacular how widespread this is. THIS PETITION IS NOT ONLY FOR BACKSPACE BUT FOR ALL ESTABLISHMENTS BEING BULLIED UNDER FALSE PRETENSES W/Love <3 & MUSIC
TO BE CLEAR - BMI is not all bad in my personal opinion. I know MANY artists who receive monthly checks from both BMI & ASCAP. I am a member of ASCAP. This particular blanket fee is not helping the artists within BMI's domain EXCEPT for the top 1% - the madonna's / stings / and the like from the music industry. Suing backspace for playing Pandora is going too far.
No Wonder the music industry is faltering in sales. No one wants to play music anymnore because not only do they have to pay to buy the music first (in most cases - or pay for a membership online etc) but establishments are being forced to pay to BMI just because music of any type is being played. Many banks, cafes, salons, dentists, etc are choosing to not play music because of the double fee system.
No wonder people say the music is dying. In this case, silence is NOT golden. Stand up for businesses wanting to play music w/out hefty fees that are not reflective of the use in question.