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ASCAP: Change payment system for TV placements/Compensate for loss of revenue.
  • Petitioning Paul Williams

This petition will be delivered to:

President and Chairman of The Board
Paul Williams

ASCAP: Change payment system for TV placements/Compensate for loss of revenue.

    1. Dawn Wisner-Johnson
    2. Petition by

      Dawn Wisner-Johnson

      Los Angeles, CA

PAYMENTS DECREASED TO SONGWRITERS BY 70-90%

On July 9, 2012, when musicians all around the US checked their bank and ASCAP member accounts, many found their quarterly ASCAP royalty distribution payments for the 4th quarter of 2011 had unexpectedly dropped by 70-90%.  

Many of these musicians rely on a majority of their income composing music and songs for television.  They count on these checks to help pay their mortgages and feed their families.

We knew ASCAP was our performing rights organization.  As a self proclaimed "organization owned and run by it's members" we were hopeful that the decrease in payments was a mistake.

SPECIFICS OF THIS CHANGE IN ROYALTY DISTRIBUTION PAYMENTS

 Before the change was implemented, songs with lyrics played on a television show were paid at a higher rate than instrumental cues.  ASCAP's recent change has made songs with lyrics and instrumentals royalty payments equal. The payments for instrumental cues did not increase and the payments for songs have now decreased to the same rate that instrumental cues have always paid.

In this new system of payments – a song placement will only pay a higher rate if it is a theme or performed live.  

Songs are utilized by music supervisors based on lyrical content.  Many times, these songs convey emotion based on the lyrics.   Songs are also frequently used as a feature over a montage and highlight to wrap up scenes.  We believe there should be another category in the pay scale at ASCAP to be fair to songwriters who add lyrics to their cues. 

 BACKGROUND INSTRUMENTAL PAYMENTS DID NOT INCREASE

Once we learned of this change – we assumed that payments for instrumental cues went up.  This was not the case. Instrumental cues are paid the same rate as before the change. 

WHERE DID THE MONEY GO?

Where is the money that they were paying songwriters in background vocal use going now? Since there was no increase to Instrumental plays – this money had to go somewhere. We want ASCAP to answer this question.

PAYMENTS DECREASED WITHOUT NOTICE

We have been told by several executives at ASCAP that they spent two years looking into this possible change to payments. Yet, when the decision was made to drastically lower the rates for songs, this self proclaimed representative democracy gave no notice or explanation to songwriters. 

ASCAP also decided to apply this change to songs that had been placed prior to when the decision was made.   Yes, this new payment system went into affect and was applied to songs that had already been broadcast months earlier - making the change retroactive as well.

ASCAP NEEDS TO TREAT ALL MEMBERS EQUALLY REGARDLESS OF STATUS/INCOME

Apparently, ASCAP's administration KNEW that these changes would seriously affect the very members they are supposed to be protecting. They mentioned running a YEARS worth of models with the new pay scale to see how these changes would affect their members. When asked why they had not reached out to their members to let them know that this change was coming and explain to them the dramatic difference they would see in their royalty payments, a representative at ASCAP simply said, "It had never occurred to them." We were also told that a few members had been notified of the change (“a small group of composers that this change would affect").  

WHY IS THIS SO IMPORTANT?  FUTURE OF MUSIC

We believe that the future of music is at risk when we de-value music and those who create it.  We feel that we must stand up for the rights of songwriters and composers.  In this ever changing world of technology, digital music, and internet opportunities, it is important to hold on to the "value" of the truest part of the business, the music itself.  Even if you are not a musician, we need your help.  Please help music creators in their quest to be compensated and treated fairly. 

We need to get the message across to ASCAP that to have a true representative organization, they need to have an open dialog with those they represent and give proper and timely notice when changes are made that affect their livelihood.  

If you are an ASCAP member, please let us know in the comment section when you sign the petition.  We appreciate comments about how this has affected you or your family/friends as well. 

 

 

 

 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 1,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Gary Robertson EVANSVILLE, IN
      • 12 months ago

      I listen to Christian artists who do not make near the money of the huge pop stars. Their music touches lives and changes lives for the better. They need to receive just compensation so they can continue to be creative and to make a living through their music.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • veronica gretton NEW YORK, NY
      • about 1 year ago

      I represent Songwriters, and they need to be fairly compensated and have an organization stand up for their rights and potential earnings, not reduce them.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Sierra west SOLANA BEACH, CA
      • about 1 year ago

      So much so I'm switching my membership

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • linda martin LAKE STEVENS, WA
      • over 1 year ago

      This has made me to decide to go to any other than Ascap for membership. I am a lyricist and this all sounds unfair to me. That is why I have chose not to go with ASCAP.

      Linda j. Martin

      gofish2006@msn.com

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Kelvin Tan AUSTRALIA
      • over 1 year ago

      I compose for a living.. Sacrificed everything to be doing what I'm doing.. I'm with APRA but get paid through ASCAP for tracks w vocals.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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