Recently, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) opened a new review of the ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees that govern how we license our respective repertories to the businesses that publicly perform your music. These Consent Decrees were conceived in 1941 and are completely out of touch with the way music is listened to in today’s digital world.
Now is our chance to make a change. We are asking the government to modernize these antiquated decrees to create a fair and level playing field for all songwriters and composers. We feel that doing so would achieve more flexibility for our members, as well as promote competition and innovation in the music marketplace.
We need your help. As part of its review, the Department of Justice has requested comments from the public on these Consent Decrees. It is crucial that ASCAP members make their voices heard. This is your chance to educate the DOJ on the struggles of today’s music creators and why change is needed to promote a healthy music marketplace that works for all stakeholders, including songwriters and composers.
Thank you for signing onto our letter to the DOJ. Your voice as an ASCAP member matters and we will continue to work towards a brighter future for music creators.
Here is the petition:
I am writing to you as a professional music creator and member of ASCAP regarding the ASCAP and BMI Consent Decrees. These antiquated decrees severely disadvantage the majority of America’s songwriters, composers and music publishers and make it impossible for us to earn fair value for our music in today’s music marketplace.
Songwriters are the foundation of the music industry and create the words and melodies that become the songs people love. When our music is performed publicly, we depend on our performing rights organization so that we can earn a living wage. The work ASCAP does on our behalf is work we could never do on our own: negotiating and collecting license fees, tracking performances and distributing royalties from the businesses that use our music while giving us a full accounting of where and when our music is performed.
ASCAP distributes nearly 90 cents of every dollar they collect as royalties to their members. Because they operate on a not-for-profit basis, the efficiencies of collective licensing through ASCAP and BMI are invaluable to music creators. It is critical to the vast majority of America’s songwriters to ensure the health and future of these performing rights organizations we depend upon.
Unfortunately, the antiquated Consent Decrees and a dramatic shift in the music industry have made that increasingly difficult to do. We believe that a free market will ultimately provide the best chance for music creators to receive compensation that reflects the true value of our work - a straightforward idea that guides most every other industry and should apply to music creators as well.
ASCAP and BMI have put forward a proposal that recognizes the need for a smooth transition to a free market and provides a fair and flexible framework for music licensing that works for ALL stakeholders. We support their recommendations to the DOJ.
The businesses that depend upon our music, including massive tech and media conglomerates worth hundreds of billions of dollars, will ask you to preserve a system that allows them to undervalue our music. We are just asking for a fair and level playing field so that music creators have a more reasonable shot at making an honest living from our creative work.
By modernizing these Consent Decrees and preserving the benefits of collective licensing through ASCAP and BMI, you can give songwriters that shot at realizing the true free-market value of our work.
Thank you for considering our views.
Composer member ASCAP