[Dixielandjazz] Copyright

TCASHWIGG at aol.com TCASHWIGG at aol.com
Fri Feb 13 13:13:07 PST 2004

In a message dated 2/12/04 8:27:30 PM Pacific Standard Time, 
willc at highstream.net writes:

> Not quite, Bob.
> Neither ASCAP nor BMI own songs. The songs are owned by the composer and
> lyricist or anyone to whom they've sold their rights either outright or for
> royalties, like a publisher or a record company.  Those owners generally 
> become
> members of ASCAP or BMI if they qualify and ASCAP/BMI licenses the use of 
> music
> owned by its members and collects money from broadcasters and venues (clubs,
> hotels) and pay about 85 percent of what they collects to their members.
> Neither ASCAP nor BMI sell licenses for recording or motion pictures. . . .
> those are handled by the Harry Fox Agency, which is the collection and
> disbursement agency for subscribing music publishers.
> Note that musicians don't participate in ASCAP/BMI royalties unless they 
> wrote
> the song. Musicians can and do get residuals under various union (AFM, SAG 
> and
> AFTRA) agreements and those with hit songs, great promotional skills and 
> sharp
> lawyers earn big money under their contracts with movie and record companies
> notwithstanding accounting practices in those industries that make the 
> Enrons
> look like amateur thieves.
> Court supervision of ASCAP was lifted about a year - 18 months ago.
> Kindly,
> Will Connelly

Note that musicians don't participate in ASCAP/BMI royalties unless they 
the song.    

And that is usually about as far as their participation extends.   They 
indeed wrote the song, that does not mean that under any circumstances are they 
going to get any money for doing so unless they got it at the time of signing the 
contract.  If they took a royalty deal it is generally about as good as your 
best brand of toilet paper, with the rare exception of them hitting the hit 
song lottery and hiring a COMPETENT lawyer to go sue them all to collect some 
money.  It certainly will not be waiting for them in the mail box, no matter how 
many trips a day they take to the box.  Most of them hire their divorce 
lawyer to try and collect money for their music interests.

I once sent one of my well known and highly successful artists own CPA's to 
audit his record labels books because we did not believe their royalty 
statement of his account after two records had been Certified Million selling 
recordings.  He discovered the wonderful world of creative accounting very quickly, he 
actually came home with no money and informed my client that he thought the 
books appeared to be in good order under the normally accepted accounting 
practices, Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha, yeah right !  I took another CPA and two lawyers back 
down and ordered the audit again.  As Will said above their books were no doubt 
the design plan for Enron and the Lincoln Savings and Loan operations before 
them.   When we finished we had recovered an additional Half a Million Dollars 
of his royalties that they had manipulated away into their own side pockets.

And that was just the Record Label, trying to deal and get an accounting from 
ASCAP was definitely an exercise in futility, he just accepted what ever they 
sent him, which was not too bad since he had a string of hit records going 
for him, he had hit the Hit song lottery and become a major Rock Star so they 
could not ignore him because they could not hide the fact that every rock 
station in the USA and around the world was playing his records.

It also took about five years of intense auditing and legal work to collect 
five million dollars that had been embezzled from John Lee Hooker by his record 
labels and half of that went for legal and accounting fees.

Remember folks Al Capone went to prison not for murder, drug sales,  or 
alcohol trafficking, but for Income Tax Evasion.  This is when creative accounting 
came into it's own shortly afterwards, and it worked so well it spilled over 
into the motion picture and recording industries and it's blood sucking 
affiliates all purporting to be helping the poor artists.

With all the Billions and Billions of dollars being tossed around and made 
off of musicians in this country it would seem to me that more musicians would 
actually look at the big picture and make proper adjustments to take contorl of 
their own destiny and keep the greater percentage of what they earn.   Those 
that have been helping them for so many years now have all but helped most of 
them out of the business altogether.


Tom Wiggins

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