[Dixielandjazz] My current ASCAP story/question...

willc willc at highstream.net
Thu Feb 19 21:50:45 PST 2004

Dave and all -
You can tell the ASCAP rep you're only playing public domain (not in front of
witnesses and not in writing), but you'd better be sure that PD tunes are all
you DO play. If you get caught by an ASCAP stealth rep playing "Tie a Yellow
Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree" or responding to your sixth request of the
evening for "New York, New York", you and the clubowner could be in expensive

Personally, in your position, I wouldn't call ASCAP back and go on record.
You're not a member and you owe them zilch.  I'd be sure my club owner knew we
wouldn't be able to take requests for non PD tunes - even (gasp!) "Happy
Birthday" - if he didn't get the license, but that he'd be free to hire my band
to play anything within our abilities on Saturday and as many of the other six
nights a week as he wanted if he did!

If anyone can suggest some practical alternative to an ASCAP-like organization
to get songwriters - the guys who CREATE the music you play - paid for club
date, concert, festival, banquet and radio/TV/cable use of their music, I'd be
delighted to hear it.  I'd like to earn a hell of a lot more from performance in
such ways and venues of music I've written than I've ever collected from ASCAP
and record royalties!

Will Connelly (ASCAP songwriter)

Dave Gravatt wrote:

> Greetings all. Earlier today I posted a note about the owner of the
> restaurant where we play being contacted by ASCAP. Here's the latest on this
> story.
> The restaurant owner (where we play one night a week) called me today saying
> he'd received numerous letters from ASCAP over the last several weeks
> (months?) and finally called them back to see what the noise was all about.
> The ASCAP rep (in NY) said that a local (Springfield, MO) ASCAP rep had been
> in the restaurant and heard our band and, I guess, "reported back" that we
> were there. Now they're asking the restaurant for an annual $356 because
> we're there. Yeah, I'm sure the restaurant will pay it if necessary, but the
> real question, of course, is, "is it really necessary?" The club is already
> paying ASCAP for the canned satellite radio that gets piped in, by the way.
> So I explained to our restaurant owner that everything we play is pre-1920s
> and that it is all public domain and that the restaurant should not have to
> pay for the performance of that music. He called the ASCAP rep back and the
> rep said she needs to speak to the band leader about this (that's me, of
> course). So, before I call her tomorrow, my question for you is, if I
> explain that everything we play is MY arrangements of pre-1920s tunes,
> should that put an end to this?
> Interesting side note: when the owner was talking with the ASCAP rep today,
> the rep asked if he knew where ELSE we might be playing.
> Any input appreciated. And again, I felt somewhat prepared for all this
> after the subject was covered on this list a couple of weeks ago. Thanks.
> Dave
> ====================
> The Creole Dixieland Jazz Band
> "It's a treat to beat your feet"
> 417-581-5626
> Springfield, Missouri
> http://www.CreoleJazz.com
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