[Dixielandjazz] My letter to ASCAP All of you should write to them as well.

TCASHWIGG at aol.com TCASHWIGG at aol.com
Wed Jan 26 16:20:37 PST 2005

Dear Ms. Stack:

Please deliver this message to someone in ASCAP who can and might have enough 
common sense if you can find one to take a look at the thousands of musicians 
and songwriters and composers including many from your own ranks that cannot 
find any venues to perform their music because of your ruthless tactics and 
overzealous efforts to collect and extort in some cases money form small and 
medium sized live music venues.

You might take a moment to think about just how many dollars you remove from 
the live music scene and the pockets of struggling musicians, many who would 
pay somebody to play their music so it could be heard enough that maybe just 
maybe someday they would have a reason to join ASCAP AND ACTUALLY COLLECT SOME 

I have personally seen your organizations shameless strong arm tactics in 
action many times in my forty years in this business and witnessed countless 
numbers of venues closing their doors because of you and BMI respectively.   Your 
formulas are totally off the wall for most situations and your greed for 
collecting monies has long outweighed most of the good that your original 
organization created for it's members.

No small club, venue or small jazz or blues society trying it's best to keep 
those two particular genres of music alive and viable for entertainers 
employment.    Most performers and songwriters desperately need those small venues to 
hone their craft and get an opportunity to perform it in front of a live 

Everytime you close another one you put hundreds of musicians out of work in 
an already desperate situation.    You have your hands around the throat of 
the GOLDEN GOOSE that feeds you and you are strangling it to death trying to 
squeeze yet more Golden Eggs out of it's rear.

If you think I am wrong in this summation, by all means go out and open some 
live music venues and hire musicians and promote them and try to pay your 
often outrageous fee leverages for supposedly licensing your members music.   You 
had better wake up and remember that many of us are also your members or 
former members, and soon to be former members.

ASCAP as an organization has unfortunately turned into a giant beauracracy 
feeding off itself and it's members.     It was bad enough that we musicians had 
to suffer the demise of thousands and thousands of live music venues at the 
hands of our own American Federation of Musicians trying to help us.    They 
managed to Help most members right out of the ability to earn a living 
performing live music, and then here you folks and BMI came to kill off all the other 

The AFofM is now considered by almost all musicians as a bad joke, except for 
those fortunate few who have contracts with Symphonies.   The organization is 
basically useless to most other members.

Capacity of any venue does not guarantee that there will be paying customers 
filling every seat 365 days a year and to assume that the business is 
operating at capacity potential as I have seen your folks try to enforce many times is 
simply ludicrous and greed on your part.    Not to mention that many venues 
have bands that play mostly their own original or improvisational material that 
is not yours to collect fees for anyway.     If you are not willing to have a 
representative of ASCAP visit each and every venue and be knowledgeable 
enough to sit and write down the name of every song performed and keep accurate 
records of it and have it signed by the band leader or artists performing it then 
you have no business collecting any fees for the usage of such music.

The problem is that you have such a massive legal staff and have written and 
rewritten the copyright laws so many times that you have confused everyone and 
have them all buffaloed into believing you can win every suit you file, which 
generally you do simply because nobody has enough money to stay in court and 
fight you.    This folks is nothing more than legal EXTORTION.       Yes, many 
of us we are aware of your "Settlements" even if many members are naive 
enough to think you are working for their best interest.

Entertainingly yours,

Thomas Wiggins
Musician, composer,   concert & event promoter,booking agent and no longer 
your member, do me a big favor, do not collect any money for me, I will take my 
chances and collect my own. 

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