ASCAP is weird.
BMI and SESAC too. They’re cool and they’re really not cool at the same time.
It’s cool because they pays royalties to artists who perform songs at venues that pay licensing fees to ASCAP or BMI or whoever. I think it’s cool that local bands I know are members and are potentially paid for performing their own songs.
However; ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and other performance rights organizations occasionally send threatening letters to small businesses and clubs, farmers markets and even house venues for allowing bands to perform at their venues saying that those businesses and houses must pay a licensing fee that’s often several hundred dollars or more per year. Obviously, that’s fucked. I’d be horrified to see houses like Babetown, The Horse’s Mouth and Daggett Street be threatened with lawsuits because they’re providing a place for touring and local bands to perform. (How likely it is that any of those places will be targeted- I’m not so sure; but it has happened to venues like those before.)
Check out this article if you’re interested:
I’m not totally against the performing rights organizations because they do provide a great service to artists, songwriters and publishers and help put some cash in their pockets for their work. I just think it’s pretty fucked up that those organizations are threatening people along with businesses.