May 13, 2015

Songwriters Call for Music Licensing Reform at ASCAP “Songwriter Advocacy Day” on Capitol Hill

Paul Williams, Marilyn & Alan Bergman, John Bettis, Desmond Child, Kevin Kadish, Crystal Nicole, Allen Shamblin, Che “Rhymefest” Smith & other award-winning songwriters urge policymakers to support Songwriter Equity Act

 #StandWithSongwriters video released to mobilize grassroots support

Stand With Songwriters

Washington, DC, May 13, 2014: Advocating for important reforms to outdated federal music licensing laws and regulations, award-winning songwriters and composers from various music genres are in Washington, DC today to meet with elected officials as part of the annual American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) “Songwriter Advocacy Day” on Capitol Hill.

Today’s meetings follow last night’s “We Write the Songs” concert at the Library of Congress, sponsored by The ASCAP Foundation.  The event was introduced by ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams (“The Rainbow Connection”), and featured performances by popular ASCAP members including: Alan Bergman ("The Way We Were"); John Bettis (“Top of the World”); Donald Fagen (“Reelin’ in the Years”); Rupert Holmes (“Escape (The Piña Colada Song)”); Natalie Merchant (“Wonder”); NE-YO (“Miss Independent”); Crystal Nicole (“The Only Girl in the World”); Allen Shamblin (“The House That Built Me”); and Che “Rhymefest” Smith (“Glory”); along with guest vocalists Deborah Cox and Lari White.

Williams and many of the performing songwriters remain in D.C. today to walk the halls of Congress, including Bergman, Bettis, Nicole, Shamblin and Smith.  They will be joined by songwriter Kevin Kadish (“All About That Bass”), ASCAP CEO Beth Matthews and many of ASCAP’s Board members.  ASCAP Board members meeting with legislators include songwriters Marilyn Bergman (“The Windmills of Your Mind”), and Desmond Child (“Livin’ On A Prayer”); film and TV composers Richard Bellis (“IT”) Bruce Broughton (“Silverado”), Dan Foliart (“Home Improvement,” “Roseanne”), and Doug Wood (“Saturday Night Live”); concert music composer Alex Shapiro; and publishers Barry Coburn (Ten Ten Music Group), Dean Kay (Lichelle Music and songwriter of “That’s Life”) Leeds Levy (Leeds Music) and Irwin Robinson (Cromwell Music).

In their meetings on the Hill, ASCAP members will discuss the challenges facing songwriters in today’s digital music marketplace and urge policymakers to update federal laws that regulate how songwriters license their works.  Their efforts underscore the critical importance of updating ASCAP’s consent decree, originally created in 1941 and last updated in before the introduction of the iPod in 2001. They will also ask policymakers to support the Songwriter Equity Act, a bipartisan bill to amend two outdated portions of the US Copyright Act and level the playing field for songwriters, composers and publishers seeking fair compensation for their work.

“The rules that govern how songwriters and composers license our music no longer work in today’s marketplace, presenting a very real threat to the foundation of the music value chain,” said ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams. “Powerful corporations that now control the music delivery pipeline have lined up in opposition to reform, essentially asking the federal government to protect their profits at the expense of every songwriter, composer and music publisher in America. We’re here today because it’s up to each of us, as music creators, to stand up, speak out and defend the value of our music.”

In association with today’s Advocacy Day, ASCAP launched a grassroots campaign and released a new video on its Advocacy page featuring personal appeals from Paul Williams, Savan Kotecha (“Bang Bang” - for Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj), Evan Taubenfeld (“Best Years of Our Lives” - with Avril Lavigne), Crystal Nicole (“Only Girl in the World” - for Rihanna) and Brett James (“Jesus, Take the Wheel” - for Carrie Underwood). Supporters and the organization’s more than 530,000 members are encouraged to send a message to their member of Congress (ascap.com/writetocongress) and call attention to the need for music licensing reform, using the hashtag #StandWithSongwriters on social media channels.

About ASCAP
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP's mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world's best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business - from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With 680,000 members representing more than 11.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. www.ascap.com

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Media Contacts:

Cathy Halgas Nevins

ASCAP

cnevins (at) ascap.com

Meghan Pianta

Glover Park Group

mpianta (at) gpg.com