May 17, 2016

Songwriters Call for Music Licensing Reform on Capitol Hill During ASCAP "Stand With Songwriters" Advocacy Day

Paul Williams, Monica, Brian McKnight, Brett James, MoZella, Priscilla Renea, Randy Goodrum, Desmond Child, Needlz, Savan Kotecha and other award-winning songwriters urge Congress to stand with songwriters to protect their livelihoods in the digital age

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo hold a #StandWithSongwriters guitar which will be presented to lawmakers on May 18.

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo with a #StandWithSongwriters guitar

WASHINGTON, DC—MAY 17, 2016— Advocating for important reforms to outdated federal music licensing laws and regulations, award-winning songwriters and composers from various music genres will be in Washington, DC tomorrow, May 18 to meet with elected officials as part of the annual American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) “Stand with Songwriters” Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.

In their meetings on Capitol Hill, ASCAP members will discuss the challenges facing songwriters in the digital music age and urge policymakers to update the WWII-era federal laws that regulate how songwriters license their works. They will bring with them several “#StandWithSongwriters petition guitars” signed by a sampling of ASCAP’s more than 575,000 songwriter, composer and music publisher members, including: Erica Campbell, Pat Benatar, LaShawn Daniels, James Fauntleroy, Nate Ruess of fun., OMI and Adam Schlesinger.

ASCAP members will underscore the critical importance of updating the performing rights organization’s consent decree with the Department of Justice, originally created in 1941 and last updated before the introduction of the iPod in 2001.

“We’re asking policymakers to stand with songwriters at a time when our future livelihoods and the future of American music are both in jeopardy. Streaming has vastly changed music listening habits but licensing laws haven’t kept up with the way people consume music today, so songwriters are struggling,” said ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams. “ASCAP is on the frontlines fighting for meaningful music licensing reform to ensure songwriters can continue writing the next great song, but we can’t do it alone. We’re asking legislators to recognize that songwriters deserve laws which enable them to be paid fairly for the use of their music.”

The meetings will follow tonight’s “We Write the Songs” concert at the Library of Congress, sponsored by The ASCAP Foundation. The event features performances by popular ASCAP members, who were introduced by Members of Congress, including: Brian McKnight, Monica, Brett James, MoZella, Priscilla Renea, Randy Goodrum, Desmond Child and Jennifer Higdon.

The delegation of ASCAP members participating in tomorrow’s Congressional office visits also includes: Khari Cain (Needlz), Savan Kotecha, Dan Foliart, Wayland Holyfield, Dean Kay, James Kendrick, Leeds Levy, Irwin Z. Robinson, Alex Shapiro, Paul Williams, and Doug Wood.

ASCAP members will encourage policymakers to support changes to ASCAP’s consent decree that would enable it to accept a limited grant of rights from its members and permit ASCAP to license all of the rights in a music composition a business needs to operate in one transaction. The songwriters will also advocate for passage of the bipartisan Songwriter Equity Act, which would amend two outdated portions of the US Copyright Act that prevent songwriters from earning a fair market royalty rate when their music is streamed or downloaded, an important first step toward updating an antiquated music licensing system that treats songwriters differently than other copyright owners.

ASCAP recently debuted a new video featuring its songwriter members delivering a personal appeal for music licensing reform by highlighting a number of notable changes to American culture since the laws were written in 1941, including the advent of Frosted Flakes, the invention of Velcro, the introduction of Hawaii as the 50th state, and more. To view the video, click here. A new website,, also provides information on how to support the effort.

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 700,000 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. Learn more and stay in touch at, on Twitter @ASCAP and on Facebook.

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Media Contacts:

Cathy Halgas Nevins


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Meghan Pianta

Glover Park Group