NAME: American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP)
LOCATION: Membership offices in New York, Los Angeles, Nashville, Chicago, Atlanta, Miami, San Juan PR, London
ORIGIN: New York, NY
MAIN GENRE: All musical genres
BIO: ASCAP was founded by Victor Herbert, together with composers George Botsford, Silvio Hein, Louis Hirsch, John Raymond Hubbell, and Gustave Kerker, Millard Fillmore, lyricist Glen MacDonough, publishers George Maxwell (who served as its first president) and Jay Witmark, and copyright attorney Nathan Burkan at the Hotel Claridge in New York City on February 13, 1914, to protect the copyrighted musical compositions of its members, who were mostly writers and publishers associated with New York City’s Tin Pan Alley.
Tell us a bit about your organization
Established in 1914, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a membership association of more than 330,000 U.S. composers, songwriters and music publishers representing the world’s largest repertory totaling over 8.5 million copyrighted musical works of every style and genre. Through agreements with affiliated international societies, ASCAP also represents hundreds of thousands of music creators worldwide. ASCAP is the only U.S. performing rights organization created and controlled by composers, songwriters and music publishers, with a Board of Directors elected by and from the membership.
Please describe your creative process
ASCAP protects the rights of its members by licensing and distributing royalties for the non-dramatic public performances of their copyrighted works. ASCAP’s licensees encompass all who want to perform copyrighted music publicly. ASCAP makes giving and obtaining permission to perform music simple for both creators and users of music.
What are your artistic goals?
ASCAP has made huge strides in supporting education for children on the issue of illegal downloading of copyrighted music. In conjunction with i-SAFE, the leader in Internet safety education, ASCAP created the nation’s first comprehensive educational program addressing why personal piracy of music and other creative content is harmful. Titled “The Donny the Downloader Experience,” this new program is being presented in schools across the U.S. Since its launch in February 2007, the program, which was conceived to help preserve future music appreciators, has already reached nearly a million students through assemblies and an interactive curriculum. http://www.ascap.com/resource/dtd/. As further proof of ASCAP’s dedication to supporting and educating its members, the third annual ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO assembled music creators, panelists, industry professionals and exhibitors for three days in April at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles. As the only conference devoted to the craft of songwriting and composing, the ASCAP EXPO has become a must-attend event, drawing songwriters from around the globe. Special guests at this year’s EXPO included Bon Jovi, Jackson Browne and Steve Miller. Coverage of the event including audio and video of panels is available at http://www.ascap.com/expo/. SAVE THE DATE: The fourth annual ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO has been set for April 23-29, 2009 at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles.
Tell us about your organization’s views on the industry
To address the growing concerns of its members around music copyright, ASCAP recently released a groundbreaking position paper “Music Copyright in the Digital Age,” which outlines and explains the basic rights of music creators. As part of the same multi-tiered plan to assure the futures of its members, the position paper contains an ASCAP-created Bill of Rights for Songwriters and Composers, which has collected nearly 9,000 signatures in support to date online. The Bill of Rights section acts as a reminder to all members of the music industry that the rights of songwriters need to be remembered and defended. Both the full text of the Position Paper and the Bill of Rights can be downloaded at http://www.ascap.com/rights/.
How can one join ASCAP?
Please visit http://www.ascap.com/about/howjoin.asp for full details on joining ASCAP.
Thanks ASCAP for all your hard work and lobbying efforts on behalf of the music community and your members! THE ARTISTS FORUM would also like to invite everyone to check out our exclusive interview with ASCAP President Marilyn Bergman and her husband/writing partner Alan Bergman entitled “ART OVER 60: THE BERGMANS.”