If you're a songwriter, you know about ASCAP. And if you're not but still love music, you should know about them. The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers is the agency that collects royalties for the public performances of its members' copyrighted music. In other words, every time a song is played on the radio, television, cable, in a restaurant or club or online, ASCAP is there to make sure the money is paid to the person/s who wrote the song.
This is the story of ASCAP, which was founded on February 13, 1914. The society was formed to help songwriters earn--and actually receive--their money. On that historic day, a group of distinguished and gifted songwriters including Jerome
Kern, Victor Herbert, Raymond Hubbell and Irving Berlin met at the
Hotel Claridge in New York City to formalize the notion that songwriters deserved a royalty every single time one of their compositions was played in public. Ever after, this became known as a performance royalty.
The book traces the history of the organization from those early days right through to the development of radio, television and the nightmarish turmoil and problems ignited by the Internet era.
This is a fascinating look at an organization that is not only engaged in the very real endeavor of collecting money for songwriters but has also become an arbiter of taste in recent years. The idea of stealing music from the Internet--downloading songs from illegal sites has become commonplace--is now pervasive. ASCAP has had to battle that practice and has tried to make online sites pay for the music they're so carelessly giving away.
If you're a songwriter, you know how hard it is to make a living making music. ASCAP is indeed your best friend, and reading this book will get you up close and personal.