... and by "smaller", I mean all but the two hundred biggest acts in America.
Zoe Keating plays cello, and does fairly well in terms of bringing in an audience and selling tickets. Obviously, there are expenses involved in hiring venues, as she explains:
For example, at one concert I played last month the gross ticket sales for the night were $9336. Of the many expenses deducted, one of the items was $86 to ASCAP.But not to worry, eh? Because Zoe is playing her own music, and is registered by ASCAP, so she'll eventually get this money back, right?
What is this? This is the nightly portion of a license fee that the hall pays to ASCAP for the permission to perform music by ASCAP artists in their venue.
The customer service representative on the phone said there was nothing for me to claim. He informed me that ASCAP pays out performing royalties only to the 200 top-grossing concert tours, as determined by Pollstar. They also pay royalties for “Live symphonic and recital concerts”, whatever they are (he said I don’t quality for those).There is some sort of grudging contest where you can register to "win" a tiny portion of the money that ASCAP have collected in your name.
ASCAP have a lot to say about the "theft" of "intellectual property", but they seem to have no problem in stealing money from all-but-200 acts to give to the 200 acts who least need the money.
The difference being, of course, that it's actual money ASCAP are stealing, rather than nebulous, potential, possible money.