Members of the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers will descend on Capitol Hill this week, advocating for reforms to federal music licensing laws and regulations. As part of the annual “Stand with Songwriters” Advocacy Day, songwriters and composers will meet with lawmakers and their staff members on May 18.
“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,” ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams said in a press release.
As part of the congressional meetings during which they will urge policymakers to update the 1941 consent decree, last updated before the 2001 debut of Apple’s first iPod. According to the release, “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.”
Additionally, the release says, “Songwriters will also advocate passage of the bipartisan Songwriter Equity Act, which would amend two outdated portions of the U.S. Copyright Act that prevent songwriters from earning a fair market royalty rate when their music is streamed or downloaded.”
The artists will also bring several #StandWithSongwriters petition guitars signed by some ASCAP members, including: Erica Campbell, Pat Benatar, LaShawn Daniels, James Fauntleroy, Nate Ruess of fun., OMI and Adam Schlesinger.
Additionally, ASCAP will host a concert at the Library of Congress on the evening of May 17, featuring performances by Brian McKnight, Monica, Brett James, MoZella, Priscilla Renea, Randy Goodrum, Desmond Child and Jennifer Higdon.
ASCAP also recently debuted a video featuring highlighting changes since the performance rights laws were written in 1941.
Last week, advocacy group musicFirst and other artists held a similar congressional door knock event, calling for #FairPlayFairPay (the organization’s own take on performance rights reform).