Dear ASCAP, BMI, and any other organization this may concern,
This Saturday evening, as I fired up the grill with some family members for the holiday weekend, I found myself answering questions about “this songwriting mumbo-jumbo and the Department of Justice.” Already knowing that outside of us in the small community I love and live for called “music,” most people do not understand how the business side of this art form works, and even fewer understand the business side of songwriting. As I started to search for the best analogies to describe what was going on, a thought struck my mind.
Who is looking out for us?
The Department of Justice has not only decided to keep with laws dated back to WWII-era America, but also adding to it restrictions that would affect the way money is handled to people that co-write songs. Affect it in an extremely large way. Past music. Future music. The songs on your phone, on your favorite tv show, in your favorite movies, playing at your favorite coffee shop, what you dance to in your favorite bar. All of it.
ASCAP and BMI, you are the main two companies we as songwriters in America hire and use to take care of our songs. Already you two are on top of it, trying to find a response to the Department of Justice, to find a way to not enforce these new law changes, but to also make them better. And whole-heartedly, I, as I’m sure many other songwriters, applaud you. Again though I must ask, who is looking out for us, right now?
This law is currently, meaning “right now,” hurting us. And as you two fight to change things, isn’t it also your responsibility to protect us? Isn’t this the time you need to sit down and negotiate what you are going to do to make sure everyone gets their fair and just share until the proper laws are changed? Isn’t this the time you decide between yourselves how to make sure we are all taken care of? If someone is attacking my family, yes I eventually want the perpetrators brought to justice, but first and foremost I want to get them out of harm’s way.
Tonight I’m cleaning up the leftovers of steaks, sausages, chicken fajitas, pork chops, and corn on the cob. It’s my last weekend off for a while; this time next week I’ll be in a van going across the southern part of Texas with three other guys I write songs with playing Saints Analogue rock-n-roll. Some of us are BMI. Some of us are ASCAP. Some are SESAC. We trust you have our backs, because what we’re concerned with is what we’re creating and sharing with everyone around us.
So, ASCAP and BMI, if you believe in us as songwriters, then you believe in the power of collaboration. That’s cooperation between multiple entities for a common goal. We do it to make the best possible songs we can. Can’t you do it, too?
Aren’t you looking out for us?
Adam J. Odor