We had a great time playing for two hours at Growler USA last Sunday. We were going to play two more two-hour sets on the next two Sundays, but unfortunately the establishment is not licensed with ASCAP and/or BMI to have live performers play covers of copyrighted songs. So, until Roberta and I can put together a complete set of our own compositions, or until the establishment decides it wants to obtain a license for the performance of live cover songs, we won’t be playing there again. I’m including a link for those who are interested in reading more about this issue.
I’m aware of several other coffee houses and other public places that no longer offer live music because they either could not afford or chose not to pay song licensing fees. This is a shame since most of the musicians I know play mostly as a hobby, not for income (other than to offset some of the expenses of their hobby) and the licensing requirement limits opportunities for us to have fun and share our fun with others. On the other hand, if I ever wrote a song that became a hit, I would want to collect all the royalties that I was due. Then again, there is some controversy about how much of the royalties go to the songwriters, and how much goes to the publishers. I might write more about this at another date. On a related issue, there have been a lot of legal cases over the past several years where songwriters have been sued for songs that are too similar to previously copyrighted and published songs. Here is an interesting discussion: https://youtu.be/0ytoUuO-qvg.