So I’m off to Los Angeles to attend the annual ASCAP Music Expo. I’ve never been to one of these before, but it is packed with all sorts of useful information about how to make a living in the music business. I am going there for reconnaissance, be a sponge, and hopefully make some connections in the industry. I am hoping to find people to collaborate with on songwriting.
What is ASCAP? you may ask. ASCAP is one of the top three performing rights organizations in the US, the other two being BMI and SESAC. ASCAP stands for American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. If you ever look at publishing credits for songs, typically you will see one of these acronyms in parenthesis after the publishing company name. These organizations collect performance royalties from radio, TV, film, internet, as well as live performances. The money collected gets distributed to the publishing company, which then pays the songwriters their cut based on their publishing agreement. Typically the arrangement is 50/50 between the publisher and the songwriter(s).
Since streaming audio on the internet is considered a performance, performance royalties should be collected and distributed. I use the word “should” because internet companies have been loathe to pay publishers anything and organizations like ASCAP have been advocating to get legislation passed to make sure publishers and songwriters get paid. It is only fair for songwriters such as myself to get paid for my music. I don’t get a lot from ASCAP, but every little bit helps.
I signed up with ASCAP in 1999 after someone told me they heard Draw Me Close on the radio sung by some group called the Katinas. It turned out to be a hit in the Contemporary Christian and Inspirational markets and reached number 2 in the CCM charts. I met the Katinas later that year when they performed at the Creation West music festival in George, Washington (at this wonderful outdoor venue called The Gorge). They in turn introduced me to Michael W. Smith who turns out to be the same age I am and also happens to be an avid Nik Kershaw fan. Who knew? Mr. Smith went on to record the song on his 2001 Worship CD.
But I digress. At this EXPO, I signed up to have a 15-minute 1 on 1 session with an industry insider. I received my assignment a few days ago and found out I’m meeting with Mary Dawson, who is a successful songwriter and publisher. I read her bio and discovered that she wrote a book called “How to Get Somewhere in the Music Business from Nowhere With Nothing”, so I ordered it from Amazon and it arrived yesterday. I’ll be skimming through the book before I meet with her. The organizers put out a disclaimer that the time and person I meet with may change, but I sure hope not–she seems like the right person for me.
Well, this blog has gone on too long, so I’ll wrap it up for now. You can see that I am excited. So much so that I haven’t been able to sleep since about 3 AM, so I figured I’d blog. Thank God for coffee!