Music rights are a funny thing.
When I was in radio, I learned that music rights and royalties work something like this:
- To play music in public – on a radio station, television show, movie, in-store muzak, jukebox, elevator, nightclub, TV or radio commercial or whatever – you pay a fee to one of the big three music licensing agencies – ASCAP, BMI or SESAC. The agencies distribute the fees to the songwriters (the names that used to be listed under the song title in incredibly tiny type on old albums and .45s) via an incredibly complex (the better to hide the cheating) formula.
- If you didn’t pay the licensing fee, the songwriter and publisher could haul you in to court and charge “mechanical royalties” – better known as “a court judgment”.
And that’s pretty much it.
We’ll come back to that. Rolling Stone is “covering” Michele Bachmann’s campaign in…
…well, the same way all the media are “covering” it:
Michele Bachmann hasn’t exactly gotten her campaign off to the best start. It’s bad enough to confuse movie legend John Wayne with serial killer John Wayne Gacy and crazily insist that John Quincy Adams was a founding father at the age of nine…
…but now she’s gone and pissed off Tom Petty. The Minnesota congresswoman played “American Girl” yesterday when she walked onstage at a rally, and Rolling Stone has confirmed reports that Petty’s management team immediately sent the Bachmann campaign a cease and desist letter.
So I’m wondering – provided that Bachmann’s campaign paid her licensing fee, what recourse does Petty really have?
I mean, for over 20 years Rush Limbaugh has been using “My City Was Gone”, by the ultra-socialist Chrissie Hynde, as his theme song, right? Hynde can’t have been thrilled
Say, if I were to play “American Girl?”
Would he object? Even if I were to be a rebel…
…and reject his california-liberal politics?
Because I certainly won’t back down. (Wait – I don’t like that song that much).
Because a good chunk of the right is singing…
Anyway – this one’s for you, Mark Dayton and Tom Bakk and Paul Thissen:
…you knew that was coming, didn’t you?