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The bottom line is that there is no reason at all why small businesses across New Hampshire and the United States should have to pay just to have the radio playing in their hair salon or the TV on in a bar. It's just plain
not fair and it has to stop now
that is why I am
supporting and working to pass H.R. 789.
In closing, I would like to commend the National
Restaurant Association for their hard work and
dedication and to thank all Members of the Music
Licensing Fairness Coalition for addressing this issue of
great importance to small business owners. I look
forward to the testimony.
On behalf of the
My name is Pat Alger, I live in Nashville, Tennessee, I
Composers, Authors and Publishers, and I serve as President of
the Nashville Songwriters Association International.
attached a biography to my statement which lists some of the songs I have written over the years, songs I hope the members
of the Committee have enjoyed.
I am proud to say that I have
been an ASCAP member for many years.
It is fitting that I testify before this Small Business
Committee, because I am about the smallest businessman you can
Songwriting is my profession and my livelihood.
what I have to say applies to just about every songwriter you can think of, from the most successful to the rank beginner.
I say I am a very small businessman because I have no one
I have no staff, no secretary, no factory, no office.
The intangible "product" that I create
comes solely from my mind. If I am to be successful, the song the intellectual property I have created must leap enormous hurdles before
songwriters are not hired to do their job, they must find work
and notes together in a way that they think may have a chance,
they have to find a publisher willing to publish it.
they must find an artist willing to perform it.
If my songs are successful, businesses are using them all
across the country
using them to enhance their appeal to
the public and make money from them.
When my songs are used
by a radio station in Oregon, or a restaurant in Illinois, or
a hotel in New Hampshire, it is because they think that music
will help their businesses.
Oliver Wendell Holmes said it
well 80 years ago
"if music did not pay, it would be given
Payment for the use of my musical property is the only
thing that enables me to stay in my profession.
And I have
always believed that payment for the use of property is the core concept of our country's economic system.
As I told you, I live in Nashville.
There is no way that
any songwriter, individually know if those businesses all across the country are using our music, no way
can individually contact them all, and individually collect fair payment for their
property. There's also no way that I can deal on level playing field with these powerful businesses like chain
publishers formed ASCAP in 1914, and why organizations like
organizations, we can find uses of our music, license them at
a fair fee, and, if the user refuses to comply with the law,
royalties, I and my colleagues would have to do something else
and we wouldn't be able to create America's music.
sort of burden do these payments for my property place on its
The average cost to a restaurant for the right to use
my music and the music of all my fellow members of ASCAP is
$1.58 a day.
Indeed, 80% of ASCAP's licensees pay less than
You can imagine that I therefore get pretty hot under the
collar when I hear music users
say that there's something
unfair about the system.
Surely it can't be
$1.58 a day is less than the cost of a drink!
Surely it can't be that ASCAP must allow anyone who requests
a license to use my property even if they don't agree with the
price. Surely it can't be that ASCAP must treat similar users
Surely it can't be that in a legal dispute over price
ASCAP, not the user of my property, must prove its fee is
Surely it can't be the fact that the amount the
music users in the United States pay to perform the world's
most popular music is practically at the bottom of the scale
among developed countries.
The fact is that there is nothing unfair about this
system unless it be that songwriters
disadvantage in comparison to the users of their music. As ASCAP's illustrious, late president Morton Gould put it: "I never met a music user who thought he was paying too little for music, nor a music creator who thought he was earning too
They pay lip service to the notion that creators like
me should be paid for the use of the property we have created, but what they really want to do is pay less and less and less,
or, if they think they can get away with it, nothing at all. That's an outrage, and you should be as outraged about it as
Now let's look at the particular gripes of the people who are seeking to tilt the playing field in their favor through