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less than $2,000. But, modest as are the receipts derived from commercial use of our music, we are nevertheless thankful for what we have.
For without them the plight of the composer and author of America would indeed make a discouraging picture.
To give you an idea of what would happen were we entirely dependent upon what was once our sole hope of security derived from our creative efforts—namely, the sale of sheet music—let me give you some personal experiences.
I just looked at statements covering the sale of music from five of my most successful plays. “Three Twins” contained the song of which you have probably heard, “Cuddle Up a Little Closer.” Total
” sales from all numbers from that show netted me, for the year 1950, $19.80. From the play "Madam Sherry," which contained an internationally known number called "Every Little Movement," $16.60. From "The Firefly," written with one of our great composers, Rudolf Friml, containing such numbers as “Giannina Mia," "Sympathy," and “When a Maid Comes Knocking,” I netted $228.68.
From "High Jinks,"containing one of Rudolf Friml's most famous songs, “The Bubble,” and “Something Seems Tingling," I netted $21.28. From "Katinka," in which was the song "Allah's Holiday," and which toured not only America but Australia, England, and other European countries as well, I netted $49.62.
To sum up for 1950, the sale of sheet music from five successful plays amounted to $335.98.
In contrast to this picture, I receive a little more encouragement from my last quarterly statement from ASCAP, representing payments to me of royalties from public performances of the same work over radio and television, and other places of entertainment. During that quarter, my publisher tells me, 165 copies of Cuddle Up a Little Closer were sold, netting me $1.95, but from ASCAP I received credit for 3,302 performances, netting me $55.13.
Every Little Movement sold 155 copies, netting me $4.65, but my performance credits from ASCAP were 908, which gave me $15.43.
Giannina Mia sold 709 copies, netting me $21.27, but my performance credits totaled 2,316, which gave me $37.67.
Of course, this constitutes a very small portion of numbers that I have registered with ASCAP, and that part of my royalties which is computed solely on the basis of numerical performances. As a matter of fact, my total performance credits for the last quarter were 58.285.
And that is nowhere near the top bracket of our society. This gives a little idea of what the American author and composer has to do in the way of creative work in order to earn a living.
But it also goes to show the uses that are made of American songs in order to keep our great musical commercial industry going.
Now, in the light of what I have said, it does seem strange that there exists a law closing any door to additional income to composers and authors. But there is such a door, and behind it hides the juke-box industry realizing the staggering sum of $500,000,000 a year from the use of our music.
In view of that staggering figure, it seems to me that the compensation we seek is ridiculously small.
For instance, my last quarterly statement from ASCAP showed that Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, which has been called an interna
tional song hit, gave me 11,507 performance credits, proving that it is still in popular demand.
It is safe to assume that that song is being played somewhere on a jukebox. Let us say that it is lucky enough to be played on a jukebox for 1 month. Under the proposed law, this number would earn for the creators and copyright owners 1 cent a week, or 4 cents a month. The 4 cents would be divided equally between the publisher and the writer; and, since I had a collaborator, I would divide the 2 cents with him. So that my share of the 4 cents would be 1 cent.
Mr. BRYSON. Per month?
Let us assume that this song is played 10 times a day—and, gentlemen, this is a conservative estimate for a song currently popular on the juke boxes—that would make 300 playings in that month, which means that 300 nickels would be put into the jukebox. In other words, the box would receive $15 for the use of that one record, while I would receive 1 cent. To indulge in a bit of wishful thinking, let us assume further that
a the number is played 10 times a day for a month on 5,000 juke boxes,
a which is one in every 100 juke boxes. At the end of the month the juke boxes would take in $75,000, while I and the widow of a great American composer, Jerome Kern, would each receive $50.
This is hardly an exorbitant return to the creators of the essential ingredient which makes this musical marvel a source of entertainment and profit.
Now, I speak for myself and the more than 2,000 writers in my society and also hundreds of writers in similar societies all over the country, and for the thousands of writers yet to come.
Gentlemen, passage of this bill would mean a lot to American music creators. Furthermore, I think it is in the best interest of the juke-box industry itself, which could not survive without a continuous supply of new music.
To sum up, it seems to me that if our Government is really interested in providing for the continued writing of American music and in keeping American musical culture on a par with that of Europe, and ending discrimination in favor of a unique industry which is growing to fantastic bounds, then they certainly will see to it that this bill becomes law.
Thank you very much.
Mr. ROGERS. Do I understand, Mr. Harbach, that you are the past president of ASCAP?
Mr. HARBACH. I am now president of ASCAP?
Mr. ROGERS. Now, we recognize that, under the copyright law of 1909, if you and Jerome Kern or anybody else wrote a song, he could get it copyrighted under the law of 1909; is that right?
Mr. HARBACH. That is right. Mr. ROGERS. After it is copyrighted, you have the right to dispose of that as you see fit; that is, if I wanted to use it for entertainment, I would have to pay you royalties?
Mr. HARBACH. No, that is not the law. The law is that, if you use that song for profit to you, I would deserve part of the profit that you derive from the song.
Mr. ROGERS. You could prohibit me from using it unless I made some arrangement with you if I used it for profit?
Mr. HARBACH. That is right; if you did it for profit.
Mr. ROGERS. Now, since the law of 1909_was enacted, there has been an organization formed which is ASCAP, of which you are now president?
Mr. HARBACH. Yes.
Mr. Rogers. And, under the operation, all of the composers who get copyrights and who want to join your association make arrangements with ASCAP; do they not?
Mr. HARBACH. Yes, sir.
Mr. ROGERS. You made reference in your testimony to the fact that in one month your credit performance, I believe you stated, was 58,285 ?
Mr. HARBACH. Not in one month, but in one quarter.
Now, would you mind telling the committee just how ASCAP assigns or determines what your credit should be?
Mr. HARBACH. Yes; I shall be very glad to do so.
First of all, at great expense, the society makes a survey of all performances on the four big networks, also on other stations scattered here and there throughout the country. We concede that the survey cannot be 100 percent perfect, because if we did that it would make an expense that would be absolutely prohibitive.
So, we use that as a kind of guide to what the general usage of performance is.
Now, when I get my statement for a quarter, it shows that during that quarter I have had so many performances credited to me by that survey. Now, that is the yardstick that gives me my relationship to the rest of the fund.
Owing to the fact that we are now working under more or less supervision of the Government, they have made it absolutely imperative that we use only performance credits as the yardstick for measuring our relationship to the rest of the funds of the society.
Mr. Ahlert suggests that it is primarily; but, as a matter of fact, we make it the only factor as to one part of the distribution fund.
Now, that means that I, having gotten so many credits, am paid from that part of the fund for each performance. Last quarter that part of the fund paid about 1.7 cents a performance.
Now, we take a look at the performances for the last 5 years, because the average of the performances of the last 5 years gives us our rating on what we call the "ladder," which shows our relationship to the interest in the general fund.
Do you understand that now?
Mr. ROGERS. Yes. I take it from your testimony that ASCAP, through some formula, which apparently is agreeable to the members, arrive at the credit performance for each individual who may have assigned his copyright, or given to ASCAP the right to represent him in collecting royalties?
Mr. HARBACH. That is correct.
Mr. ROGERS. Now if, as an example, they should determine that there were a million credit performances to all authors and ASCAP had collected $1,000,000 during that period of time and had paid their expenses for operation and they had the $1,000,000 left, then if you
as an example had gotten a credit performance of 58,285, you would get, then, the $1 for each credit performance ?
I am just using that as a figure, not that I know anything about what you may collect or what you may not collect, but only what you testified to here this morning.
Now, will you outline to the committee the manner and the method used by ASCAP to make the collection of the money which is divided according to credit performance?
Mr. HARBACH. Yes; I shall be glad to do so.
You see, although we have been compelled by our consent decree to make performance credits the primary consideration, nevertheless
Mr. AHLERT. Congressman Rogers, we have representing us people from our sales department, a gentleman from our auditing department, and also an attorney.
Mr. ROGERS. I see Mr. Finkelstein.
Mr. AHLERT. With your permission, Congressman Rogers, I would like to call upon Mr. Collins, our sales manager, to answer that question. It is a business question.
Mr. Rogers. Yes. That is the reason I asked how long he had been president.
Mr. Bryson. Would you like to have this gentleman, Mr. Jules Collins, answer that question?
Mr. AHLERT. I would like to have him answer questions of a salesmanship or business nature. I would like to have him answer Congressman Rogers' question.
Mr. BRYSON. At this time?
Mr. HARBACH. Did you ask how we collected our money, or how we distributed it?
Mr. ROGERS. How you collect.
Mr. HARBACH. That is different. I thought you asked me how we distribute the money.
Mr. Rogers. You explained how the distribution is made upon the credits after the collection. Now, what I am interested in is by what method, under the legal rights of ASCAP, does it make the collection?
I would like to ask you one other question, getting away from the question of collection for ASCAP, and that is this: Do you know whether or not, in giving credit performance or the formula that is used for credit performance, you take into consideration the playing of these copyright records in juke boxes, whether that is used in a formula at all!
Mr. AHLERT. No; not at all, because up to now we have no interest whatever in juke boxes, practically.
Mr. ROGERS. Then, when you give us the information of $500,000,000, I believe you stated
Mr. HARBACH. Fifty-eight thousand or more, which were mine.
Mr. Rogers. No. I believe you stated to the committee the estimated amount that is collected by the juke boxes.
Mr. HARBACH. The estimations I have seen have been $500,000,000 annually as their gross take.
Mr. ROGERS. That is information that is given to you. Do you know of any survey that has been made to test the accuracy of that statement?
Mr. HARBACH. I think there have been such surveys made, but I have not made them personally.
Mr. Rogers. I have nothing further, relative to the collection.
, Mr. AHLERT. Mr. Chairman, may I just have Mr. Collins explain some of these questions that Congressman Rogers has asked?
Mr. Harbach was asked for the source of information about the $500 million and I think Mr. Collins can answer.
Mr. Bryson. Mr. Collins, will you identify yourself to the stenographer
STATEMENT OF JULES COLLINS, NEW ROCHELLE, N. Y., SALES
MANAGER, AMERICAN SOCIETY OF COMPOSERS, AUTHORS, AND PUBLISHERS
Mr. Collins. I am Jules Collins, sales manager of ASCAP. I am in charge of the licensing activity and collection of license fees from the commercial users of our members' works.
Mr. Bryson. Would you give the stenographer your address?
Mr. Bryson. Do you understand the question proponded by the Congressman from Colorado?
Mr. COLLINS. Yes, I do.
Congressman, we have offices throughout the country under our direct supervision. We have 20 such offices located in major cities throughout the United States. These offices supervise the licensing of all of what we call general commercial users of music.
That would include night clubs, hotels, restaurants, ballrooms, roller rinks—anybody that uses music in a commercial operation.
The job of these 20 offices is to contact the owners of these establishments and make available to them a license for the use of ASCAP music under which they pay us an annual fee.
In addition to the general licensed establishments that are handled through our local offices, we, of course, license radio and television stations throughout the United States. That is handled primarily through our New York office. We issue the license directly from New York to the radio stations throughout the country.
Radio and television constitute the primary source of our revenue today.
Mr. ROGERS. That is the primary source of revenue for ASCAP? Mr. COLLINS. Yes, sir.
Mr. ROGERS. Now, would it be telling any trade secrets, or hurt your business in any particular, if you told us approximately how much a year you do collect?
Mr. COLLINS. No, sir. I think it is pretty much a matter of public record. It has been mostly in the trade papers in the amusement industry.
Our collections run approximately eleven and a half million dollars a year, of which I would say two-thirds comes from radio and television.
Mr. ROGERS. You say two-thirds of it comes from radio and television?
Mr. COLLINS. Yes, sir.