Tag Archives: music

Alexander, Corker join push to increase songwriter paychecks through legislation

Joint news release from U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker:
Three senior Republican U.S. senators announced today at The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville that they were introducing legislation that would allow songwriters to receive compensation based on the fair market value of their songs.

The Songwriter Equity Act was introduced in the U.S. Senate today by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) – a songwriter himself and a senior member of the Judiciary Committee that would consider the legislation. The legislation would amend federal law to allow songwriters to be compensated for the fair market value of their work. The senators made their announcement accompanied by songwriters Roxie Dean, Lee Thomas Miller, Tom Douglas and Rivers Rutherford, who performed some of their signature songs and discussed the importance of removing government restrictions.

Alexander said: “Italy has its art, Egypt has its pyramids, Napa Valley has its wines and Nashville has its songwriters. Songwriters are the lifeblood of Music City, and their paychecks ought to be based on the fair market value of their songs – so that when they write a hit heard around the world, you can see it in their billfolds.”

Corker said: “There’s no place where the music industry is more vibrant than in Tennessee, where we are blessed with talented songwriters, musicians, and small and large businesses that work to bring to life the music we enjoy each day. As technology advances, it’s important we not forget the sometimes unsung heroes of the music industry – the songwriters – and modernize the way they are compensated for their talents.”

Hatch said: “The music business is one of the toughest industries out there and our songwriters and composers shouldn’t have to accept artificially low royalty rates for their works. Allowing them to receive the fair market value for their songs is the right thing to do, and I’m pleased to support this bill that will do just that.”

The legislation would allow songwriters to receive market-based compensation and remove government price controls in two ways:

• First, it would direct the Copyright Royalty Board to set compensation according to the fair market value when songs are sold, such as through music downloads and CD purchases, replacing the current below-market standard.

• Second, it would remove a provision of law that narrows the scope of evidence the federal rate court may examine when asked to set songwriter compensation for when their song is played, such as in a restaurant or at a concert.

Songwriter compensation is dictated by the federal government. The rate of compensation that is set by the Copyright Royalty Board has increased only 7 cents over 100 years, and is currently 9.1 cents per song. The so-called “federal rate court” determines compensation rates for public performances, occasionally requiring songwriters to engage in complex litigation to be paid reasonable fees for their work.

The legislation the senators introduced is the Senate companion to H.R. 4079, legislation introduced on Feb. 25 by U.S. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) with 14 cosponsors, including U.S. Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.).

Alexander currently serves as the Ranking Member, or lead Republican, of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Senator Corker serves at the Ranking Member of the Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Hatch is the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee, in addition to being a senior member of the Judiciary Committee.

Cohen: Tweet Was a Trick on Media to Promote Memphis Music

Congressman Steve Cohen says he tweeted and deleted a message to Cyndi Lauper this week intentionally to fool the press into promoting Memphis music, reports the Commercial Appeal.
“There’s been a lot of discussion about my tweets — some questioning my ability to tweet,” Cohen, a Memphis Democrat, said from his desk in the Rayburn Building.
“The fact is I tweeted exactly what I wanted to tweet and I deleted exactly what I wanted to delete because, in this age, which I learned a couple of months ago … the best way to get a message out was to tweet and delete because the press will instantaneously assume the worst — something nefarious, something salacious — and jump on it.”
Cohen accidentally tweeted and deleted messages proclaiming his love for a 24-year-old Texas coed during the State of the Union in February and stories of the tweets went viral. Two days later, he revealed that she was a daughter he had never publicly identified.
The deleted tweets to Lauper were captured by Politiwoops, a program of the Sunlight Foundation, a good-government group that promotes transparency in government.
Cohen’s Twitter messages on Wednesday to Lauper mentioned her singing “Try a Little Tenderness” and said her performance at “In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul” on Tuesday night was “hot.” The concert will be broadcast on PBS stations, including WKNO, on Tuesday night.
On Friday, Cohen explained: “It was a hot show, and Memphis music is hot. And Cyndi Lauper’s performance was hot. So was Justin Timberlake’s and Eddie Floyd’s ‘Knock on Wood’ and I wanted the world to know about it.”
Cohen said that if he put out a press release about the show, no one would see it.
“But I knew from my last episode, because of Politiwoops and the Sunshine (sic) Foundation having their area where they put deleted tweets, I knew the press would see it,” he said. “And I knew the press would also see the worst in it and publish it and, by doing so, they would publicize the Memphis music unlike anything I could have ever done.”

Tourism Business Wants to Add a Little ‘Fee’ to Nashville Sales Tax

Sales tax on certain goods sold in downtown Nashville would effectively increase by a small fraction under state legislation Mayor Karl Dean’s administration supports as a way to generate new funds to recruit conventions to the Music City Center, according to the Tennessean.
The proposal, which originated with the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau and a handful of Lower Broadway merchants looking for new ways to attract large conventions, would institute a new 0.025 percent fee on goods and services within Nashville’s downtown business district.
Tourism officials plan to use the funds to underwrite the rent of Music City Center as an incentive to lure conventions here. Sales tax in Davidson County is currently 9.25 cents on every dollar.
The legislation calls the measure a “fee,” one that would produce an estimated $1 million to $1.5 million annually. It would go into effect in 2014.
“The CVB and downtown business owners brought forward this idea and we support it as something that will further bolster our tourism industry,” Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling said in a prepared statement.
The bill, introduced by state Rep. Mike Turner, D-Old Hickory, and co-sponsored by the majority of Davidson County’s state delegation, heads to the State Government Subcommittee this week
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TDOT Grants $100K for Anti-Litter Musical Video

News release from Scenic Tennessee:
Mount Juliet, TN – December 11, 2012 – A Tennessee nonprofit best known for
promoting the state’s scenic qualities now wants to showcase Tennessee’s musical
heritage as well.
Scenic Tennessee has been awarded $100,000 by the Tennessee Department of
Transportation to produce a series of quick-paced videos that apply the power of
Tennessee music to the problem of Tennessee litter. Tentatively called
“Tennessee Speed Cleanups,” the project involves videotaping dozens of litter
pickups across the state, digitally accelerating the footage, then setting it to
original or traditional music performed by amateur as well as professional
musicians. Enhanced with captions, credits and images from 20 years of Scenic
Tennessee photo contests, the completed videos will be shared via traditional
media as well as sites like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. UT Knoxville’s
student environmental group SPEAK will oversee the social media side of the
project.
It’s all part of a new effort by TDOT’s beautification office to address litter
“beyond routine maintenance.” Scenic Tennessee, an affiliate of Scenic America,
is one of 15 grant recipients notified yesterday of their share in nearly $1
million provided by the state’s soft drink and malt beverage industries.
Grantees are required to provide a 20-percent match; for Scenic Tennessee, this
will come in the form of hundreds of hours of volunteer labor.

Obama, Romney Go for Laughs at Country Music Awards Show

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Presidential elections are usually serious business, but President Barack Obama and likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney are taking a little time for laughs during the CMT Music Awards on Wednesday.
Obama and Romney have taped video segments that will appear as part of the country music award show’s opening segment. CMT President Brian Philips said in a statement that each is “in on the joke.”
“They’re each great sports,” he said.
The fun kicks off at 8 p.m. EDT from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on CMT with hosts Toby Keith and Kristen Bell. A host of celebrities from across the entertainment dial are scheduled to appear as well, but they’ll be battling for attention with the focus on Obama and Romney.

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Hasalm Signs Budget Bill; Says He’s OK With Funding Virginia Museum

Gov. Bill Haslam tells Andrea Zelinski that he signed the state’s $31.5 billion spending plan Tuesday, putting into action a state budget that is $627 million less than this year’s.
In an interview with TNReport Tuesday afternoon, Haslam said he’s proud of the budget plan, which spends about $400 million more than he originally pitched to lawmakers and the public back in January.
“The ultimate budget had a lot of the things that we added back in when the revenue numbers improved,” Haslam said. The state spending plan runs from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013.
“I am somebody who believes in smaller government. I also think though, there’s critical services that we provide,” he said. “While we want to be really tough on how we spend taxpayers dollars, we also want to make certain we’re taking care of people we’re supposed to.”
…The governor’s budget includes spending on projects and programs lawmakers at one point flagged as pork barrel spending, including a $500,000 for the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, Va., across the street from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey’s Republican district Bristol in Tennessee.
“It’s kind of an easy target to say, oh that’s in Virginia. Why are we funding it when it’s yards from Tennessee?” he said. “It’s not like we funded something that’s in northwest Virginia.”
When asked if he was “comfortable” funding the museum, he said “I think I am… it’s a little different situation because of the way the city of Bristol is laid out.”

Ramsey Brings Home the Bacon to Northeast Tennessee

Blountville Republican Ron Ramsey said he couldn’t pull the trigger on targeting funding for major regional projects when he first became Tennessee’s lieutenant governor in 2007, according to the Kingsport Times-News.
“I wasn’t about to ask for things in my area when we were cutting in other areas, but state revenues have turned around some. … When that came, I thought it was fair we get some projects on this end of the state,” Ramsey said Wednesday.
His fingerprints were all over two major economic development projects included in the $31.5 billion budget passed this week by the GOP-controlled legislature. Ramsey steered a $500,000 state appropriation toward a planned multimillion-dollar Bristol Cultural Heritage Center just across State Street in Bristol, Va., and an $8.8 million appropriation to acquire Doe Mountain in Johnson County.
That Doe Mountain appropriation, plus a legislature-approved bill to create a governing authority for the property, is expected to lead to development of a multi-use park for all-terrain vehicles, bike riding and hiking.
“This is the biggest thing that has happened to Johnson County in a long time,” Ramsey said. “Not only will it promote their natural beauty, it will be a huge economic boon to them. We’ve studied what other places have done for ATV parks and bike paths and walking paths. When we get this structure put together, it will provide a lot of jobs for Johnson County.”

Budget Bill Goes to Governor (after flap over money to Virginia)

Democrats made a provision to give $500,000 for construction of a museum in Virginia the focus of last-minute criticism of a $31 billion state budget Monday as their attempts to make alterations were voted down.
After heated debate, the final, Republican-drafted version of the budget was approved 63-27. The Senate followed later with approval of the spending plan, mostly prepared by Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration, on a 31-2 vote with virtually no discussion.
Hopes for adjourning the legislative session Monday were dashed by long debate on other issues. The House and Senate will meet again Tuesday to deal with them.
Money intended for the Birthplace of Country Music Cultural Heritage Center was added to the budget at the urging of Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who said the proposed building site is on the Virginia side of the state border that runs through Bristol.

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Hagerty Reshuffles Film, Entertainment Commission

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty announced key appointments today to the Tennessee Film Entertainment and Music Commission (TFEMC).
Bob Raines, who was most recently serving as interim executive director, is now the executive director. Music industry veteran Hank Adam Locklin will fill the newly created role of director of music and business development.

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Millions Go from Music Row to Lobbying Washington

The Tennessean reports that Music Row-affiliated companies have spent more than $4 million to lobby Congress during the past three months alone ($12.2 million in the past year as of Sept. 30) as key proposals intended to benefit music makers — artists, songwriters and guitar builders — have run headlong into well-funded opposition.
Music industry campaign contributions have likewise flowed directly into the re-election campaigns of lawmakers backing key bills, with three Tennessee lawmakers emerging as among the top congressional recipients of music business contributions in 2011. (They are Sen. Bob Corker and Reps. Marsha Blackburn and Jim Cooper.)