When American composers want to ensure that they will always share in profit derived from their works, they most commonly turn to BMI (Broadcast Music Incorporated) or ASCAP (American Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers). Unfortunately, if composers don’t register with one of these agencies, it can become difficult to enforce royalties with time-consuming and expensive lawsuits. If composers do register, those who wish to perform works protected by BMI or ASCAP become the victims of pricing that is totally out of line.
In 2007, I gave a concert that included PDQ Bach as part of the program. (For those who don’t know, P.D.Q. Bach is a contemporary composer who parodies classical music, writing music as if he were “the oddest of J.S. Bach’s twenty-odd children.”) My program was 90 minutes in length. The PDQ Bach was only about 12 minutes of that (a couple preludes/fugues from the Short-Tempered Clavier, and the Two-Part Contraption in C and Rondo Capriccioso for Charles III: “The Reign in Spain” from Notebook for Betty Sue Bach). It was a very small venue, and Continue reading