ASCAP, BMI, and big name acts doing covers

ASCAP and BMI take fees from bar owners to allow cover bands to play other artists’ songs without explicit tracking or royalties.

But what happens when I hear somebody like Bruce Springsteen in a big arena concert and they decide on the spur of the moment to play Johnny B. Goode? Does ASCAP cover that or do they get a letter from Chuck Berry’s lawyer?

The best place to find out is to go to ASCAP, BMI and SESAC website.

You buy different type of licenses depending on the venue your music will be playing in.

If Springsteen is giving a concert, the concert hall, the promoter and Springsteen manager all share in responsibility in seeing that the correct license is applied for.

In the OP senerio the concert hall would likely have a blanket license from all three major agencies to cover 99.9% of all the songs he played.

But you can get caught out.

When I was in college one summer I worked for ASCAP. I and my partner got a list of hotels, resturants, bars, offices, etc and the type of license they had. Then we’d go in and check. Then if they had the wrong license or no license we’d notify ASCAP, who would take appropriate action.

The biggest issue I found is people thought a BMI or SESAC license covered ASCAP