Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association Joins Fairness in Music Licensing Coalition

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Fairness in Music Licensing Coalition (FMLC) has announced the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association as a new member in its cause to streamline and establish a more transparent system for how music licensing fees are collected.

“We’ve taken a hard look at this issue and we are excited to join the only national coalition that is focused on promoting the interests of small business bars and restaurants,” said Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association Executive Director, Tony Chesak. “We need to stand together as a coherent group with a clear vision of making music licensing fees fairer and simpler.”

Currently, small businesses that play various types of music in their establishments are coerced into paying multiple Performance Rights Organizations (PROs). These copyright collectives are tasked with collecting royalties for copyright holders. Many businesses pay these fees despite being unaware of how each PRO formulates a fee structure for their particular business.

“Tony and his members in Minnesota understand what’s at stake with this issue. We need to get this done right,” said FMLC Director of Outreach Scott Ellis. “The last major reform happened almost 20 years ago. It’s complicated and it’s hard because so many interests are involved. But our focus is – and always will be – on small businesses that don’t have leverage with the big players out there.”

The FMLC believes licensing fees need to be based on the size of the business and multiple PROs should not be going after vulnerable businesses with threats of lawsuits.

“It is hard to run a small business. This is exactly why our mission is to support small independent businesses and organizations that are impacted by music licensing,” said FMLC President Rick Swindlehurst. “Opaque blanket licensing fees and harsh collection practices by PROs, like ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and GMR impact our members every single day.”
FMLC advocates for a music licensing system in which music users know what they are paying for and that fees go to the songwriters who deserve to be paid.

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The Fairness in Music Licensing Coalition (FMLC) promotes and advances the interests of small businesses and organizations impacted by the current process for assessing music licensing fees. FMLC is the only advocacy organization exclusively focused on making the music licensing system simpler, fairer and more transparent for small businesses in the hospitality industry. For policy updates and more information on the association and its activities, visit the Fairness in Music Licensing Coalition on the web at www.musicfairness.org