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Comment Archives: stories: Music: Music

Re: “ASCAP Targets Farmers' Markets and House Venues

ASCAP and BMI are extortion rings. I can understand copyright protection for copy and resale of recorded material where the copier is trying to profit from the work of others. But performance is a personal rendering and interpretation of an existing work. In visual copyright, as long as the source is recognized and work is stated as a copy, a personal rendition is legal. The main point of copyright protection is to protect a creator's ability to make a living from their own work. These BMI ASCAP thugs are nothing but gangsters.

59 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Sandy Sanders on 03/15/2012 at 1:00 PM

Re: “ASCAP Targets Farmers' Markets and House Venues

This is just extortion plain and simple. They lost all credibility when they claimed they didn't need any proof that copyrighted material was being played.

45 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Mike Collins on 03/24/2012 at 12:07 PM

Re: “Burners Torched Over Native Party

we have a fucking life and that is the thwart all appropriation by the fat stealing white folk. wade crowe, hunkpati dakota sioux

33 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by wade crowe on 04/01/2009 at 7:12 AM

Re: “ASCAP Targets Farmers' Markets and House Venues

I think this a great example of local journalism, presenting a local issue that has broad impact and would otherwise be invisible to the public. (It is a perverse world where music cops are shaking down micro venues for local musicians in the name of protecting artistic property rights. Does the Beatles estate really need a nickle everytime some street musician plays 'Hey Jude'? Is this the way our society should support the music 'industry'?) Thanks to East Bay Express for covering stories like these.

29 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by g fujioka on 03/16/2012 at 7:50 AM

Re: “Burners Torched Over Native Party

Of course the Burners have a right to free speech; that right isn't being infringed in any way. Criticism is not censorship, no matter how privileged and White those being criticized may be.

26 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Kathryn on 04/01/2009 at 10:30 AM

Re: “Sound Arts Fading Out at Ex'pression College

There are a lot of people still working hard to retain the good parts of Ex'pression. It's a shame the author didn't mention that or make any effort to talk to any staff or faculty still there.
I guess negativity is just more interesting.

25 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Laura Talon on 08/05/2015 at 6:26 PM

Re: “ASCAP Targets Farmers' Markets and House Venues

As a artist, I have written my PRO, telling them I think they have no right to police the city streets or peoples homes trying to get their "cut". Venues and other businesses are one thing, but they are nearing upon people's civil rights. I'm also quite sure I will leave when my contract is up. Thank you for reporting this East Bay Express!

25 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Wand Sageworlds on 03/17/2012 at 2:18 AM

Re: “ASCAP Targets Farmers' Markets and House Venues

House venues who host musicians and who are not running a for-profit venture can become members of Folk Alliance International. Once members, they can sign on to a PRO agreement in which ASCAP and BMI have agreed to exempt them from licensing fees. There are some requirements regarding the listing of the venue as a private performance, but house concert hosts should have no trouble meeting these requirements. And membership in Folk Alliance International, which costs $75/year currently, has other member benefits. Interested people should contact

25 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by laura foord on 03/15/2012 at 9:42 AM

Re: “Churn and Burn at the Young Musicians Program

since arriving Daisy Newman has damaged YMP and abused numerous students and teachers. In 2003 my son was kicked out of the program in a hostile act without any proper investigation or factual basis to justify such a major action after his 8 years in the program and a few days before his final senior recital, it was heartbreaking and shocking. He was reinstated once I went up two levels of supervisors with a formal complaint, he received lessons but was allowed avoid other obligations that would place him near Ms Newman. Over the next year I was contacted by close to a dozen families with similar horrifying tales of abuses against their children, these were students who had dedicated themselves for years to their musicianship and the program requirements. I contacted the YMP board president and parent council. Parents organized a meeting with Newman's supervisor during which students explained how they were unfairly dismissed from the program and the emotional abuses they suffered. Many parents took their concerns to the YMP board president, vice-chancellor office and EAOP director. There is plenty of evidence to support dismissing Ms Newman, it is past time to repair the wonderful program YMP once was.

24 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Laura Menard on 04/11/2012 at 4:53 PM

Re: “ASCAP Targets Farmers' Markets and House Venues

Jimmy may have been targeted because it appears that he is profiting from his events. Most house concert venues, including ours, only accept donations that go 100% to the artists, and just put on events for the love of the music. In addition, if house concert venues follow the following rules, and are members of Folk Alliance International ("FAI"), they are covered by the FAI agreement with ASCAP and will not be required to pay fees:

House Concert Rules and Regulations:
1. Performance is in a private home
2. Performance is by invitation only*
a. *the intent of the “invitation only” regulation is that a person cannot just come without some connection to the presenter or artist (i.e. a “wide circle of family and friends”) The details of that compliance might include but not be limited to 1) not publicly displaying your address 2) “by invitation only” or “call for invitation” on all information accessible to the public (i.e. website, flyers)

24 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Linda Oliver on 03/15/2012 at 10:43 AM

Re: “ASCAP Targets Farmers' Markets and House Venues

When I was a volunteer at 924 Gilman in the early 90s, ASCAP came after us. We talked with them once and explained that we were a grassroots venue featuring comparatively small bands, and that what they were asking for (thousands of dollars, mostly retroactively) was insane. They lowered what they were asking for to "just" a few hundred dollars a year (which at that point we still wouldn't have been able to afford), and then we never answered their letters or phone calls again. They sent some really scary-sounding legal letters but nothing ever happened.

23 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Jay Blackman on 03/14/2012 at 11:05 AM

Re: “Sound Arts Fading Out at Ex'pression College

First thing- Ex'pression didn't lose their accreditation. I don't think they ever lost Cal Grant funding either, but they may have temporarily lost another type of funding several years ago. Do better research.
Second thing- Kind of a bottom-feedery comment, Matt. Pyramind doesn't offer degrees. While I'm sure it's a perfectly nice certificate program, it's still nearly $33,000 for a 1 year program that crams a bunch of information into a relatively small time period and doesn't give students a degree. It looks like a decent overview of a few audio-related topics, but doesn't offer the in-depth curriculum or option to enroll in multiple other degree programs that Ex'pression does. SAE could be considered a competitor, but even accounting for the turbulence of the last couple years, Pyramind isn't quite on the same level as Ex'pression. If there has been any issue with relations between the two schools it's because Ex'pression puts out well-rounded graduates with actual degrees.
Ex'pression is still here offering a good education. This is a one-sided article. I'd have more respect for the author if an attempt was made to get more than just the most negative, and in some cases inaccurate, information possible.

22 likes, 7 dislikes
Posted by Em Baker on 08/05/2015 at 3:56 PM

Re: “Sound Arts Fading Out at Ex'pression College

Disclaimer - I am part owner and Chief Academic Officer at Pyramind Training, an alternative Music Production School to Ex'pression College and SAE.

This article saddens me for both the students who now have to deal with the decline in their education due to internal changes but also the teachers, who've dedicated their time and talents to sharing our wonderful craft with the next generation.

I will refrain from commentary about either Ex'pression or SAE as competitors - we've never had anything but good relations with these Institutions and I will not disparage them during a time of change.

Having now seen 3 audio schools open and close in the Bay Area since 1999, I know the chaos that comes with schools changing hands (and in some cases, closing doors). If you're looking for advice as to what to do next - whether a student or instructor - feel free to reach out to me directly to discuss your options. That includes options that aren't Pyramind.

We're here to help, any way we can.

Matt Donner
CAO/ COO Pyramind Training

22 likes, 18 dislikes
Posted by Matt Donner on 08/05/2015 at 1:18 PM

Re: “Burners Torched Over Native Party

I'm a (white) Burner and a SF resident, and I have to agree with the Native Americans that this shit is totally out of control. The new age movement and its modern Burner incarnation love to appropriate other cultures in a nasty way that actually causes damage to those cultures. In the case of Native Americans, this sort of attitude is perpetuating a 500-year-old history of abuse and genocide.

Kudos to the event organizers for actually canceling and making some vague attempt to learn about this shit. Though it's really just a first step.

To other Burners out there: please learn not to appropriate ideas, clothing, and artifacts from other cultures. This means:

1) Don't dress in clothing that is from another culture. I don't care if you think it makes you look exotic.

2) Don't hold parties or other events themed around cultures that are not your own.

3) Don't pretend that your ideas and practices have some crazy history from some exotic foreign culture. Because they don't. Also, don't steal ideas or practices from other places. Insist on only respectfully learning practices and ideas from people who are actually from the culture in question. Do not turn around and try to re-teach.

I mean really, we're Burners. We're supposed to be all creative and we're supposed to be creating NEW culture, not stealing from others. So let's get creative and make new clothing, hold totally new events, create new culture, and so on.


20 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Pepper on 04/01/2009 at 2:34 PM

Re: “Burners Torched Over Native Party

Count me as one white guy sick of unthinking cultural appropriation by other white people. It's disrespectful, jerkish behavior. When someone points out that you're being a jerk, that's not them being PC, it's them calling you out for being a jerk. So stop being jerks.

I admire the courage and patience of the native/Indian people who took the time to talk directly to the people at this party about their concerns. They might not have gotten through to everyone, but they clearly made their point and got through to enough people.

If you want to explore alternative spirituality and different forms of community, explore your own traditions or form new traditions and practices based on your own experience. If you think that native beliefs or culture call to you, then get to know some real Indians and listen to what they have to say about their traditions, and then think again. Don't just parrot some caricature sold to you by a New Age store or snake oil salesman pitching you the "shamanic" lifestyle or whatever the BS is.

And while I'm at it, think for a moment about the damage thousands of people do to a fragile desert ecosystem just to have a big festival for a few days. Unless your goal is to create an ecologically destructive community, find another way. Imagine what you could do if you had your festival in a city, integrated with the people who live there every day, doing something new and creative while respecting the people and places that are already there.

20 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Erik Heino on 04/01/2009 at 11:52 AM

Re: “ASCAP Targets Farmers' Markets and House Venues

As an indie folk touring artist, I rely on performances at local Farmers Markets in the Summer months as part of my income as a musician, in addition to performing at "traditional" venues such as bars, coffeehouses and concert clubs. At the Farmers Markets, I sometimes receive a fee plus tips and generally do quite well in CD sales. I have also started to get more house concert opportunities as well. I am a member of ASCAP and what they do tactically, along with BMI is unconscionable at times. While the concept is nice, the execution is deplorable. Over the past year I released a CD which received enough airplay on terrestrial and internet radio to hold a Top 25 position on the Roots Music Charts for 11 straight weeks. Haven't seen a penny yet. The only monies I receive from ASCAP are through a yearly program called the ASCAPlus Awards, which nets me about $200-250 per YEAR!!! I just recently discovered that ASCAP has a program called On Stage which is the counterpart to BMI's Live. Songwriters join PRO's for this very reason - in the hopes that their work receive enough exposure in a public forum such as radio or in TV or Film placement to begin to generate an income that is complimentary to income from live performances. Additionally and more than ever, with free downloads available everywhere, indie acts are relying on live performances as their primary source of income, along with the merch sales generated at those shows. If you squeeze out the venues that provide these opportunities to the smaller, lesser known acts, the PRO's are effectively mirroring the class system of our society and a small percentage of songwriters are receiving the majority of the songwriting wealth. - Dave

19 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Dave Ostrowski on 08/06/2013 at 10:40 AM

Re: “Speaking Tango with Trio Garufa

My name is Guillermo García and I am the guitarist of Trio Garufa. While I appreciate the exposure given to our band and our new album in this article, there are numerous factual errors that give a false representation of tango. Author Rachel Swan acknowledged to me that she didn't do any research on the genre, and she only visited one dance venue.

Far from "failing to modernize", tango music and dance are among the genres that have most evolved over the last century. A quick consultation to Wikipedia is a good start for the responsible journalist. The tango dance scene is booming in the world right now, as can be easily verified with a web search with keywords "tango in YourFavoriteCityHere".

I am surprised the East Bay Express endorses Rachel Swan's discriminatory judgements on our Bay Area tango dance scene as one that is "middle-aged", "flirts with obsolescence", needs "new blood" and risks "wilting". Moreover, after seeing a few dance venues, the informed journalist would have realized that people of all ages and races dance tango. I am not sure what is implied by "Ecumenical sensibility" (Def. of Ecumenical: "Representing a number of Christian churches").

Author Rachel Swan seems to believe tradition implies "anachronistic" and is thus deprived of "sex appeal". She might acquire a less superficial perspective after reading Igor Stravinsky's definition of the word "tradition" in Poetics of Music: "A real tradition is not the relic of a past that is irretrievably gone; it is a living force that animates and informs the present. Far from implying the repetition of what has been, tradition presupposes the reality of what endures. It appears as an heirloom, a heritage that one receives on condition of making it bear fruit before passing it on to one's descendants".

Other factual errors in this article:

- Trio Garufa was formed in 2001 and did not play with a "rotating cast of bass players". John Eckstrom was the founder bassist, and Dan Robbins joined the band afterwards.
- The "electro-tango" fusion style did not exist yet in the eighties, but started twenty years later. The huge current tango revival (to which this article is oblivious) did start in the eighties thanks to the successful Broadway show "Tango Argentino", followed by "Forever Tango".
- "a parilla" should be "a la parrilla" (and the correct translation is "on the grill")
- "tangeros" should be "tangueros"
- "Pachamana" should be "Pachamama"

Despite all the flaws in this article, I am still thankful to the author and East Bay Express for publishing it. An actual review of the music in our new album would have been nice.

19 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Guillermo Garcia on 06/04/2012 at 3:05 AM

Re: “Sound Arts Fading Out at Ex'pression College

This comment was removed because it violates our policy against anonymous comments. It will be reposted if the commenter chooses to use his or her real name.

18 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Editor on 08/05/2015 at 2:25 AM

Re: “Twenty-Five-Year Record Store Feud Spins Again: Rasputin's Rubble on Telegraph and Haste

More of the same. In another five years we'll be reading basically the same article, filled with a new array of nonsensical 'plans' from the fertile imagination of Ken Sarachan. It's amazing how he's outmaneuvered the city of Berkeley for so many years...all in order to spite his competition.

18 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by John Seal on 04/01/2015 at 3:24 PM

Re: “ASCAP Targets Farmers' Markets and House Venues

i think that there usually isn't a cover charge to get into a farmers market. so in essence the performance isn't being sold to the public. it seems like a misdirected attempt to protect songwriters. but someone doing a cover of one of your songs at a farmers market isn't injurious to a career. it's when people illegally download that artists go bankrupt.

18 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Christopher Gabriel Nelson on 05/12/2012 at 7:53 PM

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