American Beverage Licensees Joins MIC Coalition

Licensees lend grassroots voice, small business perspective to music licensing debate

Bethesda, MD –– July 8, 2015 –– With the conversation about music licensing and copyright issues growing in Washington, American Beverage Licensees (ABL) announced today that it has joined the MIC Coalition as part of a continuing effort to address music licensing issues on behalf of beverage licensees. Working with other music licensing stakeholders, including national associations representing end-users of musical works, ABL members will now have an even stronger platform from which to make their voices heard on this important issue.

The MIC Coalition is comprised of companies, associations, consumer groups, venue owners and artist advocates who are committed to a rational, sustainable and transparent system that ensures that consumers and consumer-serving businesses, such as retailers, restaurants and hotels, have continued access to play music at affordable prices. MIC-Logo

“Bars and taverns are in the hospitality business which often means providing music for their customers, including live performances showcasing singers and songwriters,” said John Bodnovich, ABL Executive Director. “These small businesses have always sought a music licensing process that is fair and equitable and we’re excited to continue those efforts as part of the MIC Coalition.”

ABL – and the National Licensed Beverage Association before it – has a long history of advocating for sensible music licensing policies for restaurants, bars, and taverns. In the 1990’s, licensees successfully supported the Fairness in Musical Licensing Act which brought some relief to food service and drinking establishments who share music with their patrons via radio or television. These businesses pay performing rights organizations (PROs) for “blanket licenses” in order to comply with copyright laws.

More recently, ABL submitted comments to the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division regarding the consent decrees governing PROs. ABL urged the DOJ to review the process for setting royalty rates for the public performance use of copyrighted musical works in eating and drinking establishments and to consider more effective mechanisms for remediation when engaging in music licensing fee disputes. This June, ABL members shared how music licensing issues affect their businesses with members of Congress and their staff during ABL’s Capitol Hill Day.

“Small bar and tavern owners believe that now is the time to examine the policies that govern music and those who pay to use it in their businesses,” said Bodnovich. “They seek a transparent, predictable and viable system that assures that licensed beverage businesses will be able to afford to share music with their customers. ABL’s membership in the MIC Coalition will draw greater attention to the music licensing issues faced by beverage businesses.”

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A PDF of this release can be found here: ABL joins MIC Coalition