FolkWorld Issue 35 02/2008

by Walkin' T:-)M

Every once in a while my band and some friends use to get together in a pub or a café having a jam session. Fair enough, because more and more proprietors can't afford to book the band. Tonder Festival Backstage Session People tend to spend less money on booze (at least outside their homes) and pay for live music (apart from the big events).

So the session agreement is not too bad. We're whiling away an afternoon with traditional songs and tunes. We're happy. We keep the music alive.

So far, so good. Now come the vultures ...

Step 1: Royalty collectors have read about the jam session in the newspaper or on our website. The RC's write to the proprietor threatening he'd pay for music in the public. We think hard about what we've played in that jam session and write back with a list of tune titles we remember. Many of them have no names anyway.

Step 2: The RC's write back that traditional is not sufficient, needed is the composer, the arranger etc. Dun Aengus Session Ha, ha. We have a laugh. Rather, it's sticking in our throats. We try to explain that traditional means public domain. The composer is not known to anyone and dead for a hundred years or more. So he's unable to collect any royalties anymore. If he'd been willing to do so at all.

Step 3: The RC's back down (at least we hear no more), pay no heed to their own ignorance, and go looking for new victims.

Fine. This time we succeeded. But unfortunatly most café and pub owners bend their knees and pay. Some never ever again have live music in their premises.

Now we're wondering what's next. Fetching money from the buskers in the streets? Singing while under the shower? My walls are not that big. So it's not that private anyway.

Keep on folking, Tom Keller (Walkin' T:-)M)

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© The Mollis - Editors of FolkWorld; Published 02/2008

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