Busking - playing for tips on the street

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Alex_C, Jun 5, 2010.

  1. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

    449
    6
    May 30, 2010
    Gilroy, California
    I gotta add in: Wow, reading this more thoroughly .... OK if I write any original songs, I"m going to put them in the public domain right away.
     
  2. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    8,040
    2,035
    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    Certainly, if you are the composer of a published and copyrighted work that is being played by a busker YOU can grant him/her the copyright license to do so, but it would need to be in writing for the busker not to need your testimony as a witness at trial. If your music is played well, in fact, it is promotion of your work. Likewise, I'd personally do so of it were my composition and I too am on a fixed income as is now very limited and restricted after Bernie Madoff wiped me out.

    I'm not against busking any moreso than I am against music in any venue. There have been a few times in my life that I also did so to augment my cash flow sufficient to pay my bills.

    However, it became my primary job to enforce laws and if you don't like laws learn how to lawfully change them.

    Whatever happened to the public bandstands in our parks ... my hometown in PA has one and we were allowed to "pass the hat" during breaks and our show time was limited to 2 hours, though we normally only played an hour. Didn't earn much, but when divied it was enough to pay for a date afterward. We were just high schoolers then. Still, such promo of our combo then got us decent playing gigs at dances, parties and weddings.

    The last time I was at that park during the summer, and by that bandstand, there were fewer than 25 in the audience listening to a young girl sing as she played the keyboard ... in competiton to a Little League baseball game going on just over the rise. Well, the game noise was no worse than the cacophony in a lot of club scenes that I've played at.

    So recently a young man was convicted and received 60 days public service and 5 years probation plus court costs and faced $200,000 civil penalties for copyright violation. I know of no busker as can afford such.
     
  3. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    8,040
    2,035
    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    I've always said that any single performing musician, absent a drum, or another waving a stick at them is at liberty to set his/her own tempo and interpretation of the music.

    As for Weird Al Yankovic, he has been caught several times and paid up. I too like his performances. I liked his uncle's too.

    As for this small town I live in ... it wouldn't be worth the effort to busk ... the population according to the last census was only 700, and I'd estimate that 3/4th of every family now living within have one or more adults as are either active or retired law enforcement employed, considering such even to include court clerks and lawyers and their staff. The biggest musical venue is the 5 churches. Without my thumbs I can count the commercial establishments on the main street and only 2 of these have a TV that might emit music from time to time. (The county schools are outside town). Yes, there will be a Farmer's Festival nearby June 11th and 12th that will include continuous stage performances of live music including 2 good musical groups from this town, and were to have included a young 6th grader who I have mentored on trumpet but he had to abort. He was to have played two public domain pieces. As soon as school lets out on the 10th, he will be on vacation to the Outer Banks for a week and then in Georgia for two weeks. Still, the predominate music styles in this area are country, blue grass and gospel.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2010
  4. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    8,040
    2,035
    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    I've always said that any single performing musician, absent a drum, or another waving a stick at them is at liberty to set his/her own tempo and interpretation of the music.

    As for Weird Al Yankovic, he has been caught several times and paid up. I too like his performances. I liked his uncle's too.

    As for this small town I live in ... it wouldn't be worth the effort to busk ... the population according to the last census was only 700, and I'd estimate that 3/4th of every family now living within have one or more adults as are either active or retired law enforcement employed, considering such even to include court clerks and lawyers and their staff. The biggest musical venue is the 5 churches. Without my thumbs I can count the commercial establishments on the main street and only 2 of these have a TV that might emit music from time to time. (The county schools are outside town). Yes, there will be a Farmer's Festival nearby June 11th and 12th that will include continuous stage performances of live music including 2 good musical groups from this town, and were to have included a young 6th grader who I have mentored on trumpet but he had to abort. He was to have played two public domain pieces. As soon as school lets out on the 10th, he will be on vacation to the Outer Banks for a week and then in Georgia for two weeks. Still, the predominate music styles in this area are country, blue grass and gospel.

    I'd lay that 99% of the population of this county couldn't name a Verdi or Elgar song, and yet that same 99% have heard them both, many, several times. Could you name 10 American composers of music earlier than the 20th century? Could you name 10 American songs in the public domain? OK, I'm a "freak" I can, and many of them are in my repertoire, thanks to my parents and grandparents, and my music instructors.

    Ask a graduating high school senior to answer the question, "Who is attributed as the composer of the Star Spangled Banner? Don't worry, I believe you'd get the same blank look from most of your U.S. Senators and House Members, and most likely from the rest of your U.S. Government and State government officials. I can think of only three Presidents that I'd be certain that could, and I could be wrong about one of these (assuming they were still alive). If you get the answer Francis Scott Key, they are wrong ... he was the lyricist, not the composer.

    Back to busking, there aren't that many songs out of the millions (billions???) that lend themselves well to solo performance on a brass instrument.
     
  5. Kayin

    Kayin Pianissimo User

    162
    1
    May 30, 2010
    I see that the message of my posts did not go unnoticed.

    I'm first and foremost thankful that you saw fit to use your life to protect those around you, and want to let that be known.

    Now, as to changing the copyright laws, with the weight of all the lobbyists and such behind them, it would seem the only way to change the laws is to demonstrate properly (and this is one way I can think of) that there is no way to NOT break the law in American society, even if it is an inadvertent thing. I've seen court cases in Great Britain where people were sued because a radio in a repair shop (auto) was played loudly enough (figure that) for patrons to hear it. They were slapped with a suit for not having a performance license. The same could happen to one of us while practicing in the yard, for Pete's sake. (Whoever Pete is.)

    Also, I will respectfully retract that you personally are part of the problem, as you very eloquently proved that you simply follow the line of duty (and I would not chide you for that) and do not in fact oppose the playing of music for change. Being an artist and composer, I vehemently oppose the copyright laws being what they are, and I make my music available (where it is published) for interpretation and performance-because if you CAN play it, God bless you and have fun. If anyone wants to see theft, look at a lot of the major label recording artists' contracts. No matter what they make, they get what's in the contract, and the label gets everything else. Almost nothing goes to engineers, jacket artists, manufacturing-just the recording companies. So if I have an issue with them getting money from a simple street busker, I think you could understand why.

    Ed, I apologize for earlier, I simply wished to make clear that I'm all for busking continuing to be a viable source of income, as well as overthrowing American copyright law (though with a degree in logic, I think I can think of a better way than busking.) In my defense of busking, I stooped to personal attack, though you took it all in stride. I take off my hat to the superior debater this time.
     
  6. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    8,040
    2,035
    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    I too mean offense tp anyone who expresses their views pro or con on any subject ... here in America that's called the Freedom of speech and is Constitutionally protected.

    As for "performance license" in a repair shop ... mostly here customers are prohibited in the work area due to liability insurance regulations and in the waiting room areas I often now encounter Muzak musical subscription services AS DO PAY copyright royalties for such songs as are copyrighted ... but more and more such are being replaced by flat screen TVs.

    As for "busking", I once was in an area of New York City where young girls were jumping rope "double dutch" to the rhythmic music emitting from their boom box. They didn't have any money solicitation ... but it certainly was a "stage performance" I stopped to watch and would have contributed to. Likewise, I enjoy break dancing (and other forms of street dancing) to the music from a boom box. Yes, it could have been a cassette or CD in these boom boxes instead of broadcast, but I neither had jurisdiction or probable cause to discern the difference (where my testimony would get shot down in Court), nor was there a local civil complaint that I was responding to.

    You're right about the wages earned by recording musicians, and the same for local performing musicians that augment tours ... if in a union they get paid scale ... and otherwise it is "dog eat dog" "take it or leave it" as to whatever is offered in the contract. There's another waiting in the wing that will if you won't. They'll eat and you'll go hungry. Still, if you're really good, the word will get out and they'll be after you and offer you more. Your peers recognize this also, and many a combo or band has been formed by such a relationship where you also recognize the skills of others. Then too, experience will also inform you of those that you'll never agree to play with again and they hopefully will fade away, while others emerge.

    Presently, and for the forseeable future, I'm not at all concerned with earning a living with music ... I just hope I can regain sufficient health and complete dental restoration as will allow me to resume playing again ... simply because I enjoy it ... and I have all the "tools" to do it.
     
  7. mrsemman

    mrsemman Piano User

    333
    77
    Apr 8, 2010
    Massachusetts
    Ed Lee,

    I am not up to date on copyright laws. However, I see bands, combos (remember those?), etc. playing popular tunes in such venues as schools, parks, football fields, etc. How do those groups do it without the "copyright infringement police" arresting the musicians? Just a question not an arguement.
     
  8. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    8,040
    2,035
    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    If copyrighted music is performed under the auspice of an accredited institution of education or of a state or local government they have exception to such, likewise U.S. Military Bands unless the copywriter takes measure NOT to allow even these which they can.

    My high school band performed the song Good night, Irene (then quite popular) and some joker took issue with it in a Letter to the Editor of the local newspaper. The whole school board then called our band director on the carpet about it. He smiled and laid before them the correspondence from ASCAP AND both the composer and lyricist allowing that one time performance without payment of royalty fee as we had paid to rent (from our Band Booster's funds) the whole score from their agents. Thereby, lays the question, "Is there probable cause of violation?" Why didn't the correspondent ask our band director before he wrote the Letter to the Editor? The newspaper did print a response that chastised the letter writer, who in fact was a local lawyer. Still, that was one song as was never added to my personal record collection. The point is ... ASK!

    I've made several CDs of my own performances of copywrited music under copywrited mechanical licenses, and the few times I've performed the same live, I too have had copywrited license and paid the royalty fees. For professional music performers, such is an operating expense and a tax deduction. I see no problem with it.
     
  9. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

    449
    6
    May 30, 2010
    Gilroy, California
     
  10. Alex_C

    Alex_C Piano User

    449
    6
    May 30, 2010
    Gilroy, California
    What happened is .... people like you came along.
     

Share This Page