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Canceled Allentown Symphony show of David Bowie songs shows struggle over music rights – The Morning Call

Canceled Allentown Symphony show of David Bowie songs shows struggle over music rights – The Morning Call

Canceled Allentown Symphony show of David Bowie songs shows struggle over music rights – The Morning Call
May 06
11:30 2018

The Allentown Symphony Association last week sent a news release explaining why it canceled a tribute concert to David Bowie. It cited a dispute over music rights.It turns out that wasn’t the complete story.The Allentown Symphony Orchestra was to have played songs from the late singer. The association said in its release that a company, Tresona Multimedia, which is the world’s largest issuer of derivative works licensing on behalf of music publishers, questioned the rights of the show’s promoter regarding Bowie’s music.Tresona Multimedia said that isn’t accurate. Responding to an April 28 article on the cancellation in The Morning Call, Tresona Chairman Mark Greenburg said it had no contact with the promoter about the Allentown concert. He said Tresona was unaware of the Bowie show until he read the article. And he said the promoter could have easily arranged for rights to the music, paid an estimated $2,500 to $4,000 and continued with the show.With an average ticket price of perhaps $40, a sold-out Bowie show at Miller Symphony Hall could have generated $44,000 in ticket sales, so $2,500 to $4,000 is far from prohibitive, Greenburg said.Orchestras throughout the country have had success drawing audiences by performing the music of rock and pop composers such as Bowie. The Allentown Symphony, for instance, has a July 21 concert called “Live & Let Die — A Symphonic Tribute to the music of Paul McCartney.”The show, “Ch..Ch..Ch..Changes: A Symphonic Tribute to the Music of David Bowie,” scheduled for May 12, would have had the orchestra, with a full band and a light show, perform songs from the career of Bowie, a rock innovator who died in 2016.The show was to have included such Bowie songs as “Space Oddity,” “Changes,” “Under Pressure,” “Heroes,” “Rebel Rebel” and “Fame.”The promoter for the Bowie show was Stephen Cook of Texas-based TCG Productions.Diane Scott, the Symphony Association’s interim executive director, said Cook initially said there was no issue with using that music in the show. But when it came time for the Symphony Association to make its first payment to Cook, Scott said he expressed concern about using the music, and decided to cancel the show.Cook, in a telephone interview this week, would not confirm that, saying only he had “discussions with the symphony.”“It’s an unfortunate situation, and one that continues to be an active situation,” Cook said. “It’s a whole issue for the entire industry and something that’s actively being worked on.”Scott said the promoter didn’t tell the Symphony Association how much the rights would cost. She said the association would have been willing to pay half of Cook’s licensing cost, and was prepared to pay $5,000 to $7,000. She said the promoter canceled the show before the association could make the offer.Scott said the symphony routinely pays royalties to BMI and ASCAP — organizations that license fees on behalf of songwriters, composers and publishers.The Symphony Association’s announcement of the cancellation said Tresona had reached out to TCG Productions about the show. Scott said Friday that the association wrote that in its news release based on information from Cook, the promoter.Cook this week declined to say whether Tresona had contacted him. He would not comment further about the planned Allentown Symphony show.The issue of musical rights to tribute shows has become a hot topic in the orchestra world.In March, Tresona reached an agreement with the League of American Orchestras over using popular music. Greenburg said that for years, promoters and symphonies have used orchestral charts of artists’ music without getting proper licensing to create them — using the music without permission or paying the required rental or usage fees.That means the music writers and publishers weren’t paid the royalties they were legally due for their music, he said.The agreement with the orchestras created an online registry through which orchestras can quickly apply, and get a quick response, to use such music.Tresona’s intent, Greenburg said, is not to cancel shows but to get writers and publishers rightly paid for their music.“It is not a very fitting tribute to the late Mr. David Bowie to have a tribute concert and play Mr. Bowie’s music that uses charts and orchestrations for which Mr. Bowie was never paid and for which Mr. Bowie did not give his consent.”jmoser@mcall.comTwitter @johnjmoser610-820-6722 Mother’s Day dining in the Lehigh Valley Nitrodragon at LV Mall: Breathe smoke while you eat cereal snack 7 fun miniature golf courses in Lehigh Valley area Copyright © 2018, The Morning Call David Bowie

Source: Canceled Allentown Symphony show of David Bowie songs shows struggle over music rights – The Morning Call

About Author

Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

Martin A Nethercutt is a writer, singer, producer and loves music. Creative Director at McCartney Studios Editor-in-Chief at McCartney Times Creator-in-Chief at Geist Musik President (title) at McCartney Multimedia, Inc. Went to Albert-Schweitzer-Schule Kassel Lives in Playa del Rey From Kassel, Germany Married to Ruth McCartney

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