It is with sadness that I announce the end of live music at Roots. While we have been enjoying the music of local musicians original material for the last seven years, the actions of performance rights organizations have caused us to have to cease our live music programs.
If you are unfamiliar with performance rights organizations (BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC), they are basically organizations that license the right to play copyrighted songs in public places. While we are totally licensed for our music that plays over the speakers, we are not licensed for live performance of copyrighted material. Instead of paying their prohibitively expensive annual fees (upwards of $1500/yr for all three), we opted to only allow original songs of artists who play at Roots. I have personally studied music business, have a degree in it, and know this to be completely legal.
Unfortunately, even though we are operating within the law and not infringing on any copyrights, these organizations continue to threaten lawsuits against us. Since we are a small business, we cannot take the risk of continuing our live music program.
In the end, the ones that lose out are the local artists that just want to get in front of a crowd. We are not the first coffeehouse in the area to have to stop our live music program because of PRO's threatening legal action. I am afraid that the places for new local artists to play are decreasing drastically.
You should also know that threatening legal action for no reason is called extortion...and its illegal.
You should also know that we do not make any money on live music at Roots, but rather just allow a space for local artists to be heard.
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Thanks for your support!