By Michael Swanger


Mark Irvin, a Nebraska-based area licensing manager for American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), recently spent approximately two weeks frequenting and billing several local live music clubs, restaurants and bars for unpaid licensing fees that have amounted to tens of thousands of dollars in fines against such establishments. ASCAP, a member association of more than 360,000 U.S. composers, songwriters and lyricists, represents every kind of music, and not even doctors offices are permitted to use music (recorded, live, etc.) without obtaining a licensing agreement with ASCAP. Protected by federal laws, ASCAP is able to levy steep fines against offenders (as much as $30,000 per violation… one song is considered a violation) who are forced to pay to continue playing music. Most of the money ASCAP generates to “create music” by paying royalties to its members (ASCAP’s revenues for 2007 were $863.8 million) benefits pop stars that receive the most airplay (Stones, Madonna, etc.), thus barely or not at all paying smaller artists — many of whom perform in our city — even if they register their songs with ASCAP because they don’t receive enough commercial radio or TV airplay. Business owners contacted for this story, who wish to remain anonymous, tell Cityview that they are currently negotiating with Irvin in hopes of reducing the amount of the fines levied against them. More later.

Grammy nominated jazz singer Kurt Elling performs Friday, Oct. 9 at 7:30 p.m. at Drake University’s Sheslow Auditorium. The concert is part of the Civic Music Association’s 85th Anniversary Season and includes a free pre-concert talk at 6:45 p.m. Tickets to the concert are $15 for students and $35 for adults through IowaTix, by calling the CMA at 280-4020, or at the door.

“Daytrotter Barnstormer II,” a tour promoted by the Quad Cities music Web site Daytrotter, features up-and-coming bands Dawes, Christopher Denny, Suckers, Snowblink and Paleo performing an all-ages concert on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at the Simpson Barn in Johnston, 6169 Northglenn Dr. Showtime is 6 p.m.

The 7th Annual Tribute to Johnny Cash, featuring performances by Randy Burk and the Prisoners, Menlo (featuring Scott Yoshimura of The Envy Corps), Thankful Dirt, The Dustin Smith Band, Jason Reed and Brian Joens, will be held Oct. 24 at 9 p.m. at People’s Court. Tickets are $7 in advance through IowaTix.

The Central Iowa Blues Society will host a benefit show on Oct. 25 at Blues on Grand, from 5 to 9 p.m. A $25 minimum donation (tax deductible) includes dinner from The Machine Shed, performances by Sumpin’ Doo, The Bob Pace Band featuring Steve George and Matt Woods and The Thunderbolts, door prizes and a silent auction. Visit

Old Crow Medicine Show performs Nov. 6 at Hoyt Sherman Theater.

People’s Court will host all-ages concerts by Kate Voegele (Nov. 14) and LMFAO (Nov. 24). Tickets are $14 and $15, respectively through IowaTix.

The Greater Des Moines Music Coalition hosts the 4th Annual Little BIG Fest on Nov. 21 at People’s Court. The roots-music affair is soliciting Iowa bands. Applications are due Oct. 8. E-mail

Country-rock-pop acts Dierks Bentley with Gloriana (Nov. 12) and Cross Canadian Ragweed (Dec. 11) play the Val Air Ballroom. Tickets for Bentley’s show are $27.50 in advance and $35 at the door. Also playing the Val Air: rock bands All That Remains, The Devil Wears Prada, Story of the Year and Haste the Day on Nov. 29. $20. CV

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