The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) announced Tuesday that it has filed 19 separate copyright infringement actions against various bars, restaurants, and venues throughout the country. And one of those venues is in Milwaukee. And when you think Milwaukee venues, you think…Silk Exotic?

Yep, “Kickstart My Heart” and the oeuvre of Kid Rock don’t come cheap, folks. At issue is Silk’s unauthorized use of copyrighted music from ASCAP members. ASCAP licenses the public performances of its music, collects licensing fees, and distributes royalties to its members. According to ASCAP, nearly 90 percent of the licensing fees “goes directly to songwriters, composers and music publishers as royalties.”

“Music is enormously valuable to bars and restaurants, creating an emotional connection with patrons and providing the right ambiance to attract and retain customers,” says ASCAP Executive Vice President of Licensing Stephanie Ruyle in a press release. “However, each of the establishments sued today has decided to use music without compensating songwriters. Hundreds of thousands of well-run businesses across the nation recognize the importance of paying music creators to use their music, and understand that it is both the lawful and right thing to do. By filing these actions, ASCAP is standing up for songwriters whose creative work brings great value to all businesses that publicly perform their music.”

ASCAP says it has “made numerous attempts” to contact the infringing venues. Silk Exotic did not immediately respond to Milwaukee Record for comment. Maybe Dave Begel would have better luck.

“We want every business that uses music to prosper, including bars and restaurants,” says ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President Paul Williams in a press release. “After all, as songwriters and composers, we are small business owners, too, and music is more than an art form for us. It’s how we put food on the table and send our kids to school. Most businesses know that an ASCAP license allows them to offer music legally, efficiently and at a reasonable price—while compensating music creators so we can earn a living from our work and keep doing what we do best—writing music.”

Remember when Williams co-wrote the music for The Muppet Movie? Man, that guy was/is great.

Anyway, this isn’t the first time ASCAP has taken legal action against (mostly) strip clubs and wing joints. A similar round of lawsuits occurred back in February. ASCAP notes “the average cost for bars and restaurants amounts to less than just $2 per day for the right to play an unlimited amount of music.”

Here’s the Class of October 2019:

Amsterdam Bar and Hall (St. Paul, MN)
The Back Room (New York, NY)
Blackstone Irish Pub (Southington, CT)
Blue Velvet Lounge (Madison, WI)
Chapter One (Santa Ana, CA)
Cider Mill Lounge (Portland, OR)
Club Arcada (St. Charles, IL)
Columbia City Theater (Seattle, WA)
Dick’s Wings & Grill (North Jacksonville, FL)
Mansion Costa Mesa (Costa Mesa, CA)
Meadowlark Bar (Denver, CO)
Nickel & Rye (Dallas, TX)
Origin Boutique Nightclub (San Francisco, CA)
P.O.E.T.S. Billiards (College Station, TX)
Rednecks (Omaha, NE)
The Republic House (Pasadena, TX)
Rialto Poolroom (Portland, OR)
St. James Live (Atlanta, GA)
Silk Exotic Milwaukee Gentlemen’s Club (Milwaukee, WI)

About The Author

Matt Wild
Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.

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