Recently a venue in Sharon, PA, that features live music a couple nights a week was unexpectedly and suddenly closed. According to this article, the venue had been neglecting to pay BMI’s yearly royalty fee which resulted in the venue’s “accounts being frozen.” The article didn’t mention how much cash might be involved other than to say that Brewtus Brewing Company was being sued for $40,000. Their website offers this message in a popup window when you first visit:

It’s with a sad and heavy heart to announce that Brewtus is permanently closed. An unexpected decision had to be made this morning and we did not expect this at all. We deeply apologize for any inconvenience this may or has caused. On behalf of the staff we can’t thank you all enough for your love and support over the last three years. We hope to see you in the near future! 

I’m a working musician and have played in bands that have performed at Brewtus Brewing Company and I’ve always had a great time. The band I’m in now was scheduled to play there in September, that performance, and all shows by other bands, has been cancelled.

I’m a strong believer in a creator’s royalty fees and they deserve to be paid for what they create. I wish I was learned enough in the process of how payments are made so that I could better understand what happened with Brewtus Brewing Company. I researched three or four sources: BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC, read an article from the Small Business Association, and looked at this piece on the Songtrust Blog but still fell short of gaining a complete understanding.

It’s unfortunate that this happened and I hope Brewtus Brewing Company can work everything out. This incident puts me on edge, I have upcoming gigs at local wineries, breweries, and other places. I know one of the places I play is paying their annual fees, but are the others?


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