Composer Mark Northam Announces ASCAP Board Candidacy

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LOS ANGELES (Film Music Magazine) — Composer and Film Music Network founder Mark Northam announced today he will be a writer candidate for the upcoming ASCAP Board of Directors elections. Running as an independent candidate, his platform centers on issues important to writers, including:
** Better payment for writers, especially instrumental writers
“In most European societies, songs and score within a film or television show are paid the same with no penalty for instrumental music. In the U.S., instrumental film score is paid only 16 cents on the dollar for one minute of music within a film or television show.. Ad music, the source of the broadcasters’ revenues that fuels the entire performing rights system, is only paid 3 cents on the dollar. With all the talented composers in the U.S., there is no reason why we should be placed last in the world when it comes to recognizing the value of instrumental music.”
** Better tracking of music utilizing proven technology such as Digital Watermarking
“If computers can track hundreds of millions of credit card transactions anywhere in the world, there is no credible reason why technology could not be used to track every piece of music played on television and radio. If a creator’s product gets played, the creator should be paid. It’s not a difficult concept. Since the broadcasters pay for ALL music aired, if Performing Rights Society are not paid for their music performances, this means that their money is being used to pay someone else. ”
** More openness and accountability to members by the ASCAP Board of Directors and Staff
“The ASCAP Board now works in secret. Members are not allowed to attend Board meetings or even know how often their elected board members are showing up for meetings. I want to change the rules to open up the Board’s activities to the membership – after all, it is the Board who serves the membership, and each Board member should be accountable to the membership for what he or she does, says, and votes on. Members should have the opportunity to see their elected Board at work, and be involved if they choose to in what current issues the Board is discussing and working on. That’s the heart of an elected representative system.”
** Equal Access to ASCAP Job Referrals and Royalty Advances **
“ASCAP has taken the positive step of running ads in major filmmaker magazines with our royalty dollars employing staff at ASCAP who are actively involved in referring good, paying film and TV gigs to members. Unfortunately, not all ASCAP members have access to these job referrals or even know they are talking place. If the royalty dollars which come from all of us are paying for these job referral services, then all ASCAP members should have equal access to them. ASCAP also pays royalty advances to some members, while many members don’t even know advances are available or are forced to turn to family or friends when financial difficulties arise. All members should be educated about these important benefits.”
** 600 Signatures Needed to be on the Ballot **
“This year ASCAP raised the number of signatures required for an independent candidate to be on the election ballot from 25 to 600, which has created a huge challenge for independent candidates like myself. With the deadline of December 31 approaching, I need to gather 600 signatures from voting (royalty earning) ASCAP members in order to be on the ballot.
For those ASCAP members who are interested in my views and want to see better payment rates and tracking, I’ve set up a website for those interested in supporting my candidacy and learning more about the issues:

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