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Playing copyrighted music in Trader Vic's
Kenike
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 24, 2003
Posts: 1205
From: McKinney, TX
Posted: 2007-08-19 07:31 am   Permalink

Dallas Trader Vic’s is a beautiful, exotic, wonderful place to go to escape the everyday stress of the world outside and forget your cares for a short while.

But if I ever hear “Disco Duck” again while I’m sipping a specially prepared Voodoo Grog…I swear I’m never going back.

The musical selections that they’ve been playing since they’ve opened have left a lot to be desired. Almost no exotica or Hawaiian music, but usually latin-flavored dinner music (not sure what exactly that genre is called). I have had numerous conversations with management about it and even submitted a CD with the types of music I think they SHOULD be playing. I’ve been told that they have to be careful what they play because of copyright issues, but never got a clear answer on whether or not they pay a license fee to ASCAP or BMI or whomever.

Last night I got the word from a bartender that they got in trouble for playing the CD’s they usually play, so now they have to play what sounds to me like a satellite radio station….their choice was 70’s top 40. I’m not a hater of all 70’s music, but this is NOT the place to play it and it totally destroyed the whole Trader Vic’s experience for me. I complained 3 times, they did nothing, so I left.

I’d like to plant the bug in their ear of what they CAN do about it, but first I need to have a better understanding of how it works with restaurants. I know that if they pay their yearly license fee they can basically play whatever they want. I’m assuming it’s several thousand dollars and also assuming Trader Vic’s doesn’t want to go that way.

So what can they play besides radio? Is there music available that doesn’t fall under these laws?

Does an artist have to say on their CD if they are affiliated with ASCAP or BMI? And if not does that mean they’re safe to play?

What about “podsafe” music I hear on podcasts all the time?

I know there are a lot of artists on TC who know a lot about how this whole business works so I would REALLY appreciate some insight. I love Trader Vic’s for the experience, but with completely inappropriate music there is no experience. I can sit in my back yard with my iPod and a mai tai and do much better.

MAHALO!!

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GatorRob
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 1772
From: 3 hrs 33 mins to paradise
Posted: 2007-08-20 6:16 pm   Permalink

That's sad to hear. From all the pictures I've seen, the place looks fantastic. You'd think an operation with the kind of revenue a Trader Vic's can bring in would budget in the licensing fees to play the music legally in the restaurant. A few thousand dollars a year, or whatever it is, is really nothing. I'm no expert, but I believe licensing fees from ASCAP should cover a range of artists (actually, songwriters I believe, not performers). But if they wanted to play mid-century Hawaiian and lounge, I don't know what if any licensing requirement there would be.

I couldn't imagine walking into the Mai-Kai and hearing the Bee Gees. It would completely destroy the illusion. Tell them to take a road trip over to Vic's Atlanta. They do the music right. Or suggest that they just turn it off. Silence would be better.


 
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lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2007-08-20 6:49 pm   Permalink

I feel your pain.

However, the copyright laws may not be the whole story. The real story is that tiki music died a long time ago, and there are too few of us around that really enjoy it. That's why you will find tiki bars (even really good ones) playing anything but tiki. Unfortunately, to bring paying customers in, they have to pander to modern tastes. This is a hard lesson I learned on another thread, when I tried to give my opinion on this touchy subject. In the end, I had to concede that thank god there are even tiki bars left, so don't rock the boat.

although tiki music died around 1964 (when rock music became the in thing) there are tons of modern day music that fits into that category that in my opinion could be played simply by having the permission of the artists (not huge record companies) given.

Tikiyaki orchestra
Fisherman
Ape
King Kukulele
Mai-kai gents

To name a few.

In the end the end, though, the only way this thing will survive is if some tikiphile with money to spend buys one of these places and bans all forms of Jimmy Buffeteria and it's ilk.


 
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lucas vigor
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 12, 2004
Posts: 3985
From: SOCAL
Posted: 2007-08-20 6:49 pm   Permalink

I feel your pain.

However, the copyright laws may not be the whole story. The real story is that tiki music died a long time ago, and there are too few of us around that really enjoy it. That's why you will find tiki bars (even really good ones) playing anything but tiki. Unfortunately, to bring paying customers in, they have to pander to modern tastes. This is a hard lesson I learned on another thread, when I tried to give my opinion on this touchy subject. In the end, I had to concede that thank god there are even tiki bars left, so don't rock the boat.

although tiki music died around 1964 (when rock music became the in thing) there are tons of modern day music that fits into that category that in my opinion could be played simply by having the permission of the artists (not huge record companies) given.

Tikiyaki orchestra
Fisherman
Ape
King Kukulele
Mai-kai gents
Waitiki

To name a few.

In the end though, the only way this thing will survive is if some tikiphile with money to spend buys one of these places and bans all forms of Jimmy Buffeteria and it's ilk.


 
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sushiman
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 28, 2007
Posts: 313
From: Kumamoto , Japan
Posted: 2007-08-20 6:52 pm   Permalink

Why couldn't they become a member at 365.com for $ 70 a year and play Vegas Vic's Tiki Lounge commercial free 24 hours a day ?

 
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Bohemiann
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 29, 2004
Posts: 444
From: Sarasota, Fla.
Posted: 2007-08-20 7:59 pm   Permalink

O.K. ,,, I don't get it.. Copyright issues? Really ? Maybe I don't understand this copyright stuff but if they buy the CD can't they play it for their customers all day long. Have the lawyers destroyed America when I was sleeping it off ?
That sounds so ....made up.
It can't be true.
I refuse to believe it.


 
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Kenike
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 24, 2003
Posts: 1205
From: McKinney, TX
Posted: 2007-08-20 8:26 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-08-20 19:59, Bohemiann wrote:
O.K. ,,, I don't get it.. Copyright issues? Really ? Maybe I don't understand this copyright stuff but if they buy the CD can't they play it for their customers all day long. Have the lawyers destroyed America when I was sleeping it off ?
That sounds so ....made up.
It can't be true.
I refuse to believe it.



It's absolutely true...it falls under public broadcasting laws or something like that. Just like radio stations can't freely play music, they have to pay their fee. That be the law.



Quote:

On 2007-08-20 18:49, lucas vigor wrote:
I feel your pain.

However, the copyright laws may not be the whole story. The real story is that tiki music died a long time ago, and there are too few of us around that really enjoy it. That's why you will find tiki bars (even really good ones) playing anything but tiki. Unfortunately, to bring paying customers in, they have to pander to modern tastes. This is a hard lesson I learned on another thread, when I tried to give my opinion on this touchy subject. In the end, I had to concede that thank god there are even tiki bars left, so don't rock the boat.

although tiki music died around 1964 (when rock music became the in thing) there are tons of modern day music that fits into that category that in my opinion could be played simply by having the permission of the artists (not huge record companies) given.

Tikiyaki orchestra
Fisherman
Ape
King Kukulele
Mai-kai gents

To name a few.

In the end the end, though, the only way this thing will survive is if some tikiphile with money to spend buys one of these places and bans all forms of Jimmy Buffeteria and it's ilk.



The music Trader Vic's is interested in playing is not really classic exotica...unless it has a little bit of a beat. In other words, they don't want anything thats going to "put people to sleep" as they put it. Nevertheless, there is PLENTY of exotica old and new that would work.

The CD I gave them to check out included Tikiyaki Orchestra & Waitiki, but even though they're not tied to a recording label they are still considered published works, right? That would mean they can't "legally" be played in public...this is where I'm unclear. It doesn't matter whether the artist gives permission or not.
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Kenike
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 24, 2003
Posts: 1205
From: McKinney, TX
Posted: 2007-08-20 8:35 pm   Permalink

Quote:
But if they wanted to play mid-century Hawaiian and lounge, I don't know what if any licensing requirement there would be.



Doesn't "published works" at some point become "public domain" and paying fees would no longer apply? Isn't it 50 years after the work was published? That would be one way to get around the law once Quiet Village hit's it's 50th b-day.

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[ This Message was edited by: Kenike 2007-08-20 20:37 ]


 
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Bongo Bungalow
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2007
Posts: 1275
From: Indiana
Posted: 2007-08-21 05:04 am   Permalink

I don't know anything about Trader Vic's, but do know a bit about restaurants and the music that's played. Yes, there are fees to be payed, but that's not the issue here, restaurants and bars play the music that they feel will create an atmosphere that both fits their vision of their concept and that will lead to the greatest sales. Often, the latter trumps the former. THEN- sometimes all that goes out the window and the music you hear is what the servers or bartender wants to hear!

 
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Tiki Bill
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 26, 2007
Posts: 112
From: Holiday Florida
Posted: 2007-08-21 06:12 am   Permalink

Someone is yankin' your chain an Vic's. They couldn't play "Disco Duck" without a license, so why not Martin Denny? If not ASCAP or BMI, they would still have to pay for "Muzak" or something. Bottom line, if you use an artists music to help "bring in the crowds", and you make money from the crowds, you owe a piece of that money to the artist. Believe it or not,even "happy birthday to you" is a copywriten song, NOT public domain (someone else bought the copyright just before it went public domain). ASCAP is ruthless, that's why I am a member. I've heard of clubs trying to get out of paying ASCAP saying "we only have original bands here" and ASCAP says "Do your wait staff ever sing happy birthday to customers? Pay up!".
Vic's is paying someone, otherwise there would be no music playing at all.

Tiki Bill.
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Bohemiann
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 29, 2004
Posts: 444
From: Sarasota, Fla.
Posted: 2007-08-21 06:18 am   Permalink

Well curiosity got the best of me and I did some research and damned if it's not true. Boy are there allot of lawbreaking lounges , pubs and restaurants out there. I am putting together a Bar Business plan and had no idea. That's why I love this place, It's a wellspring of info, some of it even useful! I like the Vegas Vic idea. I ran across a nice loophole if it still exists. http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/196204/music-copyright It seems Jukeboxes are exempt from this copyright tragedy. One could just hook a sound system up to the jukebox and fill it with great Exotica and surf music.

Maybe I am off the mark in thinking that this is silly. I understand that the artists deserve their just dues. What if you retail the music though. Like at Starbucks, they are just playing the sample and you can buy the CD. Everybody wins in that scenario. I bet musicians would be tripping over themselves to have one of their songs on an exclusive TV Compilation CD.

[ This Message was edited by: Bohemiann 2007-08-21 06:25 ]

[ This Message was edited by: bohemiann 2007-08-21 07:15 ]


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Kenike
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 24, 2003
Posts: 1205
From: McKinney, TX
Posted: 2007-08-21 06:34 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-08-21 06:12, Tiki Bill wrote:
Someone is yankin' your chain an Vic's. They couldn't play "Disco Duck" without a license, so why not Martin Denny? If not ASCAP or BMI, they would still have to pay for "Muzak" or something. Bottom line, if you use an artists music to help "bring in the crowds", and you make money from the crowds, you owe a piece of that money to the artist. Believe it or not,even "happy birthday to you" is a copywriten song, NOT public domain (someone else bought the copyright just before it went public domain). ASCAP is ruthless, that's why I am a member. I've heard of clubs trying to get out of paying ASCAP saying "we only have original bands here" and ASCAP says "Do your wait staff ever sing happy birthday to customers? Pay up!".
Vic's is paying someone, otherwise there would be no music playing at all.

Tiki Bill.




Are you saying that even if it's broadcast through public airwaves (i.e. radio) they still have to pay a fee? That means they might as well be playing CD's. If that's the case, someone is definitely yanking my chain, or I should say the bartender who told me this was totally misinformed.

As was mentioned before, the real issue remains that they have to recognize the fact that music is part of the atmosphere they are trying to create. Maybe it's not as important to their bottom line as the food or the service, but it's likely to drive some people away (like me). I also know for a fact that I'm not the only one who has complained, so why it hasn't been seriously addressed I'm not completely sure. I need to find a way to make them realize the importance. I know upper mgt., so maybe a well written email about how music affects atmosphere might help? I just dunno....
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Kenike
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 24, 2003
Posts: 1205
From: McKinney, TX
Posted: 2007-08-21 06:39 am   Permalink

Quote:
It seems Jukeboxes are exempt from this copyright tragedy. One could just hook a sound system up to the jukebox and fill it with great Exotica and surf music.



That's a really interesting idea, although I'm not sure they have the room for it.

I wonder if an iPod can be considered a jukebox.
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Gigantalope
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 01, 2004
Posts: 913
From: Shinola, California
Posted: 2007-08-21 06:49 am   Permalink

I was a bar/restaurant owner in the mid '80s in Silicon Valley, and we had some serious go'rounds with ASCAP. (We had an Attorney on retainer, so I took pleasure in screwing with them)

They would even bill us for the Background Music used in sporting events like Monday Night Football which we periodically showed. (This was on top of having a commercial cable line, which seemed like that should have been included) The weird part of their act is periodically they would just close a business down (via litigation) for not paying, then they would sort of let people in the industry know what happened.

It's great that they represent Artists, however the truth is, they really represent themselves, and little of the money gets past them.

If you don't be live we are fast becoming a society of litigant oriented people, compare the pace of American Football with Rugby or Aussie Rules. (Meetings, flags, time outs, replays...)


 
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Bongo Bungalow
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2007
Posts: 1275
From: Indiana
Posted: 2007-08-21 07:31 am   Permalink

"...the real issue remains that they have to recognize the fact that music is part of the atmosphere they are trying to create..."

I agree, Kenike. Costs have nothing to do with Trader Vic's choice in music. If they are not playing exotica, it's because they don't want to.

BB


 
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