How does the Big 10 network get away with not paying?

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    Very interesting development here. So last night I was invited to an office warming party by two attorney friends of mine. They just wanted to celebrate the launch of their new firm and include friends for drinks. Of course, lots of attorneys were there. Naturally some folks ask you what you do for a living. When I mentioned music producer for TV, film and advertising, one female attorney said “I recently handled a project for Fox/ BTN where the goal was to avoid being sued by composers who were not getting paid for BTN music use on air.”

    Wow! what a game changer that statement was in the discussion! So after I informed her of how I have never been paid a single cent for BTN cue sheets ( I counted today and I have around 300 to 400 filed), she just kind of rolled her eyes and said “That is crazy becasue I was the attorney in charge of this project to make sure every cue was documented on a cue sheet so composers would be paid.”

    I have her card now. I see a pretty good opportunity here to enlist an attorney to file a class action law suit against ASCAP for no payments from BTN cue sheets and air dates. I logged a message inside my ASCAP account about this. If you are an ASCAP writer who has not been paid for BTN performances, you should do the same. After talking to this attorney it seems like ASCAP is negligent here. They have been giving us all the excuse of “if it does not get tracked in our survey, we will not pay you.”

    This attorney told me that BTN and FOX absolutely paid and do pay the PRO’s, ASCAP included, and therefore all composer names on those cue sheets should be getting paid. FOX owns 51% of the BTN as it is a joint venture between FOX and The Big Ten Schools.

    I will be following up on this next week.If you are an ASCAP writer in the same situation for BTN cue sheets, I suggest you dial up the pressure on ASCAP as soon as possible. It sounds to me that they have collected money from BTN/ FOX, but are not in the mood to distribute it to writers. And they are hiding behind the excuse of “it’s not getting tracked in our surveys.” I doubt ASCAP would want to see a class action law suit for this, so hopefully they can reach into their 1.3 Billion stash and pay all of us our fair share for BTN background cues.


    I’m not sure who are you are Music1234, but feel free to reach out to me directly through my website or FB if we’re friends there. I’m happy to help out with this. I’m not sure how much I’m missing out on because every 3 to 4 quarters I do get a nice BTN payout, but as mentioned above, my wife is with BMI (we split the cues) and she gets paid every quarter, for EVERY airing.


    @Music 1234 I’m in on the class action deal. Where do I sign up? I first realized that I was not getting paid by ASCAP in the summer of 2017 when a BMI co-writer received his second four figure check for a BTN placement that performed extremely well. And over the last couple of years I estimate that I’ve missed out on about 5k on this one track which has continued to perform very well, mostly on BTN Live. But I’ve had several tracks place on BTN as well, around 400 cue sheets in my ASCAP account, at least. When I started digging around and calling up ASCAP to figure out what in the hell was going on, (why would my BMI co-writer be receiving thousands of dollars for performance royalties and I was getting paid NONE, ZERO, NADDA, ZILCH)… I got the ole’ “sample surveying” excuse… so I decided to leave to ASCAP. And now with BMI I’ve had several more BTN placements and I do get paid for them, ALL of them, at least all of the ones to my knowledge. And all the co-writers I’ve had BTN placements with that are BMI writers get paid too. So YEAH, there should be a class action suit against ASCAP in my opinion. They owe me thousands of dollars for all the BTN placements. How do I connect with this lawyer? I want in. -P.G. (


    @pgbanker and Mark. Now that I have learned about this BTN/ FOX issue from an attorney, I will first give ASCAP a chance to pay me for the 400 cue sheets on file. I logged an inquiry in my on line account as we’re supposed to do. I suggest you guys do the same and present BMI co write statements as evidence that co writers were paid by BMI. If several ASCAP writers all log an inquiry, they may look closely at this and distribute for those 2016 to 2018 performances in the next cycle. It does seem clear as day that FOX/ BTN did their part in paying the PRO’s. It’s now up to ASCAP to pay the writers.

    For the record, I did not go to this law office cocktail party with any intent of finding lawyers to help address problems with ASCAP. I just went to have a drink, a good time and this conversation with a lawyer who used to work for FOX/ BTN fell on my lap. It was merely a coincidence.


    @music1234 – Good luck with going that route man! I’ve done all that. I filed complaint with ASCAP in 2017, submitted co-writer royalty statements as proof, climbed up the corporate ladder over the course of 6 months (they took 3 months to respond to my initial “inquiry”) and was very persistent about the issue, demanding an explanation for why I was not getting paid. I finally got a vice president of global services on the phone and he basically said “sorry dude”, you are out of luck… “sample surveying” is the excuse he gave… they will tell you the same thing music 1234… they’ve got a team of 10 lawyers on staff who work for ASCAP… it’s an uphill battle man, but I wish you the best of luck!


    @pgbanker – I am out of luck already….My inquiry/ message has been closed with the response below. The irony of this is that ASCAP, being the one PRO that does display cue sheets for us to look at, (BMI and SESAC do not show all cue sheets filed in our accounts) does not pay us based on the cue sheets filed, instead they use the good ole survey. Below is ASCAP’s sophisticated and wordy way of saying “we simply do not feel like paying for BTN cues because it’s not economically feasible.” But, the attorney I met assured me that ASCAP was paid by BTN/ FOX so that ultimately the writers would be paid. I studied 12 qtrs of BTN cue sheets and ASCAP statements. ASCAP paid two royalties totaling $78 for 416 cue sheets from BTN.

    Does anyone know how much air time they actually “survey” in a given quarter?

    ASCAP monitors performances on the Big Ten Network using our sample survey method. As you may be aware, whenever it is economically feasible, ASCAP will conduct a census survey, or complete count, of performances in a medium. In this type of survey ASCAP is able to count all performances in a medium when the cost of collecting and processing accurate data is a low enough percentage of the licensing revenue that the medium generates. Where a census survey is impractical, we conduct a sample survey designed to be a statistically accurate representation of performances in a medium. All times of the day, all days of the year, every region of the country and all types and sizes of stations are represented in the ASCAP sample surveys. Upon receiving this claim we have researched performances on the Big Ten Network covering the performance period October 1, 2017 through March 31, 2019 (4Q17-1Q19) to ensure your distribution statements reflecting those performance periods were accurate. Please note that per our current policies, we are only able to review performances beginning October 1, 2017 at this time. Based on the provided information and our records, unfortunately none of the performances per these cue sheets fell within the sample date(s) and time(s) covering the aforementioned quarters on the Big Ten Network therefore no royalties were generated for these performances. If there are any additional performances in question please do not hesitate to submit a new Member Access “Message” for our review. Additionally please feel free to review ASCAP’s Governing Documents (Survey and Distribution Rules, and reach out via a new Message or by phone at 800-952-7227 with any additional questions.

    Michael Nickolas

    I got the pretty much the same response asking about NBA TV.

    I once won the ASCAP C/S lottery though. I had a piece used on HBO show up in the sample survey instead of the usual census. Paid out $2,237.14 for a single placement. Not sure if that makes up for everything I’ve missed out on over the years…

    Willie III Eaglin

    I have 60 cues sheets with about a couple hundred uses.. a friend has 176 cues sheets with even more. I was told by my publisher that ascap will NOT pay out for BTN.. Im done
    Going to BMI Jan 2020…

    Willie III Eaglin

    THIS IS FREAKING ROBBERY!!! ASCAP is keeping our money man.. bunch of crooks!

    Vibe Walker

    This is absolutely insane. How can they just not payout those shares when clearly the cue sheets are documented proof that our works/cues performances generated royalties? I have 176 BTN cue sheets in my account that 1 cue generated. That 1cue was used 3 or 4 times on each cue sheet with a minimum duration time of at least 1min per usage. They owe me 1000s for these performances. I’m definitely in on filing a class action law suit!


    Yep ASCAP are the problem here end of the story. if our composer colleagues are getting paid for BTN placements for the same shows then we at ASCAP should be also. anyway i’ve only had to put of with this nonsense for 2 years before i finally resigned from them last year. moved to BMI this year and will be taking my back catalog over too hopefully although there’s a bit more of a process to that. i suggest all media composers who are with ASCAP do the same. resign today. this is the window they allow it between October and December 2019. they might not give a s**t but it might at least send them a message that its disgusting to treat writers this way.


    As of today I have 454 BTN cue sheets in my ASCAP account. I’ve only been paid for one single placement and it was for over 100 bucks. They owe us a whole lot more. If you haven’t been paid, file an inquiry with ASCAP. If we all step up maybe they’ll take notice and do the right thing.


    Hey all, as I continue to investigate even further the problem extends beyong just BTN. It’s also a few other cable networks including all these.

    I also verified that my BMI co -writer was paid $72 for a cue drop on NBC Sports Network an extra cable channel. I was not paid for the same cue title on this network.

    Here is what we all need to do to get results, hopefully

    1. File an inquiry at ASCAP today
    2. E-mail everyone on the board of directors at ASCAP and inform them of this problem and point them to this thread. Here they all are:
    3. Threaten to pull catalog and change to BMI if they do not start taking these networks seriously.They are selling blanket licenses to these networks which bolsters the $1.3 billion slush fund. They seem to be deciding that this money coming from NBC Sports network, Golf channel, BTN, NBA TV, etc…is not worthy of distributing to writers unless it is in the ridiculous “survey”. This is absurd. BMI does not see it that way.

    I can conclude that I have been duped out of at least 3 to 5 K these past 3 years because of ASCAP’S policy about these networks “not worth their time”

    This is Rubbish. These networks are on Sports bars all the time, nationwide broadcasting stuff and people are watching! This is not the obscure local Christian Preacher TV channel 894 that no one ever watches.

    Please, everyone, dial up the protest. Threaten to move to BMI, and hopefully they will start to pay off these cue sheets.

    I have appreciated what ASCAP has done for me for 25 years now but this is just not right!


    Going to BMI Jan 2020…

    I’d love to tell you guys that BMI is better, but honestly, it’s just as bad. Only different. They (BMI) are not paying on hundreds of placements for me. That is hundreds that I accidentally discovered. I’d guess thousands over the years. And there is no answer from them as to “why”. Pick your poison. BMI, ASCAP, SESAC. All cut from the same cloth.


    Pick your poison. BMI, ASCAP, SESAC. All cut from the same cloth.


Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 52 total)
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