Real Rock News

KISS’ Gene Simmons lobbies Congress to support songwriters’ rights as part of ASCAP advocacy campaign

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Courtesy of Gene Simmons

KISS co-founder Gene Simmons is among the many artists who are supporting and participating in ASCAP’s virtual “Stand with Songwriters” Advocacy Month, during which members of the performing-rights organization are encouraging members of Congress to support the rights of music creators.

Launched because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virtual “Stand with Songwriters” initiative is taking the place of the annual “Stand with Songwriters” advocacy day traditionally held on Capitol Hill, and the “We Write the Songs” concert, a partnership between The ASCAP Foundation and the Library of Congress.

As part of the campaign, Simmons recently met with select members of Congress to discuss a number of important issues affecting American songwriters and composers. Among the main topics was the issue of reforming legislation regarding the amount of money songwriters receive when their music is played via streaming and other digital platforms.

“The music that moves the world — R&B, rock, blues, country western, various jazz — was all invented right here in America by the people who now can’t even quit their day job to devote their time to art,” said Simmons. “There’s not going to be another Lennon, McCartney or Gershwin or somebody else because — even though the talent is out there — most people don’t realize every time you download a song, the songwriter is making minuscule amounts of one penny.”

Other notable ASCAP members who also are planning on taking part in the virtual sessions include Pat Benatar and her husband, guitarist Neil Giraldo; former Styx singer/keyboardist Dennis DeYoung; Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club members Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth; Desmond Child; and renowned songwriter Paul Williams, who also is ASCAP’s president and chairman.

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