Contemporary Expression

Performing Rights Act – will it be law in 2010?


photo by Chad McClarnon from Project: One Song

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For nearly nine years (1998-2007) I worked at the worlds largest performing rights organization, Broadcast Music Inc (BMI). I enjoyed my time there working on behalf of  songwriters and publishers.

I will forever be thrilled to hear of fairness and equity in the appropriate compensation of those that make up our creative class.

I recently attended a seminar sponsored by The Arts & Business Council of Nashville‘s  program Tennessee Volunteer Lawyers & Professionals for The Arts. I did a live tweet as a way of taking notes for my musician friends.  Here is the run down – it’s in reverse order as it came from Twitter over the hour that I was there.


  1. “The direction of the music biz is moving toward capturing listeners and away selling hard product” -Sam Reed
  2. SoundExchange is created by statute & governed by the copyright gurus in Washington. I am thinking- if his happens then that company needs a
  3. Pro Public Relations Perf Rights Act
  4. The Local Radio Freedom Act is a non binding resolution that speaks for the supported of the NAB. It has not been voted on.
  5. Conyers Amend-supported by Cooper. Passed 21-9 Sen markup passed by voice vote & added songwriter language and established platform parity
  6. Songwriter reps are supportive of bill
  7. SoundExchange would collect the royalties. 45% will go directly to the featured artist. 5% goes to union for bkg musicians and 50% to labels
  8. S.379. & HR 848 … Look it up
  9. Davidson Co creators: If you sent in a copyright for registration. And it’s taking more than 9 mo to be processed call Rep Cooper’s office, ask for Sam, he can help.
  10. Sam Reed from Rep. Cooper’s office is leading the seminar on The Performing Rights Act for TN Vol Lawyers for Arts

So what are your thoughts?  Having managed a record producer I can tell you that producers will be playing instruments on more records so they can get in that pool.  However, I don’t think it will necessarily take away work from anyone.  More studio musicians will  be joining the union to get in the pool.

As it is written now, there would be no fees imposed for 3 years after it because law so that radio stations can start adjusting to the extra line item cost.   The parties are sitting down to talk more on November 17th, 2009.  It will be interesting to see this continue to unfold.  What do you think are the important things to look for?

Download the Presentation:  New Music Royalty Presentation


Breakfast with Gov. Kunin and lunch with Ms. Steinem
October 21, 2009, 9:25 am
Filed under: branding, candidates, community building, Equality, Living An Artful Life

I attended my first Tennessee Economic Summit for Women conference this year as a volunteer.  There were panels on the economic impact of wage earnings for TN women, communication strategies, healthcare, debt management and others.

Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey,  challenged early on to “Be excited about change. The first woman at anything needs to be sure they are not the last”.  

Gov. Madeline Kunin and Nancy VanReece

Gov. Madeline Kunin and Nancy VanReece

I started the morning with a breakfast chat with  the former Gov. of Vermont, Madeleline Kunin before she gave her opening session speech she selected a random table to sit down at chat with people about what they may what to hear and learn that day.  I was fortunate to be at this table and we were able to talk about  the struggles of non-profit management, the  righteous indignation that comes with still not having equal rights as a gay woman and the joys of living in “the blue heart of a red state”, oh yeah, and being unemployed at 45.  Her encouragement and the way she willingly listened was the lesson I needed most that day and I didn’t even realize it. 

Here are some of my live Tweets from her speech:

  • “learn how to transfer your skills from one thing to another. Have you organized a 5yr old’s birthday party? You can run a political campaign.” 9:27 AM Oct 19th
  • “Lilly Ledbetter is more significant than Joe the Plummer” – Gov. Kunin 9:16 AM Oct 19th
  • Gov. Kunin “there are too few women’s voices in the political discussion. When a woman is talking the climate does change.”9:04 AM Oct 19
Nancy VanReece and Gloria Steinem

Nancy VanReece and Gloria Steinem

Over a very loud service staff at lunch I locked in as much attention as I could give to the keynote speaker, Gloria Steinem. A highschool classmate of mine now runs the Hedgebrook retreat where Ms. Steinem serves on the Advisory Creative Council.  I wanted to make sure I said  hello on her behalf at some pont during the day.  Later, as she was signing books I was able to send those greetings.  When she asked if I too then was from Oklahoma we laughed like it was an unspoken inside joke about how awkward it is to live in places that don’t embrace your full potential.  Something that she undoubtedly has felt as well. 

Here are some of my live Tweets from her speech:

  • “Our job is not to make young women grateful for what has happened before them but to make them recognize change is still necessary.” GS 1:07 PM Oct 19th
  • GS recommends the film “The High Cost of Low Prices” and is discussing WalMart …….1:03 PM Oct 19th
  • “When we democratize our families we are performing an act of revolution. Women are becoming the men they want to marry.” -GS 12:56 PM Oct 19th
  • “The country is escaping it’s own type of family violence & we are in the most danger during that escape. We need the help each other’s awareness.” – GS. 12:52 PM Oct 19th
  • It is time to attribute appropriate value to the work being done in the care-giving sector – GS 10:45 PM Oct 19th
  • Nationally parking lot attendants make more than child care providers..12:41 PM Oct 19th
  • Pink collar ghetto .. Jobs that can’t be outsourced …12:36 PM Oct 19th
  • My table seemed amazed to find out that GS is 75 years old12:35 PM Oct 19th
  • “We need to live the un-lived lives of our mothers.” -GSteinem 12:28 PM Oct 19th

The conference itself was run well but I was disappointed in the lack of diversity in those that were speaking.  Most of the women there were over 50 and had great wisdom and insight and depth of history to share but it wasn’t really called upon.  I saw very little effort to engage Generation X, much less Generation Y, to attend or participate in the conference and I’m not sure that it will succeed in its mission without a real overhaul in the way the event is presented in the 21st century.

Equality Day on the Hill in Tennessee

As a founding member of TEP and a board member of the TEP Foundation I am proud of the great work accomplished by a growing crowd of friends and family to work toward full equality in Tennessee for all its citizens.

The mission of TEP is to promote and sustain the equality of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons in the state of Tennessee through the establishment of fair and equitable laws protecting these rights and the elimination of laws that would seek to counter this effort. Equality is meant to include the protection of human and civil rights and the elimination of prejudice and discrimination.

Today is Equality Day on the Hill. Hundreds of supporters from across the state will be speaking with their legislators today to let them know that we are not silent, we do vote, and we demand fairness.

Our goals are to promote equality throughout Tennessee and to serve as advocates of change by:

  • fighting any legislation in the State of Tennessee that would endanger the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered citizens
  • actively pursuing measures that would provide protection for the GLBT community at both the state and local levels
  • educating citizens on the importance of lobbying their elected officials
  • providing the resources and training to assist through statewide initiatives

There are several bills to keep eyes on by this one is gathering the most heat:

SB 3910 and HB 3713
Persons living together prohibited from adopting children.Prohibits any individual who is cohabitating in a sexual relationship outside of a marriage that is valid under the constitution and laws of this state from adopting a minor. Clarifies that this prohibition includes both cohabiting opposite-sex and same-sex individuals. (S: Stanley; H: DeBerry J.)

Joan and I can’t think of more mean spirited thing to do. The state of TN now allows single parent adoption and recent nation wide statistics indicate that 33% of lesbian couples and 25% of gay male couples have a child in the home. This bill may have as fiscal note of nearly 4 million dollars in costs to the state of TN.

Let me give you an example that I plan to share with Sen. Haynes today on the hill. My niece has been very ill, her husband is in the Air Force. They are both together and getting well on an air base with my beautiful niece’s 4 year old. If something were to go tragic and this child left for Joan and I to care for, this law would not allow me to adopt my own family. Joan will be together 21 years this spring, she has 25 years in early child care development and because of our loving relationship, this child, my own family, would not be allowed to share our home. I don’t expect the worst. That Air Force family will be fine. However, you have to plan as a responsible adult and prohibiting our right to adopt is something we are not willing to accept.

TEP is planning too – every day. Make a Donation to the Work Here

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United Purple States
January 20, 2009, 2:50 pm
Filed under: candidates, change

The Watercolor Postcard of The Day for Jan 20, 2009
A watercolor postcard painted each morning fo rthe first 50 days of 2009

The cause and effect of a rock thrown in 1968

Nancy Ann Reece, 1968 – Oklahoma City

View below some featured comments by my father, Dr. C Herman Reece in Oklahoma City. We differ in that my prayer for Mr. Obama is to faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of his ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. – his faith and religion are his own business and only part of the job in the way it shapes his own character – not policy.
I remember the rock through the window and it shaped my character as an human rights activist today.
Nancy & Joan VanReece with TEP’s Chris Sanders at a VOTE NO on Prop 8 Rally in Nashville , TN 2008

The Obama Essays: Herman Reece
Published: January 16, 2009

The election of Barack Obama is truly historic for me. Forty years ago, during the turbulent times of 1968, I was serving on the Human Relations Committee at Northwest Classen High School. When Dr. Martin Luther King was killed, I lowered my flag to half mast, and someone threw a rock in the picture window of my home. Now, 40 years later to have a black man elected President of these great United States of America is truly historic.

Featured Video From THE OKLAHOMAN
The Obama Essays:
Jan 16 C. Herman Reece, D.D.S., Christian Business Men’s Connection/OKC Metro director, talks about significance of the presidential inauguration.

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Rick Warren took my joy and I want it back
December 19, 2008, 2:17 pm
Filed under: candidates, change, Coming Out

don’t want you anymorecause you took my joyi don’t want you anymoreyou took my joyyou took my joyi want it backyou took my joyi want it backi’m gonna go to west memphis and look for my joygo to west memphis and look for my joymaybe in west memphis I’ll find my joymaybe in west memphis i’ll find my joyi’m gonna go to slidell and look for my joygo to slidell and look for my joymaybe in slidell I’ll find my joymaybe in slidell I’ll find my joy(first long instrumental break)you got no right to take my joyi want it backyou got no right to take my joyi want it backyou took my joyi want it backyou took my joyi want it backi’m gonna go to west memphis and look for my joygo to west memphis and look for my joymaybe in west memphis i’ll find my joymaybe in west memphis i’ll find my joyi’m gonna go to slidell and look for my joygo to slidell and look for my joymaybe in slidell i’ll find my joymaybe in slidell i’ll find my joy(second instrumental break)i don’t want you anymorecause you took my joyi don’t want you anymoreyou took my joyyou took my joyi want it backyou took my joyi want it backyou took my joyi want it backyou took myi want it back(third & last instrumental break — slows down)i’m gonna go to west memphisi’m gonna go to slidell


photo:Harrison /Getty
Artist: Williams LucindaSong: JoyAlbum: Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
reprinted as commentary – if you don’t have the record you are quite possibly in jeopardy of loosing all cool points accumulated to date.

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Reflections from MILK

7.7.08 watercolor by Nancy VanReece (c) 2008 Contemporary Expression, a div. of Carpe Diem Copyright Management

I have been profoundly moved by a story. It’s not someone else’s story. It’s my own. Reflecting on life has been literally blinding for me lately.

“Am I doing the greatest amount of good?”- This question was raised recently and it rang loudly. Am I, in this new dawn of hope and hard work, where I need to be? Am I using the talent, creative skill and knowledge I have accumulated for what matters most to my family? My objective is to find a new beginning that embraces the truth that the Grand Canyon was not built with a giant tsunami but rather a river, rushing on as rivers do.

Why is any single story story relevant? What can one person do? What is it that must be done? What is it than can be done today? There are so many of us in Nashville, TN that have worked so very hard to make this a city that we want to live in, a place where we can be proud of our unique and diverse backgrounds, cultures and core values. Like any city, we citizens want great schools, clean streets, green spaces, good jobs and fantastic art to motivate us further.

I really believe that we are at the dawn of individuals rising up to understand that their story is part of that rushing river. We need everyone to do what they can do each and everyday to move the water. It’s not just another gay story, or a civil rights struggle or a cry for simple dignity, it’s a human story. It’s our story, our struggle, our cry.

To Do List:
1. Learn more about your local government at this link . Make it your New Year’s Resolution to get to know more of your county or city officials in 2009. Prepare the way for progress in your community.
2. Join one of the TEP our county committees. They are throughout the State. If you would like to get involved with the committee closest to you or start one in your county, contact .

You can not live on HOPE alone, but you can not live without it. And you, and you and you, have got to give them HOPE” – Harvey Milk

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