would have to put together a band and be employed by the club or depend on the royalties from the sale of their sheet music, which was often illegally copied. ASCAP addressed the problem by charging licensing fees to public performance venues for playing members’ music by charting the most popular compositions, and distributing the license fees to the copyright holders based on the song’s popularity.4ibid
Smith -The problem with ASCAP was its stringent requirements for membership; a musician would have to first pay an application fee, submit formal copies of his work, and prove his ownership of the copyright. Then it was up to the all-white membership board to vote the applicant into the organization. Needless to say, the ASCAP board, themselves all musicians, had monetary incentive to keep the membership roll short. With fewer members, there are fewer people to split the licensing fees, therefore, ASCAP was something of a ‘good ol’ boys’ club and it was nearly impossible for black musicians to break the cycle. “Black music has never really been controlled by the people who are making the music. Consequently, the amount of money going to the people who perform the music has been very small compared to what goes to the people who control the music5.” This theme will be repeated in the next major revolution in American popular music.The R&B Roots of Rock“Musically, rock is primarily a development of the folk-soul reactions against the over-cerebral dead-end that jazz had reached by the late Fifties.6”It has been said that one generation’s revolution becomes another’s reason for revolt and Rock and Roll was most certainly that, a revolt. Borne of similar influences as jazz, the rhythm and blues that would eventually morph into rock and roll seems on the surface diametrically opposed to its ‘classy’ older brother. Where jazz had used the repeating rhythms of gospel and work songs as the base for its fanciful flights of improvisation, the blues, country, and soul music of the rural areas was content to tow the line with the comparatively simple backbones. At a time when jazz was enthralled in an ever-proliferating arms race in terms of number and variety of 5Owens in Carter, Sandy6Albright, Thomas; ‘Visuals: how the Beats Begat the Freaks;’ The Rolling Book of the Beats…pg355
Smith -instruments which yielded groups whose size rivaled traditional orchestras, the bluesmen focused on wringing every bit of power out of their small bands and meager instruments. In the juke joints of the Deep South it took little more than a man, a guitar, a glass of whiskey and a beat to give the black sharecroppers a much need reprieve from the back-braking work of the day. All over the Mississippi Delta this informal, rural style of music was making waves and it wouldn’t be long before the rest of the world listened.