The ASCAP boycott was a boycott of ASCAP by radio broadcasters due to license fees.
Between 1931 and 1939, ASCAP increased royalty rates charged to broadcasters some 448%. In 1941, when ASCAP tried to double its license fees, radio broadcasters formed a boycott of ASCAP and founded a competing royalty agency, Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI). During a ten-month period lasting from January 1 to October 29, 1941, no music licensed by ASCAP (1,250,000 songs) was broadcast on NBC and CBS radio stations. Instead, the stations played regional music and styles (like rhythm and blues or country) that had been traditionally neglected by ASCAP. Eventually, the differences between ASCAP and the broadcasters were settled, and ASCAP agreed to fees much lower than in preceding years.
"Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair", an 1854 song, was a notorious beneficiary of the ASCAP boycott. According to Time Magazine magazine, "So often had BMI's Jeannie [sic] With the Light Brown Hair been played that she was widely reported to have turned grey."
- Larry Lessig."Larry Lessig on laws that choke creativity" (minute 6:00), TED Talk, 2007. Retrieved 20 August 2011.
- "No Letup". Time Magazine. 27 January 1941.
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