News

Music at the Markets

16-Oct-2019

~ from erin, Director of Local Food Programs ~

For 15+ years, Countryside has included musicians in our market family. We believe that music at the markets make them a more inviting and festive place to be. We have been incredibly grateful for this, as well as the opportunity to support local musicians with exposure to our customers and with the modest sum that we pay.

It is with true sadness that we must share that, starting this weekend, we will be severely limited in the musicians that we can invite to perform at the markets. Going forward, only musicians performing all original and unlicensed material or pieces in the public domain will be able to play. Musicians will be required to sign an agreement agreeing to the above.

We do understand that having 3 hours of original/unlicensed/public domain material is likely a challenge. If musicians can still perform with these limitations, we will be happy to have them!!

Why the change? This past season, we were approached by ASCAP and learned that we are required to obtain licenses to continue to offer music at our markets without breaking copyright laws. ASCAP, and the other 2 main licensing companies, consider farmers' markets under the category of "shopping malls" and do not offer non-profit discounts. As a result, the cost of obtaining the licenses is well outside of our ability to pay. Per year at our markets combined, it triples the costs of offering music at the markets from $6000 (all paid directly to musicians) to $18,000 (with 2/3 of that going to licensing firms).

We are currently seeking sponsorship dollars to cover these costs. Please share this information with any parties that you think might be interested in supporting the cause. We would accept partial support, however, we do need to secure the full amount (of licenses and musicians) to move forward with licensing for 2020.

If you have experience with negotiating with the music licensing firms and feel that you can secure us a lower rate, we would welcome that assistance as well.

We are truly sorry that we have to make this change.