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Melvin Van Peebles Sues ASCAP Over His Baadasssss Songs

I've always known he was a rennaisance man, but I don't think I've ever heard any of his music, other than what he created for Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song and I didn't particularly care for any of it.

His discography includes the following: Brer Soul (1969), Watermelon Man soundtrack (1970), Ain't Supposed To Die A Natural Death (1970), Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song soundrtrack (1971), Don't Play Us Cheap soundtrack (1973), As Serious As A Heart-Attack (1974), What the....You Mean I Can't Sing?! (1974), Ghetto Gothic (1995), X-Rated by an All-White Jury (1997) and his next project will be a double album with hip-hop impresario Madlib, to be released on Stones Throw Records. No word on when that will be out.

So, when I read the article below, I wasn't sure just how seriously to take his claim. But he's definitely serious alright.

From The Set List:

- Melvin Van Peebles explored his distrust of “the man” when he was making the films “Don’t Play Us Cheap,” “The Story of a Three Day Pass” and “Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song." A writer, director, actor and composer, he has now determined that ASCAP, which is responsible for the collection of royalties, failed to list close to 100 of his songs in their databank and therefore owes him $20 million.

Van Peebles claims ASCAP failed to maintain his catalog and make it available to potential licensees. (Seems to me that’s what a music publisher does, not ASCAP, BMI or SESAC). His beef is that between 1968 and now, he registered 157 compositions but some time between 1992 and 2005, ASCAP deleted or lost most of his repertoire. The mishap, Van Peebles appears to believe, occurred when ASCAP instituted its ACE system, which made the databank electronically based rather than paper based.

The entire article here: VAN PEEBLES SUES ASCAP


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