The “American Idol” for 2009 Adam Lambert


Maybe I’m a little old for a steady diet of new music, but I still enjoy singing along to the best of the current top 40. The All-American Rejects (“I Hope It Gives You Hell”), Nickelback “(If Everyone Cared”) and Kelly Clarkson (“My World Would Suck Without You”), make me feel like a kid again. I can almost taste the rebellion in the music and feel the same emotions I felt when I first heard Rock and Roll!.


I recently reconnected with a pal from the past, John Madera who was a member of Danny and the Juniors, co-writer of “At The Hop” (Madera/White), and the prophetic “Rock And Roll Is Here To Stay” (Madera/White). I was thrilled to hear that his Rock and Roll spirit is alive and well. He told me about a new film he’s working on “At The Hop”, which is a story of life and love in Philadelphia set in late fifties, when it’s music and artists, dominated the charts.  


Then I smiled and told John about the first time I saw Danny and the Juniors Perform. When I was living in New York as a kid in the’50s I couldn’t wait for Easter to arrive, not for the candy or a new outfit my mother would buy me, but for the Alan Freed Easter Rock and Roll Show!


 Disc Jockey Alan Freed would always have the top black artists, including the architects of Rock and Roll, Chuck Berry (“Maybeline”, “Sweet Little 16”), Little Richard (“Rip It Up”, “Good Golly Miss Molly”), or Bo Diddley (“Bo Diddley”, “Who Do You Love”), sharing the stage with the top white rockers, Buddy Holly and the Crickets (“That’ll Be The Day”), Jerry Lee Lewis (“Whole Lotta’ Shakin’ Goin’ On”), The Diamonds (“Lil Darlin’’), Danny And The Juniors, (“At The Hop”, “Rock and Roll Is Here To Stay”.


Imagine if they had a show like that today with the greatest stars of the past…the present…and the future…imagine…











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Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne





Two weeks ago the owner of the desert apartment complex I live in tried to remove and hide an official notice to the tenants that the place was in foreclosure and would be sold at public auction on April 10, 2009. What an asshole!

You can probably tell that I’m in no mood for any further bullshit. After reading dozens of e-mails responding to my article, BMI FINDS A NEW WAY TO SCREW THE SONGWRITER, I can see that most of you aren’t either.

It appalled me that no songwriter was informed that a new minimum of $250.00 must be accrued before a check would be issued…an amount FIVE TIMES THE PREVIOUS $50.00 MINIMUM just a few months ago.

Until now, no one thought to complain. Here are a few excerpts from the dozens of e-mails I’ve received (without the sender’s names to protect their privacy).

“This is just another scheme BMI came up with to pay the rent, which comes at a time when many writers, I suspect, are having trouble paying theirs. A threat of a mass exodus to ASCAP would take care of this problem…”

“If you will ask BMI to direct deposit your royalties to your bank account, nothing will be withheld until you reach a certain minimum. This is simply an effort by BMI to encourage songwriters to use direct deposit, which will increase efficiency and reduce overhead, which will benefit all BMI songwriters through increased royalties. Nobody is trying to screw you — but rather you are being encouraged to adapt to a better way of getting paid. No postage, no checks to lose, no trips to the bank, no delay at the post office. I’m amazed that nobody explained this to you!”

I’m sorry, but I refuse to be punished for not making life easier for BMI.

“Yeah, Artie, I discovered this SCREW ‘EM UP a few days ago when I called BMI because I hadn’t received a statement.  Like you stated in your blog, I was informed that I had only accumulated about $100 and wouldn’t receive a check until the total reached the $250 mark…assholes, are investing my money AND REAPING THE PROFITS instead of sending it to me.  I really need my $$ NOW.  Geez!”

“My wife is a long-lapsed BMI affiliate, having been an ASCAP member almost forty years.  But she has works still in the BMI repertory, and is accounted to regularly. That is until now. Last week she received a statement and a $500+ check, but we only then noticed she’d missed the statement that had been due in January. She called and was told about the $250 minimum rule and that she hadn’t been sent the January statement because her balance due was less than the minimum.  To our minds, this is doubly egregious: establishing an unfair minimum plus withhold accountings if earnings fall below the minimum.  Can’t help but wonder if the interest earned on all the withheld funds accrues to the benefit of writers and publishers.”

“What does the BMI contract say? Is there any provision which gives them the right to withhold royalties? If not demand payment with interest!”

BMI is mirroring the SAG rules, which suck. Direct Deposit is fine, though…”

I don’t care what SAG does. As far as direct deposit goes, why would I want my money go directly into a bank that I no longer trust?

“I just read your story and you’re so right. They are investing or otherwise using the money due others so they can get the extra income/interest. Everything you said you’ve gone through is almost the same for most of us. I’m too small and too tired to fight, but I keep trying any way.” the story

“With BMI handling 375,000 different songwriters/publishers – going to Direct Deposit makes sense in this modern, digital banking time. Anything that cuts overhead costs for them makes me happy. I have been a BMI member since 2000 (small publisher) and receive small direct deposits (followed by a mailed statement) with happy regularity.”

I’m glad you’re so “happy”, unfortunately there are thousands and thousands of songwriters who aren’t like you. Many aren’t computer literate, and many aren’t even able to read. They, along with the more educated are being denied their own money, during the greatest economic crises of our lifetime, by a corporation who is more concerned with its own existence than the welfare of its members. The most disturbing part of this is BMI’s attempt to keep the new rules quiet and to brush aside any questioning of its practices.

Remember, for every 4,000 members who only earn up to $249.00 in a quarter almost A MILLION DOLLARS IS WITHHELD BY BMI! Multiply this by the “Real” statistics, and we’re talking MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS!

As a former mover and shaker, I once steered hundreds of young writers to BMI, because I believed in it, now I’d do anything to help them escape. Who knows what other dubious things the organization might be up to that haven’t been discovered…yet!

Regretfully, Artie Wayne




For almost 50 years I’ve been a member of Broadcast Music, Incorporated, the organization that collects radio and TV performances for songwriters and publishers. I was a staunch supporter of it as a songwriter, when I was General Manager of Warner Brothers Music, and when I ran Irving-Almo Music.


When I went into business for myself 30 years ago, Ron Anton, my friend and senior VP at BMI, named my company Wayne Art Music, which I’ve always been proud of. Now I have to look at the organization with a big question mark, because of a practice they recently initiated.


Up until the last quarter, if a songwriter earned less than $50.00 BMI wouldn’t issue a check until the amount owed exceeded that minimum. Now they have raised the minimum amount to $250.00, FIVE TIMES THE AMOUNT IT WAS A FEW MONTHS AGO, before they issue a check!


Are they crazy? Yeah crazy like a fox, it sounds like someone in accounting came up with this brilliant idea to hold onto millions of dollars of the songwriters diminishing royalties for as long as possible…and who’s going to complain?

Most songwriters who are affected by this are too old; too tired, or too stoned to fight for what is rightfully theirs…so they let it slide.


I’m sorry, but I can’t let this go! In recent years I’ve lost money due to illegal downloads, piracy, unscrupulous record and publishing companies. I never expected an organization who is supposed to be on the songwriter’s side to treat us all like this!


What can we look forward to in a year the minimum being raised to $1000.00…$2,000 dollars? Can you imagine the tens of thousands of songwriters, publishers, and estates who will be affected by this?



Copyright 2009 by Artie wayne



Last night I was channel surfing and I watched “Two and a Half Men”, which at first glance looked like a family show. But when I saw Charlie Sheen bedding some starlet, while his little nephew stood around making wisecracks and sexual innuendoes, I knew I wasn’t watching “Father Knows Best”!

I wondered what other little treasures I’d find, as I zipped around the channels. I saw a little of “Brett Michaels Nasty Bus Of Love”, “Flava Flav’s Flavorites”, and a comedy about two rappers (Ludacris and 50 cent) who open a lingerie shop called, “Britches and Hose”.

Then in less than 30 seconds I saw a promise of things to come.

Being in the music business for much of my life I’ve seen sentiments in songs go from “Give Me A Little Kiss Will Ya’ Huh?” to “Hit Me Baby One More Time”, From “I Want To Hold Your Hand” to “May I Just Rest It On Your Leg?” Seriously, I’m not a prude my any means, but it wasn’t so long ago that anything that was the least bit suggestive wouldn’t make it to the airwaves!

My friend producer/songwriter Jerry Ross (“Sunny”, “98.6”, “Sunday Will Never Be The Same”) tells me about a problem with censorship back in the ‘60s.

“The success of a recording Artist is part of the complete collaboration of many. The record (a single promo) is released to Radio programmers & deejays that are usually very supportive of a recording artist who has consistently provided Radio with Music & Song and built up a fan base.
Actually they like to get an a Advance copy so that they can be the first in town to play it. Then, there are the  programmers who like to play ‘control freak’ and only see that the glass is half filled…..Instead of applauding a great new record and its craft….they look for reasons not to play the follow up release. In many cases it is censorship without justification and it  has been a train wreck set-back  for many artists…..I recall one particular instance that I personally  experienced….In my body of work, I had the pleasure of discovering  a New Artist from Philly who I called KEITH. We had major success with “AIN’T GONNA LIE” and “98.6”. His next single was titled “SUGAR MAN”, about someone who brings love and comfort to his loved ones…”I’m Your Sugar Man”. PAUL DREW, who programmed a major Detroit station, criticized the record calling the lyrics ambiguous and not appropriate for radio listeners! His unflattering and a bad call remarks were picked up by other shakers and movers who, must have enjoyed knocking down the king of the hill with their power or could give you a thumbs up……Jay Cook/WFIL-Dean Tyler/WIBG Philly/ Bill Drake-

syndication -KYA San Francisco all power brokers who reported to THE GAVIN REPORT (the industry bible at the time)…..THE RECORD WAS DEAD…….CENSORED!


Tommy James (“Hanky, Panky”, “Crimson and Clover”), remembers what happened to him around the same time.

“What hypocrisy!” I Think We’re Alone Now” was out at the same time as the Rolling Stones, “Let’s Spend The Night Together” and they were worried about my record!

Seriously, what got the radio stations in Detroit upset was the album cover that showed two sets of yellow footprints walking along together. If you followed them along, at the end it was clear that the two people were in a compromising position.

So they told us that if we didn’t change the cover, they wouldn’t play the next Tommy James record, which was “Mirage.” CKLW in Detroit banned “I Think We’re Alone Now” but Keener, WKNR, played it.”


Tommy smiles and says, “We changed the album cover.”

How far have we come? WTF, listen to what Lady GaGa Says in her #1 song, “Poker Face”…Can You Believe It?

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Copyright 2009 by Artie Wayne


Watch for Tommy James’ forthcoming book, “Me, The Mob, And The Music

For Jerry Ross and Philly Oldies