Let me start by saying that I am a member of ASCAP, but this is seriously ludicrous.
Without going into the other pieces, the one that really feels strange is that the music publishers want to collect royalties for the 30-second “preview.” They are claiming that the preview should be considered a performance.
The ability to listen to part of a track before purchasing sells music downloads. The sale is a much better deal for the composer or artist than the tiny fractions of a cent that they might earn by collecting a royalty on the preview.
What would happen if this goes through? First, the royalty costs would be passed to the consumer. Second, the length of the preview would be shortened and perhaps eliminated on those tracks that are less popular. In my opinion, the less popular artists benefit most from the previews, allowing people to sample music that they would have never considered or discovered.
Perhaps I should be paying royalties for singing songs in my head? That is the next step, isn’t it?