Just B Yoga to end popular playlists and puts out call for local, independent musicians

It’s no secret I love music. I played the piano and the oboe until college. I can remember my first set of JBL woofers for my car. I treasure my mother and grandmother’s vinyl collection of everything from big band music to early Motown.

Music connects to spirit and energy in ways other arts can’t. It’s palpable and yet without shape. It carries forth inspiration and emotion and yet the note, once struck dissipates into impermanence.

DJ Rachael spins at a tag team yoga class at Just B Yoga in 2012.
DJ Rachael spins at a tag team yoga class at Just B Yoga in 2012.

I have been playing music in my yoga classes since I began. My selections, whether new and funky or old school and obscure, are often complimented and people write down the names of artists and albums.

Well, you may not be hearing much music in at our studio any more. Or at least music that you’re familiar with. And that might not be a bad thing (keep reading).

We were contacted by the ASCAP, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, and threatened with needing to pay them a fee in order to continue playing music. They represent the artists and say the artists are due royalties from the performance of the music at the studio. You are essentially paying to hear the music and they need to get a cut.

I should be flattered that Just B Yoga, which barely generates $200 on any given day due to the generous donations of our students, has gotten the attention of one of the largest publishing rights organizations.

But I’m not.
The more I have looked into the witch hunt ASCAP and BMI, another big PRO, have done the last decade or so, it’s nauseating. They are going after and succeeding in silencing coffee shops, barber shops, dance studios and yes, yoga studios.

It’s all about what can be considered a public performance and if we’re charging access to that performance. Even streaming through Spotify or Rdio is questionable since you agreed to terms when you opened your account that it’s for personal playback and use. Although I don’t know what yesterday’s Pandora ruling means for using Pandora which now is seen as a form of radio.
I truly believe in paying for music. My extensive digital library was purchased by me or recorded from my family’s vinyl collection.

Jeremy Arndt performing his own compilations during a solstice yoga class at Just B Yoga in 2013.
Jeremy Arndt performing his own compilations during a solstice yoga class at Just B Yoga in 2013.

These PROs claim to want to benefit the artists, but many artists never see a DIME!

It’s cool.
Not gonna get all hot under the collar and irate. Not going to waste my energy.

Instead, I’m going to switch the tracks on the playlist entirely.

Just B Yoga is sending out a call for local independent musicians for music to be played during yoga classes at the studio. Do you want to have your music exposed to our students? A recent survey showed that Just B Yoga students are highly educated and have money!

But more importantly, Just B Yoga students support the community. We are all about building and shaping the community we want to live in. That’s union. That’s connection. That’s yoga.

We are seeking everything from new age to hip hop to jazz and acoustic. You have to perform and write your own pieces.

We invite you to let us play your music, or you come to perform live during a yoga class.

We will carry your CDs in the studio and link to you on the Just B Yoga website and shout to you on social media.
In exchange we’d like you to give us permission in writing to play your music during yoga classes or any events at the studio (art shows, workshops, open houses). We’re not even asking for a free download. We will pay you!!!!

We are Lansing’s only full-time donation-based yoga studio and one of the few in the state.

Our mission is: “Just B Yoga represents diversity of shape, size, age, race, sexual orientation, gender identification and expression, and is committed to making our programs accessible and affordable to all.”

A guitarist performs during an open mic evening at Just B Yoga. (Back in the day!)
A guitarist performs during an open mic evening at Just B Yoga. (Back in the day!)
Lyric Lee, performing "You Will" at Just B Yoga in 2011.
Lyric Lee, performing “You Will” at Just B Yoga in 2011.

To that end we support grassroots community-building that is inclusive and nurturing. The arts are vital. Let’s create mind-body connection on a community level together.

We are also going to be seeking and using music from license-free generators like ichillmusic.com. If you know of others, please share them with us.

Otherwise, enjoy the rhythm of your heartbeat and your own breath as you find your flow with us at Just B Yoga.

Contact belinda@justbyoga.com if you are interested in having us play your music or you perform live in any of our classes.

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