The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers kicks off its ninth annual ASCAP Expo on Thursday (April 24-26) at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles. This years event features artists (Beth Orton, Akon, Richie Sambora, Amy Grant), songwriters and/or producers (Dr. Luke, Glen Ballard, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Steve Lilywhite, Desmond Child) industry vets (Warner/Chappell’s Jon Platt; MAC Presents’ Marcie Allen; UMPG’s Jessica Rivera), politicians (Congressman Tom Marino, Representative Judy Chu) and many others who will churn over the many issues facing today's music publishing industry.
Billboard caught up with ASCAP's inimitable president Paul Williams, the Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe winning Hall of Fame composer whose many hits include "We've Only Just Begun," "Rainy Days and Mondays," "The Rainbow Connection," "An Old Fashioned Love Song," on the eve of this year's confab. Here Williams explained what motivates him every day to advocate on the behalf of songwriters, compared the issue of rate court and consent decrees to a pastrami sandwich and broke down the random access memory of how he ended up on Daft Punk’s Grammy-winning album.
Billboard: Tell us about this year’s ASCAP Expo
Paul Williams: The best way to describe it is what I imagine a great high school in the spring is like and going out to the quad. There's something about that and the creativity and energy and the sense of being surrounded by all these creator—people from the songwriting and publishing worlds and the amazing panels that has a feeling of fellowship and family. My high school, by the way, was nothing like that. I was busy being dunked in the pool and getting snapped by towels.