Bart Herbison, the Director of the Nashville Songwriters Association International – Bluebird Cafe

An interview with Bart Herbison, the Director of the Nashville Songwriters Association International

NSAI is the world’s largest not-for-profit songwriters trade organization dedicated to the songwriting profession. Established in 1967, the organization’s membership of nearly 5,000 spans the United States and may other countries. With 140 chapters, NSA is dedicated to protecting songwriter’s rights and serves aspiring and professional songwriters in all genres of music.

Under Herbison’s leadership NSAI gained prominence in the national legislative arena.

Accomplishments include:

• Passage of the landmark “Songwriters Capital Gains Tax Equity Act” in 2006
• Prevailing in the Copyright Royalty Board trial in 2008-09 that saw songwriters for the first time be paid a percentage rate for subscription music services and set other mechanical royalty rates.
• Participation in the U.S. Supreme Court cases including Eldred vs. Ashcroft upholding Congress’s authority to grant an additional twenty years on the length of American copyrights and the landmark “Grokster” case which determined whether peer-to-peer have liability in distributing copyrighted material.
• Created the first-ever Group Copyright Infringement Insurance for songwriters and music publishers.
• Purchase of the “Music Mill” studios as NSAI headquarters in 2005
• Acquisition of the world-famous “Bluebird Café” in 2008.
• Creation of the first-ever Copyright Infringement Group Insurance Plan for songwriters and music publishers in 2009.

A Paris, Tenn., native, Herbison worked as a reporter and spent 14 years in radio before joining the staff of former Tennessee Governor Ned McWherter in 1987.  Herbison joined the staff of U.S. Rep. Bob Clement (D-Nashville) in 1988.  During the next 10 years, Herbison served as the Tennessee Congressman’s Press Secretary, Campaign Manager and Chief Administrative Officer before leaving Capitol Hill for Music Row in 1997.

Herbison is a 1996 graduate of Leadership Music and served on the Leadership Music Board of Directors. He serves on the board of the national campaign, the Nashville Mayor’s Music Council, the Tennessee Governor’s Board for Economic Growth and Development the Nashville Chamber of Commerce Government Relations Advisory Board and the Nashville State Community College Foundation Board of Directors.