A Letter
from the IASPM-Executive Committee

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Dear IASPM members,

Few of us enjoy discussing things like statutes, by-laws and all the legal aspects of an organisation. But they are necessary to run it effectively. Please take a moment to read and consider the proposals below, and respond to them if you have input. At the Executive Committee meeting in October, we spent a great deal of time discussing potential approaches to a revision of the membership fee structure.

The problem is a staggering one: on the one hand, the old structure is obviously inadequate. How can we distinguish between industrialised and non-industrialised countries? Into which category do the CIS and Eastern European states fall? Do they all obviously belong in the same category? On the other hand, as we know, all categories are at some level arbitrary and fictional—and yet necessary. By what standard, then, might we as an organization determine a subtler system?

After a lot of exploration and discussion, we’ve developed what seems to be a reasonable and equitable system of setting fees. All five members of the executive committee believe in it. We hope you’ll agree, but most importantly, we hope you’ll read it carefully and evaluate it in a generous, collective spirit. No boundaries can be ideal, but together we can aspire to a system that recognizes the complex axes of distribution of economic access in both local and global settings. The proposed structure will be voted on at the General Meeting in Turku. It can be found at


in the form of a table that compares the old and new structures.

In designing this proposal, we considered a number of factors. We chose to maintain the discounted rate for students and unwaged members, and we used the World Bank GNP and UN data tables to develop a three-tiered system of national payments from high, middle, and low income countries. We all believe, after much research and discussion, that this is a fair and just distribution of economic responsibility.

Some of the more subtle changes to the membership fee structure are intended to clarify a current ambiguity regarding IASPM membership. At present the statutes make a distinction between members of branches and individual members of IASPM. The changes we propose remove this distinction. Under the new statutes, everyone is an IASPM member of the same status. Local branches are regarded as devices through which memberships are paid. Clearly, of course, branches are much more than this. However, for the purposes of the statutes what individual branches do on top of this (together with any extra fee they charge members) is a matter of local decision. As a consequence, the proposed statutes are much simpler and a potentially divisive distinction within the statutes is removed.

We hope you will read it and discuss these proposals before the meeting in Turku and contact us with your comments and suggestions. PLEASE try not to consider the proposal from a narrow branch or individual perspective, but rather with an ear toward finding an equitable and practicable solution for the entire, very international organization.

By the way, our 11th Biannual IASPM Conference in Turku, Finland (July 6-10, 2001) is almost scheduled. Details will be published soon. The most recent information on this event you can always find on the Turku conference page:


For the registration form, go:

http://www.utu.fi/hum/historia/kh/iaspm/regform.pdf .

I hope to see many of you in Turku.

Best wishes

Anahid Kassabian, Chair of IASPM 
The International Association for the 
Study of Popular Music
email: kassabian@worldnet.att.net

This letter was sent per email to the IASPM members on 04-March-2001

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