NSAI Advocacy Overview

Over the past decade the Nashville Songwriters Association has conducted more than 2,500 sit-down appointments in Washington, D.C., with members of Congress and their staff members. Our legislative presence is unequaled by any other organization representing songwriters. We fight for your ability to make a living as a songwriter in Congress, the courtrooms and in the marketplace.

Today, NSAI provides a myriad of services, and is many things to many different songwriters around the world, but at the core of our mission is the reason we were founded—songwriter advocacy. In 1967, forty-two professional songwriters got together in Nashville and formed NSAI because they knew their profession needed a voice. Their first goal was to get songwriters’ names placed on records, something our founders accomplished for all songwriters everywhere. Although NSAI was founded and is headquartered in Nashville, TN, our issues are national and international. We are the largest not-for-profit member trade association for songwriters in the world and anytime an issue arises that affects songwriters or their copyrights, you can be assured that we will be at the forefront of the discussions advocating for your best interests.

Bart Herbison
Executive Director

The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) is the world’s largest not-for-profit trade association dedicated to the service of professional and aspiring songwriters in all genres of music. Founded in 1967, NSAI now has more than 150 chapters throughout the world.


  • In 2014, NSAI has worked with like-minded organizations ASCAP, BMI, CMPA, NMPA and SESAC to introduce the Songwriter Equity Act (H.R. 4079, S. 2321). The bill seeks to modernize the rules governing the way both mechanical and performance royalty rates are set. NSAI President, Lee Thomas Miller, testified before the House Judiciary Committee in June 2014 to advocate for the bill and other songwriter issues.
  • NSAI introduced and spear-headed The Songwriters Capital Gains Tax Equity Act, legislation that allows songwriters to save 20% or more in tax payments when selling a song catalogue. This change to the U.S. Tax Code was made permanent by Congress on December 9, 2006!
  • In 2008, NSAI was invited to testify in Washington, D.C., before the Copyright Royalty Board as they considered updates to copyright law for the digital age. Then-NSAI President Steve Bogard was a witness.
  • Past years have seen NSAI fight - and win - against digital distributors of music with the continuing goal of ensuring that songwriters are compensated fairly by these services.
  • In September of 2003, NSAI coordinated a massive lobbying trip to Washington, in which songwriters met with over 50 members of Congress to tell the songwriter's story and to announce the creation of a Songwriter's Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives. We since have started a Songwriter’s Caucus in the U.S. Senate. This means a solid team of allies for any legislation supporting songwriters’ rights.
  • NSAI influenced a U.S. Supreme Court decision enabling songwriters to keep an additional 20 years on their copyrights.
  • NSAI protested CMT’s decision to remove songwriter credits from broadcast videos and persuaded the company to reinstate them in 2001.
  • NSAI has worked tirelessly to inform songwriters about recapturing their copyrights, a provision in the Copyright Revision Act of 1976.
  • NSAI has an open door to songwriters on all levels, offering education, mentoring and a variety of programs and services to help the next generation of songwriters and composers navigate their way to their professional goals, all while stressing the importance of their valuable copyrights and teaching them how to protect them.