Albert (Al) Berman, former president of the Harry Fox Agency and the National Music Publishers Association died July 23 in Pompano Beach, Fla. He was 86.
Berman joined the NMPA, then called the Music Publishers Protective Association, in 1949 as Harry Fox’s assistant. Fox was in charge of handling licensing transaction fees. While working beside Fox, Berman saw the introduction of the long-playing record, radio, television, cassettes and eight-track. After Fox died in 1969, the Harry Fox Agency was officially incorporated as a wholly owned subsidiary of the NMPA, and Berman took over as the head of the company.
His testimony before Congress was critical during the successful fight in the mid-1970s to change the statutory rate for mechanical licenses from 2¢ a song per copy, which had been in effect since 1909. During his tenure, the industry saw such major changes as the introduction of home recording, CDs, and music videos. He remained at the helm of HFA until 1984, after which he continued to consult for the company for several years.
Born in New York, he served in WWII, where he wrote shows for the USO. He was also a past president of the music and performing arts lodge of B’nai B’rith. He owned a small publishing company, Aldor Music, which controls many of the songs by Teddy Randazzo and Victoria Pike.
Berman is survived by his wife, Dorothy; a son, a daughter and four grandchildren.