The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the world leader in performing rights and advocacy for music creators, today announced that it distributed over $851.2 million in royalties to its songwriter, composer and publisher members in the calendar year ended 2013, an increase of nearly $24 million over 2012. Domestic distributions totaled $527.9 million, up 6.1%. 2013 became the sixth year in a row that ASCAP distributed well in excess of $800 millionmore than $5 billion totalto its members. ASCAP is the only performing rights organization to do so, making it the global leader in performance royalty distributions to songwriters, composers and music publishers.
ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams commented: "Nearly 500,000 of my fellow songwriters, composers and music publishers depend on ASCAP to collectively license their work and collect public performance royalties, which are becoming a more vital source of income in the digital age. As we celebrate our centennial, we believe it is time to update the regulations that govern music licensing. ASCAP is working to shape a future which preserves the enormous benefits of the collective licensing model, while better reflecting how technology is changing the way people listen to music and the competitive landscape in which we operate."
Revenues remained strong at $944.4 million, led by a $13.2 million increase in domestic receipts boosting ASCAP's financial growth, primarily from its new media and general licensing areas. Revenues from foreign societies also remained healthy at $330.6 million. ASCAP remains among the most-efficient performing rights organizations with an operating expense ratio among the lowest in the world. 2013's operating ratio stood at 12.4% versus 11.3% in 2012, due to litigation expenses incurred as a result of ASCAP's ongoing rate court proceeding with Pandora Media, which is seeking to lower the royalties it pays to songwriters and composers.
ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento noted: "Our strong performance in 2013 further demonstrates why ASCAP is uniquely suited to serve the needs of both music creators and licensees in the digital future. I believe ASCAP's ability to transparently and efficiently track and distribute performance royalties using the most advanced technology is unmatched within the industry, as is our commitment to nurturing and advocating on behalf of our community of members. I am thrilled that in our 100th year, ASCAP is still breaking new ground toward a more transparent, efficient and effective music licensing system."
ASCAP maintained its high level of royalty payments to members through upgrades to its business systems, operational efficiencies and technological innovations, notably:
- ASCAP migrated its data center operations to a new state-of-the-art facility with increased storage, power and speed to maximize the processing of performances.
- ASCAP completed a 5-year project that simplified its license and rate structure for eating and drinking establishments, leading to a 30% increase in General Licensing customers.
- Through the use of pattern recognition technology, ASCAP began automatically identifying musical works – mostly instrumental – on radio, TV and cable, even when voice-overs or sound effects are mixed with the music, increasing the number of performances tracked by 150%.
- ASCAP expanded its satellite radio survey, resulting in 18,000 additional members getting paid and an additional 3 million performances processed in one quarter. In fact, through tracking enhancements coupled with a greater number of licensees playing a wider variety of music than every before, the number of members receiving royalties has increased 45% in the past five years alone.
- ASCAP introduced the "Play Music" license for small websites and mobile apps, an easy-to-use, economical agreement that can be obtained at ASCAP.com in a matter of minutes.
- ASCAP welcomed more than 30,000 new members in 2013, among them are ZEDD, Calvin Harris, Big Sean, Haim, Sia, Matthew Koma, Drake, Kings of Leon's Jared Followill, composer Steven Price (Gravity) and composer Gustavo Santaolalla (August: Osage County).
- ASCAP members continue to garner the highest industry awards and honors. At the recent 56th Grammy Awards, honoring the music of 2013, ASCAP members took home the lion's share of awards, winning 60% of all categories. Pharrell Williams and Justin Timberlake each earned three Grammys; Jay-Z and Sir Paul McCartney each earned two; bright, young newcomer Lorde (APRA) won the Song of the Year Grammy for "Royals;" Shane McAnally won the Best Country Song Grammy for "Merry Go 'Round;" and ASCAP's very own President and Chairman of the Board Paul Williams earned his third career Grammy for his work on Daft Punk's Random Access Memories album.
ASCAP songwriters and composers also swept the music categories at the recent Golden Globe Awards. Composer Alexander Ebert, bandleader of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, earned a Golden Globe for Best Original Score for his music to the 2013 film All is Lost
. Rock legends U2
and writer-producer Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) earned awards for "Ordinary Love," their tribute to Nelson Mandela featured in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
. In addition, longtime ASCAP member Stephen Schwartz
won a 2013 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.
ASCAP members dominated the 2013 Billboard charts and included some of the biggest names in music, including #1 R&B songwriter Robin Thicke, #1 Latin songwriter Romeo Santos, #1 country songwriter Ashley Gorley, and #1 Christian songwriter Matthew West, as well as other hit songwriters such as Pharrell Williams, Bruno Mars, Brandy Clark, Justin Timberlake, Drake, Katy Perry, Jay-Z, Lorde (APRA), Kendrick Lamar, Alicia Keys, fun.'s Nate Ruess, Beyoncé, Josh Kear, Chris Tompkins, 2 Chainz, Mike Einziger, Aloe Blacc and many others.
Through its expansive, innovative and highly successful series of career development programs, ASCAP serves music creators at all stages of their working lives. From the annual ASCAP "I Create Music" EXPO, the Sundance ASCAP Music Café and TV and Film Scoring Workshops on both coasts to songwriting workshops, cross-genre songwriting camps and annual award shows, ASCAP provides valuable education, community support and professional recognition to its members.
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP's mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world's best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business - from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With 500,000 members representing more than 9 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members.