ASCAP Is First PRO with One Billion in Revenue

Courtesy of ascap.com
Courtesy of ascap.com

The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP), gained a six percent increase in revenue last year. This rise in earnings took their revenue from $944.4 million to $1 billion dollars this year. ASCAP is now the first Performing Rights Organization (PRO) to earn $1 billion dollars in earnings. The company’s payout to its songwriters and publishers also went from $851.2 million in 2013, to $883 million last year. “ASCAP had an incredibly successful 2014. We worked extremely hard bad continually innovated in order to maximize the financial opportunities for our members in the face of an evolving and increasingly competitive global landscape,” ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews said in a statement. Matthews continued, “We implemented new revenue growth strategies and productivity improvement initiatives in order to deliver the best collective licensing value proposition at the lowest possible cost fir all stakeholders.” 

The company’s Audio Performance Management (APM) has greatly improved. It is now able to track music played on the radio and on Internet services at a better rate per hour than their other system. ASCAP has expanded its surveys on music streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, Apple Radio, and Rhapsody. As a result, more published work is being identified at a much higher rate. Therefore, ASCAP’s songwriters have received an increase in payments.

Last month, Pandora went federal court to battle against BMI, which is another song licensing company. The two companies are fighting over music royalties, and the trial will determine how much the Internet radio service is paying BMI’s songwriters and music publishers. BMI claims their songwriters and publishers are suffering because of Pandora, whose payout system paid $446 million in music licensing costs. Those recording costs are separate from the songwriting and publishing rights, which are handled by companies like ASCAP, SESAC, and BMI.

Through the ASCAP OnStage program, that are able to track their own live shows, and this resulted in a thirty percent increase from 2013. Consequently, ASCAP was able to track 500 billion musical performances last year, which doubled from 250 billion performances that were tracked in 2013. In a current climate where songwriters are underpaid and taken advantage of, ASCAP is working hard to make sure their songwriters are properly compensated. “We maintain a strong presence in Washington, D.C. to ensure they [songwriters] are fairly compensated for their creative work, which is the engine driving the entire industry,” ASCAP President Paul Williams stated.

ASCAP continues to see growth in all of its areas, including a rise in their membership. Last year, more than 40,000 people joined the company, compared to 30,000 in 2013. Williams stated that ASCAP will continue to ensure fair market rates for their members, by working hard to protect the creative works of songwriters all over the world. 

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