ASCAP Royalty Payments Rise


(from Billboard, March 9, 2013)  The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) collected $941 million in revenue last year, which is down from the $982 million that was collected in 2011.  Royalty payments, however, increased a slight $3 million, up from the previous year.  The decline in revenue was due to royalty payment decreases from the radio industry and from retail background music services.   ASCAP says revenue from the cable industry and from abroad offset the downturn from radio and retail.   It is still represented as the third-highest collection year in the organization’s history, even though revenue declined last year. The society managed to maintain a high level of royalty payments through careful financial management, which predicted the revenue declines.  Looking forward to 2013 and beyond, ASCAP CEO, John LoFrumento, says, they are “poised to return year-over-year growth in our domestic revenues and with foreign revenues remaining consistently high, we are looking forward to a bright future for our members in the coming years.”

An important ingredient in keeping royalties at higher levels is improving cost control.  The company points out that it produced a lower operating expense this year.  “We are navigating in a complex, rapidly changing environment in which huge, cash-rich technology companies are developing business models that fly fast and free with our copyrights,” says ASCAP President/Chairman, Paul Williams,  “ASCAP’s advocacy for our members is a critical factor in ensuring fair treatment and payment.”

In 2012, ASCAP launched a redesigned mobile app, allowing music creators, publishers and licensees access to the society’s tools on any mobile device.  This app also offered a new program called ASCAP OnStage, which lets members set lists when they perform live so that they can receive royalty payments from the concert venues.  Another new program, ASCAP Play Music, allows individuals and small businesses to obtain an ASCAP license easier and more affordable.