The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the worldwide leader in performing rights and advocacy for music creators, today announced that it distributed over $827 million in royalties to its songwriter, composer and publisher members in the calendar year ended 2012, a slight increase over 2011. 2012 became the fifth year in a row that ASCAP distributed in excess of $800 million to its members – the only performing rights organization to do so – making it the global leader in performance royalty distributions to songwriters, composers and music publishers.
ASCAP maintained its high level of royalty payments to members through careful financial management, which anticipated revenue declines from the radio industry as well as settlements with background music services resulting from the DMX rate court decision. At $941 million, annual revenues were strong – the 3rd highest ever – but down 4.5% from 2011.
Growth in cable revenues and continued strength in foreign revenues were the primary factors in mitigating the impact of the radio and background music revenue declines. Due to continued industry growth and several major settlements, cable revenues were up 20%. ASCAP also saw revenue growth in new media and general licensing categories, including bars and grills, hotels and pop concerts.
ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams commented: “Our goal in 2012 was to ensure a healthy, steady stream of royalties to our members who depend on ASCAP’s advocacy and collective licensing to pay the rent and put food on the table. The music of our members is more popular than ever all around the world, especially through the proliferation of online and wireless services. 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. Only a thriving community of songwriters and composers – who can make a decent living from their work – can ensure a vibrant music eco-system going forward. ASCAP’s advocacy for our members is, as always, a critical factor in ensuring fair treatment and payment for their work.”
ASCAP welcomed nearly 25,000 new members in 2012, among them are songwriter/rapper Big Sean and breakout rapper Kendrick Lamar.