ASCAP royalty distributions to members reached a record $610 million in 2004, the U.S. performing rights organization says.

ASCAP royalty distributions to members reached a record $610 million in 2004, the U.S. performing rights organization says.

The tally marks a 14.9% increase over 2003's numbers. The royalties are distributed to the society's 200,000 songwriter, composer and publisher members.

Domestic distributions totaled $432.7 million, up 13.4% over 2003, while foreign distributions rose 18.5% to $177.3 million. Total monies collected in 2004 rose to $699 million, with 13.5% going to operating costs and the rest split among the members.

ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento attributes the gains to several factors: last year's $1.7 billion broadcast licensing agreement; growth in the Mediaguide tracking system, which now monitors more than 2,500 radio stations and includes fingerprints for 3.5 million songs; and streamlining measures to trim operating costs. LoFrumento says the 91-year-old society reduced its staff by approximately 5% last year, primarily through attrition.

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