ASCAP, the American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers, generated $944 million in revenues last year, up slightly from the $941 collected in 2012. But distributions to members jumped 2.9% to $851.2 million from $827 million in the prior year. Within that, domestic distributions totaled $527.9 million, up 6.1% from the $497.5 million paid out in 2012.
While revenues and distributions are up, so too are expenses as its operating ratio grew to 12.4% of revenue from 11.3%, due to rate court litigation with Pandora.
In the past year, ASCAP has 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, the company said. It also completed a 5-year project to simplify its license and rate structure for eating and drinking establishments, leading to a 30% increase in general licensing customers.
It also improved its ability, through pattern recognition technology, to track instrumental musical works on radio, TV and cable, increasing the number of performance tracked by 150% the PRO reported, while expanding its satellite radio survey. As a result, the number of members receiving royalties has increased 45% in the past five years, according to ASCAP. Finally, ASCAP noted that it had 30,000 new members in 2013, including 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).
“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," ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento said in a statement. "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 president and chairman Paul Williams added: “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.”
Williams in his statement also noted ASCAP’s political priorities going forward and calling for the government to update publishing regulations. “As we celebrate our centennial,” he said, “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.”