ASCAP Racks Up Another $1 Billion in Revenue For Third Straight Year

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Justin Bieber arrives at The 58th Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Feb. 15, 2016 in Los Angeles.

Streaming, once again, leads the way.

ASCAP recorded its third year in a row hitting the billion-dollar milestone for revenue collections.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers enjoyed 4.44 percent growth to $1.059 billion in 2016, according to the organization, up from the $1.014 billion in revenue it recorded in 2015. (ASCAP reported $1.02 billion in collections in 2014.) Meanwhile, distributions to members grew 5.83 percent to $918 million, up from the $867.4 million paid out in 2015.

"ASCAP’s strong financial results matter for each and every songwriter, composer and music publisher who makes a living from our creative work, from those just starting out to those whose music is beloved around the world," ASCAP president and chairman Paul Williams said in a statement.

ASCAP members included Justin Bieber, Noah "40" Shebib, Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, Shellback, Ashley Gorley, Drew Taggart and Enrique Iglesias. It also renewed agreements with such songwriters/performers as Kelly Clarkson, Paul McCartney, Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, Skrillex, Timbaland and Hans Zimmer.

Breaking out revenue by geography, U.S. receipts totaled $759 million, a 5.89 percent increase over the $716.8 million collected domestically in 2015. The organization attributed that growth primarily to the growth in audio streaming, which it said was up by 41 percent without specifying an actual dollar amount. ASCAP generally provides that number later in the year, in its annual report.

Of the $759 million in U.S. receipts, ASCAP distributed $631 million domestically, which is a 10 percent increase over the $573.5 million paid out in 2015.

Outside the U.S., revenue collections totaled $300 million, up slightly from the $298 million received last year; ASCAP attributed that number to the strengthening dollar resulting in lower foreign exchange rates.

Overall, the number of performances processed from all licensees grew astronomically to over 1 trillion in 2016, almost double the 570 billion processed in 2015, likely due to it being the first full year for Apple Music and other services.

As mentioned, ASCAP breaks out more detailed financials in its annual report issued later in the year, but for now it reports that its expense structure was about 12 percent of revenue, down from the 12.3 percent it had in 2015; and 12.7 percent it had in 2014. In other expense-reducing moves, the PRO says it will save $24 million to $32 million going forward in future years, apparently by converting to a 401k plan for employees.

"ASCAP’s record high revenues and distributions in 2016 are a testament to the amazing repertory of music we are privileged to represent, and to our investment in innovations that enable us to continue to grow revenues, leverage our scale and increase efficiencies in our operations," ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews said in a statement. "In 2016 alone, we processed over 1 trillion performances, welcomed 40,000 new members and secured a steady stream of future royalties for our members by closing multi-year deals across all major platforms, including satellite and terrestrial radio."

Among other initiatives, during the year ASCAP redesigned its database of 10.5 million works to include ASCAP's shares of licensed works, a move that fulfilled demands from licensees for more transparency.