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ASCAP Revenue Tops $1.1 Billion in Year Marked By Key Licensing Deals

Elizabeth Matthews (L), Chief Executive Officer of ASCAP and composer Paul Williams attend Billboard Power 100 - Red Carpet at Cecconi's on Feb. 9, 2017 in West Hollywood, Calif.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Billboard

Elizabeth Matthews (L), Chief Executive Officer of ASCAP and composer Paul Williams attend Billboard Power 100 - Red Carpet at Cecconi's on Feb. 9, 2017 in West Hollywood, Calif. 

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) enjoyed revenue collections growth of 8 percent to $1.144 billion last year, an improvement of $85 million from the $1.059 billion garnered in 2016. The U.S. powered most of that growth, increasing 11.59 percent to $846 million from $759 million in the prior year; while foreign receipts dropped slightly to $298 million in 2017 from $300 million in the prior year.

"ASCAP is securing a strong future for our members by successfully closing key licensing deals and launching innovative digital tools that will enhance the lives of our members and make it easier for licensees to do business with us," ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews said in a statement. "Our healthy 2017 financial results are proof positive that we are succeeding in our strategic transformation and our mission to support music creators and music publishers for a sustainable future in the digital economy."

During the year, ASCAP closed significant licensing deals including one with YouTube, which will improve the accuracy and reliability of the metadata attached to musical works, resulting in greater compensation for ASCAP members, the organization said in a statement.

Since revenues grew, so too did distribution, increasing 9.7 percent to $1.007 billion from $918 million in the prior year. Within that, domestic distribution increased to $723 million, a 14.6 percent bump from the $631 million distributed in 2016. That means ASCAP distributed $284 million to its members from foreign receipts.

The organization said that expenses comprised 12 percent of revenue, which translates into $137.3 million, an 8 percent increase from the prior year when expenses totaled $127.1 million.

"2017 was a year of progress on so many fronts at ASCAP, including important deals that keep money flowing back to creators, technological investments that will keep us ahead of changes in the industry and momentum behind our efforts to reform our outdated music licensing system," said ASCAP president Paul Williams in a statement. "I am gratified by the hard work that the ASCAP team does every day to make it possible for members of ASCAP to make their living as music creators."

During the year, ASCAP said it improved tools for "songwriters, composers and publishers to register and manage large catalog of music, while providing them with new data visualization tools for a deeper dive into their earnings data."

ASCAP members include Ashley Gorley, Drew Taggart, Daddy Yankee, Christopher Brody Brown, James Fauntleroy, Ray Charles McCullough & Jeremy Reeves (The Stereotypes), Frederic Kennett, Isaac Slade, Joe King, Kandi Burruss, Tameka Cottle, Steve Mac (PRS), Justin Bieber, Poo Bear, Mattman & Robin (STIM), Kendrick Lamar, Mike Will Made-It, Lil Uzi Vert, Louis Bell and Quavo.

ASCAP members renewing their agreements included Billy Joel, Cardi B, Coldplay, Meghan Trainor, Sam Hunt, Ariana Grande, Donald Fagen, Justin Bieber, Joss Favela, Big Sean, Kendrick Lamar, Drew Taggart (of The Chainsmokers), Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, Christopher Brody Brown, Starrah, Demi Lovato, French Montana, Lil Uzi Vert, Brett James, Henry Jackman and Heitor Pereira, according to the financial result announcement.

More than 45,000 new members joined ASCAP in 2017, including Dua Lipa, Carlos Vives, Maluma, Nana Rogues (Drake, "Passionfruit"), Jonas Jeberg (Fifth Harmony, "Sledgehammer" & Selena Gomez, "Fetish") and Emily Warren (The Chainsmokers, "Don't Let Me Down ft. Daya" & Dua Lipa, "New Rules").


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