After a 33-year career at ASCAP — 17 of them as the CEO — John LoFrumento is retiring from the performance rights organization as of Jan. 1.
During his tenure at the head of organization, membership grew from 70,000 members to 520,000, while distribution of royalties more than doubled, from $417 million to $875 million.
“When I became CEO in 1997, we set a course aimed at transforming ASCAP into a new kind of organization that would be ready to meet the demands of the 21st century, and I am so proud of what we have achieved,” LoFrumento said in a statement. “Through a commitment to innovation and continuous improvement in all areas of our operation, ASCAP has become the world’s most sophisticated and efficient music rights organization, home to more than 520,000 of the world’s greatest music creators. And I am able to retire with tremendous confidence in ASCAP’s future, knowing that the Board’s search for a new CEO is well underway.”
While LoFrumento helmed the organization, ASCAP created MusicPro Insurance, an insurance agency for music professionals; and the I Create Music Expo. In 1995, ASCAP issued the first Internet license for music performance, according to ASCAP; and more recently LoFrumento has been on the front lines in ASCAP efforts to update the decades-old consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice.
“Under John’s leadership, ASCAP’s innovations and embrace of new technologies have shaped the evolution of performing rights worldwide,” ASCAP president and chairman and songwriter Paul Williams said in a statement. “John is an extraordinary advocate for music creators, and his accomplishments and vision will have a lasting impact on the music industry for years to come.”
In a memo to staff, LoFrumento recalled that his first job was working at a candy store in his Bronx neighborhood. After graduating from Hunter College, he became an accountant, eventually serving as vp and controller of the traveler’s cheque division of American Express, before joining ASCAP in 1981 as controller. Along the path to becoming the organization’s CEO in 1997, he held the positions of CFO, COO and evp. ASCAP’s songwriters currently include Beyoncé, Dr. Luke, Dierks Bentley, Katy Perry, Enrique Iglesias, Justin Timberlake, Drake and Brad Paisley, among others.
“I started out as an accountant and I never imagined I would end up in a career that brought me the absolute joy of helping to serve and protect the world’s greatest songwriters – many of whom have become great friends,” LoFrumento said in the memo. “It has been an incredible journey — not always easy, but endlessly exciting and fulfilling.”