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ASCAP Reports 6% Gain in Revenue, Cracks $1 Billion Milestone

ASCAP also said that its distributions totaled $883 million in 2014, a 3.7% rise on the previous year.

ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, last year posted a 6% increase in revenue to a tick over $1 billion, up from the $944.4 million it collected in 2013. The performance right organization says it has become the first PRO in the world to crack the $1 billion milestone.

As part of its announcement, ASCAP also said that its distributions totaled $883 million, a 3.7% increase over the $851.2 million it paid out to songwriters and publishers in 2013. 

“ASCAP had an incredibly successful 2014,” ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews said in a statement. “We worked extremely hard and continually innovated in order to maximize the financial opportunities for our members in the face of an evolving and increasingly competitive global landscape.  We implemented new revenue growth strategies and productivity improvement initiatives in order to deliver the best collective licensing value proposition at the lowest possible cost for all stakeholders.”

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One of those initiatives, ASCAP’s Audio Performance Management (APM) system, receives information about music played on the radio and via internet services at a multiple 6-times more performance per hour than the previous system.

In another move, the PRO said it has expanded its surveys of the most significant streaming services such as Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody and Apple Radio. That move resulted in more than 1.3 million unique works being identified on those services, 30-times more than the 43,000 individual works it identified in 2013. Consequently, the songwriters paid for performances from those services saw their sums increased by nine-fold from 2013. Finally, the organization reported that 30% more live shows were processed through ASCAP’s OnStage program during 2014.

Overall, ASCAP said it “captured, identified, matched and processed payments for 500 billion musical performances” of all types in 2014, double the 250 billion it measured in 2013. 

In addition to helping its members earn a living, the organization also said it works hard to advocate and protect the rights of songwriters across all media. “We maintain a strong presence in Washington, D.C. to ensure they are fairly compensated for their creative work, which is the engine driving the entire industry,” ASCAP president Paul Williams said in a statement. “From our point of view, if we can ensure fair market rates for our members by working with the Department of Justice to modernize our outdated Consent Decree, then everyone wins — music creators, licensees and fans — because the value of collective licensing is that strong.”

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The organization said its overhead comprised 12.6% of its annual revenue in 2014. That’s up from the 12.4% of revenue ASCAP recorded in 2013, which itself was up from the 11.3% of revenue that overhead cost in 2012. In 2014, ASCAP had to finance a lengthy rate court trial against Pandora.

During the year, about 40,000 new members joined ASACP, as compared with the more than 30,000 that had joined in 2013, the organization reported.