Distributions Cross $1 Billion Mark for Third Year in a Row at $1.184 Billion, as Total Revenues Top $1.274 Billion
NEW YORK, May 1, 2020 — ASCAP, The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, reported record-breaking financial results for the fifth year in a row, with total 2019 revenue topping $1.274 billion in 2019, a $47 million increase over 2018. Royalty distributions to ASCAP members also hit a record high in 2019 and increased by $75 million, crossing the $1 billion mark for a third year with $1.184 billion in royalties paid out to ASCAP songwriter, composer and publisher members.
Domestic revenue collected by ASCAP in 2019 was $945 million, up $39 million over the prior year, driven in part by an increase in audio streaming which increased 16%. Domestic distributions from ASCAP-licensed and administered performances in the US totaled $869 million, up $55 million over last year. Foreign revenue increased to $329 million and foreign distributions were $315 million, up by nearly $20 million over 2018. ASCAP operates on a not-for-profit basis and distributes all revenues collected, less operating expenses.
“We are pleased to report ASCAP’s strong financial results for 2019, but we know that our members are concerned about the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis on their royalties in 2020 and beyond,” said ASCAP Chief Executive Officer Elizabeth Matthews.
“Fortunately, ASCAP closed a record number of multi-year licensing deals in 2019 and instituted immediate operational changes and expense cuts in early March 2020. As a result of these efforts, while collection efforts are increasingly challenging, our first quarter 2020 royalty distributions have proven to be among our highest ever. Hopefully, this distribution will provide a cushion to members to help weather the storm of COVID-19.”
“Music remains essential to our culture and to humanity. We see it in good times as evidenced by the achievements of our members and ASCAP in 2019, and we see it now, when music creators show their generosity and compassion, even as they struggle with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on their own lives and livelihoods,” said ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President Paul Williams. “We are proud of ASCAP’s strong 2019 financial results, but our focus now is on the future, and fighting for our members. The ASCAP team is working tirelessly on behalf of our members to navigate through this crisis and protect their livelihoods, even in these challenging times. I am grateful to stand together with so many talented and dedicated members of the ASCAP family, at a time when we need each other more than ever.”
ASCAP continued its track record of innovation in 2019 with investments in state-of-the-art technology systems to process trillions of performances annually. The organization also completed a project that moved ASCAP’s survey and distribution systems into the cloud, making them more efficient and cost-effective in the distribution of over $1 billion annually to ASCAP rightsholders.
Industry-Leading Member Wellness Program
ASCAP launched a first-of-its-kind comprehensive wellness program at the end of 2019, becoming the first US performing rights organization to focus heavily on its members’ physical and mental well-being to support their creativity, life balance and longevity. ASCAP members receive a range of benefits including access to and significant discounts on innovative services that support mental health, mindfulness, exercise and nutrition. The program also includes recovery support, wellness events and dedicated wellness content on the ASCAP website and social media. As part of ASCAP’s commitment, the organization commissioned an extensive research survey to determine the needs of its members: “The US Music Creator Wellness Study.” Results of the survey can be found here.
Member Success and Growth
Top music talent made ASCAP their home in 2019. New ASCAP members include Mariah Carey, Dua Lipa, Mustard, Charlie XCX, Hayley Kiyoko, Courtney Hadwin, Epikh Pro and composer Siddhartha Khosla (This Is Us). ASCAP also renewed agreements with high profile songwriters Billie Eilish, FINNEAS, Louis Bell, Diplo, Ne-Yo, James “Poo Bear” Boyd, Brothers Osborne, Andrew Taggart (The Chainsmokers), Polo G, Tommy “TB Hits” Brown, Scooter Carusoe, Angel Del Villar and Chris Jeday; film/TV composers Michael Giacchino, James Levine and Daniel Romer; and the estates of XXXTentacion and Tom Petty. ASCAP elected 45,875 members in 2019 and the organization is currently home to approximately 750,000 songwriters, composers and publishers.
The ASCAP 2019 Annual Report can be viewed at http://www.ascap.com/annualreport19.
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP’s mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world’s best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business – from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With more than 750,000 members representing more than 11.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. Learn more and stay in touch at www.ascap.com, on Twitter and Instagram @ASCAP and on Facebook.