The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP)

Industry Org

The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) is a not-for-profit licensing and collection society representing songwriters and publishers in the United States.

Founded in 1914, ASCAP collects money from sources including television broadcasters, radio broadcasters, satellite broadcasters such as SiriusXM, plus bars, restaurants, multiple online streaming services, and the promoters of live concerts.

As of the close of 2020, ASCAP represented some 790,000 songwriters.

ASCAP’s board comprises 12 writers and 12 publishers and is chaired by songwriter and performer Paul Williams


Leadership

In January 2015, it was announced that Elizabeth Matthews would replace  John LoFrumento as CEO of ASCAP.

LoFrumento retired on December 31, 2014 after 33 years with ASCAP..

At the time, Matthews said: “Matthews: “ASCAP is an expansive, forward-looking and adaptive service organization that successfully built and grew the market for performance rights for songwriters and publishers in the United States. As CEO, I am excited about building on our unique assets to offer new, innovative services to our members and licensing partners.”


Financial results

ASCAP’s revenues topped $1.274 billion in 2019 – a $47 million increase over 2018.

Royalty distributions to ASCAP members in the same 12 months increased by $75 million year-on-year, at $1.184bn.

That was the third year that ASCAP’s royalty payouts had topped $1bn.


Controversy

In recent years, songwriter Shane McAnally entered into a long-running dispute with ASCAP over payments he felt were due to him.

McAnally started the process of resigning from ASCAP (both as a songwriter and publishing company owner) in 2013, and subsequently inked a deal with the organisation’s for-profit rival, Global Music Rights (GMR).

ASCAP continued to license McAnally’s catalog to US radio for two and a half years following his resignation.

Yet, according to McAnally, ASCAP declined to pay him full quarterly bonuses (‘Audio Feature Premiums’) from his biggest hits after he left – despite his co-writers of said songs (and remaining ASCAP members) receiving their share of this extra money.

This dispute ultimately ended in arbitration in early 2019. The arbitration panel found in favor of ASCAP, ruling that “ASCAP’s phase-out of AFP payments to Mr. McAnally was in accordance with its rules and regulations”

However, the same arbitration panel awarded McAnally $204,612.84 in costs incurred – money that had to be paid over by ASCAP.Music Business Worldwide

The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) In The News

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