The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) today announced that it distributed over $851.2 million in royalties to its songwriter, composer and publisher members in the calendar year ended 2013, an increase of nearly $24 million over 2012.
Domestic distributions totaled $527.9 million, up 6.1%. 2013 became the sixth year in a row that ASCAP distributed well in excess of $800 million -- more than $5 billion total -- to its members. ASCAP is the only performing rights organization to do so, making it the global leader in performance royalty distributions to songwriters, composers and music publishers.
ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams commented: "Nearly 500,000 of my fellow songwriters, composers and music publishers depend on ASCAP to collectively license their work and collect public performance royalties, which are becoming a more vital source of income in the digital age. As we celebrate our centennial, we believe it is time to update the regulations that govern music licensing. ASCAP is working to shape a future which preserves the enormous benefits of the collective licensing model, while better reflecting how technology is changing the way people listen to music and the competitive landscape in which we operate."
Revenues remained strong at $944.4 million, led by a $13.2 million increase in domestic receipts boosting ASCAP's financial growth, primarily from its new media and general licensing areas.
Revenues from foreign societies also remained healthy at $330.6 million. ASCAP remains among the most-efficient performing rights organizations with an operating expense ratio among the lowest in the world. 2013's operating ratio stood at 12.4% versus 11.3% in 2012, due to litigation expenses incurred as a result of ASCAP's ongoing rate court proceeding with Pandora Media, which is seeking to lower the royalties it pays to songwriters and composers.
ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento noted: "Our strong performance in 2013 further demonstrates why ASCAP is uniquely suited to serve the needs of both music creators and licensees in the digital future. I believe ASCAP's ability to transparently and efficiently track and distribute performance royalties using the most advanced technology is unmatched within the industry, as is our commitment to nurturing and advocating on behalf of our community of members. I am thrilled that in our 100th year, ASCAP is still breaking new ground toward a more transparent, efficient and effective music licensing system."
Through the use of pattern recognition technology, ASCAP began automatically identifying musical works -- mostly instrumental -- on radio, TV and cable, even when voice-overs or sound effects are mixed with the music, increasing the number of performances tracked by 150%.
ASCAP expanded its satellite radio survey, resulting in 18,000 additional members getting paid and an additional 3 million performances processed in one quarter. In fact, through tracking enhancements coupled with a greater number of licensees playing a wider variety of music than ever before, the number of members receiving royalties has increased 45% in the past five years alone.